Ah Sevilla! This is one of my favourite shots from my beloved Seville from the magical Plaza de Espana. Every Easter I go to Andalucia to visit one or two cities. This year saw a return to my favourite flamenco destination, Seville as well as a two night stay in Cadiz. Seville is almost like my second home, it feels familiar and yet always surprising. To add to the magic this year I was there to see the dramatic start of the Feria de Abril - a crazy explosion of lights and dancing...and lots of crowds of over excited Sevillans! A new discovery this trip was a visit to the Pena de la Perla de Cadiz, a flamenco bar steeped in history on the edge of the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. I had been waiting for a year to see this venue and it didn't disappoint!
Time in this part of the world passes all too quickly and too soon it was time to leave the 32degree heat and flamenco passion to return to London where the temperature had dropped considerably since the week before. Not to be downhearted, however, I continued the Latin feel by going to the Barbican to see 'Mexrrissey' as part of the 'La Linea' festival. This fantastic 7 piece group formed in Mexico City to pay homage to the music of Morrissey. The Smiths go Latin, what's not to love - they were amazing! The audience were dancing and singing along to 'Colgar el DJ' and even 'Mi Novia esta en Coma' had a distinctly upbeat feel. Who knew Morrissey could sound so cheerful...
As this experience delighted my musical senses, I also had a week of talking to many people who were setting themselves a sporting challenge. As part of my work with the MS Society I helped the Challenge Events team as they made telephone calls to their 180 supporters running the London Marathon in 3 weeks time. As a runner myself who has tackled 4 marathons, I can totally empathise with anyone taking on this ultimate challenge. I had the absolute honour of speaking to people who in the main had never run this distance before but were relishing pushing themselves to the max all in support of the MS Society. Many of these people had personal connections to this devastating condition. One woman who really touched me told the story of how her mum had developed MS and very quickly deteriorated until she is now in a wheelchair. We worked out how we could help her mum to see her run her first marathon - navigating a city which can be a challenge for accessibility on a good day. She shared her story with the Guardian Online - I recommend you read it and share it, and challenge you not to feel emotional. A snippet of the story is below, but I urge you to read the full story here...
Denise Yeats is an events professional with over 18 years of creating inspiring events ranging from arts events at Tate to Tower Running races. She set herself a personal challenge over two years called 'The Secret Life' which involved doing a new pursuit every week which is chosen at random by an allocated colour and number. This has led onto the creation of 'nnoodl - discovering your secret london life' where people are led on surprise activities...