Impressive, quirky, idiosyncratic


A major celebration is always a time for reflection, for remembering people and occasions, quirks and sayings, events of significance and insignificance. Granny used to say… I can still see his face when… Do you remember the time we went to…? That’s something I’ll always remember, especially when the idiot…

So reflections were on my mind as well as lips during our stay in Madeira. Some were prompted by one of my inputs to the celebration, the book of memories, photographs and stories I had produced that gave a flavour of our fifty years and more together. Photographs of people even I had never known to be passed down to the next generations, or those of our engagement party and wedding, of the family when young, and more recently of our daughter’s wedding, laced with stories in which parts of my own life, my feelings and experiences, were reflected.


The front of the Quinta Freitas, set within a garden of palms and exotic plants.

For the occasion we had rented a quinta on the outskirts of Madeira. After much discussion husband and I agreed a celebration in the sun won hands down over one in dreary November weather at home. Besides, rather than a one evening or one day celebration, it allowed us to extend it to eleven days – and why not.

The quinta was impressive but quirky, idiosyncratic, just what we wanted as a backdrop to our reflections of fifty years.


Windows in the dining area, open even in the evening, the mirror between them reflecting part of the chandelier over the table.


Mahogany sideboard reflecting the fanlight above the entrance door. The golden orchid travelled home with us  and is still just about surviving, a reminder of golden days in Madeira.

Built by the owner thirty years ago as a family home on a terraced site that was part of the banana plantation belonging to his family, the quinta was furnished in traditional Madeiran style, albeit in probably a rather grander scale than what most of the island’s inhabitants probably lived with. But this gave us impressive surrounding in which to celebrate, with its large mahogany tables seating a dozen in both kitchen and open plan dining area where a crystal chandelier provided sparkle and light. It was one of three in the spacious area of dining room, entrance area and hall, with its 300-year old doors from a demolished church, and the impressive lounge area.


The gold candles seemed very appropriate. Again, although taken in the lounge area, the fanlight above the old doors can be seen.


The quinta boasted numerous grand mirrors, this intricately carved  one in the lounge area.


Dining table and window reflected. On the left is the door to the large kitchen.


One mirror reflecting the reflection in another mirror in the lounge part of this enormous open plan space.

In the upstairs hall was another seating area with doors leading out onto a balcony with day bed seating. Bedrooms were huge and en suite bathrooms large enough to hold parties in comfort.


Part of the spacious upstairs landing.


Dressing table cluttered with my bits and pieces.


The bedhead and tapestry above can be glimpsed in this.


I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a large mirror in a bathroom. It reflects the wardrobes which were all sited in the bathrooms rather than the bedrooms. To the left is a corner whirlpool bath.


As I love coloured glass I couldn’t resist this little duck catching the light and reflecting it.

As part of the reflections theme I grabbed the opportunity to take photographs of the enormous and intricately framed mirrors around the rooms, fascinated by seeing the spaces from a different aspect. It’s strange how that can show something different from what your eyes see, or what you expect. A bit like reversing an image or photograph and how it can make the subject look very different, or more intriguing, prompting questions about what lies beyond.


From the hall looking towards the mirrors in the lounge area with their reflections.

Our celebration in the sun provided an opportunity to spend time with our family and get to know our grandchildren better. What better way to spend a golden wedding!


Golden reflections on a golden occasion.


About jingsandthings

I am me. What do I like? Colour Shapes Textures Paintings, photographs, sculptures, woven tapestries, wonderful materials. The love of materials probably comes from my father who was a textile buyer, and I grew up hearing the names of mills and manufacturers which sounded magical and enticing. Glass in all its soft and vibrant colours and flowing shapes, even sixties glass which makes its own proud statement. A book I can immerse myself in. Meals with family or friends with lots of chat and laughter (and probably a bottle or two of wine). The occasional trip abroad to experience the sights, sounds, food, conversation, quality of light and warmth of other countries. To revel in differences and be amazed by similarities. I like to create and to experience, to try and to achieve. And then there are words – read, heard, written at my keyboard, or scrawled on sticky notes, or along the edges of dog-eared supermarket receipts excavated from the unexplored nooks of my handbag. What do I dislike? Cold Snow Bad design Fast food Condescension
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4 Responses to Impressive, quirky, idiosyncratic

  1. walter- says:

    What beautiful mirrors! Love those mirrors.

  2. carol1945 says:

    Wow, you stepped back in space and time!!! How wonderful to be surrounded by such beautiful objects. Trading bad weather for good must have added immensely to the experience! If I were there, I would feel like I had entered another reality. I wish I could visit Madeira. I have enjoyed your other posts about this beautiful place.

  3. Madeira has kind of got under my skin, Carol, perhaps because we’ve usually gone in winter months and the weather has been lovely – such a contrast from here. That’s not to say you don’t get occasional rain. You do, that’s why the island is so green with wonderful plants and flowers blooming in November and December. And the people, most of whom speak amazing English, are so friendly and helpful. Then there’s the contrast between the coastal area and the mountains where there can occasionally be snow, so I’m told. I could happily spend the whole winter there.

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