Norte and South

IMG_3249I’ve long been fascinated by graffiti and street art – from days of New York living where the subways trains rattled past spray-painted with a thousand colours.  By whom, I used to wonder, and when and how? The mystery of incognito people decorating vehicles and walls in the dead of night or when no one was looking intrigued me.

Fast forward to August 2016 and the opening of ‘Norte and South’ an urban art exhibition at Atzaró hotel in Ibiza, and it’s clear things have developed in that world.  Possibly the most beautifully situated luxury boutique hotel in Ibiza annually hosts a show of street artists whose work now fetches none too shabby prices, and adorn the walls of the most high spec villas and homes. In short – it’s moved from the outside in.

The artists’ names indicate anonymity: Sixe, Inkie, Vinz, Miss Van are some that together with the use of masks in many of the paintings perpetuate the theme of mystery and secrecy necessitated by illegal street painting.

I asked Inkie what the difference was between a graffiti artist and a street artist. “Grafitti is about making your mark by spray painting surfaces freehand – then you tag (sign) it – to show you’ve been there.  It’s a territorial thing.  If someone graffitis over an existing piece on a wall somewhere – there’s gonna be trouble..”

So far so understood.  But what about street art? “Well, that’s work produced using stencils and print.  It’s more iconic image based work.” I was getting the gist.
“And your name?” I asked, “Inkie?”
“You know, it’s like an ink fingerprint.”

It was all making perfect sense, until I spotted the magnificent ‘Dimensions’ by Sixe Paredes. Continue reading “Norte and South”


A Hot Day For Cycling

P1070915I picked up my means of transport.  It was hot, a damned hot Ibiza day, but I was on a mission to discover all there was to discover on the Orbea Optima electric bicycle.

Oscar, at Kandani showed me its features one by one and handed me a helmet.  I asked him about the charging element. “I’m a bit worried, Oscar, what if I’m half way to Santa Inés and I run out of juice?”
He paused, midway through adjusting the seat, raised his head and looked at me incredulously: “Nobody empty the battery in one day. Nobody.”

Feeling chastised but comforted at the same time, I smiled, sat on the comfy padded seat and waved goodbye. “Are you sure I don’t need the off-road model?” I called out to him.
“No, this is enough for you. Make sure you start off on ‘Tour’ and then move up to Turbo as you go.  Don’t start on Turbo or you will take off very quickly and that could be dangerous!”

Heading towards San Carles I felt the joy of minimal peddling and maximum speed.  Despite the heat, the teeniest breeze generated by the motion felt cool on my face.  I smiled from sheer joy.  Past heat-baked fields of ripening tomatoes, sprinklers freshened them and me as I motored by. Further on the scent of pines cut through dusty air, and the faint aroma of fig as I passed a tree laden with this sumptuous fruit waiting for its moment to drop.

How far would I go?  How far did I want to go? Would I climb the Sierra De La Malacosta or would I simply go to the beach?

Continue reading “A Hot Day For Cycling”

Sweet Fennel, Pure Silver

P1070497The first thing that struck me was the dogs.  They were everywhere.

A meeting place of Las Dalias in the heart of the Ibizan countryside for the Silver Mines Walk had a group of about 30 of us gathered to tackle the14km jaunt ahead.  Collies, a Basset hound, a few smaller dogs whose breed I couldn’t identify, and a small white rough haired puppy accompanied us.

Attached to their owners by leads on the side of this busy road they were eager to be off.  Greeting each other sometimes tentatively with a sniff here, a nose rub there, the occasional growl – overall blatant friskiness and exuberance was the shared canine mood.

Continue reading “Sweet Fennel, Pure Silver”

Life is better on bike

P1050024 I know these guys – they’re always on time.  Rushing up to our apppointed meeting at the entrance to Camping Escana five minutes early – there he was just waiting. “Hola” I called out excitedly.

A tall dark and it must be said, fairly handsome gentleman nodded and proceeded to turn around and unlock the van.  I reached his side.  He leant down and we kiss kissed. “Ah, two cheeks like in Spain!” he grinned as we introduced ourselves.

The van doors opened wide to reveal two white steed-like bikes, each with the packaging still on. “They’re brand new” Eric said looking back over his shoulder as he jumped in to grab one for me.  “We get them straight from industry.”
“Ah – you mean from the manufacturers?” I enquired.
“Yes, exactly – from Orbea.” He lifted the nearest one down, removed the blue wrapping and we stood back to admire her.

Continue reading “Life is better on bike”

Disco dancing Jagger style


I can always tell when my cousin is on the school run.  Apart from the time itself – around 4.45pm – the bellowing wind enveloping her usually causes a shouting match as she marches up the hill towards her son’s place of learning.


Rach: (even louder than me):  THAT SOUNDS NICE!  COUNT ME IN!


Continue reading “Disco dancing Jagger style”

Lottie Bogotti


Sometimes I like a bit of vintage. The thing is I’m not so keen on the accompanying mustiness and endless jumble of rails that one has to endure to find some treasure.

‘Lottie Bogotti’ is thankfully a different shopping experience.

I wandered in, seaweed strewn from the beach, wet bikini marks on my T-shirt from a recent swim and said Hi to Hannah and her daughter – whose name emblazons this cute little tienda in San Carles, Ibiza.

“It’s so hard to find a strapless top or dress anywhere, Hannah – I don’t suppose you have one, do you?” As always, one only has to ask and like a magician she pulls exactly the thing you’re looking for ‘out of a hat’ as it were.  Disappearing downstairs she returned with a brightly coloured stash of frothy Indian silk – impossible to describe – but just what I wanted. “Here, you can have this one – it’s got a hole in it so I can’t sell it – and it’s your colour!”  I headed to the changing room and slipped it on.

A gentle background of golden orange with a teeny tiny flowery print, its elastic shape fitted to my chest, flowed from there, hugged my hips and then frou frou’ed out shortly to just cover my derriere – very cute.

“It’s perfect, Hannah – thank you!” I exclaimed.  I got us some drinks and we sat on the two little stools inside, chewing the fat.  People started arriving, picking up this and that, holding up pieces to themselves in the mirror, trying on sparkly necklaces and asking to see different delicacies in the cabinets.

“You’re bringing me customers” Hannah said as I showed the shops’ namesake my camera and asked her if she’d take a few shots.  “But why don’t you make a film instead?” she asked.  “Well, that’s a really good idea, Lottie, but we don’t have time today. I’ve got no lights on my bike and I need to head home before it gets dark.”

“You cover a lot of ground on that bike – imagine how much you’d do if you had a car!”  “I dread to think, Hannah, it’s all I can do to keep up with myself on two wheels.”

As customers purchased everything from vintage clothing to Cowboy boots to heart shaped sunglasses and funky handbags, I sat there sewing up my latest love and bracing myself for the ride home.

An evening with Jérôme

P1020883We arrived at the after party.  Jérôme had invited me.  I’d looked my hostess in the eye at the gig prior – a glance that said: ‘Is he okay this guy?’ “Oh yes, you should go S, it’ll be fun” she’d replied.

Our jeep ride to post-performance shenanigans had us chatting away about everything from the West of Ireland to my photographic attempts for Conversations with strangers. “Get one of these for a start” Jérôme told me, pointing to his holster-like belt which contained a small camera not dissimilar to mine.

On arriving at a fabled hotel in the countryside, I recognised I was indeed walking in with the photographer of the island as Jérôme continued to fill me in on his work: “I take all the photos of the artists that perform at Ibiza Rocks.” “Gosh, really?” I said.  “Yes, and perhaps you’ve seen my book – portraits of the people that live here – it’s called ‘Ibiza People?’”

He showed me a pic of the book cover on his phone. “Oh, you know I think I have seen it in various places.” “Probably” he went on.  “And, all the smart villas – they have my photographs.”

A commotion at the entrance to reception interrupted our chat.  Suitcases and their accompanying guests appeared with the excitement of arriving finally at a holiday destination.  “Sophie, Soph, can you bring that bag here, I need my passport!”  Soph appeared, out of breath wearing a hat, short backless dress and flip flops.  “Here you go darling.”  Then, seeing us – and specifically my handsome companion: “Hello, hello, who are you? Do we know you? Have we met before?!”  “I am a photographer. My name is Jérôme Ferrière – perhaps you have heard of me?”  “Ahhhh! Enchanté, enchanté! Bonsoir!”

Before I knew it Jérôme was hastening to his jeep to fetch a couple of his books. “Wait for me, I’ll be back” he called over his shoulder.  Minutes later we were all flicking through it. “Oh, mais c’est magnifique, ça!” exclaimed Sophie.  “Oui, oui, c’est vrai. Ooh la la!”

Two book sales down, we headed inside and I got a guided tour of his arresting portraits adorning practically everywhere you looked.

We stopped at a large black and white photograph of Nile Rogers.  “Let’s have a selfie with Nile, Jérôme, but I think you’d better take it” I said, opening my handbag to search for my camera. P1020889

Freshly squeezed

2013-10-03 14.23.37-2There were too many options.  Too many sources of stimulation.  Despite a very active preceding day cycling from one end of Ibiza to the other and a very late night I was up again early – keen to carpe diem at Can Du.

Waking in a sleeping house, I quietly closed the kitchen door behind me.  The bag of oranges awaited.  This was after all one of the reasons I’d chosen to stay here – a delightful picture of several sliced with a tall glass of their juice on the website had looked so appetising, so appealing.

Through the fly screen I could see a few drops of rain.  I reached inside the cupboard brought out the electric juicer and plugged it in. The oranges were soft and succumbed easily to being sliced open, juice running out of them onto the chopping board. I placed a half on the plastic fountain and pressed down.

The door opened.  T walked in and immediately came over to check on progress.  “There doesn’t seem to be much in this orange” I said.  “That’s because you’re not using the correct method.  I’ve been juicing for three years – let me show you how.”

I let him take over and walked over to the door.  The rain was falling heavily now, splashing off the tiles, drenching the clothing hanging on the line.

I turned to watch the Juicer.  Hand over the top of the orange with one finger from his other hand pressing down lightly on the dome.  “You see, this method gets out every last drop” he said, taking the half off the machine to show me a bare interior.

I tried a couple more and then handed it over to the maestro while I went over to puruse the rain and debated whether I should run out to take the wet washing in.

Ashley arrived.  “Good morning.  What’s going on here, eh? You two juicing?” We both smiled at him.  “Yes, that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

T started to concoct breakfast – some muesli, Greek yogurt, freshly squeezed orange pulp, a few seeds.  “Would you like some fresh pineapple in your juice S?” he asked.  “I would, please” I replied.

Ashley joined me at the fly screen. “Everything gets so wet here” he said.  “Yes, I know, but look, it’s passed now” I replied, feeling the heat suddenly as the sun parted the clouds and made everything clear again.



P1030375I bought a pen.  In fact, I bought two – one for me and one for Hjordis, the lady I was about to meet. It turns out the Bic multicoloured pen of the 70’s has made a comeback in Ibiza and I could hardly contain my excitement on spotting one with Apple green, purple, turquoise and pink ink.

The newsagent in Vara de Rey has to be my favourite in the whole world.  I turned in off the leafy Paseo, past the local guide books, newspaper stands, maps and various other paraphernalia.  I spied the monthly women’s magazines; only in Spain do you find the best ever freebie gifts included with a copy of ‘Vogue’ or ‘Glamour’.

Switching my focus to the main event – a new notebook – I asked where they were. “Abajo, al final” the lady at the cash desk said pointing to the farthest corner of the store.

Fluorescent lime green, orange, cobalt blue soft covers, square ruled and just the right size, I claimed my booty and paid up.

The Blue Cactus offices were calm and quiet. Hjordis and I greeted each other and headed down to the square again.

Coffee was relaxed.

“Before I forget, let me give you a copy of the Sunday Times Style magazine.” I said, procuring a rather dog-eared one from my bag.

“There’s been a great response to the interview they did with me on my new guide book” she said. “A couple wrote to me from the UK saying they wanted to return to the island for the first time in 30 years after reading it. But, I didn’t want to come across as ‘I know everything about Ibiza’, you know? I wanted it to be from the heart.”  “Well, you don’t need to worry about that” I said.

I asked her how the book was doing.  “Really well, I think they have it in that newsagents – at the entrance” she said, pointing to my previous date. She told me she’d done all the illustrations and that working on it over the winter had been a labour of love.

“I’ll go and get one after this” I said.  “No.  Why don’t you come to the car with me – I’ll give you a copy and sign it – that’s a much nicer way to do it.”

Modesty is an underrated human quality; how refreshing to meet a genuinely talented lady who has it in spades.

P1030008For a copy of My Ibiza & Formentera 2014-15, buy it on the island, or contact