söndag 17 maj 2015

The war arrived at Torredembarra today!!


Commemorating that the war arrived at Torredembarra in 1713 and a lot of people who fought with the Catalan army were killed. It was a civil war in which the invaders supported the army of the Bourbon pretender to the Spanish throne while the Catalan army defended the Austrian pretender.

The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) was a major European conflict of the early 18th century, triggered by the death in 1700 of the last Habsburg King of Spain, the infirm and childless Charles II

At the end of this loooong war there remained the struggle in Catalonia. At no stage in the war there had been a unanimous or even majority support for Archduke Charles of Austria (Charles III) in Catalonia, but the existence of a rebel group inside the province, together with a superior Allied military and naval presence in Barcelona, forced many towns to decide – often reluctantly – for the Archduke's cause.
Nevertheless, those who wished to continue fighting could point to the fact that the Kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia, as well as those in Castile, were subject to a regime that had forced them to change their laws and historic constitutions, and at no stage since the Bourbon victory at Almansa (Valencia) and the subsequent abolition of the fueros in Aragon and Valencia in 1707, had Philip V shown any intention of respecting Catalonia's laws.

 In consequence, Barcelona decided to resist, but there would be no Allied help. After the peace agreements between the major powers neither Austria nor Great Britain could return to a war footing. To compound the issue, Tory diplomatic efforts with Philip V to secure Catalan liberties were half-hearted, and Bolingbroke made no protest when, in early July 1714 – after a year of guerilla warfare in the region – Berwick returned to Catalonia to formally besiege Barcelona.

 Antoni de Villarroel put up a stout defence of Barcelona, but with little hope of relief the Catalan capital surrendered on 11 September 1714.

All that took place in our town yesterday and today!! The old town was filled with markettents and selling bread and cheese and handycraft while the soldiers were shoting around all the corners!

I took part as a "lacemaker". A typical Catalan lady!!

Just by our table a lot of soldiers took refuge!!

It was hard to concentrate on the lace!!!

 Finally the war was over and the troups came marching to lay down flowers at "La Torre" which is the trademark of our town. The tower is the first building remaning from the period 1050. The fighting took place in front of the old castle which now holds the townhall.

WELL, well... that was another of the nice cultural events of our town. And the sun was shining over us all!!!

torsdag 7 maj 2015

Ligias birthday

A beautiful day in Torredembarra,

with Ligia Pastori and her family and friends!

It is nice to get new friends... Ligia I have known for about a year and she is a lovely person. Born in Venezuela, singer and author and with a 70 year long interesting life.

She and her husband Joan invited us to Ligias birthdayparty in the restaurant La Quilla in the harbour of Torredmebarra. (Unfortunatly Frank could not come, as he was with Marc in the Spanish championship in golf for children up to 16 years, and Marc had classified for the final!)

Anyway we were 26 who joined and had a delicious meal and a lot of fun.
Ligia was singing with her friends Vicente Monera (guitar and composer) and Enric Pujol
(actor and author). Enric was also reciting poems with great force, accompanied by Vicente on guitar.

Ligia has written a book of guardian angels so I painted one for her as a small birthdaypresent.

It was a loooong lunch. 5 hours of eating, laughing and singing!


måndag 6 april 2015


It is Easter Monday and we can look back at some wonderful days. The sun was shining from the bluest of skies and spring is in full bloom.

Good Friday I had the honour to be one of the 3 Marias following the cross in the Procession.
Photos by Marta Recasens

Frank's cousin Nuria helped us to dress and put on the special comb and mantilla!

Here we are: my friends Pilar, Mari Carmen and I !!

Frank's family has been responsible for a hundred years of this part of the ritual with the cross. A huge cross with Jesus crucified which weighs around 50 kgs and there are 3 men taking turns to carry it.
The whole town seemed to be watching and for me it was very special to see friends smiling at me while passing. A magic evening!

On Easter Saturday we had friends for "Calçots". The very special grilled onions with Romesco sauce. It is a whole ritual too. "Calçotada" is a party going on from January till April, when it is season for these very special kind of onions.

You eat the calçots standing up with a bib in front not to dirty all of you!

Usually you drink wine out of a porron like that.

Then, after calçots, comes the roasted lamb or chicken or sausages and then dessert!!

It seems that the only thing one does for Easter is eating...but we have been working in the garden and walking up in the hills surronded by flowers and the air is perfumed. It reminded of a poem I wrote many years ago when I was in the island of Crete with the family. It is in Swedish of course and a little tricky to translate:


Försommar på Kreta

Genom en ridå av surrande bin
spelar bergens symfoniorkester upp
Fåglar ropar och långt borta
gal en tupp som solist
I klangsektionen hörs fårens bjällror,
skall från vallhunder
och herdens visslingar

Som bakgrund prasslar olivträden i blåsten
En varm frid sprider sig igenom kroppen
och jag sätter mig på en sten vid vägkanten

Tiden står still. Och en bit av oändligheten
rör lätt vid min kind

 Maina Novara
Then comes Easter Sunday and Monday and they are both great family gatherings when one eats paella and a special cake called "Mona". The name mona comes from Arabic "munna" that means provision for the mouth, a present that Arabs gave to their ladies. La mona is a dessert of great tradition in the whole Mediterranean. In the Balearic Islands, big part of Valencia comunity and in Catalunya it is only eaten for Easter.
On Easter Monday the Godfather or Godmother is supposed to give a mona to their Godchildren!! Frank remembers very well that his mother sent him to his Godparents to collect the mona! 
What a joy!!

So naturally we had to go to have a Paella on Easter Monday. We went to our favorite restaurant for fish in Tarragona called Bonachi with our friends Kurt and Åsa. What a fantastic day! The restaurant was of course overful of families with grandfathers and grandmothers and aunts and uncles and babies and children running around.. in other words, a typical Mediterranian lunch!

The dessert was small "monas".

Ramon Bonachi, the owner of the restaurant is also a poet and a photographer and they have the restaurant since generations. His brother, who is the cook, is also a painter! What a family!

Well, well, well, now we do not have to eat anything for a whole week...I think....

Leaving Bonachi, we took a walk by the sea with its nice little beach "L'Arrabassada". There, as a final to this lovely day, we found Mimosa blooming and Tamarix (in other languages Tamarindo, Tamarind, Tamarit) with fantastic pink cascades of flowers.

Displaying IMG_20150406_152532.jpg

Thank you for a lovely Easter Holiday!
Maina, Frank, Åsa and Kurt

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