Monday, January 11, 2010

Stork wisdom

The ferry which crosses the straits from Spain to Africa reeled pitched accross trecherous seas- high wind, high anxiety- from Europe to Africa. Big blue sick bags were distributed. Lots of passengers with un manageable Christmas gifts and huge wheely suitcases. also, five young men handcuffed together being repatriated, each had a cigarette behind his ear and a plastic carrier bag with all his worldly goods, a brave smile. and plenty of bravado jokes , I think it would be a relief to get home, they are not treated well in Europe. Rima, my Tangier friend, tells me that the people who transport them the 8 miles across those trecherous straits to Europe in small open boats, rope them together, the boat is so ladened that they can't be allowed to move When a boats capsize as they often do, all are lost. In a sense these young men were a triumph- tried survived, stories to tell. But how sad- and how strange to be able to look across that sea and know you can never go there.

Now I am in Tangier staying with Rima, who lives in an apartment on top a building, on the top of a hill The apartment is large, airy with marble floors and and lots of windows I have a spectacular cough so every excuse to spend all day looking at Tangier in the rain those windows. In one direction I can see the apartment block where Paul Bowls wrote Sheltering Sky and, according to the New Year guests at Rima's party, doing unspeakable things to small boys. His building is solid, fortress like, unpainted stone blocks, its balconies are punched in and sheltered with wooden slatted screens, ours was built by the same architect in much more frivolous mood, is all light and air. How would Sheltering sky have ended had Paul chosen a place in this block? I wonder. In the other direction there is a nice grey and white minaret with a nest so enthusiastically built by the stork couple who live there that you can only just see the tip of the metal crescent moon on the top. The Storks have decided not to fly south this year, I think they couldn't face leaving their precarious wonderful work of art. Beyond them the city climbs up to the top of the next hill- layer on layer of flat roofed houses terra cotta white and grey. and furthur on the green hill where the seriously rich and slightly famous or infamous. and between them the sea.
Our street is lined with heavily ladened oranges trees. Marmelade oranges, Rima tells me. Will you be making some? Oh no she says- where would I get enough jars? The street is run by a possie of sleek black and white cats- sleek now because everyone has recently slaughter their Eid sheep-(some on balconies) so there has been plenty of clearing up to do. A small green hut where our guardian sits new dark green djellaba

Today on New year the first Stork I saw was on that nest- now that means I will not be travelling much this year- if it had been flying it would have meant I would be doing a lot of travel- I guess stork standards are different- but it was rich coming from those two. At least I left my nest.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


Welcome to my Travelblog.

Doors, Fez.
Etching with aquatint
Image 56x76cm
Printed on 62x96cm rag paper
Edition of 50, signed and numbered, £240