We saw this rather attractive but vacant dovecot and wondered whether Health’nSafety had put a demolition order on the old place as it did have a roof shingle missing. We imagined the Dove family carted off to some bleak high-rise with dank, urine-scented stairwells while the local council allocates this bit of Greenbelt land for a large housing estate in order to meet latest government targets.
Our fanciful musings segued into memories of bird meetings at sea. Our first close encounter was with a booby that took refuge on the mizzen boom as we sailed in the south Atlantic towards Brazil. Our cat crouched immobile below the spar, his tail lashing. After an hour he came below for his dinner and as the moonless night drew in he curled up on our bunk and we thought he’d lost interest. At midnight unearthly shrieks and squawks had us fumbling for the spotlight to find the cat trying to push the large bird through the small cockpit porthole to the cabin below. We rescued the unfortunate creature, checked that it was quite unhurt and encouraged it to fly off into the night. It declined and returned to the boom and no amount of shooing would remove it from its perch. We closed the cat below and resumed our watch keeping. That darn bird stayed with us for 3 days, returning from its fishing forays to the boom to preen and scratch and drop foul deposits on the deck below until the sun sank and it settled its head under its wing to slumber. The cat watched it obsessively, distracted occasionally by flying fish on the deck and we monitored him closely and closed him below at night. We well understood how this stupid bird had got its name!
To be continued …
As our shore-side neighbours slosh around in their flooded homes we ride the high tides, dry and warm. Rain lashes the decks, we heel to savage gusts of wind and feel grateful to be moored safely in the river. Portugal’s west coast is ravaged by giant waves, as is the UK, and 7 boats are damaged in a storm off Cape Town. To restore our balance after such weather-related drama here’s a sketch of the river at low tide on a still day. And happy new year to you all!
On Portugal’s western Atlantic coast, near the Tagus river estuary, is the town of Cascais. From ancient and humble beginnings as a fishing village, in the late 19th century it became the cool hang-out for European royalty after Portugal’s King Luis turned the citadel into his summer residence. The town’s popularity with the rich and noble continued on through the next century, thereby blessing it with an architectural heritage of magnificent mansions.
From our place at anchor in the bay we spied, through the binoculars, a large poster advertising a Goya exhibition. And lucky that was too, as a walk around the town and a visit to tourist information gave no clue that such an exhibition was on locally. Unless one had actually walked up to the Cultural Centre hosting the exhibition (and on whose wall the poster was affixed) which is situated on a rise outside of the central town area, one would never have known about the exhibition. That’s probably why we had the place to ourselves and we were able to enjoy a’ private viewing’ of Francisco de Goya’s lithos and etchings including his famous Disasters of War. Congratulations to the Cascais Cultural Centre for hosting and presenting such an excellent exhibition (with free entry) but if you want to draw people away from the beaches, the pavement eateries and the tourist shopping you need some promotion!
Here’s a sketch of Cascais from a boater’s point of view:
Posted in Art, Travel, Uncategorized
Tagged Art, boat, cascais, Drawing, goya, Portugal, sailing, sea, sketchbook, sketching, Travel
Just finished and ready for the shop, these books have marbled covers, endpapers and fly leaves, good quality 110gsm laid paper pages and are bound in German long stitch. Check out the sea in the background of these pics .. nature marbling!