Cranachan / Delicia Escocesa

A clutch of rubies, bursting with flavour.

A drizzle of bee syrup, with a hint of heather,

A grasp of pinheads, oaty and toasted.

A dollop of cow juice, creamy and clotted.

Completing the list, a trickle of golden dew.

 

Crisp the oats and fluff the cream,

Mingle the honey, merge the whisky.

Tempting berries adorn the dish

Classical or deconstructed,

The tasting is for you.

 

The dance of flavours has begun,

A tango tickle on the tongue.

Berries waltzing oats and cream.

Hints of honey and whispers of whisky,

A crafted ceilidh of sumptuous simplicity.

Modern deconstructed Cranachan. whisky and honey parfait, toasted oats raspberries and raspberry coulis.

 

Un puñado de rubíes, lleno de sabor.

Una llovizna de jarabe de abeja, con un toque de brezo,

Un manojo de cabezas de alfiler, avena y tostadas.

Una cucharada de jugo de vaca, cremosa y coagulada.

Completando la lista, un hilo de rocío dorado.

 

Crujiente la avena y esponja la crema,

Mezcle la miel, combine el whisky

Bayas tentadoras adornan el plato

Clásica o deconstruida,

La degustación es para ti

 

La danza de los sabores ha comenzado,

Un cosquilleo de tango en la lengua.

Bayas valsando avena y crema.

Toques de miel y susurros de whisky.

Un ceilidh artesanal de suntuosa simplicidad

 

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Witness By The Window – El Testigo Donde La Ventana

Scene set, yet ever changing,

Shadows and sunlight slipping through

trees bare, trees in leaf.

Gentle hills crisp on horizon, shrouded in mist.

A crafted conduit, still with shades of silence,

A crinkled kaleidoscope kissed by wind.

A liquid ribbon, patterns fluid and fancy

Never fixed, always free

 

Scene set, yet ever moving.

Dogs and owners strolling chatting.

Parents with toddlers feeding feathered friends.

Joggers and cyclists peppering the path,

Boats and barges gliding along,

Canoeists cutting and churning.

Drawn by the magnetic energy of

the liquid ribbon and its yin and yang.

 

Scene set, yet ever reflecting.

Buildings, bridges, barges, and bikes.

Capturing catching its surrounding,

Currents swaying back and forth.

Undulating ripples diverse and defined.

Sparkling sun diamonds, ruby tow lights

and moon silver pearls scattered on

The liquid ribbon flaunting its jewels day and night.

 

Scene set, yet ever creating.

Swans and cygnets, ducks and ducklings,

Birds with fledglings flirting with flight.

Quacking, chirping, whooping. and hissing.

Attracting people stopping staring gazing.

Happy at peace while

nourishing the lives dwelling

On the lively liquid ribbon of life.

 

Scene set, yet ever sensing.

Dull, damp, warm and bright.

Frozen covered in a collar of snow,

Rain rinsed, cleansing calming.

Feeling moods diluting pain.

Memories mingle merge into fascination.

A chimera fuses into a panoply of perfection.

The liquid ribbon replete with daily delights.

The Swan family and those stopping to rest and look.

 

 

Escena fija, pero siempre cambiante.

Las sombras y la luz del sol se deslizan a través de

Árboles desnudos, árboles en hoja.

Colinas suaves, nítidas en el horizonte, envueltas en niebla.

Conducto creado, quieto en tonos de silencio.

Un caleidoscopio arrugado besado por el viento.

Una cinta líquida, patrones fluidos y de fantasía.

Nunca fija, siempre libre.

 

Escena fija pero siempre en movimiento.

Perros y sus dueños paseando charlando.

Padres con niños pequeños alimentándose las aves.

Corredores y ciclistas salpicando el camino.

Barcos y barcazas deslizándose a lo largo.

Piragüistas cortando y batiendo.

Atraídos por la energía magnética.

La cinta líquida y su yin y yang.

 

Escena fija pero siempre reflejando.

Edificios puentes barcazas y bicicletas.

Capturando recogiendo de su entorno.

Las corrientes se balancean de un lado a otro,

Olitas ondulantes diversas y definidas.

diamantes del sol resplandecientes rubís de luces del remolque.

Y perlas lunares de plata esparcidas sobre

La cinta líquida haciendo alarde de sus joyas día y noche.

 

Escena fija aún creando

Cisnes y pichones, patos y patitos.

Aves de polluelos coqueteando con vuelo

Graznando, pitando, chirriando y silbidos

Atraer personas deteniéndose mirando fijamente

Feliz en paz mientras

alimentando las vidas que habitan en

la cinta alegre del líquido de la vida.

 

Escena fija, sin embargo, siempre sintiendo.

Mojado húmedo cálido y brillante.Congelado cubierto en un collar de nieve.

La lluvia se enjuaga de limpieza calmante.

Sentimientos de ánimo cambiando el dolor.

Los recuerdos se mezclan en la fascinación.

Una quimera se funde en una panoplia de perfección.

La cinta líquida repleta de delicias diarias.

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City of Stone – Ciudad de Piedra

Bitter winds batter brittle barren basalt,

clearing clinging clouds, blanket mists,

exposing lingering liquid layers of dusk and dawn.

Hungry haars embracing, shrouding,

A city set in stone, styled in stone.

 

Outlying peppered between the braes,

a cacophony of tons,

beacons like bike wheel laid.

Protecting, warning citadel on rock.

City of bridges city of hills.

 

Beauty and elegance flirt and tease,

through every close, at every corner

with every turn, rain washed,

rain soaked, dimmed by drizzle.

A city of heights, a city of stairs.

 

History hewed in crags and lands,

All their own tales to tell

Homes, hearts, hopes, and minds,

a quirky emotional bagatelle.

A city of light, a city of dark.

 

Two towns, two faces, split sights

hybrid and hypocritical.

Oblique cliques not challenged,

not connected, never convinced.

A city old, a city new.

 

Crafted culture, chilling charms

Weaving, wandering, wishing.

Gardens, greens, links, and lawns,

solid symbols courts and courtyards

A city of stories, a city of wit.

 

Rigid raw rhythms, wreck and rant,

creating claustrophobia and cramp.

Daring dreamers stalk and mock

Pushing wearing wearisome,

A city of festivals, city of flight.

 

Banks and books, biscuits and beer

A contrasting cocktail of commerce and cheer

Character forming, character facing,

cold creative, clear and clannish.

A city of words a city of wisdom.

 

At the writers museum Makars Court Edinburgh Old Town

Los vientos amargos golpean el basalto estéril frágil,

Limpiando las nubes pegadas, nieblas de manta,

Brumas hambrientas abrazando, envolviendo

Hogares, corazones, esperanzas y mentes

Una ciudad en piedra, hecho de piedra.

 

Salpicado en las afuera, entre las peñas

Una cacofonía de tons

Balizas puestas como rueda de bicicleta

Protegiendo advirtiendo la ciudadela sobre la roca

Ciudad de los puentes ciudad de las colinas

 

La belleza y la elegancia coquetean y joroban

A cada paso, en cada esquina

Con cada vuelta, la lluvia lavada,

Lluvia empapada, atenuada por llovizna

Una ciudad de alturas, una ciudad de escaleras

 

Historia cortada en peñascos y tierras,

Un telón de capas líquidas lentas de madrugadas y vísperas

Todos tienen sus propios cuentos para contar

Una bagatela emocional curiosa

Una ciudad de luz, una ciudad de oscuridad

 

Dos ciudades, dos caras, vistas divididas

Híbrido e hipócrita
Peñas oblicuas no cuestionadas

No conectados, nunca convencidos

Una ciudad vieja, una ciudad nueva.

 

Una cultura forzada encantos escalofriantes

Tejiendo vagando deseando

Jardines, verdes, herbajes y céspedes

Tribunales y patios de símbolos sólidos

Una ciudad de cuentos, una ciudad de ingenio

 

Ritmos crudos rígidos ruina y agobian

Creando claustrofobia y apretones

Los soñadores atrevidos acechan y burlan

Empujando cansando machacando,

Una ciudad de festivales, ciudad de huida.

 

Bancos y libros, galletas y cerveza

Un cóctel contrastante de comercio y alegría

Formación de personajes, cara a cara

Fríos creativos claros y suyos

Una ciudad de palabras, una ciudad de sabiduría

 

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Buenos Aires – 9 Markets, Museums, and farewell

The Last Day

My final day had arrived, and it doesn’t matter where I have been at home or abroad, I always have that specific sensation, it’s nearly time to go home.  The list of all the things you had hoped to do, but now knew were impossible due to time restrictions.  My plan was to return to the San Telmo market to pick up some final gifts.  I had enjoyed being there a week before and wanted to go at my own pace. Amelia who had been the guide on the food tour had kindly put me in contact with the woman from the art gallery re the beautiful honeysuckle picture. I had the money to pay for it, and we had agreed to drop it off at my hotel that evening; a delightful and practical arrangement.

Returning to San Telmo

I arrived at the market and lost myself in the streets, stalls and shops.  I saw a stunning turquoise blue perfume bottle. I was told it was antique French glass and 14,000 dollars. There were quite a few pieces in the window and doubted if such expensive goods would be in a shop window, but I wasn’t going to haggle and left the shop, they would still have been expensive in Pesos.  I bought a handbag for a friend and a lama wool jumper for the friend who had been looking after Sophie, my cat.  The woman at the stall tried three on herself for me to get an idea, it was going beyond the call of duty in thirty-degree heat.  Delighted with my purchase, I popped into a café for a coffee and tried their vegetarian empanadas, they were tasty but classic beef remains my favourite. Then I returned to the stall and bought two lovely tapestry cushion covers with owls in tones of my sofa. Time had flown by and there was one place I hadn’t wanted to miss.

MALBA refreshing space

Trade routes from the Southern Hemisphere.

Magic MALBA

MALBA – Museum of Latin American Art in Buenos Aires.  I had set my heart on visiting it when it was a rest point on the hop on hop off only eight days before.  Commissioned to house the collection, I stepped into the bliss of cool created by perfectly balanced air conditioning. There were some amazing places to sit and take in the art on the walls. I liked the way it was curated, a conscious decision to reflect a South American way of seeing the world as opposed to European Art School thought. It felt human; more people orientated.  Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed by the Modern Art – I never am, but I had life changing moment in this gallery.  There was a gallery on the written word, written in English and Spanish, poems, prose and explanations of the guiding principles behind the collection displayed on the walls.  As a poet I sat, and read, and thought, and felt warm and fuzzy – the museum was holistic, it had brought art forms together.  There was a cinema in the basement. I loved this place.  I couldn’t stay longer, my meeting with Patricia and my picture was waiting and I knew there was no time to return and regretted once more, I had not taken been  advantage of the late night openings of galleries and museums.

Exhibition Philosophy

Travelling with pictures

The Final Purchase

Patricia the Galley owner arrived on time she had prepared the painting to travel but I couldn’t resist seeing it again.  It is fascinating, I relax on my sofa, looking at it, loosing myself in the colours while following the tiny tango dancers on the leaves and petals, very zen and soothing.  The canister didn’t fit into my case, but I did manage to attach it to my carry-on luggage with straps and elastic bands which held it in place till security at Heathrow where it had to go through on a separate tray.

Adios

I had an awful flight back, will try and avoid flying with BA again, if at all possible, not the airline they used to be.  I landed at 6.30 am and I didn’t reach domestic departures till after 8 am. I remember nothing of my short flight up to Edinburgh as I slept all the way. Luggage collected without difficulty, but the picture canister needed tweaking.  I hadn’t made it half way up the flat stairs when a familiar painful meow reached my ears.  Sophie  was fine and she calmed down when she recognised my voice.  However, once I was through the door, she couldn’t make up her mind whether to continue her greeting or explore the picture canister and my luggage.  The joys of travelling and the joys of coming home as a cat owner.  And return to Argentina, I really do hope so and see more of this amazing country.

 

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Buenos Aires 8 Day Trip to Uruguay

I made my way for the third time to the port, again by taxi. I thought I was going to be one of the first to arrive; the BuqueBus terminal was heaving. I was on the eight o’clock departure, but it never crossed my mind about customs and passport control. Despite the long queues, we were moved through seamlessly. Border control is uber efficient with your passport being stamped twice in minutes, staff from Uruguay sat beside their Argentine colleague, the same happened on return. I was impressed; this is due to the agreements under MercoSur, the South American Trading Block.

A high-speed catamaran flies over the fifty two miles between Buenos Aires and Colonia de Sacramento, the small port I was going to visit, there are also direct daily ferries to Montevideo. The ferry had no outside deck so unable to get a breath of sea air, which I love, I visited the duty free which was groaning with customers but looking like a carbon copy of most other duty frees I had visited. I changed some Argentine pesos for Uruguayan pesos; I didn’t need to, as they accepted Argentine pesos as well as US dollar.

On arrival, we picked up a map and shown which coach to take to arrive at Colonia. I had heard about South American coaches, they cross all over the continent, they are spacious, have comfortable roomy seats and a lower leg rest. They come out from the lower half of the seat in front and do they make a difference, a novelty on arrival, much appreciated on my return.

We made our way through narrow streets and were dropped off about five minutes walk from the hop on hop off service, ticket included in the price. We had a live guide who wasn’t very good and she was also to be our guide for the walking tour also included.

What did impress me were the beaches we passed on the bus. There were hardly any people on them, vast pristine expanses to go and settle for the day. I am not a beach lover, though don’t mind the odd day to read, relax and listen to the sea, but I was in sight seeing mode.

The little town was set on a promontory, and has the distinction of being the only port on the river Plate founded by the Portuguese, the European influence very much in evidence. It had some steep inclines and many cobbled narrow lanes. Left to our devices after the walking tour, I located the lighthouse as a landmark to get my bearings. I was still finding the new world designation of blocks here, there, and every where a bit alien and not suited to my inner compass.

the lighthouse

Shadow and sunlight, views from the alley

It was a popular spot for Porteños, Buenos Aires inhabitants, to pop over for the day or weekend at the beach and to get some duty frees. Hopping off at the duty free mall was one of the most popular drop off points on the bus. Most shops were all tourist orientated especially the tempting looking cheese, which Uruguay is famed for. I was tempted but I  remembered cheese doesn’t scan well as I recalled having to empty my carry on luggage returning from a trip to Guernsey, with the islands’s goat cheese, at security in Birmingham airport.

After the walking tour, I made my way to a square with a church and found a bench to rest my feet, suffering in the heat on the hills and cobbles. A couple sat down beside me and we got chatting. they popped over regularly from Buenos Aires. Conversation got round to politics which lead to the current US president, South American opinion little different to everywhere else. They were concerned about the lemon producers, Argentina is the world’s largest producer of lemons, and Trump had banned imports; the US was their largest market. Just one of a long list of grievances, which will no doubt be one of the many negative legacies of his presidency. Once again speaking the language opened so many possibilities and I had found everyone to be very pleasant and friendly.

Time had moved on and I made my way back to the other square with the lighthouse, it was time for some food. I had a chivote, a Uruguayan fast food specialty, in ciabata style bread, the local cheese oozed over a slice of breaded steak and salad. It was enormous, quality and price a very good deal, filling an understatement. I found another row of shops saw a lot of things to buy but I didn’t want to change anymore money, then I found the ice cream shop.

Fast Food Uruguayan style

Now that’s what I call a sundae

I love ice cream, my favourite flavour classic vanilla. I don’t normally choose chocolate ice cream because I find it too cloying but they also made orange ice cream not sorbet so I went for the classic combination. I made the right choice the orange tingling and refreshing, on this hot afternoon the chocolate giving the perfect back note.

Still having time to kill I decided to use the hop on hop off once more. A different guide who was much better than the previous one, who had sounded worn and flat. I looked at the sparsely populated beaches and wished I had time for a wander but I had a ferry to catch and a bus to catch to the ferry.

I made my way back to the bus stop, wandered into the local produce shop and once more was tempted by the cheese especially after I had now eaten some, but common sense prevailed.

At the ferry terminal, I saw my Brazilian hotel mates who had also been at the Tango performance. They called me over to join them in the queue and we made our way through security and passport control. We located seats, we were all tired, we sailed out of Colonia in the sunset to arrive in the pitch black in Buenos Aires, the cities lights twinkling against the brooding summer night sky. My ticket had included drop off at the hotel. Colonia had been pleasant but I wished I had opted to visit Montevideo the capital. Another time.

Sunset over Colonia

 

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Buenos Aires 7 : It’s Not every day you kiss a gaucho.

To the Ranch                                                                                                                                             It was hard to believe I’d only been here a week as I already felt totally at home and today was to be my Argentine experience. I was going to visit a ranch to see traditional Gaucho traditions. On this occasion, I was first to be picked up. We collected people for the ranch and also for Temaiken, they were to be dropped off at the bio park first, as I had been earlier in the week.

Making Friends 

With only five left plus guide and driver, we all began chatting; there was still thirty minutes journey time to the Santa Susana the ranch or hacienda. Although remaining in the Provence of Buenos Aires, which is roughly the same size as Italy. This trip turned out to be a special day because of the lovely people I met, a couple from Holland, a couple from New York avid animal lovers and the driver and our guide Camilla and all those who lived and worked at Santa Susana. So once more a big thank you to Nick Thomson of Destinations Travel for booking me on this trip.

Trotting in the Pampas 

On arrival, we were offered fresh empanadas, the others were impressed that I had taken a cooking class, they were delicious and no one refused seconds or thirds. The first activity was a horse option, riding a horse, which I have never done and no plans to learn, so my option was taking a trip on a trap. It was rather high, climbing into the trap via the stepladder, bar running straight down the middle, it swayed side to side with every step. It was with relief that I sat down on the sideways seat. I was sole passenger on first trip and was to be joined by Eleanor and her husband George for the second. We jiggled and wobbled sitting side ways in the trap, when Eleanor saw the horses and foals she said, “as long as we didn’t see lunch.”

History in the House 

Feeling quite at home o the ranch. en casa en la hacienda.

We then wandered around, visiting the house, now a museum, seeing the kitchen, bedrooms, and communal areas and a lovely little chapel. Followed by a stroll round the gardens. Born and brought up in a hilly city,

I normally find large areas of flat land depressing but I loved the vastness of the Pampas stretching into a very distant horizon. A friend commented on a photo that I looked quite at home.

Lunch 

It was now time for lunch, similar starters to the food tour at Sunday lunch, I tried the sausage, I couldn’t handle the morcilla, the black pudding, it was too mushy for my personal taste. The beef as I had come to expect was amazing. The whole back had been barbecued then sliced into thick pieces, laid on large trays. The servers came to each one of us and we chose the piece we wanted from the tray, there was plenty of chicken as well. Dessert was crème caramel with dulce de leche, Argentina’s caramelised condensed milk.

Tango and the Rebenque 

Lunch was followed by a performance of Argentine dancing and singing including a tango routine that I thought was better than the night before. The star piece was the Gaucho with their long whip, the rebenque with balls attached, which clack together and moving so fast they are difficult to see but make an electric noise. The audience was larger than I had imagined,  there were over fifty of us for lunch as a large group of Scandinavians had also come to visit.

The Kiss 

Gauchos are famous for their horsemanship used primarily for cattle rearing. We were lead outside where we were to witness another performance of the gaucho skills; alongside the mounted horsemen were the dogs who synchronised with horse and rider. Various speed feats were performed, the last, perhaps its origin in medieval jousting was putting a lance like spear through a ring, to remove it hanging from a long line.  to remove the ring, which was then given to a female member of the audience, and kissed by the gaucho, the significance, a proposal would take place within the year. Like all the women, I got my kiss, the proposal well I’m not holding my breath.

Delight and departure 

It’s not every day you kiss a gaucho.

In the shop, I bought a beautiful colourful tapestry of a Native American woman making her way to the well, mountains in the distance. The trip was married by the news that the Dutch couple’s son had been in a car accident but before arrival in Buenos Aires they had been able to speak to him from hospital, the wonders of modern technology, they had been scheduled to fly home the next day. I have become FB friend with Camilla, Eleanor, and George. No more forays to gardens or galleries this evening, my day had been replete aa I was to be up at crack of dawn to catch my ferry to Uruguay.

 

 

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Buenos Aires 6 – Travel Agent to the Tango via the Orient.

Getting the ferry Tickets

With no trips planned, this was my shopping day and my first port of call was the Buque Bus Ferry offices to organise my day trip to Uruguay on Saturday. There were two day trips on offer, to the capital Montevideo and to a little historical port called Colonia de Sacramento, the only port founded by the Portuguese on the River Plate. Paperwork done, tickets in handbag, I had opted for Colonia, I made my way down Avenida de Corrientes till I found an entrance to Gallerias Pacificos the city’s signature shopping mall. Shoppers’ paradise, as well as shops, it included an art gallery and the Jorge Luis Borges cultural centre. I wandered round; summer sales were on including everything half price in the handbag shop. I resisted and decided to go around the whole centre before shopping. I had found the whole in the wall in front of the hotel that morning.

Shopping Mall with a Reading Room

Now this is what you call a shopping mall

I declined temptation at the make up stalls, duty-free was only a few days away but I did go into the bookshop. Stocked up on books in Spanish, I like to read in the language to keep my hand in, and a lovely selection of bookmarks, some for a friend. I took respite in the culture centre, the contrast leaving the shopping area to find seats and reading tables dotted in a Zen like atmosphere endeared me to this city even more. Flicked through my new books and photos on my phone, refreshed; the handbag shop was calling.

Almost missing the handbag shop, I had a good look and with 50% discount came away with two. I tried to find the metro station but still couldn’t get my head round the three blocks two blocks way of giving directions, laden with shopping bags, I got a taxi back to the hotel.

Oriental Calm

Japanese Garden map

Unpacking and admiring my purchases, my plan after a short rest was to tick off a location from my bucket list – the Japanese gardens. They were not to disappoint, transported to the east, through the oriental entrance gate. The gardens had been donated by the Japanese community in Argentina. Long narrow flags with oriental characters, symbols of peace, heaven, serenity etc., fluttered along one wall. The exhibition centre had a display on the Japanese Tea ceremony one of my favourite rituals despite not being a fan of tea; I love the symbolism and connection to nature. I wandered, sat and observed several times. Needless to say, I saw a cat fast asleep on a rock pushing me on a guilt trip once more. I bought a prayer, read it, then tied it to the prayer line leaving it to flutter alongside its many companions, then I hit the peace bell to finalise the ritual, now realising the origin of the beautiful sound that embraced the garden, adding to its soothing tranquillity. I do remember that north was my direction of success and I needed to buckle down with my studies. With my name crafted in Japanese, I left the garden, it closes at six p.m. my day was not over, this evening was my visit to a Tango performance.

Prayer lines

Tango

A couple from Brazil, residents at the hotel were also booked on the Tango evening. We were lead through the tourist production line, photo with the tango dancer, into the shop selling Argentine wares. Invited to sample some wine and liqueur most of my fellow travellers were put off with the in your face selling. The ticket included dinner and I opted for Patagonian trout which was lovely but did not like the potatoes neither flavour nor texture. At my table were a couple from Sweden and a mother and daughter from South Korea. We were all horrified at the $30 US price tag per photo with the dancer.

it takes two to tango

The performance was average, we were too far away to appreciate the tango steps and the show included other dances and a very non PC comedy routine, it was refreshing to hear someone not curtailed by PC sterilisation, but some of it was offensive. Most of the audience didn’t speak Spanish so not sure how much was understood. As we boarded the mini bus to take us back to our respective hotels a discussion broke out as people compared prices and there was quite a disparity. It was settled eventually, with a partial refund given by the venue.

A day well spent another trip out of the city beckoned the following morning, but a good night’s sleep was required.

 

 

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