Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

A reason to moan or not?

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Sometimes, especially when I am bored and this happens normally when I haven’t the energy to do something creative, I have a look at my WordPress statistics. And when I am even more bored, I look at where my visitors come from. And when I am really really bored, I click on the links!

I had noticed that a Dutch site regularly comes and visits my blog, but it was only the other day I felt so bored that I clicked on the link. I was quite surprised to land on a big commercial website, using one of my Portugal travel sketches to advertise Portugese holidays. I have never been asked if I would allow that… but at least they had the decency to put a link to my blog there!

I have often found paintings from me on the net, displayed in some places without my authorisation, but I don’t care really. I exactly know also that people will download them and have them printed, stealing me some business in this way. But well, somehow, when one forgets the theft aspect, it is a great compliment, and I choose to focus on this aspect.

But here, a  company… I am really amazed. I have wondered if I should contact them and moan a little bit, but I don’t think I will do it. To tell the truth, it is an honour to be featured in this way. But I would like to know how you, who read this post, would react to it. I am really interested to know.

By Miki

March 11, 2009 Posted by | Art, Cafe L'Arte, culture, Miki's Paintings, painting, personal, random, travel | 19 Comments

Tree bien!

I found this extraordinary tree yesterday in the woods near the beach; I have no idea what sort of tree it is or how the marks got there, but it is “awesome”, isn’t it?pict03451

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March 8, 2009 Posted by | nature, photo, random, Viv's Art | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Don Moore and The Windmills

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Following Danu’s post yesterday showing us one of his paintings of Don Quijote and Don Sancho Panza, I thought I should show you today my version of the story… not a painting, but a photo, taken about 2 years ago at the windmills from El Quijote. Now I am sure that most of you know the story, or at least have heard about it, but how many among you have really seen these windmills? Not many I guess! So I am sure that many will be pleased to see that these windmills really exist and still are in a wonderful state… above all the one on the left!

By Miki

March 4, 2009 Posted by | friends, fun, literature, men, nature, personal, photo, random, travel | , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Fairy Trees

The Faery Trees

The scent of the elder trees seemed to shimmer in the hot June sunshine, making a heat haze of aromatic oils and dust, as Becky flung herself down in the shade and buried her face in her hands and wept, loudly. The hard earth beneath the two bending bushes had been packed tight by the baking of the summer sun and by small feet, she noticed with some surprise. The worn footprints, made when last the ground here was muddy, were no bigger than her own would have made, and she saw for the first time that the two stunted trees leaned together to make an archway, and beyond it, she could see a narrow path, vanishing into the deeper woodland beyond. The path was barely more than a rabbit run and she wondered why she had never noticed it before.

She wished she had thought to bring a bottle of water; her throat was dry with the heat and it hurt through her wailing. A sob rose again unbidden and she scrubbed at her face as the tears began to course down her face again.

“Why are you crying?”

Becky jumped with shock, and saw to her intense surprise that a girl was standing over her, her face hidden in the mass of wild flaxen hair that tumbled round her shoulders. Becky’s own hair was tied back neatly in a tight plait to keep it from escaping and looking untidy.

“Nothing,” Becky said, gazing at the girl with awe, and rubbing the tears away hastily.

The girl came and sat next to her, her face still shaded a little by her hair and by the dappled shadows cast by the trees they sat beneath.

“You sound so unhappy,” said the girl. “Tell me about it.”

Becky drew a deep and shuddering breath.

“It’s my Gran,” she said. “She’s mean and nasty and she won’t let me have what I want.”

“That’s terrible,” said the girl, her voice sympathetic.

“So I have run away,” Becky continued. “Just for a little while, to scare her, the mean old bitch.”

“Why don’t your parents help you?” the girl asked.

“My parents are divorced,” Becky said. “Dad works abroad. Mum went back to live with her mum; that’s my Gran. So Mum goes out to work and Gran stays home with me. Only, today, we were going to get me new shoes after school, and this is what she made me get!”

Becky pointed dramatically at her feet. The sensible and comfortable shoes were coated in the fine white dust kicked up by these chalky fields in drought.

“They look…” the girl tailed off without finishing.

“Exactly,” said Becky triumphantly. “They’re hideous. I’m going to be a laughing stock at school tomorrow.”

The girl patted her arm.

“We could swap,” she said. “You look like the same size as me.”

Becky glanced at the girl suspiciously. The girl was wearing much the same clothes as herself, jeans and tee shirt, but while Becky’s jeans were a standard supermarket brand, ironed and laundered and ordinary, this girl wore designer jeans, with the artistic rips and chains Becky coveted. Her tee shirt had a neat little Chanel logo on it, and round her neck, where Becky wore a tacky Best Friends Forever pendant on a worn thong, this girl wore a heavy gold chain, bearing a suspiciously real looking diamond. And her shoes! Well, her shoes were the exact pair Becky had seen in a magazine and had begged her Gran to buy for her.

“Why would you want to?” Beck asked grudgingly.

“To make you happy,” said the girl, throwing back her hair and smiling a big broad, braces-free smile. Becky has stopped smiling properly the day they fixed her teeth with braces.

“OK,” said Becky, kicking off her shoes with speed, in case this strange girl changed her mind.

Within a few moments, the exchange was complete. The high-heeled red shores hurt Becky’s feet but after a few moments staggering around, she found she could walk just fine in them. The girl buckled her new sandals and smiled in a way that reminded Becky of her cat’s face when it had just stolen some cream.

“Drink?” said the girl sitting back down in the shade and proffered a bottle.

Becky took an experimental swig and nearly choked.

“But that’s cider!” she exclaimed.

“And?” said the girl shrugging.

“It’s nice,” Becky said meekly and took a long drink.

The sun peeped through the leaves and sparkled on the diamante trimmings of her new shoes; Becky felt the drowsy heat of late afternoon fill her and her eyes felt heavy.

She woke to hear her name being called and shivered. The sun was setting, blood red in the West and the fragrance of the elder trees had begun to smell like a tomcat had used the earth here for a toilet. She scrambled awkwardly to her feet and swayed out from under the shade of the two elder trees. Her grandmother was crossing the field, coming towards her fast.

As she caught sight of her granddaughter, her whole body seemed to spasm, as if with shock.

“Oh no you don’t,” she shouted and Becky cringed before realising that Gran was not shouting at her.

Gran seized her arm firmly and then bent to yank the glorious shoes off Becky’s feet.

“Not my granddaughter, not ever, you conniving little thieves,” she yelled and to Becky’s horror, she threw first one and then the second shoe at the narrow path between the elder trees.

“But Gran, we swapped shoes, they’re my shoes now!” Becky protested, but then stared open-mouthed, unable to believe what she’d seen.

The path had closed up, like a book shutting and now there was no trace of the way through between the two elder trees. Of either pair of shoes there was no trace at all.

Her Gran gave her a little shake, and pointed at the last rays of the sun as they dipped below the horizon.

“Just in time,” she said. “Another few minutes and I’d have been too late.”

Becky felt her tears returning but now they were tears of incomprehensible relief. Gran looked at her, and passed her a hankie.

“Well, losing your shoes is a fair price to pay, I guess,” she said. “You can walk home barefoot or I can give you a piggy back? Which is it to be?”

Becky went to school the next day in her old, worn out shoes and a much better frame of mind.

by Viv (c) 2009

February 27, 2009 Posted by | Cafe Literati, children, death, family, literature, nature, personal, random, Viv's Short Stories, women, writing | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 14 –

vascodegama (Prologue) (Atlantic Bridge 13)

Cassel Residence, Canterbury.
The languid vocals of Donald Fagen filled the room, as Marius poured them both a Californian Zinfandel Rose.  The track was Home at Last from Steely Dan’s masterpiece, Aja.
“Is that how you feel, when you walk into this house, Marius?” asked Annie, nodding appreciatively to the music.
“Home at last?” said Marius. His eyes took on a faraway look. To Annie, it looked like he was deciding something. Eventually he turned to her, eyeing his wine, holding it up to the light. “ I could be arrested you know, a Frenchman drinking a Californian wine” he sighed. “Yes and no. I feel at home here. But I never feel as if I’ve come home. There’s a subtle, yet important difference.”
“It’s the soul” offered Annie, mysteriously.
“Are you sure it isn’t the wine?” he said, smiling softly.
“It’s a lot easier to rest your mind and body” continued Annie, “but where the soul rests, now that has to be a special place.”
He looked at her. How did he get into this conversation? He didn’t really want to go down that particular road. Not yet. Music felt like safer ground.
He went over to his shelves of vinyl, his finger tracing the spines until he found what he was looking for.
“Are you familiar with Alphonse Mouzon?” he asked, brandishing the Mind Transplant sleeve in front of her face.
Annie, sensing she’d probed a little too deep, went with the flow.
“I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be. Is he French?”

“No, he’s an African American Drummer, popular in the mid-seventies, early eighties of the twentieth century. I want to play you Golden Rainbows, it features the legendary Tommy Bolin on guitar. Enjoy, and I’ll do some pasta. ”  He tossed her the sleeve, the virtuoso guitar music filling the room, and headed for the kitchen.
“Sounds French to me” she muttered, leaning back and closing her eyes, losing herself in the music.

Twenty minutes later, they were enjoying Tagliatelle Carbonara, discussing the project animatedly between mouthfuls. Annie was stunned to learn of the Biomolecular properties of Polyflex, which Marius had disclosed to her following her questions regarding speed of manufacture versus deadlines.
He in turn was captivated by her tales of a life researching the Oceans of the world.
Inevitably, talk turned to family.
Around 1 a.m., Marius was persuading Annie to finish the third bottle of wine.
She gently placed her hand over her empty glass.
“Nope” she said, firmly, but kindly. “A girl’s got to know her limit. I need to get to bed, if you’ll show me my room, kind sir.”
Marius put the bottle down.
“I wasn’t trying to get you drunk…”
“Itsh too late for that” she slurred, rolling her eyes comically. She looked him in the eye. “Seriously though Marius, I like you, but I can’t get into anything right now, I just cant. You would be doing me a great honour if, at least for the moment, you could be my friend. I need a good friend. More than you know.” She looked away, biting her lip.
“Whatever else I may or may not become, I’ll always be that” he said softly, kissing the top of her head. “Come on, your bedroom awaits.”
He led her upstairs, showing her the door to the spare room. He headed off to close up the house. As she turned to go in she called after him.
“Marius?” He looked up. “Thank you” she said, meaning it. The bedroom door closed, and Marius secured the doors and windows and set the alarms. As the clock struck 2 a.m, the house was in darkness, its occupants alone with their thoughts.

The Monastery, Ambialet

Henri cast his expert eye down the barrel of his high-velocity snipers rifle.
He’d spent the last two hours disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling it with loving care. He checked the extraordinarily powerful telescope night sight mounted on the top. He was supremely comfortable with this piece of hardware; it was like an extension of him. It had also saved countless lives. Fifteen years previously, he’d received a citation (secretly of course) from U.S. High Command for taking out a suicide bomber with a head shot before he could detonate himself in a busy shopping mall in Toulouse, which was filled with American Exchange Students.

He slung the rifle over his shoulder and climbed the stairs to the roof, emerging into the starlit night. Dark clouds drifted solemnly in the blackness, obscuring the moon for minutes at a time. He crouched down in front of the low stone parapet that encircled the roof. “Allez, Come then” he growled, and began to systematically scan the approaches to Ambialet down the barrel of the gun.

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

( Atlantic Bridge 15)

February 22, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe Literati, Entertainment, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, random, religion, writing | , , , , | Leave a comment

Norfolk Elephants…

I bet you didn’t know elephants lived wild in Norfolk…

I found this one wandering in the bus station at Norwich today…and the doctor’s tardis had landed on it too, poor dear.

Last year there was a massive art exhibition where huge numbers of local artists got to decorate the model elephants(they’re about the same size as a baby elephant) and they are now dispersed around the city. I think they were auctioned for charity.

I adored this one; I will post more if I come across them in my wanderings.

 

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February 21, 2009 Posted by | Art, fun, life, nature, painting, personal, photo, random, Viv's Art | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

a groyne…

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February 13, 2009 Posted by | education, friends, fun, humor, illustrations, personal, photo, random, Viv's Art | , , | 4 Comments

The Poison Tree

Not by Shelley but by William Blake of Tyger, tyger fame.

I first read this when I was about 9/10 and it scared me..

 

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe;
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water’d it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with my smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil’d the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch’d beneath the tree

February 13, 2009 Posted by | books, culture, death, education, friends, literature, personal, poetry, random | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Most Easterly….

As you might know I live about as far east in Britain as it’s possible to go without getting wet, and so we have a lot of things that are labelled, “Britain’s Most Easterly” often with a sign outside.

Here I present Britain’s Most Easterly amusing sign:

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February 13, 2009 Posted by | friends, fun, life, nature, personal, photo, random, Viv's Art | , , | 4 Comments

Atlantic Bridge – 12 –

vascodegama (Prologue(Atlantic Bridge 11

The River Tarn, Southern France

Ben could see the incredible silhouette of the Millau Viaduct looming up ahead. Atop each of its soaring pillars, a red light, blinking in the blackness.
Wisps of cloud caressed the structure, lending it an otherworldly quality.
He ordered the men to quieten the oars. He raised his night-sight skywards. Two sentries, walking from each end. He assumed there were two on the other side as well. As they approached, the viaduct seemed to grow above them. Two and a half kilometres long, it took the sentries some minutes before their paths crossed. A small flare of light illuminated their faces for brief seconds in the night. They were sharing a cigarette…damn! Thought Ben. He immediately turned to his men; “Oars inward! Heads down, No-one speaks until I give the order!”
The two craft floated silently along the surface. High above, the two fundamentalist guards shared a joke, passing the sharp Turkish cigarette between them. After the second guard took a final draw, he flicked the butt out into the night, and watched it trace a lazy arc, gravity taking hold and pulling it down towards the water. The moon held it in its thrall, and the Arab tried to keep it in view as it silently entered the Tarn, mere seconds after Ben and his men had gone beyond the line of sight and under the great bridge.
The guards called across the highway to their counterparts. “Only another three hours brothers!”  The guards on the far side exchanged some good-natured insults before all four began pacing as before, up and down the length of the Viaduct. Enough time for the two craft to drift, unobserved out from beneath it, and into the welcoming shadows beyond.

Sir Robert Westing’s Office, U.C.E. Building, London

Sir Robert was scribbling furiously on the pad in front of him. He had the phone clamped to his ear, waiting to be connected with Bert Dwyer in the U.S. He’d never gone in for all that videophone nonsense, besides, when he was doing deals, he didn’t feel like adopting a Poker face every time he didn’t want to show his hand.
A beep on the line indicated Bert was at the other end.
“Dwyer, top of the morning to you.” Announced Sir Robert theatrically.
“It might be dawn’s early light where you are, Westing, but if you’re thinking of catching me bright eyed and bushy tailed, forget it! It’s 10pm stateside, and I’m heading home for a Single Malt and a good night’s sleep.
Waddaya want?” barked Dwyer.
“Really? Good gracious” replied Sir Robert, innocence personified. “The thing is old chap, I’ve been doing some rough calculations in my head, and, well, not to put too finer point on it, I don’t think we can get these spans manufactured in the allotted time frame.”
There was a chuckle at the other end of the line.
“Westing, there’s your problem, right there.” Answered Dwyer, cryptically.
“I don’t follow you Bert…”
“Well, we don’t got no manufacturing to do.”
Sir Robert winced at Dwyer’s strangulated syntax.
“Y’see” Dwyer continued, “We’re growin’ the suckers.” He deliberately left a pregnant pause, enjoying the moment, as realisation dawned on U.C.E’s Chief Executive.
“My God, Bert, they’re Biomolecular!”
“Give that guy a Hershey bar!” laughed Dwyer, clearly having a whale of a time. “We have an entire farm of two kilometre long culture sheds, it’s incredible how fast the matrix replicates to the pattern we impose. It will save years of conventional manufacture, which is essential, given the amount we are going to need. Now we’ve got the lacquer problem solved, we’re beginning growth production within the week.”
“Bert,” said Sir Robert, almost reverentially. “Go enjoy your Single Malt, you’ve earned it.”
Sir Robert replaced the receiver, shaking his head in disbelief.
“Trust the Americans to come up with something as wacky as that” He said to the cartoon Snoopy that stared back at him from his pad.

© Kev Moore 2008 All Rights Reserved

(Atlantic Bridge 13)

February 11, 2009 Posted by | books, Cafe L'Arte, Cafe Literati, Kev Moore's Novel Atlantic Bridge, literature, politics, random, religion, writing | , , , , | Leave a comment