Speaking this month we have:
David Illsley – The Ancient Kingdom of the Alpujarra of Granada.
The peaks that tower over the ancient kingdom of Granada are the highest in mainland Spain, higher even than the mighty Pyrenees. Entrapped between their southern slopes and the mediterranean sea some 30 miles distant, lies the fabled area known as Las Alpujarras, the last exclave of the Islamic empire of Al-Andalus, secretive land which to this day remains revered for its astonishing zoological diversity, its sweeping ethereal landscapes and venerable cultural heritage.
Just imagine: the slopes rise from the seashore to well over 11000 feet, the seasons are extreme and elemental, the thousand year old system of irrigated terraces still works perfectly, whilst there is a breathtaking array of wildflowers – up to 80% of European endemics, it is claimed – and the entire area somehow reeks of antiquity, with archaeologists suggesting recently that they have unearthed the tooth of a primitive hominid that is a mind-blowing 1.2 million years old.
The aim of this short talk is to describe and illustrate this lovely area which I’m proud to say has been our home for almost 20 years, and to try to offer some insight into how its inhabitants have had to come to terms and adapt to such a beautiful yet challenging environment.
David and Emma gave up the day job with the British Council in the Canaries in 1998, and after a month or so back in the UK set off on our bicycles for what was assumed would be a year off. However, they somehow seemed to get a bit carried away, and that year off has managed to extend itself, so that they now find themselves still squirrelled away in the mountains of Granada, where they run a small hotel, restaurant and multi -activity centre, together of course with their family of boys, labradors and an assortment of small animals.
Find out more at laschimeneas.com or on Facebook.
- Mark Wainwright – Above the clouds
Mark Wainwright’s chequered career has included working as an editor, stonecutter, housing officer, and open data evangelist, among other things. In 2014 he lived for some months at the remote Tharpaling Monastery in Bumthang, Bhutan, teaching English to monks. While there he learnt to speak a little Dzongka, to avoid being attacked by bears, and to appreciate chilli as a vegetable.
London branch meetings are held at The Church of Scotland, Crown Court, behind the Fortune Theatre in Covent Garden the first Saturday of each month, unless there is a UK public holiday that weekend.
Admission costs, £3 for Members and £6.00 Non-members. You do not need to be a member to attend, and we do not sell advanced tickets, please just come on the day, the doors open at 2:15pm and the program starts around 2:30pm with each talk lasting approximately 40 minutes.
There is no London meeting in August, but we start afresh each September.
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