Thursday, 28 January 2010
Thursday, 21 January 2010
Monday, 18 January 2010
First the facts.
The artist Jacques Majorelle came to live in Marrakesh and opened his beautiful gardens to the public in 1947. In 1980 Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé purchased the garden and restored it.
Then the feelings.
Even on a chilly January day, the gardens are stunning. I was reminded of a particular time a few years ago when I was browsing through the paintings at The Tate in St Ives. I'd never really "got" modern art before, but that day - something maybe to do with the light and the sea - I suddenly felt a shift in my comprehension. A hitherto hidden door swung open, and I looked at the pictures with new understanding and excitement. That’s how I felt a few days ago in the Majorelle. I’d never really “got” cacti before either. Previously, when I looked at them, I saw deserts and cowboys and small dusty things sitting in plastic pots on peoples’ windowsills! But the Majorelle presented these plants in a totally fresh way. They were magnificent. Cacti as sculptures and survivors, prickly, devastating and dashing imposters. I loved the colours, the textures, and the contrast with the bright hues and straight lines of the buildings.
Another door swung open. Revelation!
Saturday, 2 January 2010
Well, it's arrived - the New Decade. Here in London it was greeted by blue skies which is a positive beginning. But I'm never quite sure what to make of these imposed fresh starts. Last year I had possibly my best NEW YEAR ever - when I joined friends at a cottage in Loch Tay, Scotland. It was stunningly beautiful, and we cooked, talked and sang our way into 2009. On the 1st Jan, with frost on the ground and ice at the waters edge, we ran screaming into the Loch, and washed away the old. It was exhilarating and symbolic. This year, there's been nothing so significant. So today I'm holding a little tea-party for local friends just to galvanize myself into action and lever myself out of the back-end of the year. I've made heart-shaped scones, and pretty cakes, and the savoury note will come from cream-cheese and cucumber sandwiches. To decorate the table I've sprayed some seed-heads from the hedgerow gold, and hung them with little crystals. In the centre, I've wedged my old candelabra, bought some ten years ago for £25 from a junk shop in Lyon. I used to think I'd restore it to work on the mains, but I've actually come to prefer it with real candles. So this year, no symbolism, but a simple celebration of friendship, and the art of making a little magic out of nothing. Here's to a Happy New Year.