Saturday, June 13, 2015




You can contact us for more details - other wise see the text at the end of the photos
Emperor Sport bike

Emperor Sport bike, rear

Geoffrey Butler bike

Holdsworth bike

Holds worth bike - rear view

Bike 1 - Emperor Sport - pink. Reynolds 531 tubing, wheels, bars, brakes, pedals, block and chair, sadle. Complete bike made by Mick Cowd of Sutton. He rode with Redmon C.C.

Bike 2 - Geoffrey Butler, pink. A time trial bike with Ashanti tubing, super lightmade by Cliff Shrub. 21" frame. Has racing wheels available. Complete bike.

Bike 3 - Holdsworth, orange and green. Complete bike with rear carrier rack.

In addition we have some wheels for the above, 3 front , 2 back with blocks.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


It is well worth a visit.
This is the second time we went along.
The cafe is good but unfortunately no local beers served.
On our first visit we enjoyed delicious local beer, now its just one multinational bottled beer on offer.

Monday, October 04, 2010


LAST DAY - sorry to go, its a lovely small city.
We went to the gallery in the New Town, Gueliz, owned by the proprietor of Riad Kniza, Mr Mohammed.
A nice shop with excellent collection of ceramics, furniture etc. Mr Mohammed advised us to go further on, to Gallery Matisse. This gallery had very big pictures, black, white, reminiscent of Francis Bacon. Also some fine glass 'toffees' in blue, in red and with spots. The owner didn't seem to be in the gallery, it was minded by lethargic man who did not rise from his armchair.

Over the other side of the alley was another small gallery whose owner didn't speak English, there was a small collection of paintings but I have lost her card so cannot give you a link.

The Renaissance cafe, near the cinema, was excellent for lunch, and very reasonable compared to the more touristy places, it seems to cater for the local French people in Gueliz.
The usual rip-off taxi driver tried to overcharge and again, got very lost, couldn't make out where our Riad was from the card, and he did not seem to have any reading glasses.

I suppose glasses are much to expensive for a taxi driver to buy.
In the evening we had a delicious bottle of wine on the roof, kindly given by Mr Mohammed the owner and art connoisseur


I had a fascinating cookery lesson at Riad Kniza, the head chef Amina instructed me in making fish tagine, bread, harisa, cooked salads including delicious spicy zuchini (or courgette as we call them). We had the pleasure of eating the meal later on the roof, where it was at last cooler.
The next day want to meal at Chez Pascal in Gueliz, but it was difficult to find. We had been told it was near the Cinema but even then we had to go into another restaurant to ask its whereabouts. Everybody in Chez Pascal was very busy watching a re-run of the World Cup Football match - it was the day before the final on Sunday. Not too bothered to serve us, but when food finally arrived, it was delicious. But unfortunately the taxi to take us back to the Medina asked for 60 dirhams (proper rate from that part is not more than 10 dirhams). I argued, and finally we gave him 50 dirhams, under protest. Even the nice receptionist in the riah was astonished at this rogue.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


It continued to get hotter that day. Long walk up to Jemaa Fna, the famous square, where we hoped to find a taxi back to Riad, after a cold drink.

I was wearing a skirt, a big mistake because I was sweating so much and legs got v. hot and damp.
I must remember that silk trousers are much more comfortable for walking, in the heat.

We couldn't find anywhere in the square to have a cold beer. No alcohol served in any of the cafes. We ended up with coca-cola in a newish cafe opposit the mosque, which was playing irritating loud music and had no air conditioning. And I don't like coca-cola anyway!

To get to this cafe we walked past the long lines of caleches and horses, with a terrible pong from many years of horse urine soaking into the paving, made worse by the heat. So smelly it was really unbearable.

To make matters worse, we had to wait in the blazing heat for a taxi - several quoted 20 dirhams (it cost us 60 centimes to get there). The taxis are old and battered and have no air-conditioning. We finally ended up with a driver who overcharged us and couldn't find Bab Doukkala, driving up and down by the city walls, and of course not stopping at first to ask the way. In the end he had to ask, and by that time I was totally overheated and very red in the face.

Another time I think it a good idea to take photo of the landmark near your hotel, on digital camera, so as to show taxi driver who does not know his own city.


Hot again, over 45 degrees.
We managed to find a taxi driver that uses his meter, thank goodness, and he was pleasant too.

At the Palace de la Bahia it cost 20 Dirham to go in. We had a leisurely walk round, saw some little cats and kittens under the bushes, very thin. It was orginally the palace of a very rich man who apparently treated his many wives extremely badly.

Mainly tour groups there, Spanish, French etc.

The huge rooms have lovely ceilings and painted doors and shutters; large empty courtyard with no fountain and a small garden where I picked a few larkspur seeds to try in my own garden.

The toilets were a bit un-cared for, and I had a slight problems with the 'runs'.

In the overpowering heat we made the short walk to Tiskiwin up the alley. It is a little house, where the owner still lives. It has an enthralling collection from South Sahara, including Toureg artifacts. Wooden tribal carving, robes of nomads, camel sadles, tents. The building itself has a lovely courtyard. It was the nicest museum we visited in Marrakesh.


At 10 pm our guide, Ben took us to the caleche waiting by the gate, Bab Doukkala. The driver was a jolly, helpful bloke, Abdul, wearing a brown uniform and driving two small Arab stallions, one grey, one brown. The grey kept trying to bite the brown, which leant a bit of drama to the situation. I suppose he got fed up going round and round in the heat.

Abdul drove us on a long trip round the posh hotel areas and leafy posh gardens of palaces to see the famous pavillion where there is a huge tank of water. He told us about the areas as we passed, and was very helpful and friendly.

You cannot approach this pavillion in the caleche. Very very hot and you have to walk along a baking road with no shade to get there from the gate. I am sure it was over 45 degrees. Not much to see actually, maybe its better in the spring or autumn. Luckily there is a little stall selling water so we sat under some trees for a little while.

The gardens of La Marjorelle are in another leafy area with a small entrance gate. Inside are many pretty courtyards and quiet areas, a massive cactus garden, blue grottos with large shady pool, and 'Museum closed' signs, as was the shop.

The gardens were restored and enlarged by Yves Saint Laurant, and there is a quiet area where (I think) his ashes are laid and where you can sit and contemplate your own imortality - or how much more expensive the trip is working out to be than you thought!

I admired the very lovely orange, yellow, blue and red painted pots, some planted up with succulents. There is bourgainvilla, hybiscus, jasmin, bamboo, palms....

The cafe, in an attractive courtyard, serves expensive mint tea - 6 Euro for two cups, but is was very delightful sitting there, people watching.


Excellent restaurant, which is popular with tourists and local people. The doorman was in uniform. Nice interior and attentive staff, who are all women. The restaurant is run by women.

Delicious saffron rice and kebabs, and a bottle wine which was about 230 dhirams.
Taxi back was 40 dhirams. (about 10 dhirams to the euro).


We went with N to a herbalist in the medina. It had a large collection of herbs and spices outside and was a large establishment. It was expensive.
I think we were 'easy meat'!
I bought a pack of saffron, some aromatic paprika, pack of mint 'green; tea, pot of rose essence face cream and small bottle of argan oil, it came to about 40 euros!

Later we visited Marrakesh museum, very tired and hot, so reviving mint tea and some water at the museum , very welcome but again, expensive.
Museum seemed a bit grubby and poorly lit, ceramics not as good as we have seen at Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Also a collection of silver daggers, jewellery. A lovely old building with fine wood carving and coloured plaster work.

In the souk we bought some red leather slippers, which we later found were cheaper in the airport shop.

Our evening meal was in the new town, which is called Gueliz.


Breakfast is on the roof again, sweet bread like scones, and pancakes. Yorgurt, porridge, honey, coffee, organe juice, cornflakes.

We met up at 9.30 with N, our guide, University Graduate in Eng. Lit (Casablanca) who especially admires novels of Joseph Conrad. She wore an organge kaftan and scarf. She is engaged to be married (arranged marriage).

Apparently no 'madrasas' (religious schools) are allowed in Morocco because it is thought they allow extremists to establish themselves. All higher education has to be at universities, where education is free. Girls can get good jobs now.

We went to the other side of the Medina from Bab Doukkala.
We walked to see the old religious school (forget name) famous for its architecture with the influence of Al Andaluce in Spain. It is open to public but is not used for education now. It was originally used by 900 boys, 8 years and up, studying all subjects under imams, with a very wide sylabus.

Lovely style of architecture, originated in Moorish Andalucia, coloured plaster work, carved cedar ceilings, coloured ceramic tiles. A really lovely building, and so peaceful despite the large number of tourists.


On the roof of the Riad there is a dining area, which is large, over two buildings with an open hole where the atriums are open to the sky.
The sky is a magnificent blue and there are huge cactus in pots, and flowering hybiscus.
Lots of swallows in the sky and birds singing.
Its evening.
Had more pastilles then salad dishes, cooked aubergine, squash and honey, beetroot, zuchini with chili, green beans etc.
Lamb tagine with a few veg, no bread or couscous. One bottle good white wine.
Then gorgeous dish of oranges with cinnamon and a creme-custard filled tart.


Went into centre of town on Saturday on my bike to buy some fish, as you do.
The fish van is near the library and this time I was lucky as the man had a few fresh herrings from the South Coast (he said). He travels up from Hastings. Herrings used to be poor man's food, but no longer.
My mother, whose family was impoverished, said she lived on them, that and potatoes.
Now they are rich man's food - the three fish cost nearly £5 - but they were delicious.
Near the fish van there were some stalls relating to the current Book Fest - what a horrible title - whats wrong with Book Festival?
I bought a huge hard-back book on the History of the Royal Air Force, because of my interest in Bomber Command, and Wing Commander Hugh Crosby in particular.
The Right of the Line, The Royal Air Force in the European War, 1939-1945 by John Terraine. 1985
Great buy for £1.
At the vegetable stall I bought a pound of wet walnuts, bitter and delicious, especially with a smidgeon of salt, and some of those large green grapes from Italy, with pips. They are only available for a few weeks every year and I love them!
Food in autumn can sometimes make up for the dreadful grey skys.

Monday, March 31, 2008


This is a small exhibition in the Sainsbury Wing, on until 18 May.
Expensive, so be prepared. It is free, I think on Tuesday afternoons.
Interesting to read about the artist and the way of life of the English 'milords' who spent much time in Rome in the 18th century. The works I admired most are the portraits of these young men, and one young woman, mostly three-quarter view or to the waist. One big group portrait of three men. There are, as usual, not enough seats for you to sit and look carefully.
The colours are usually bright, with the regimentals of the men, of course, usually red. Britches white. There is a fine picture of a Gordon, in manly posture, draped with what they think is specially woven silk 'tartan' cloth.
Several heads show what appear to be intelligent, pensive sitters. Holding music, or maps.
The fact that these people used swords, or canes or long guns, aided the pose, since a hand can casually rest on the top of these things. Today the men do not have such a prop, only a mobile phone.
I did a number of sketches and hope that they will come to mind, when I plan my new works of portraits of athletes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008



The Camden Town Group paintings look good in reproduction.
In actuality, the paint surfaces are somewhat disturbing.

Best work was obviously done by Walter Sickert, whose nudes were recently on display at the Courtauld Gallery. There is authority and confidence in his painting and thought provoking images of interiors, both domestic and places of entertainment. There is a beautiful painting of pierrots in pink costumes, side view of them performing on a stage, out of doors, at Brighton.

Some pictures have paint so very thick and treacly the consistency gets in the way of appreciating the image.

Beautiful late work by Spencer Gore of Richmond Park, done just before he died, apparently from pneumonia caused by painting outdoors in winter.

The main artists are Spencer Gore, Harold Gilman, Robert Bevan, Charles Ginner and Walter Sickert.

Peter Doig

I much prefer the earlier work, but even this is obviously 'pretty' because of the bright, flickering lights and sparking blacks and deep blues. The later work seems to be merely a wish wash of paint pigments, as if he is starting ideas which have been discarded.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Walter Sickert, the Camden Town Nudes

Courtauld Gallery

Walter Sickert, The Camden Town Nudes 25 Oct 2007 - 20 Jan 2008

Good news, is it is free Monday all day, which is when I went; bad news, it ends very soon, on 20 January.
When the sky is grey and the weather dour, looking at the Sickert nudes will not cheer you up. Much better to watch the jolly skaters on the rink in the courtyard, especially at night when the flares are lit.
But no, you want to see the paintings on the Third Floor. It is a small collection, and I think dominated by the study of a young girl sitting upright and resting a hand on the small of her back, just as if she is tired of all the household chores - after all these models are not going to be ladies who live a life of luxuary, they are probably housemaids, or shop-girls.
I was struck by the darkness of the images, the density of the paint, the thick impasto. Sickert probably loaded the paint onto the canvas, then waited for it to dry thoroughly before putting the next layer. There are blobs and ridges, which catch the light. It is so thick it is intrusive. It gets between you and what the painting is about. It is particularly evident in the two studies on the central wall, both referring to the Camden Town Murders. They are entitled also, 'What shall we do about the rent?' On the left, the painting is highly varnished and it is difficult to look at the image - too much disturbing light reflections. The painting on the right is matt, and easier on the eye. It has a cool, blue tinge, reminiscent of Manet. The paint is not so thick and treacly.
However, in addition to the difficulty of looking at the paintings, I wonder why Sickert painted with so many darks, why he chose not to paint the faces of these nudes and why the titles of the works hint at such dreary, depressing aspects of life in the big city at about 1906 or 1907.
The blurb on the free leaflet says "the exhibition traces Sickert's reinvention of the nude, exploring the ways in which these powerful paintings addressed pressing artistic and social concerns of the period". In what way does he reinvent the nude? Other than making the body itself so dark that you can hardly note its mass, I suppose he had an influence on other painters working shortly after these dates, the Euston Road School for instance, who later had an influence on the way painting was taught at Camberwell Art School and other art schools such as the Slade.
Sickert has a place in our consciousness because of the subjects he liked to paint, the seedy rooms, the music halls. Perhaps beforehand the British had not liked to look at the 'underbelly' of life. Pretty cottages had been painted, but not dreary poverty. Dickens and others have written of such themes, Degas painted the little working girls, Toulouse Lautrec the tarts of Paris. The is a difference in approach, the tarts and working girls of Paris have colour and movement, they are not bogged down in anthracite smokey darkness, heavy, unresponding, too dreary to be saved, even by the philanthropists who, I suppose, are referred to in the phrase 'pressing artistic and social concerns of the period'.