ON CHELSIN BEACH

This novel that was written by Ian McEwans in 2007, is an emotion-filled story about the romance of a young couple, Edward Mayhew an ardent historian graduate, and Florence Ponting the tremulous lead violinist in a string quartet with aspirations to Wigmore Hall. They are 22 years old, attractive and good looking.

It tells the story of a couple that fell in love at first sight. The plot centres on their wedding night, at the beginning of the 1960s and takes place in a  Georgian hotel, beside Chelsin Beach. They have just got married in Oxford. Like all married couples in love they believe they will be making a new life.

Gleeful that their new status promised to promote them out of their endless youth, Edward and Florence, free at last ! Because since they got married they would not have to explain to anybody else about of their decided to do.

However they live in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible, in a world that belongs to the Americans and the Russians. While Florence, would rather thay anyone never touch her, because she hate that anyone touch her even this man she loves, on the other hand, Edward dreams fervently , silently of the ininterrupted pleasure that will be theirs now, the “wrangle over the ring” has been started.

However surprisingly,  both Edward and Florence think that she is frigid, so that in their meeting moments she is cold, while he is passionate.

McEwa’s real subject in this novel, is the way the smallest incident can have lifelong consequences, like it seems happen in this  disastrous honeymoon evening in Chelsin Beach. The author’s skillful, is the perfect-word at handing the awkward comedy of this relationship, turning it into something far more disturbing when the honeymoon night gets to the end. This is a skillful construted novel where the writing is wonderfully observed, its language is  full of descriptive adjectives slightly elaborated,  and it is  packed with lovely moments and well drawn characters.

McEwans manages to depict the night so vividly and sympathetically that there is no temptation to laugh. Although the details all seem rather arbitrary, since the moment the author do not explain the cause why Florence has a sexual problem . It is an extremely readable novel, and so gripping that I could not put it down.

M.Belén Pico

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THE CAPRICHO by GAUDI

Recently I spent some time in Comillas and visited “The Capricho” by Gaudi, an original building that literally made me feel  breathless.

Amongst the trees we find a “folly” designed by Gaudi and built for Maximo Diaz de Quijano, brother in-law of the marquess of  “Comillas”.

Its is name “The Capricho”, in it we can find some of the keys of  Gaudi´s style . It is posible that to build The Capricho, Gaudi had been inspired in this expression applied to a musical fragment to make changes of  rhythm, breaking the rules to the point, that some of its lines have surrealist qualities.

This unique and beautiful building is all music, poetry, painting and  architecture. The combination of Spanish and Arabic elements decorate the whole construction.

Gaudi, going against the standards of the time, combine iron structures,with reddish and yellow bricks, and with glazed pottery to achieve a touch of  pure surrealism. Besides the sunflowers  that decorate the friezes along the facade, deserve special mention  the Tower and the Porch. There are also two marvellous stained-glass windows of differents colours, where we can see a bird  and a dragonfly that seems to be playing an  instrument.

This construction, which blends in beautifully with the landscape, stands out because of its delicate proportions and its rounded curving shape.If  you are a lover of  architecture, “The Capricho is worth  a visit.

M.Belen Pico.

Fernando de Magallanes(1480-1521)

FERNANDO DE MAGALLANES (1480-1521).

Best known for captaining the first European expedition across the Pacific Ocean. This was also the first successful attempt to circumnavigate the Earth, and the first to navigate the strait in South America connecting the Atlantic and Pacificic oceans.

Fernando de Magallanes, portuguese navigator and explorer, was born in Oporto into a noble family. He served from 1501 in expeditions to the East Indies under Francisco de Almeida and later under Alfonso de Alburquerque. However, while he was serving in Morocco, he was accused of financial irregularities, it made that he lost the favor of  king Manuel I. In that moment, he decides to go to Spain, where he presents to king Carlos I the plan that would give the ships of the Crown of Castilla full access to the lands of the Moluccas (Spice Islands), because he thought that the Moluccas were close to South America, and he wanted to find a westward route.

The main motive was economic, because Carlos I wanted to trade in the East Indies, but he did not know that the Moluccas were in Portuguese hands. In 1519 five ships ( San Antonio,Trinidad,Concepción,Victoria and Santiago) with about 265 men under  Magallanes´s command sailed from Sanlucar de Barrameda. Magallanes and his crew were the first Europeans to enter the Pacific through the Strait of Magallanes, which he discovered. Only three of the original five ships entere The Pacific on Nov.28 (1520), because two of them were lost, one by shipwreck, the other by mutiny. Magallanes reached Sebu in The Philipines in April 1521, where he became involved in a local war and was killed. Later, with the crew wasted from sickness, the survivors had to destroy the Concepción.

The Victoria, was commanded by Juan Sebastián del Cano, who continued n to the Moluccas, he picked up a small cargo of spices there, and then crossed the Indian Ocean, travelling around the Cape of Good Hope from the East.  Finally, with a reduced crew J.S. el Cano reached Sevilla on Sept. 1522, almost three years later they had departed.

The benefit economic that this project brought to Spain was  too small, although it was proved to be the greates of all the conquest undertaken by the gold, slaves , and spice-seeking overseas adventurers of early modern Europe. Furthermore, the geographical impact of the circumnavigation was enormous, not only by the new geographical data that it produced, but also by the irrefutable proof of the sphericity of the Earth, as well as the preponderance of water over continental masses on the Earth’s surface.

by Belen