Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Usual Suspects

Top of the list the lovely Luz a friend of mine from Spain, un beso to you and your sister, elsewhere Karina the great great niece of Genghis Khan and Sean the great great grandson of Richard Nixon,joking Sean, finally Dom Juan smouldering behind a pillar!!

Where are Karinas hands and why the big grins ummm??


Dominic jaunted in from his Tokyo headhunting and gathered around himself a sprinkling of the new and old faces in the Medina for a mid Ramadan dinner. With an exotic mix of German, Kazakstan, Spanish, American, English, French and Italian at the meal it reflected the true exotic mix of characters and nationalities choosing to make Fes a big part of their life.

With all of these guys they are sincerely trying each in their own way to contribute positively to enhance the message of the Medina. What is that message, well part of it is assimilate dont segregate and contribute in whatever way you can to the fabric of this spiritual place. If at the same time you can have some fun and simplify your life and unload some stress then that indeed is a bonus.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Familiar Story

For all you renovation specialists out there heres a familiar story involving a carpenter, zellige man, plumber, builder and an electrician and I am guessing you can sense whats coming. Its to do with logical sequencing so you know some fun is in store. Basically a small project involving plumbing and wiring the basement fountain should be no problem well not if you have the patience of a saint.

We know already from past experience that plumberman and leccy man have to do their bit so builderman can lay his trusty trowel over their indentations, then leave to dry before zellige man comes over to magically blend the new zellige into the existing set up. In the meantime carpenter man has to repair and hang two gnarly cedar doors in the basement rooms. Well it sounds all too feasible but in reality of course, and this being Ramadan which I guess increases forgetfulness, they either pop up unexpected, at the wrong time or not at all. After a year of renovation mode I am now very relaxed about the whole procedure as I know it comes together when it is supposed to come together and not when you personally would like it too.

So almost Keystone Cops and revolving door scenario ensues as you try to tie people down, not literally but a good idea anyhow, to a specific date and time to complete their designated task. Of course it all comes together funnily enough and I can literally laugh as a projected few days work stretches into 10 days with gaps so I find if you turn your attention to other more pressing matters it ceases to be any kind of problem at all just another funny story on the renovation rocky road.

Moving on and Christinas sister Luz is visiting from Palma looking to move to Fes and continue her Arabic studies so took her to American Language school and then out to Mt Zalagh for some incomplicated Berber hospitality at my friend Hamse. They presented me with the golden elixir a litre of their champagne coloured home pressed olive oil and an invitation to join them at break fast this weekend with my friends.

Also staying is Doug who has been snapping like the clappers for Lonely Planets new pocket guide and my friend DJ Patt from Vejer who rocked up in the Merc with my trusty turntables, mixer, amp, cds and even a box of vinyl so a chillout basement session is on the cards ......we just have to source a painter, after zelligeman has finished blah blah blah!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Project time

A couple of pics, one of trio of Mali masks I picked up to enhance wall space and a nice shot from my friend Johnny of the main salon or comfort zone of the house soon to be surpassed I hope by the Berber Basement!!

After the well deserved break/rest/work whatever you want to call it, escaping from the medina hothouse in August was on relection a bloody good idea. For one thing as mentioned it was getting unfeasibly hot so much so I was looking for a rainy respite in England which of course didnt fail me as I had a week of nothing else. Also going back to the Costa da Luz it was the height of the summer, i really recommend all you anti Costas to try the west coast of Spain for a REAL unblemished coastline and long may it continue, and so the beaches were nicely packed and the chiringitas or late night beach bars were buzzing.

I stayed with my friend Sina who kindly is babysitting my spanish furniture but its becoming to look quite comfortable in its new home so I guess it can stay put for a while yet as the Fes house is getting fuller anyway. It was nice to drive the Merc around as well taking long trips into the stunning Andalucian countryside cruising to Granada for instance just for fun. A week back in England with the family was suffice filling up on curries, fry ups and fish and chips before flying out to join a yacht in Nice for an eight day charter.

The real highlight of the month here as I had to shake off my culinary cobwebs,I hadnt cooked professionly for a year, kit out a galley from scratch, help train two stewardess who had not chartered before whilst also giving cooking tips to the crew chef. After a few days of settling in it was water off a ducks back and the guest family and friends aboard were having the time of their life and i was cooking up a storm on my unlimited budget. It was real nice to dip my toes back into this rareified atmosphere as far removed from Medina life as is possible, and left with promises from the crew to come and visit.

With a hefty paypacket in hand I returned to Fes with a focused head on to tackle the last major project in the house namely the celler or basement area. Within a day I had Ben stripping the two cedar doors and organising the plumber and electrician, builder and zellige to finish wiring and plumbing the fountain before tiling begins. This should only take a few days and then we can paint out the whole room and drape/tent the ceiling to get an Arabian nights feel and carpet and cushion the floor and fix the light fittings and voila we have another functioning room.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back to Reality

Just noticed the ole blog has not been updated for almost a month whoops, well I have had a good excuse as I have been moving weekly from country to country Morocco, Spain, England, S.France, Spain again all good fun apart from rainy England.

Best part was I just spent an idyllic week in S. France as guest chef on a beautiful 180ft sailboat Fleurtje, with the help of two stewardesses and pristine galley and an unlimited budget for food!! Hence shopping in Monaco and St Tropez buying lobsters and seabass etc etc It is run my an old friend of mine from my yachting career who called me out of retirement to do this charter for 8 days and rewarded me rather handsomely for the privelige, could live for a few monthes in Fes on that no problem.

Spent gorgeous nights anchored off Cap Ferrat the richest real estate on the Cote DÁzur whilst whisking up a tasty dinner or buffet lunch for the appreciative guests, it was a step back in time for me as I spent 10 years doing just this in the eighties when I was a lot wilder and gung ho. I find I am now the chilled alternative to the young and booze friendly crew which is cool.

Am back in Spain at mo in beautiful Vejer de la Frontera getting the papers ready for the Mercedes to get over to Morocco. Lots of calls from friends coming over to stay so it should be a good finish to the year, will keep you all posted.