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Showing posts from January, 2020

A POEM A DAY - WITH GRATITUDE

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Today, on this saddest of days, I choose to remember and celebrate our membership of the European Union. Many people came to our aid at a time of great need, politicians, lawyers, experts, EU civil service representatives from all countries and political parties. Many not only offered support but become lasting and treasured friends.  They listened with respect,  responding with justice and compassion, demonstrating the best of the European project.  They helped secure the future of this small village and all the European citizens living here. I will always feel European and thank Freedom of Movement and the people of Spain for making me so welcome here. 



© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - MARSH FEATHERS

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The wind blowing across the explosion of fluffy reed in the Marjal marshes near Pego reminded me of the waves on the sea. The light hazed over the golden brush and the scene looked like a classical painting. Every time I visit the marshes they look different, as the seasons turn and the vegetation changes. Soon the rice paddies will be planted and the muddy earth will turn green with shoots of rice. © 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - DAISIES

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After a week indoors I am ready to feel the warmth of the sun and the light of outdoors. At this time of year I miss the first call of spring with snowdrops and crocuses breaking the ground in Warwickshire. This carpet of daisies on terraces in Spain were enchanting. 



© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - PIPEWORK

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The graveled track through trees near Castell de Castells was criss crossed by hardened tree roots, exposed by weather and time. The nearest pine trees were some metres away and it made me think how far and deep the root system of trees extends, like the pipework under our streets bringing the village water from the river running deep under the valley. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SPANISH ARCH

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I am still stuck indoors and today was thinking of Galway and looking at my photographs from my visit in September.  This is a photograph of the Spanish Arch, built in 1584 as an extension to the 12th century Norman city walls to protect the quays and merchant ships from looting. It was once known as Ceann an bhalla (the head of the wall) and was extended by the Eyre family in the 17th century with the addition of the Long Walk, following the left bank of the River Corrib to the sea. It became known as the Spanish Arch in the 19th century, thought to be a reference to the Spanish merchant trade. 
My mother told me of the Spanish Arch and her walks along the Corrib. When I walked around Galway I felt her presence in the stories we had shared. From my home in Spain I am fascinated in the historical links of the west coast of Ireland with Spain, of seafarers from the Spanish coasts and their trade across the Bay of Biscay and the Celtic sea to Ireland.

A POEM A DAY - CALM BEFORE THE STORM

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I photographed this little boat at the port in Xabia a few days before the massive storm Gloria hit the coast. It caused substantial damage to the beach front properties in Xabia and other coastal towns. I haven't been back yet and hope that this boat survived the storm. 


© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - STRIPES OF LIGHT

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This image was taken at the sandstone rock pools in Xabia with the sun striping patterns on the rocks, light breaking into rainbows. I love this quiet space, in between the busy Arenal beach and the bustling port. Despite being a man made environment with the cutting of sandstone blocks for building, the sea has reclaimed the space, the stony shore line has not been developed and in winter I rarely see anyone here apart from the occasional fisherman. In summer the pebble beach has a couple of 'chiringito'  bars and families picnic in the evenings but it retains a quiet, peaceful charm. 



© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - BLACKBIRD

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As I am stuck indoors with January breathing problems I am using a beautiful photograph taken by my brother Chris Knight. It brings back happy memories of watching the blackbirds in my family garden. In their later years of immobility my parents spent many hours in their sunny garden room, watching the birds. We had families of blackbirds all year round, defending their territory, raising young and filling the air with their song.  


© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SKY CANVAS

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I could lie and watch forever the movement of the clouds and changing skies. The Carrascal range overlooking the village creates its own weather, clouds tumbling over the ridge, steaming from the hillsides, blowing down the valley, lit by the setting sun. I am fortunate to have such a wonderful view from my bedroom window to keep me connected to the natural world. 




© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - NESTLED

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The passing storm Gloria lifted and deposited lorry loads of stones and sand from the Marina Alta beaches, smashing them into sea front buildings and leaving trails sneaking inland. The clean up from the storm is now starting, to rebuild the promenades and businesses and import sand to the beaches of these loved resort towns before the tourist season gets underway at Easter. 
This image is from the sandstone rocks at Xabia where blocks were carved out for building leaving a strange, eroded shore. This smoothed pebble stood out against the mustard sandstone. 



© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.


A POEM A DAY - STORM NIGHT

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After a day of storm that closed Alicante airport, blocked roads with snow, flooded rivers and caused enormous damage (the worse of all two tragic deaths), the village continued to feel its effects overnight. Lightening so bright it woke me with the light image flashed on closed eyes followed by crashing thunder and fierce, destructive rain. The house stayed mostly undamaged but the windows leaked from the wind lashing rain against them with drips running down the walls like tears. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - STORM DAY

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This is an image of the Rio Gorgos close to bursting in Xalo. The river has flooded in Xabia where the sea has devastated the coast, damaging many businesses and sea fronts. Storm Gloria is due to last another 24 hours, with heavy winds, torrential rain and snow on higher ground. A day to secure the house and stay indoors. 
© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.


A POEM A DAY - VINE TWINE

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On a dull, grey day where we are waiting to see if the forecast snow storms arrive it is good to remember the blue sky will soon return. This is an image of the grape vines in the Vall de Pop last week, before they are pruned back to the gnarled trunk. 
© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - BERRY RIPE

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Even in the midst of winter nature brings colour and sustenance. These berries glowed in the sunlight, a beacon for hungry birds at the marshes near Pego. 


© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - FIZZ

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Standing on the rocks in Xabia bay an unexpected wave crashed and splashed, the spray misting the air and tingling on my face. I was both shocked and exhilerated, waiting for the next 10 waves to build and break before another big one curled and I caught the image of the spray rising. 




© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - UNDER OAK

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Today I needed the warmth of the sun, the blue of the sky and the healing of the trees. Resting my back on the old Oak I could feel my heartbeat slow as I closed my eyes and drifted away. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - STARDUST

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A beautiful morning in Xabia where the sunlight bounced off the still water sprinkling stars across the bay. 



© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - ROOTS

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The roots of this magnificent olive tree looked like they had turned to stone. The tree was still bearing black glossy fruit, despite the terrace having been abandoned for many years. 



© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SUCCULENTS

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It always amazes me how vigorous nature is at clinging on to life. A weed grows between tiles on my windowsill, plants root on what looks like sheer rock. The beach near Denia is lined with gaudy coloured succulent plants, finding water in ground that is dry, gravelly sand.

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SPICE NETS

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These fishing nets were piled by the boats in the port at Xabia and reminded me of the colours of piles of spices and fabrics in Oriental markets.  We ate sardines that had been freshly landed and walked in the mid day sun as it shone on the waves breaking in the bay. 





© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.


A POEM A DAY - GLOSSY IBIS

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As we approached the rice paddies in the Marjal near Pego I spotted what looked like a black patch of crows feeding on the stubble. We got out of the car and as we moved nearer the patch rose as one into the air, circling above us. My brother Chris Knight took this photograph and we later identified the birds as glossy Ibis. We watched them fly for some time before they settled on a distant patch of stubble rice. It was an unexpected but thrilling experience. 



© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.


A POEM A DAY - OLIVE LINE

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This line of olive trees asks the question what came first, the tree or the wall. The whole area is littered with piles of stones, pulled from the earth, raised in terrace walls to create land to farm from a rocky hillside. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SEEDS FLY

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More beauty found in these drying seed husks, waiting for a gust of wind to wing new life across the valley. 


© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - SEA MEETS SKY

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On a clear day you can see past the hills to the coast as the road on the right snakes over the hills, past Tarbena towards the sea. The mist fell rapidly after our picnic and tinged the world with a beautiful blue melancholy. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - EL ROCIO

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I took this photograph in early afternoon, as the sun flushed my face enough to remove layers. At ground level the dew still clung to this plant and within an hour the humidity had increased enough to mist the mountains. 

© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved

A POEM A DAY - EPIPHANY

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Today is a national holiday in Spain where the children take the chance to play with their gifts before back to school tomorrow. Many will be tired and over excited after going to see the Three Kings on the evening of the 5th. In our village the Kings parade with the band from church to the Cooperativa where they sit on their thrones and give presents to all the children, followed by family suppers. Today I take down the green and decorations which have cheered the house since before Christmas. It always seems bare afterwards, waiting for another year. 
© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - ECHOES OF THE PAST

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Last night I went to the presentation of a local author's new novel based on the history of my village. The novel 'Tot és una llarga nit' by Joan Elies Andres tells the story of the kidnapping of the  Duke of Parcent as he took over the Baronia in 1529 by 600 pirates who had marched from the coastal town of Altea, over the hills and down through the 'Coll de Rates' pass to the village. This story, full of details of the barbaric treatment of those captured and enslaved  added to my knowledge of the banishing of the Moorish population of this area and the violence inflicted on the peaceful and cultured population at that time. This image I saw in an olive trunk on an abandoned terrace, in a landscape developed by these people made me think what the land had witnessed from its neolithic history to our present day.

A POEM A DAY - SEA SHELLS

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The wind was raw and biting but the day brightened with warm sun. This image was from an isolated 2 metre spread of sea shells, as if the sea had sieved them from the waves and dumped them, wet and shining on the sand. 
© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - ALWAYS

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As I am stuck indoors for a few days here is a look back to my wonderful visit to Ireland. This tree was in the herb garden of the Burren Perfumery, a beautiful and inspiring business in the middle of the Burren in County Clare.  At the end of the day as visitors were finishing teas and buying creams I wandered into the garden and was fortunate to be walking alone. The garden was lovely, planted with herbs, shrubs and trees used in the Perfumery. It reminded me of my family garden, where I would pick lemon balm and mint run wild.  Quite without thought I sat under this tree and felt my mother and father close to me, as the robin hopped in the branches above me and a white butterfly joined me on the path. © 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - MORNING CLOUD

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The morning air was damp and chill and as I stepped on the roof terrace the cloud started to form and pour over the 'Carrascal', still looking grey in the shadows.  I love this tumbling cloud, although my breathing does not respond well to the humid air. 


© 2020 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.

A POEM A DAY - DRAGON BIRD

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There is a certain rock off the beach near Calpe where cormorants gather. I can never usually photograph them with my phone and this image is thanks to my brother Chris Knight, who is an inspiring photographer . I am grateful for his help with my photography, I hope to take better pictures this year with a new camera. 

© 2019 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved.