Wednesday, November 13

Lisbon 2013 - Gulbenkian Museum (Museu Calouste Gulbenkian)

Another rainy day sent me off to the Gulbenkian Museum, which (along with the Gulbenkian Foundation, which funds the arts, social welfare, education and science) is housed in some interesting Modernist buildings.

The buildings are set in a beautifully landscaped park, and softened by lots of plants.

Calouste Gulbenkian was a very interesting man, who made his pile acting as a middleman in oil deals in Iraq post the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th Cent. His shrewd business deals lead to his nickname 'Mr Five Percent' (note to self, must look for a good biography).

His extensive art and textile collection would have probably ended up in the UK, had he not followed the French government to Vichy. The British government declared him an enemy alien and sized his oil revenues. You can't blame him for being a bit miffed.

The collection is absolutely superb. My favourite pieces were the little, Egyptian cat sarcophagus (above) and the collection of Mamluk glass.

Saturday, November 9

Lisbon October 2013 - the Oceanarium

The boy had a conference in Lisbon a couple of weeks ago, so I cam along as 'plus one'. Sadly, the first couple of days weren't exactly sunny.

It was French half-term and the city was rammed with French families, also trying to hide from the rain. On Thursday was all headed for the oceanarium (think aquarium but posher [they feed the sharks by hand]).

It's the only aquarium in Europe with SEA OTTERS! I ruthlessly pushed all the little Jean-Pauls and Claudettes out of the way to have a good commune.

It's an absolutely magical place...

...with some fine merchandise (although no sea otter SOCKS).

RIP Maisie

Last week our Snr Cat Maisie was taken very ill, and we had to have her put down. She was sixteen and a half, and had been with us for fifteen years (the majority of our married life). She was a friendly, homebody who like nothing better than to sit on my lap.

I'm not going to apologise for missing her. Hard is hard, and there's no point playing the 'my hard is harder than your hard' game.