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Mandraki

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

size 12 in x 6in, 30cm x 15cm

Coming back to planet normal after a week on the Aegean was a bit
of a gentle letdown, the trees had coloured up, the leaves had dropped damply
onto every surface but there had been no major frosts; I could have left all
those hastily gathered tender plants to carry on blooming. Lobelia is still doing
well in a pot, it loves the damp of course, there is something very similar to
our annual blue lobelia growing in the rock crevices which sit in the permanent
spray from Victoria Falls.

The fox has started chewing up a pair of gardening gauntlets left
out by mistake. The cider is still bubbling away happily…Ah yes I have been
blogless for months but that does not mean nothing has happened, quite the
reverse. DIY dad has constructed an apple press from my collection of old oak
gateposts and a large car jack. Using this and a gang of family members we
pressed some 180 litres of juice. There were apples from a neighbour’s tree,
apples from relative’s trees and community orchard apples harvested in proper
cider fashion using a panking pole to shake apples onto a tarpaulin. Endless
fun of the“ Let soandso have a go with the pole he’s a proper panker” sort was
had, we do a lot of boy humour round here. We also had some of our own Ellisons
Orange which we had stored outdoors they had lost some of their zip but
produced a very sweet juice.

Todays painting is a worked up sketch from the holiday; it is a
view down one of the narrow passages in Mandraki , Nisyros. A very elderly
woman came and sat beside me to watch saying “Jasas corrie” (Bless you
daughter”, it felt like decades since someone said that to me. The polite reply
is “Jasas yaya” ( Bless you granny). The overhanging tree is a giant rubber
plant or Ficus. I could literally have spent the whole day finding places to sketch there and the same applies to
Simi town where we also went. The problem with that idea is that there were
three people who needed a wife, mother and skipper to make their holiday work.
It’s boring waiting for someone to finish their painting.

We went to Mandraki
for lunch after being taken up to the crater of the volcano. The caldera is
vast and contains both agricultural land and a heath complete with flowering
heather like a patch of the New Forest dropped into a volcano. Very odd indeed,
from the heathery plain you drop down a rough cliff path into a wide crater
which has a flat mud floor with pits of boiling mud in its centre. Around the
edge there are vents where steam , so thick with sulphur that it crystallises
on the sides of the vent in delicate yellow needles, streams out to pollute the
atmosphere with the worst rotten egg smell possible. Afterwards the smell of
sulphur clings to ones skin. There are also active cones within the caldera
crater which look very new and raw.

#181 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

Day One hundred and eighty one  Mandraki

Click here to bid   size 12 in x 6in, 30cm x 15cm

The fresh ploughed field Norfolk

November 4, 2011 2 comments

size 15cm x 30cm 6″ x 12″ approx

This picture was finished today after being started on holiday in Norfolk in August. Today I took the detail of the hedgerow from my sketchbook and put it onto the paper which held the loose washes for the field and the sky. I am ( at the moment) quite pleased with it. I may yet come to loath it or rather see its’ faults in an uncomfortable way. It is quite satisfying to meld two sketches together like this. In other words the background and the forground were done outdoors and the hedgerow and houses were added from notes in my sketchbook.

The last week has been very hectic but really exiting, I took the family sailing offshore which we have never tried before. This involved chartering ( or hiring really) a small yacht and just taking off. It was interesting to find that the things I used to do most  came back most readily…I am still a competent navigator and not reliant on GPS and other assorted gizmos, I am fairly rubbish at mooring stern onto a jetty with an unfamiliar boat, I can helm in a near gale and enjoy most of it. I can cook at sea without being sick. Getting into a marina does make me feel queasy especially when I can hear the marina staff saying ” Oh my god there’s a woman at the helm!!”; next time I must tell them I understand them and polish up some fitting  riposte in greek, a satisfying language in which to swear.

The high points were waking up the morning after a stressy anchoring episode in failing light, looking up and seeing an ancient Greek city complete with amphitheatre laid out on the slopes either side of the harbour. Ancient Knidos even has stone breakwaters which are 2000 years old and still functioning, the remains of the stone quays are still there from the days when it was an important trading city. There is a second harbour which was for the triremes or warships now only used by little fishing boats. Visiting the volcano crater on Nisyros was smelly but fascinating and seeing dolphins always makes my week. The best food was at Oguns Place and if he offers you an assortment of his mezethes say yes and cancel any thoughts of coping with a main course as well.

The Greek economic crisis felt like the elephant in the room..almost never mentioned.

How did the sons and DIY dad cope you may ask? DIY had to be dissuaded from opening  a hole in the bottom of the boat to replace the impeler, yes I do know it is possible to fit the bung into the hole quickly but it’s not essential and frankly I have a serious aversion to holes in the bottoms of boats. The boys thought it was alright to carry on arguing about who taken whose t-shirt – as skipper I felt it was my duty to give the crew hell if they forgot that the boat comes before clothes and all other petty quarrels. I have been brought up to understand that in a boat you will get shouted at and its important to jump to and not take it personally and definitely avoid sulking, it is rather unendearingly old-fashioned but there it is, it was the first thing I was ever told about sailing. Once I reminded them that they needed to say,” yes chef “,to indicate that they had got their orders they got the idea- good old reality TV.

I think there are ten loads of washing to be done, I am only onto the fourth or fifth. Holidays are good things…but how to recover from them seems to be the problem. Lovely aunt coped well while I was away- apart from an invitation to travel 60 miles on a train ( which she is scared to do) for a pub lunch ,  she also hates to say no and disappoint people and ends up in a spin as a result.

Below is my first anchorage in the Aegean….found by serendipity, it wasn’t where we had first intended to go, the yacht in the middle of the frame is the one we were on.

#180