Saturday, July 26, 2008


I finally took time out of my busy schedule to visit the salt lake in Torrevieja this week. Just a short stroll from my studio, and visible from the top of the house. Down by the waters edge a crowd of mud people gathered like extras from a Star Wars movie. Everyone was caked in the stuff. Some with mud around their swollen joints, some from throat to gusset, while one lady of former Soviet states origin - going by the accent - had the novel idea to take all her clothes off, slap on a thick oozing organic bikini and proceeded to stand with her arm and legs flung to the four corners of the earth seemingly to offer an all encompassing bear hug to anyone walking within her grab range.

This was all very well until - a) she stood still until the mud dried and she tried to move, creating fissures between north and south that would have made the ‘Rift Valley Conservation Team’ proud, or - b) she waded wide legged into the water and the twin muddy peaks of Kilimanjaro slowly slid down her navel to join the now equally viscous map of Eurasia working its way towards her kneecaps. A sight imprinted on my memory forever.

If you have never been to the salt lake, I would recommend it thoroughly. Accessible through various holes in the fence around its perimeter, make your way to the waters edge, and make sure you have tie on shoes as they tend to float away otherwise. I don’t recommend trying to stand up on the salt crystals without them. Feels like walking on broken glass - I wonder is that where Annie Lennox got the idea for the song…..?

Anyway, back to the instructions - place a blow up air travel cushion around your neck, inflated of course, and slowly lie back in the water. The lake is so full of salt and minerals that you float without effort and can let the stresses and strains of the day disappear along with all the money you forgot to take out of your pockets before you got in. By all means take a book, but I-pods are not advised as you may inadvertently create a circuit between you, your batteries and the salts, and slowly fry your grey matter while listening to the mating calls of south Pacific whales. Who needs all this expensive, alternative dark tank therapy when you have everything right here on your doorstep? If you want the dark part just use the old blackout eye mask that probably came in the same package as the blow up air travel cushion. See? Easy peasy!

Word of warning though! Make sure you check wind direction before you lie down or you may end up at San Miguel de Salinas or, worse still, sucked up into one of the barges scraping the salt from the lake bed to send to those poor people in northern Europe to put on their roads in the winter. I didn’t check the wind direction of course, and ended up with a three kilometre hike back home with a deflated cushion round my neck, an eye patch skewed over one eye and an ear, a talcum powder coating of salt covering me from head to toe and strange but enticing looks from the girls on the roundabouts. Not recommended, but friends said my skin glowed beautifully for days afterwards.

The only downside to lake bathing? Shaving. If you have had a shave within twenty four hours of going in, by God you’ll know about it! It’s like dipping you head in a bucket of Fahrenheit aftershave. Your skin starts to turn the same colour as the water and feels like you have just applied a fresh lava facemask. It’s no wonder the flamingos are the shade they are!
God help ladies who depilate!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The rain in Spain - and the rest!!


The thunderstorm had been building all day and the broody skies were threatening as darkness fell over the city.

The yellow streetlight glow was punctuated by super-bright forks and flashes for at least an hour. The roar of the thunder was all-surrounding and ultimately awful.

I stood outside in the warm rain and clicked, clicked, clicked away with the camera until I finally captured the images you see here.

The power of nature at full force.

Well worth the effort!


It was such a lovely evening yesterday that I decided to take a trip on my trusty rusty bicycle down onto Torrevieja seafront. The sun was about to say it's daily farewells, taking with it the worst of the summer heat.

I had heard that the new marina had a couple of newly opened bars and decided to give them the benefit of my experience. From the waterside they all looked pretty much the same, so I went for the one that had the most comfy seats, tied up my steed, and relaxed in a pool of sweat until the bartender passed me the much needed artificial relaxant.

It struck me that something we don't have as a rule here on the Costa Blanca is a sunset over the sea, since we more or less face eastwards. So it was a pleasant surprise to see that, as we were on the outer arm of the breakwater we could look back over the town and watch the sun go down, while it's reflections were shimmering over the Mediterranean sea - albeit in the harbour. It was stunning. I remarked that it felt as good as being on the Côte d’Azur, only better, because I actually lived here! I watched it until my corneas were irreparably damaged.

The sun was almost gone when I realised that I had forgotten my lights to wend my way safely home again afterwards. So I came up with a surreal idea to wait until the sun was just about to dip over the horizon, therefore at it's weakest and unable to fight back, and capture it in my bicycle basket to help me see in the dark on the way home. It worked! After a few more drinks and tall tales I slowly headed for home in a snake-like fashion. With my way so well illuminated I made it back in one piece, and released the sun back into the wild as soon as I got home.

I would like to point out that no constellations were put unduly at risk in the telling of this story.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I received word today that one of my paintings was stolen from the 'White Image' gallery in Hillsborough, Northern Ireland (just outside Belfast for those that don't know it).

Title: 'One of the multitude'
Size: 18" x 24" (45cm x 60cm approx.) plus gilt frame with white slip
Price: 2000.00 Euros (£1350.00)

The police have been informed and are dealing.

Gallery details : White Image Gallery
34 Lisburn Street
Tel: 028 9268 9896

If anyone comes across it, or are offered it for sale, please inform me or the gallery concerned immediately.

Thank you all for your assistance.