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More Tales Of The Alhambra

I don’t really know what to tell you
about Granada’s illustrious Alhambra Palace.
Washington Irving's had a chokehold on that since way back.
I mean, sure, at sundown, viewed from across the ravine,
She looks every inch the triumphal pearl
set amongst Nasrid diamonds.
But by daylight, She becomes
obscured by the rugby scrum.
And for me, there’s really only
so long you can stand
looking at ruins
whilst feigning a genuine interest
in Almohad sebkas or Almoravid palms.
Does that make me a Philistine?



Once Upon A Time In Almeria

You don’t need me to tell you
how much Almeria’s Tabernas Desert
resembles the barren and gulch-ridden
lunar landscape of the American Southwest.
You’ll have seen it for yourself if you’ve ever
sat through a Sergio Leone spaghetti western.
Replace a ronin samurai with a lone gunslinger with no name.
Replace a Japanese village with a small New Mexican border town.
Give me a rolled cheroot in the corner of the mouth.
Give me a holstered Peacemaker with a silver rattlesnake grip.
Give me tanned boots, a thrift-store poncho and some 6-day stubble.
Give me those squinting operatic close-ups
and that whistle & whip-crackle soundtrack.
After shooting had wrapped, and the movie-makers had all gone home,
the enterprising local extras decided to buy-up
the film sets built by the Italian art department
and turn them into cotton-candy selling
Ye Olde Wild West theme parks.
There’s a trio of them in total. All within a mile of one other.
Seems that, for the moment at least, these lonely Badlands
are still just about big enough for the three of em!



Who Lives In A Cave Like This?

A decidedly ramshackle and dustblown kind of place,
the crumbling old Moorish settlement of Guadix
was once famed for its silver and its cutlery.
These days it’s better known for its unique approach to town planning.
For the good folk of Guadix have long preferred
simple limestone over simple bricks and simple mortar.
As the name might suggest, the Barrio Troglodyte
is more termite Hooverville than Barratt Home housing estate.
Upwards of half the population still live out here,
subterraneanly; in an extensive network of suburban caves.
Like Haywards Heath, but overrun with
Hobbit smials constructed from Barbapappa plastique.
The best burrows around boast running water,
central heating, en-suite bathrooms and satellite TV.
There are washing lines, pot plants and net curtains.
But for me, it all feels a little too much like sleeping in a catacomb.
A catacomb decorated by your least favourite auntie.

Chez Jean & Julia

Middle Earth Tours: Bag End

It's 'Barbapapa'

Captain Caveman Fansite



Mountain And Sea And Bed And Breakfast

Inger first came here from
her native Denmark 17 years ago.
It’s easy to see why she never went back.
Characterized by bric-a-brac
flat rooftops and
winding whitewash alleyways,
the higgeldy-piggeldy hamlet of Ferreirola
lies deep in the bosom of prime walker’s country.
Cherry and fig and prickly pear.
The tonk-a-tonk of the mountain goats.
Boy meets girl at the village fuente.
Inger first came here 17 years ago.
The same year, by my calculations,
as the nearby town of Huéscar finally
signed a peace agreement with her homeland;
thus bringing to an end (and not before time)
a curiously anachronistic ongoing anomalous
172 year declaration of hostilities between the 2 parties.
That’s right, from 1809 until 1981,
The Kingdom of Denmark
and the municipality of Huéscar
were “technically” at war with one other.
Something to do with Napoleon Bonaparte.
Something to do with King Fernando VII. Go figure!
Inger first arrived here from the Jutland Peninsula in 1981.
Mere happy coincidence? Somehow, I doubt it.
She swapped the smørrebrød for paella.
She traded Saint Lucia Day for Semana Santa.
She ditched the Jelling stones in favour of El Camino Real.
She fell in love. She ended the war.
She opened a bed and breakfast.

The Sierra Y Mar



Deep Song (For Federico García Lorca)

Come flow oh salty tears of ancient Andalucia.
Let bells toll. Let winds sing. Let castanets rattle-tattle.
They mourn for you still sweet gypsy poet.
And it is an epic grief. Shouldered by all.
Carried like a trembling melody along rolling red roads.
Winding. Rising. Twisting. Turning. Harmonizing.
Spirals of weeping that echo from snow-capped peak to snow-capped peak.
Preserved in the clear air like the finest cured hams.
Your blood still stains the carbonated mountain waters.
Gives it that medicinal metallic aftertaste.
You are the jasmine, the foxglove, the lemon thyme.
The evergreen myrtle. The swales of swaying broomstraw.
You are the nightingale. The turtle dove. The swifts on the wing.
You are the ruined cortijo. The broken hammam.
You are the ristras of sweet Pimiento
hanging like bell-chimes from the balconies.
See the old lady in the doorway dressed in black? She weeps for you still.
See the herdsman on horseback? See the virgin tossed in crinoline?
They mourn for you Federico García; their long lost lover.
Their father, their mother, their neighbour, their dead child.
I wonder, did perhaps the smell
of the lemon blossom fill your nostrils
that dark August evening in 1936,
when the militia-men dragged you to that lonely hilltop
and there, beneath the branches of the olive tree grove,
forced that bullet squarely through the back of your skull?
Breaking open your carefully pomaded hair?
Staining your handsome v-neck sweater so?
Your body thrown into an unmarked grave,
along with the school teacher and the toreadors
and the one, two, three, four, five thousand more that followed.
Ay yayayay! A cold dagger to the heart would’ve been kinder.