photos from Aveiro

I finally managed to upload my photos of Portugal to Flickr. We had a lovely time in Aveiro staying with Palexa and she took us to some beautiful places. Some of the photos are mine and some are by Alan. I tend to focus on details and he on vistas but occasionally it’s the other way round… Looking at them makes me want to be there again! Such wonderful sun and light. Thanks Palexa for lending us your camera 🙂


in Aveiro

I’m writing this from Aveiro, in the west of Portugal. Alan’s come here to examine a PhD viva in Lisbon tomorrow, and as it’s a cheap flight from Liverpool I was able to tag along. We’re staying with Palexa, who is one of Alan’s students, which is lovely, just sharing a little of life here for a short while. Last night there was a get-together in our honour, traditional Portuguese food and good company on a roof top terrace near the beach, with Fado playing in the background, and a full moon. Magical.

When she’s not at the university, Palexa takes her work down to the beach and spends the day there, in a café. Many other people were doing the same – no pressure to drink up your coffee and leave – we were there for 6 hours, working, chatting, eating when hungry, sometimes walking by the sea. It’s the open Atlantic we love, wild, crashing waves, but under a deep blue sky.

My camera is misbehaving, sadly, so there won’t be many photos. I’m drawing and painting but not skilled enough (yet) to really capture what I see. here is one photo I did manage to take – it’s part of a tiled mural – there are lots of them here, these are spectacular and cover the frontage of the old Aveiro station. They show many scenes from Portuguese life in the past. tiles at Aveiro station

back from Islay

Just returned from a wonderful week on the Hebridean island of Islay. We stayed in a delightful cottage at Kintra Farm, looking west over the sea – beautiful sunsets.

sunset from sgeir cottage

Islay is home to many beaches, from sand that stretches as far as the eye can see, to rugged coves where seals haul out onto the rocks, and pebbly strands with glass clear water. Home to deer, wild goats, rare pigs, alpaca, many colours of sheep and cows, rabbits galore and all sorts of sea and land birds, plus eight whisky distilleries – we visited the newest at Kilchoman, but came home with Bruichladdich and Bunnahabhain – and a brewery.

On the textile trail, we visited the Islay Quilters, Elizabeth Sykes Batiks, and Tormisdale Croft Crafts, which doesn’t yet have a web site, but is full of luscious yarns and handdyed silks.

Highlights of the week were watching the seals sleep, swim and fight at Portnahaven, and encountering a beach sculpture of a woman gazing out to sea at Machir Bay. She fascinated me, I’m thinking about garments with nets and ropes and the colours of the rocks further along the bay.

seals at portnahaven
sea woman watching
sea woman
sea woman sketches
fringed rocks