Before I left home, I plucked out of my book case “SEVILLE Cordoba and Granada” by Elizabeth Nash.  It looked unread.  When I opened it up I found the following inscriptions:

“To Dear Margie with love from Yvonne.  Have so enjoyed having you as a friend.” And below that

“To Margie, with best wishes, Liz”

Yvonne did the wonderful illustrations for this book.  Now I remember going to a cheese shop for the book launch.

I nearly wept.  I spent a year in Madrid 2005-2006 as the Erasmus part of my Spanish and Latin American Studies degree.  I was quite without friends and soon after I arrived, I called Yvonne.   The conversation went something like this:

Hello, Yvonne, I’m Margie and I’m a friend of someone called Nikki and her friend is a friend of yours but I don’t seem to have a note of that person’s name

Hello my dear, the kettle’s on.  4th floor!

Yvonne was the most elegant, generous and sweet person.  I have a beautiful print she gave me and I have lost her now. We kept in touch for ages then I believe she got very bad dementia.  I think she may have passed now.  Our mutual contact seemed vague.  RIP dear Yvonne I loved spending time with you and you made me feel safe.

The Golden Tower:

Thanks to the Seville book mentioned above I had been alerted to the existence of the Golden tower.  With skilful navigation I find the “mirage-river” (Laurie Lee) and the 1221 tower build by the Almohad Governor of Seville.  Like the Golden Bridge of San Francisco, it is not golden.  It would look quite in place in Glasgow for its austerity and Miguel Unamuno (1864-1936) referred to it as Finos y Frios – refined and cool-. Can’t resist the quote not only for its acuity but also because I know who the hell he was.  I read for A level a very complex and impenetrable book called Niebla.  I seem to remember there was a lonely tree stuck in the tarmac of a city bemoaning its lot.  However, don’t take me too seriously, that might not have been the central plot of the novel.  I got a pretty poor grade. I clambered up to the top of the tower (no problem at all – only 88 steps – a piece of cake after my Cádiz tower) and surveyed the wonderous scene.  Just imagining Columbus and Cortes setting sail down the Rio Guadalquiver to “discover” the Americas.  I would like to do that trip down the river to the coast but when I asked the tourist office they laughed.


I'm off to find the Americas

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