The Flanuese in Lockdown # 3 The Memory Keeper

Summer Memories

I’ve always looked forward to summer, loving the light, early dawns and lingering dusks and hopefully warmth. Now I look forward even more, so I can wear my Salwar Kameez tunic a subtle sensual mix of silk and cotton. The tunic takes me on my travels, memory moments when I could wear it, sensing the cloth caress the skin, the cut comfortable, the loose fit to keep cool.

India 

Cochin Set 2011

At the Onam festival in Cochin, Kerala, Sth India with the flower to match.


It was made in Jaipur in Norther India after the visit to the textile factory, the cloth being woven by hand, on wooden looms that clattered back and forth, intricate Sanskrit designs appearing as if by magic from the weavers’ nimble fingers. Sandalwood scented the air as the long corridor opened into the printing room were silk screen patterns were dancing on top of the cloth. I missed the sari wearing class by choice, the women sashaying in swirling saris, too elegant, too confident, for me to dare.


Taking the Plunge

Culture vulture

The culture vulture in the roof garden heritage museum Marrakesh, Morocco.



Into the shop to see the cloths on display, reems of cloth piled from floor to ceiling, patterned and plain, stripes and florals, overwhelmed the eye. Assured salesmen showing their wares, cloth unfolded, tumbling and then floating high, held to face to arm to show the perfect hues to flatter the skin. What style did I want made?

‘I have no time to have something tailor made. I leave tomorrow.’
‘Don’t worry ma’am we will deliver it to your hotel this evening.’

I bit my lip and said Okay, measuring tapes appeared, and the salesmen whirled around assuming the words I didn’t understand where my measurements. 
‘Pay on delivery ma’am,’ as I left to visit the rest of the city. My guide told them my hotel.

The evening came and the tailor arrived and pulled both outfits from a bag, ‘very beautiful,’ he said as he bowed, and I paid and added the tip.

Cape Verde, On Santiago capital island en route to the Rum Distillery

En route to the Rum Distillery on Santiago, capital Island of Cape Verde.



The Perfect Travel Companion 

I wore my tunics, one lilac and peace, the other green, white, and gold, whenever I could. Summers in Scotland require several layers beneath, the silky sensation on the skin is lost.

Into my case it goes to every warm destination, Marrakesh in the roof top garden, the cut and style did not offend, In Santiago the capital island of Cape Verde catching sight of the President entering the presidential palace as we stood in tour group and later inthe rum distillery located in the gorge in the middle of the mountain. 
To Argentina it came with me and worn on the hot dry day when I visited the pampas. I wore the delicate lilac and peach, saw the hacienda, ate the beef, drank the wine and was even kissed by a gaucho. This top is textile heaven for me slight and silky, but even more now are the memories it carries in it floating folds, magical moments of near and far. 

Kissing the Gaucho

It’s not every day you get kissed by a gaucho!

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The Flâneuse after Lockdown # The Cup

Unable to make up her mind, she walked into the café and sat down, noting it was furnished with vintage tables and chairs, nothing matched. Moving when she saw an old treadle sewing machine table had become free; it evoked memories of her grandmother. Like the furniture, the mugs, cups, saucers and plates were a patchwork of clattering colour.

Ordering an espresso, the coffee machine gurgled, hissed, pushing out the dark drops. Her coffee was served in a dainty porcelain cup designed for this, the purest of coffee expressions. It was duck egg blue, she felt the tear of the sugar sachet, its contents sliding, drowning in the darkness.

The cup required precise management, only her thumb and one finger connecting through the tiniest of handles, pinkie cocked in the air, she sipped, savoured, the liquid caressing her tongue, texture and taste were perfect, it would have been impolite to make a noise. Her grandmother would have approved of such precision, however, less so the impracticality of using such a table in its current function. 

As she finished her coffee, her mind was made up, she would buy the porcelain espresso coffee set in the charity shop next door.

 

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Warriors of Wisdom/ Guerreros de Sabiduria

A poem inspired by my amazing trip to India a few years ago.

Lockdown has me reflecting on many things and am trying to capture them.

Memory travel is at least something we can do at the moment.

 

Warriors of Wisdom 

Dappling shadows slipping over skin,

warmed yet protected from stinging sun.

Cruising on calming water,

leaves and branches, buds and blossoms.

The patchwork of lace, full of  life

hugging trunks, gnarled roots.

Warriors of wisdom, guardians of memory,

silent witness of people, place, fowl, and fauna.

Silent because we do not want to listen.

Trees in travancore Southern India

Guerreros de la Sabiduría

Sombras que se deslizan sobre la piel,

acalorado pero protegido del sol punzante.

Navegando en aguas tranquilas,

hojas y ramas, brotes y flores,

el mosaico de encaje lleno de vida,

abrazando troncos nudosas raíces.

Guerreros de la sabiduría, guardianes de la memoria,

testigo silencioso de personas, lugares, aves y fauna.

Silencioso porque no queremos escuchar.

Trees beside the river in the early morning, Southern India

Trees in Southern India

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The Flâneuse in Lockdown #3 Rocking Chair / La Mecedora

Sitting in her rocking chair, zen like, contemplating the view,
the gift for her future, now predictably less than her
well-trodden past.

What would she say to her younger self? Who was full of hope, looking into the unknown void, now knowing the predictions were never compliant. Would she have advised a road map to this journey of life?  Not a clear path but battered by the experiences, the distractions, the hurdles, or those nasty nooks and crannies capturing mind and spirit.

She would say the scars are the cuts on the diamond, that in age need polishing, to see the reflections because a life lived is better than a life missed.

Reflects theme of writing

Rocking Chair with View

 

Sentada en su mecedora, en plan zen, contemplando la vista, el
regalo para su futuro, ahora previsiblemente menos que su pasado pisoteado. ¿Qué le diría a su yo más joven? ¿Quién estaba lleno de esperanza, mirando el vacío desconocido, ahora sabiendo las predicciones nunca cumplían. ¿Le habría aconsejado una hoja de ruta a este viaje de la vida?

No es un camino despejado, sino que está maltratado por las experiencias, las distracciones, los obstáculos o esos rincones y recovecos que capturan la mente y el espíritu.

Ella diría que las cicatrices son los cortes en el diamante, que
en la edad es necesario pulir, para ver los reflejos porque una vida vivida es mejor que una vida perdida.

 

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The Flâneuse in Lockdown # 2 Sea Sadness / La tristeza del Mar

The sea breeze skimmed over her skin like silky salt. Its aroma the scent of mystery, the secrets never to be found on the never seen other side of the horizon. She shivered as memories triggered deep inside, so she walked along the beach, feeling the sand as each step sank into the wet blanket. The waves inched in, echoing her tears strolling down her cheeks, making her aware of how salty and dry her lips were. A coldness crept over her. She walked to the slipway, marched up then sat on the wall to remove the sand and put on her sandals.

Looking over the harbour, she saw the fishing boats bobbing, but neither sea nor horizon would return who she most desired. Pulling the shawl from her bag, memories returning like the tides as she shook it out, wrapped it around her shoulders but it felt like a shroud. Yet another day she had sought the sea alone.

 

The Atlantic

Seeing the sea

La brisa marina le acariciaba la piel como sal sedosa. Su olor el aroma del misterio, los secretos que nunca se encontrarán en el otro lado nunca visto del horizonte. Se estremeció cuando los recuerdos se dispararon en lo profundo de su interior, así que caminó por la playa, sintiendo la arena húmeda, se hundía en la manta mojada con cada paso. Las olas avanzaban poco a poco, haciendo eco de sus lágrimas que recorrían sus mejillas, haciéndola consciente de lo salados y secos que estaban sus labios. Una frialdad se apoderó de ella. Caminó hasta la grada, subió y luego se sentó en la pared para quitarse la arena y ponerse las sandalias

Mirando hacia el puerto, vio los barcos de pesca flotando, pero ni el mar ni el horizonte le devolvieron a quien más deseaba. Sacando el chal de su bolso, los recuerdos regresaron como las mareas cuando lo sacudió, lo envolvió alrededor de sus hombros pero se sintió como un sudario. Otro día mas ella había buscado el mar sola.

 

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The Flâneuse in Lockdown #1 Haiku

Many years ago, I was given a copy of The Flaneur, by Edmund White, which I enjoyed. I liked the concept of a stroller, writing detached observations of society. Originating in 19th century France while surveying the streets of Paris. In these Instagram days of the instant image, I like the idea of something slower, more thoughtful, composed, a word picture. The flâneur has become an important symbol for scholars, artists and writers. Recent scholarship has also proposed the flâneuse, a female equivalent to the flâneur.

During lockdown I have written a series of short pieces, prose, poetry, haiku, while perhaps not in strict flaneur tradition they are observations, potential perspectives of this weird time.

I open with my haiku on Lockdown, because I think carrying a notebook to write Haiku compliments the concept of the Flaneur and the Flâneuse

 

sad stillness seeps out

stray thoughts veil descends veil lifts

crisp clean cleansed sky

Shadow in the sunlight

shadow in the sunlight

triste quietud se filtra

pensamientos perdidos velo desciende velo levanta

cielo limpio y nítido

Rainbow after the rain

 

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The queue

He wandered over to sit on the bench, always trying to be there five minutes before the arrival. It was going to be later this evening the tinkling was farther away. People began to gather by the lamppost, impatient mothers with young techie children, tugging and stamping feet, older children twisting on skateboards or upending on bikes and several glued to phone screens.

A man arrived, big and beefy a child attached to each hand, voicing the words of many, ‘should be here by now, he’s late.’

‘Definitely late, wonder what’s happened?’ said a young mum pushing a buggy back and forward; it had a slithering toddler strapped inside.

The twinkling began to pick up and the group turned as the van came around the corner and parked – not in the usual spot. There was a whoosh as the people rushed to grab their place in the queue.

The old man relaxed and smiled to himself as he saw the customers leave, children already with white and deep pink stripes running down their chin. He sensed a change; it was always a happy event the arrival of pleasure but as the people wandered away, he saw the spring in their step, the glint in their eyes. He joined the queue, he liked to be last to have his daily natter with the ice cream man.

‘What would you like sir?’ asked a young man he had never seen before.
‘I was going to say my usual but you’re new.’
‘My granddad’s in hospital, he was worried, so I offered to cover for the summer.’
‘Oh dear, please pass on my regards, is he very ill?’
‘He took a funny turn and they are doing lots of tests to find out what’s the matter.’
‘I’m sorry to hear that, I looked forward to our chats. Your grandad made me a 99 with two flakes, it was my wife’s favourite.’
‘Would you like to try my new sauce?’
‘Not today but I might tomorrow. Nice to meet you young man.

“You too, enjoy you ice cream, see you tomorrow.

Delicious and Devine

Orange Chocolate and Dulce de leche ice cream in Colonia de Sacramiento , Uruguay

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Making Pastry (pie dough)

I haven’t made pastry (pie dough) for years, too easy just to pick up a pack in the supermarket and keep in freezer till required. I used up my last lot of filo pastry just at the beginning of lockdown and decided to add it to my shopping list. It was sold out so decided to make my own.

I didn’t anticipate the cascade of memories it brought flooding back to me. My earliest cooking memory is with my mother, who passed on both her ability to cook and a passion for reading. Making sausage rolls was my first class; I could hear her words coming back about cool hands, very cold water, lard from fridge, cut up in chunks. Good flaky should not be made into breadcrumbs but folded with a knife cutting the fat into tiny pieces. Jus rol was considered an expensive unnecessary luxury. She had a special pastry knife which
I still have and used for the first time in a long while the other day. Rolling it out and while it rested in the fridge, removing the skins from the sausages. The roll and fold into a long thin rectangle, putting the sausage in place then sealing the roll, pricking with a fork, cutting the long strip into into pieces, the egg glaze, to the oven and a wonderful simple childhood tea.

Balsamic onion and toast cheese tart 1

My mother made amazing tablet and wonderful cakes. I’ve never tried to make tablet and I never beat her in the cake stakes, except for cheesecake which is not baked. But in later years, when I was around at home, and she needed pastry she would ask me to make some. You have a good touch for pasty you make it better than me. Praise indeed for my mother whose criticism far outweighed her compliments, but when they came you knew they were sincere and well meant.

Balsamic onion and toast cheese tart 2
I love cooking but modern life tends to find us too rushed, though when I have time find it therapeutic. However, I’ve been cooking more during lockdown, trying out things I have wanted to do for a long time, and here we have balsamic onion and goats’ cheese tart. I enjoyed the tart and have decided when I use up the rest of the batch, I will make my own pastry again and freeze. Financially I don’t think there is much difference in the cost but it is therapeutic, it requires its own pace and setting time aside to focus on that is quite zen. It is also practical to have it ready to go for those times when I come across a recipe that I’d like to try that needs pastry. I won’t have to rush but can use my own home made, which is always best and usually healthier. goats cheese and onion tart 3

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Moon Haiku Chain / Luna Haiku

Curved horns winking
in night sky silver orb sits 
slither fades begins 

Crisp ice winter night
howling haunts cold night stillness
dark lit the wolf moon

Winter white slip slide
grasp grip blizzards stormy breath
bright night the ice moon

Chilling chasteness cuts
ripping trees breaking houses
night cleared the wind moon

Seeds stirring waken
showers settle liquid energy
growing moon power

Hares hop grass meadows
poppies pansies come to life
caressed flower moon

Short nights long daylight
petals bloom blossom enchants
the strawberry moon

Cranes corn mead wort hay
calming aroma scented
nights of the rose moon

Swirling storms dust heat
cuts cracked still sky scarred
the lightening moon

Nuts berries barley
to the harvest table go
the singing moon joy

Hunters harvest calls
days slipping fast into night
revealing the blood moon

Snow sadness settling
trading beavers in the dark
of the weak tree moon

Cold oaks standing stiff
long time wishing the passing
of the long night

Howling Moon

Howling wool moon

Cuernos curvos guiñando
el cielo nocturno orbe plateado sienta
desliza se desvanece comienza

Crujiente hielo noche de invierno
aullidos persigue la quietud de la noche fría
oscuro iluminado la luna lobo

Invierno blanco resbala 
agarraron ventiscas aliento tormentoso
noche brillante la luna de hielo 

Cortes escalofriantes 
rasgando árboles rompiendo casas 
la luna del viento despejó la noche 

Semillas despiertan
las lluvias entregan la energía líquida
poder de la luna

liebres saltan prados de hierba
jaras amapolas abren vida
acariciado por la luna flor

Noches cortas, larga luz del día 
florecen pétalos flores 
encantan la luna de fresa 

Grullas maíz mosto heno 
aroma calmante perfumado
noches de luna rosa

Tormentas remolinos polvo 
calorcortes agrietados cielo cicatrizado 
la luna relámpagos  

Nueces bayas cebadaa 
la mesa de la cosecha 
van la alegría la luna canta 

Los cazadores cosechan llaman
los días se deslizan rápidamente en la noche
revelando la luna de sangre 

La tristeza de la nieve se asienta
negocian castores en la oscuridad
de la luna del árbol débil

Robles fríos quietos
mucho tiempo deseando el paso
de la larga noche de luna

 

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The Dream Catcher / El cazador de sueños

The Dream Catcher

She sat staring at the door.

Slowly it opens creaking to reveal a floor

speckled with starlight.

She stood up and walked towards the opening

It snapped shut, frustrated where was the key?

She looked around the room, scanned the door,

then dropped drained to the floor

and felt the key beneath her back.

grasping the key would she see the stars

when she opened the door

THrough the watery looking glass

Through the watery looking glass

 

Se sentó mirando la puerta.

Lentamente se abre crujiendo para revelar un suelo

Moteado de luz de las estrellas.

Se puso de pie y caminó hacia la abertura.

Se cerró de golpe, frustrado, ¿dónde estaba la llave?

Miró alrededor de la habitación, escaneó la puerta,

luego cayó al suelo agotado

y sintió la llave debajo de su espalda.

agarrando la llave vería las estrellas

cuando ella abrió la puerta

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