I’m in the middle of writing and editing and preparing and more, but yesterday we had an opportunity to attend a public rehearsal of Don Giovanni and we took it.

Love SeatAfter the performance, we had a bite to eat at the nearby Sarona Market, where we saw this seat. It plays love songs. Well, there’s probably a loudspeaker hidden behind it, but you can sit on the bench and listen to love songs. Isn’t that sweet.

After that, we enjoyed an evening walk by the sea in un-sea-sonably warm weather.

But the strangest things happened during the performance. Really, they both happened. I’m not making this up.

Maybe because it was a rehearsal, a few members of the audience thought it was all right to talk to each other or to use their smart phones – silently. Some people up in the gallery were talking quite loudly. Eventually, the disturbance was dealt with somehow and the talking stopped. Just then the translated text of the opera, displayed above and next to the stage said:

We’ve finally got rid of that fool.

Later, the man directly in front of me was using his phone, holding it so that its light shone in my eyes. I put my hand up in front of me to block the light and again looked at the text of the opera. It said:

He dazzled me for a moment.

I kid you not.

It’s good to get out sometimes and experience life outside the computer.

Right, back to editing.

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We don’t travel around a lot when we’re at home. We tend to spend much of our time in our garden and leave touring for holidays. Unlike my friend, Lisa Isaacs, who travels regularly and writes fascinating blog posts about the places she goes to.

But there are a few places I’ve visited recently:

The Helena Rubinstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art

FriederikeMariaBeerByKlimtPart of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, this pavilion provided us an interesting hour or two. Due to my forthcoming novel, written together with Emma Rose Millar, I was particularly pleased to see a painting by Gustav Klimt. This portrait was commissioned by the young Viennese socialite, Friederike Maria Beer. She arrived at the modelling session wearing a hand-painted silk dress and a fur jacket. Klimt was taken with the lining of the jacket and asked her to turn it inside out.

Sarona

As a place to eat, shop and wander around, Sarona, which is in Tel-Aviv, is still quite new. But its history goes back to 1871, when the German Templers established a colony there.

MigdalDavid19The Tower of David

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Jerusalem’s Tower of David has a much longer history, which I won’t delve into here, but I plan to write about it very soon.

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Author of the Day

Sue Barnard doesn’t parade her wide knowledge, but it accompanies her to quiz programmes and to wherever she write her novels. She’s had three published, two of those influenced by Shakespeare, and there’s another on the way. I met Sue, first online and then in person, four years ago and we’ve been friends ever since.

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Update: It was while tweeting about this post that I realised I should have mentioned an event that links two of its themes: an excellent outdoor performance of Macbeth by Theater in the Rough.

Macbeth

 

Jane Charlesworth and the novel she comes from, Rebellious Cargo, were featured in my series, Letters from Elsewhere in October.

The novel is one of three featured this week by Crooked Cat Publishing.

All three are romances – two historical and one contemporary: rebellious shenanigans in the Scottish Highlands in Cathie Dunn’s Highland Arms; romantic adventures out at sea in Susan Lodge’s Rebellious Cargo; and unexpected surprises in a dating agency in The Love Shack by Tina K Burton.

More posts about these stories will probably appear on the Crooked Cats’ Cradle.

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I’m continuing to write for the English Informer about life in Israel. My latest post is about Sundays. Do you know what we get up to on Sundays?

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My husband takes wonderful photos.

Nahal David with Dead Sea in background

At Nahal David, Ein Gedi with the Dead Sea in the background

Hidden waterfall at Nahal Arugot

Hidden waterfall at Nahal Arugot, Ein Gedi

Hyrax at Nahal David

Hyrax at Nahal David, Ein Gedi

Sunset2016

Sunset in Tel-Aviv

100 Word Challenge

Click to join in the fun

The challenge: 104 words including:

the extreme weather meant

I’m throwing fiction to the elements this week. We had our extreme weather about a week before most of you.

So near and yet so different

In Tel-Aviv, the extreme weather meant flooding, road closures and terrible traffic jams.

In Modi’in, a shopping centre was flooded, giving rise to the picture of a restaurant, the diners with their feet in water, that appeared on Facebook. Another interesting picture compared the shopping mall to Venice. They did look rather similar.

In Jerusalem, the extreme weather meant a traffic shutdown, a welcome holiday, snowmen, snowballs and beautiful, silent whiteness. What a difference a few kilometres and a few hundred metres make!

A week later, we sat lazing on the grass in warm sunshine, not a trace of extreme weather in sight.

Frozen pond

Frozen pond

You’ll be able to read two blogs about a single event. Erika and I met on Thursday for an evening out and decided we’d both blog about it and compare our views. Which parts made enough of an impression to be included? What did each of us enjoy?

So, I took the light railway again. Well, why not? It’s free (still), comfortable and takes a reasonable amount of time to arrive. Entering the bus station (I’m so used to this, I don’t usually think about it), I walked through an xray machine and then put my backpack through another machine. I’m not crazy about the way the bus station is designed. For me, it’s a bus station and not a shopping centre, and I don’t enjoy pushing my way past shoppers to reach the buses, two floors up.

Some things can be confusing for those who don’t know. The two bus stations in Tel-Aviv are known as central and north, but the north station is also the central railway station. At least they’re both also called Arlozorov, so if you use that name, you can’t go wrong. Although the station is also called Savidor.

The journey to Tel-Aviv was fast, comfortable and cold. I tried to keep my bare arms under my backpack to protect them from the cold air from the air conditioning. I hadn’t taken a bus along this route for some time and was pleased to note that the new(ish) bus lane saves a lot of time. Just to show I was in the big city, I took this picture, although it doesn’t really prove anything:

Erika picked me up at the station and drove me to the sea. (No, I didn’t say into the sea.) Then we walked to Jaffa’s famous Clock Tower.

On the way, we passed a large number of people and realised they must be celebrating Eid-Ul-Fitr (the end of Ramadan). They were spread out all over the grass and busy grilling meat or just hanging around. Erika hadn’t realised this was going to happen and apologised to me for the commotion around us, but I didn’t mind. I’ve done this walk before when it’s been quieter.

As we walked, we caught up with each other’s news, in particular we talked about her recent trip to Latvia and mine to Italy.

Our destination was the flea market. We wandered along its streets, which were quiet as the shops were about to close, looking at the shops with their mixture of old and antique. We entered one shop where the goods were expensive and interesting. Unusual plates, a lamp shade with a wooden base, mirrors with ornate frames.

Then we looked around for somewhere to eat and settled on a small café, where we sat outside during a quiet period between the day and the evening. I ordered a sandwich with aubergine and other vegetables. It came with salad. The lemon drink with mint had an unusual, not-so-pleasant taste. Afterwards, on Erika’s recommendation, I bought kurtosh, a sweet Hungarian pastry. Later, my family and I enjoyed eating it. It tastes very much like yeast cake, but it’s shaped like a tower and hollow in the middle.

We walked back by the sea and I returned from whence I came. A very pleasant evening. Thank you, Erika!