Chelsea Flower Show 2016

 

The life connoisseurs say that patience is from the highest virtues and probably they have right. I had booked my tickets for Chelsea Flower show long time ago, at that time of the year that someone has nothing to look forward. Christmas and New Year celebrations were over  and the next holiday is quite far away, let alone the next payment day which is just a bank transaction from the current  to the credit card account. Through all these months being occupied with the daily working routine  I had forgotten the second round of “Christmas time” the flower show at Chelsea. And there you are! The tickets arrived promptly and along with my friends were visiting one of the best shows of the year that the English life can offer!

The prominent flower colour for this summer  is definitely the purple and the rotten apple.

In the interior space of the Chelsea ground the  flowers and strawberries’ fragrances were creating euphoria to the visitors.

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Husqvarna Garden by Charlie Albone. The cottage flowers (lupins, hollyhocks) entertain the formal garden. This was very inspiring idea for my own garden.

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The Chelsea Barracks Garden by Jo Thompson. The garden was inspired by the huge developments of apartments next to Chelsea hospital which prices are in the range 2-5 millions pounds!IMG_0645

L’Occitane Garden by James Basson. It seemed to me that this year the same garden was much more scruffier and drier.

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The Cloudy Bay Oven by Sam Ovens.  His winemaker sponsor wanted him to echo the flavours of sauvignon blanc in his planting.IMG_0679

Red handmade 5000 crochets poppies  covered the whole ground front of the Chelsea hospital.IMG_0617

Click, click,click … I heard the sound of the iphones taking pictures and saw a bunch of people through the hole of this structure. I couldn’t imagine what was the object of their admiration.

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I had to go around to find out  what was about all this fuss. The Queen’s profile !

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Small is beautiful : This cute garage/garden designed by Kazuyuki Isihara. If you have space this is a nice compact idea, two in one: Garage & Garden!

Minack Theatre : A Small Wonder In Cornwall

If you were asking me some days ago which is the most spectacular open-air theatre in Europe, probably my answer would be the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens, Greece or the Seebuhne in Lake Constance, Austria  but I didn’t know that there is a third one in the same league as the above! The  Minack(rocky place)  theatre is a really a small wonder  at the far end of Cornwall at Porthcurno, close to Land’s End. A small open-air theatre constructed on a granite cliff and overlooking the spectacular panorama of the Porthcurno bay in the Atlantic ocean. This theatre was the vision  and labour of Rowena Cade  who managed to construct this theatre at the end of her garden with the help of her gardener.  The very first performance, the Tempest was  on 16 August of 1932. The theatre opens between April-September with various performances (see the programme at https://www.minack.com/calendar-2/

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View of the theatre from the top.

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The name of each theatrical performance has been curved on the granite’s seats.

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View from the cafe of Minack Theatre

The place has its own microclimate and the view is beyond imagination. As I was admiring the view (pic. below), the beach with the gold sand and huge waves, one gentleman  next to me told me “I have never imagined that I can experience something like that in England. It seems to me that I’m somewhere in the Continent”.

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Rowena Cade, who lived in Minack House (picture above), decided that the cliffs below her garden would be the perfect setting for a theatre  and over the winter of 1931 and into 1932 she and her gardener, Billy Rawlings, moved endless granite boulders and earth, creating the lower terraces of the theatre, much as they are today”(source at https://www.minack.com/our-history-1)

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Rowena Cadet (1893-1983) an inspiring woman who used her money, labour and influence during a very hard period in Europe (between the two World Wars) and left a remarkable legacy. Sometimes the willpower and determination of an individual can make wonders!

Greece is the all-weather scapegoat of EU: A never ending humilation

Today EU threatens Greece over border controls! As a draft report of the European Commission says:  Greece has “seriously neglected” its obligations to control the external frontier of Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone.

Some days ago at the ‘Annual Team Building’ of the Elite  at Davos, the Chief Accountant of the EU, Mr. Schauble  with his linguistic games referred to the democratic elected PM of Greece as an idiot!

As anyone can understand, Greece’s humiliation has no limits! Of course, this humiliation is reinforced by the strong opposition inside the country from the partisans of the left/ right wing and  ala Greek style neo-liberals(an interesting amalgamation of right wing people).

One thing is the common truth and the curse for the Greeks, they are not able to see themselves as an entity and being accompanied by their notorious low self esteem they are blaming each other (an ongoing attitude) for any governmental action.

The above combination is an easy target for the failed leaders of Europe and their politics.

Last year Angela Merkel, as formidable Hegemon of Europe -in terms of financial power only- announced without taking consideration the rest of the European countries  and mainly the countries that are the  entrance of the refugees-such Greece, which at the moment is an impoverished country- the acceptance of the Syrian refugees. Consequently, quite a few Europeans (Poland, Czech republic, Denmark, few German states, Britain) either closed their borders or started seizing the valuables of the Refugees (Denmark, some states of Germany…).

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It was a matter of serendipity by seeing the above two artefacts at the Victoria Gallery in Bath the other day and so ironic at the same time. The two figures represent Europe and Asia. Europe as an emancipated intellectual woman proud of the great achievement of the Enlightenment being accompanied by Asia, who is holding her ‘valuables for better or for worse’!

At the beginning of the 21st Century Europe’s leaders are trying to set aside their responsibilities by finding their all times scapegoat, Greece! The values of the Enlightenment have been replaced by the motto ‘show me the money’ for better or for worse.

 

 

 

 

 

Key West

T.S. Elliot writes in his poem ‘ The Waste Land’ that April is the cruellest month but I’m quite sure that he disregarded the dark days of January  after Christmas and New Year  that all the perks such as vacation and salary seem quite in the distant future. All the big fun has already finished and you have to carry on with your working life until the next big event!

Taking into the consideration all the above, I decided to create Foucault’s Heterotopia (other places in the world that are misaligned with respect to normal or everyday space) and post some pictures from my -so much fun- trip to Key West – the southernmost island of the USA before sailing towards Havana.

Key West has plenty of history and I have singled out some interesting points in its history (wikipedia)

During colonial and pre colonial times, Spaniards and British were interchanging  power in the island and during the Ten Years’ War many Cubans sought refuge in Key West.

In 1889 it was the largest and wealthiest city in Florida and John F. Kennedy was to use “90 miles from Cuba” extensively in his speeches against F. Castro.

Prior to the Cuban Revolution of 1959, there were regular ferry and airplane services between Key West and Havana(Wikipedia).

At the moment, there are airplane services from Key West to Havana.

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The Key West History Museum

 

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Duval Street. The most famous street of Key West

 

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The oldest house in Key West

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Ernest Hemingway’s House

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Happy New Year to all friends of this blog!

Καλή Χρονιά σε όλους τους φίλους αυτού του blog!

 

Miami Art Deco

The idea for this post has been triggered by the recent Art Basel Miami Beach art fair that it’s taking place at the moment (3-6 Dec.)  at South Beach, Miami’s fabulous art deco district.  Travis Cohen writes about South Beach that  “it  was reborn in Art Deco. After the vicious hurricane of September 1926, which utterly razed the city, wrought havoc, and left some 400 dead, Miami Beach saw a building boom that lasted the better part of 20 years. That era of rebuilding focused primarily on resurrecting the fledgling resort community in the chic new style that had come out of the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Artes Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which would be shortened simply to ‘Art Deco.'”

I was pleasantly surprised by seeing this beautiful iconic art deco area of Miami and I’m not sure that these photos will depict the real  picture and atmosphere of the South Beach district.

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Ocean Drive, South Beach.

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Ocean Drive.

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Lincoln Road.

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The Church is situated in the middle of the Lincoln road mall.

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Lincoln Road.

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The art deco architecture goes hand in hand with the fabulous Miami pastel hues.

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Lincoln road.

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The beach is fabulous with the white sand!

IMG_6921The famous Miami Beach Broadwalk. It seemed to me that the only concern of those people who were running up and down the Broadwalk in extraordinary fit bodies were ‘how to Jogging properly’!

Miami is fabulous and I think the secret of its recipe is the influence of the Cuban culture. This laid back and friendly atmosphere in an American context is a good combination. The alarming point is that despite this city has red flag concerning the floods there is no precaution about the future and the threats that the global warming poses on these cities, which are a few feet above the sea level!

p.s If you like some more Miami art deco architecture myy friend Despina has done good job on her blog! Enjoy it!

At Ernest Hemingway’s Key West Home

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 It’s common truth that every person when he is exposed to something new tries to bring in his own experience to make sense the new situation he is into. The same happened to me when I stepped into Hemingway’s home in Key West (the island at the far end of the USA  and 90 miles from Cuba). To say the truth,  I didn’t expect that this house  will stir some details of my own personal memories. I remembered the day that my mother  bought – from her cousin, a salesman in a publishing company in Greece – all the series of Hemingway’s books which were leather-bound in red colour with gold letters on the books’ spine and cover.  That time, I was around 16 years old  and I had a vivid memory of my mother lying in her bed and reading one of the book of the series, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”.  Our conversation was about the translation, I believed then that the cause I didn’t enjoy reading this particular title was the translation but my mother had a different opinion and for sure experience, she was  avid reader and she was taking great pleasure by reading it.  This title  among others – “Death in the Afternoon”, “Winner Take Nothing”, “To have and Have Not” –  had been written in this house.  Hemingway with his second wife Pauline have resided for 9 years in this house and he wrote the 70% of all his work.  This impressive Hemingway’s estate  is supposed to be the largest house in town comparing to the relative small houses in Key West.

 

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Hemingway’s House from outside,  at Whitehead Street.

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The entrance

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The stair at the front entrance leads to the bedrooms upstairs.

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One of his magnificent balconies.

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One of the descendant of Hemingway’s cats. Ernest Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’s captain and some of the cats who live on the museum grounds are descendants of that original cat,

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Kitchen as it was in Hemingway’s time there.

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One of his living room. Hemingway was avid collector of Spanish furniture of 17th & 18th century.

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Pauline’s boudoir.

Hemingway’s studio where he was working everyday from 9-12 pm.

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His typewriter.  “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed” Hemingway.

 

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One of the corner of his studio. Above his armchair and below his desk.

IMG_7318The swimming pool where all the parties were taking place. Pauline was the best party’s organizer according to the curator of the House.

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His third wife Marthe Cellhorn (Cuba years)                                                                                                 Hemingway’s books

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The first wife Hadley Richardson (The Paris year) and his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer (Key West Years).

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Whitehead street and below is the old lighthouse as a view from Hemingway’s house.

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Below one of the small house in Hemingway’s neighborhood.IMG_7077

 

Visiting Hemingway’s house in Key West was one my finest days in this beautiful  island. I had the impression that  it’s the Cuban influence that gives such a vibrant colour not only to this American island but to the whole area including Miami.

The website of the house is http://www.hemingwayhome.com/.

p.s One of his book about Paris!

12241552_997162850345433_4712333655832055710_n“Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea