Saturday, October 21, 2006

Quest for the mystery Med fishing village



Cadaques, Costa Brava


http://www.quilici.net/galerie/cathedralecadaques.html



I have a motto in life where pictures, ornaments, memorabilia are concerned. If I like something, then, unless it's priced really extortionately, I buy it on the spot, using plastic if necessary, in case it's no longer there next time I'm passing. And so it was that we bought the above picture by one Qu?il?i? on impulse. We've since deciphered the artist's signature. More about that later. Actually, it's just a print from the shop round the corner, which we had framed. The composition and colour balance seemed perfect, maybe too perfect to be a real place, with that superb placement of the arch in the foreground, in relation to the big church (?) in the background,. The church, if indeed that's what it is, boldly asserts its dominance over the anarchic confusion of lesser buildings.


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What have I told you about writing in this flowery hifalutin style ? Literary pretensions eh ? Hoping to be snapped up by a publisher, are you ? At your age ?


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OK, I'll try and tone it down in future, hippo! Guess I'm a bit tired. Bad night. Affects the judgement. But as I was saying, the picture was lacking one thing. People. Life. And each time my eyes alighted on the picture, it was always the same thought. I wanted to be there at that place, filling that void. Walking among those boats pulled up on that shore .
And who knows, there might be a charming little bar or pavement café, just around the corner, out of the artist's line of sight.



But where is it, assuming it to be real, ? Or is it just Q's idealised generic Mediterranean fishing village?

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*Generic ? What's that when it's at home ?

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We once had one visitor to the house, an author who was staying nearby. He took one look and said "Greece". Actually, he prefaced that with saying "That's not France !". Delightful fellow though he is (when he's not talking politics) I wondered for one moment if he' d come to inspect on behalf of the Academie Française ( décor interne department) , come to seek out undesirable foreign imports.

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You've been wanting to say that for a long time, haven't you ? Feel better now you've got it off your chest ?

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I shall ignore that remark, hippo! Certainly there's a hint of Greece, with that startling whiteness. And one of the church (?) towers to the left of the steeple looks a bit kind of prismatic - is that the right word ?

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No, it's not. Stop trying to be so clever-clever. Try again

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Well it seems to have angled faces. Probably octagonal in cross-section. Difficult to say. But that's a Greek thing, isn't it. Faceted, Greek Orthodox ? But with those orange tiles, I'm not so sure.


Anywhere, for years the picture hung there, forever admired, enigmatic, taunting and not a little haunting.

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*Tauntin', hauntin', flauntin' ..... Keep them dogies saunterin', keep them dogies saunterin', Rawhiiiiide ! ..... Don't try to understand him. Just read him, groan an' bin him .......

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Well, listen folks, this is all getting a bit wearing, and I'm going to have to stop now, post what I've done, and then finish this later.

We've had rain on and off (mainly ON) the last three days, which has prevented gettting out for exercise, and somewhat dampened the spirits. And we've been bothered at night with very determined mosquitoes. None of this is good for expressing one's thoughts at speed. It's slowed me down a lot, in fact. So this one will come in instalments. But look at the three photos below : they should give a clue as to to how this story unfolds.

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That's hardly the way to hold your audience, Colin my friend. To go and desert them half way through your story, just like that.....

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Agreed, hippo! But if you knew the hassle I've had, just in the last 24 hours alone, trying to upload graphics, or get them where I want them on (or off ) the page, then you'd maybe understand why I need a bit of a break .

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OK. But don't make a habit of it ......

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To be continued


Right, it's midmorning Sunday, and I'm back, having just nipped out to get the Sunday Times. It's the only 'deadwood' paper we buy these days, apart from an occasional Nice Matin


It was on a Sunday last January that I was leafing through the ST, and came across a handy guide to Spanish holiday destinations, region by region, each given marks for this or that.

This is the kind of journalism I admire. Someone's had to spend days, weeks possibly, in doing their homework. Imagine then my surprise and delight when my eyes fell on the top-right hand corner, to see, yes you guessed it , the place in our picture, my special place ! Click on the picture below, and you'll see it's called Cadaquès. Heard of it ? I don't think I had before, but for those more knowledgeable than me about art, it's in a remote situation on a stretch of Costa Brava coastline that was a favourite haunt of Salvador Dali.











Just think, if I'd missed that particular edition, I might never have known that my perfect spot was a real place. Twenty minutes on the internet later, I was determined to go there, ASAP. I just needed a pretext. My lovely daughter dutifully obliged. She's one of those overworked hospital junior doctors, who often gets given her leave entitlement at short notice. Would we like to meet up with her somewhere mutually convenient, courtesy of low-cost airlines if poss ? She suggested the Baltic. It being March, I said not bloody likely. After Christmas, I rarely go north of Antibes, until I've seen and heard the first swallows . So I suggested she could get a cheap flight to Gerona from her local airport, and we would drive round the coast from Antibes to meet her, and then whisk her off to a mystery (and hopefully warmer) destination than Riga or Tallin that we were sure she would find relaxing, if nothing else.


Thanks to a technical glitch with the graphics, the Cadaquès I had placed next has vanished off the screen, and .......


Brief interruption in service there. Everything starts to slow down as one approaches one's ration of server time, as it is happening now. And some letters enter, others don't. All very tedious. I will have to break off, and see to deleting one or more earlier pix to free up space. I think it will have to be the Pico volcano. Shame about that. Anyway, please bear with we. We babyboomers (a term I despise) know all about rationing. I can see that tyrannical little book right now.


Yeah, the world and I await your return with bated breath.





Well, despie delein a picue, you can see whas happenin. his sysem is no wha I would call usa friendly.

Sop whingin . Youe edious when you whinge. Come ack lae. Whes my own colour. cap.


Well, here I am again an hour later, and the system is slowly and grudgingly accepting text again, but still not the picture I took in Cadaquès from the same vantage point as the painter.


Incidentally, there seems to be a contradiction between my map of Spain and some internet sites about the direction of the accent on that final "e".


Would this be the special interest feature for anal-retentives then ?


Tell me, hippo. That is your real name is it ? There wouldn't by any chance be a hotel-owner in your family by the name of Basil Fawlty ?


The one below was taken from a splendid balcony on the Cathedral. Yes, it's not just a church.


It's a cathedral, and a very handsome one at that. In such a small place ? Yes, seems odd a first, but Cadaquès is very isolated, requiring a long switchback ride through the well-wooded Cabo de Creus national park - very wild and unspoilt. By the time you get there, and unwound with a sangria or beer, one is more than happy to accept that one is looking at a cathedral.


We and our daughter had a most relaxing few days in Cadaquès and the surrounding region. It was great to see the speed with which she unwound. One of the all-abiding memories was watching the hotel night-porter ask if she'd care to kill time with a few rounds of snooker, and then watching her crush him, game after game. The expression on his face said it all: such a humiliation to be beaten by what he thought was a young slip of a girl. You see, our daughter, although in her mid-20s, looks at least 5 years younger, but is a mean hand with a snooker cue, as I discovered earlier in our warming-up session before the porter arrived..


Picture now deleted to free up space


Cadaquès, seen from the cathedral

That photogenic arch, seen from the cathedral side, turns out to support what looks like nothing more than someone's patio cum roof terrace. A kind of cross between the two. Try getting planning permission for that in England !


So, mission finally accomplished, with rested daughter into the bargain. Dream of 5 years realised. Right then, what's next ? Hey. Let's be hearing about your ambitions, your dreams, dear reader. Feel free to avail yourself of that Comment facility.


4 comments:

angela said...

Great sleuthing!
Angela

ColinB said...

tester only (to lazy to use a proper place)

Or you could try this:

>bishop

ColinB said...

Or you could try this:

bishop

ColinB said...

Or you could try this:

bishop