#ThursdayDoors ‘Alceda’ Cantabria #Spain

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

― Nelson Mandela


The door into the park and river Pas, which runs through it, below


Original Door to the Thermal Baths ‘Balneario’ at Alceda dating from 1830s

Modern door to the Thermal Baths and hotel.

Doors to the cubicles and to the doctor’s surgery at the end of the corridor. A thermal bath below.

Nearby church at Ontaneda..

A close up of the main door to the church.

This door. which once led to a mill is now a restaurant which serves delicious local food.

A complete view of the restaurant.

Doors along the main street of Alceda.

Alceda has its own Palace, too, called the Palace of Mercadal . This is the main door.

A side view of the Palace of Mercadal.


My mother was born here and I used to visit my relatives during the summer holidays, when I was a child.

I still come back every year, or so. There are some new buildings, and some refurbished older buildings, but everything that was there during my mother’s childhood is still standing, and looks (almost) exactly the same.

It feels safe, but eerie, as if time had stopped, only it hasn’t. I have to check in the mirror to make sure I’m no longer a little girl.

You can also rent an apartment in this refurbished country house very near the palace. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the very modern, glass door, below.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature on Norm 2.0’s blog, allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon and linking up on Norm’s blog here.



#TuesdayBookBlog ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by Emma Healey #Amreading #Bookreviews

Today I’m reviewing Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey.


In this darkly riveting debut novel—a sophisticated psychological mystery that is also an heartbreakingly honest meditation on memory, identity, and aging—an elderly woman descending into dementia embarks on a desperate quest to find the best friend she believes has disappeared, and her search for the truth will go back decades and have shattering consequences.

Maud, an aging grandmother, is slowly losing her memory—and her grip on everyday life. Yet she refuses to forget her best friend Elizabeth, whom she is convinced is missing and in terrible danger.

But no one will listen to Maud—not her frustrated daughter, Helen, not her caretakers, not the police, and especially not Elizabeth’s mercurial son, Peter. Armed with handwritten notes she leaves for herself and an overwhelming feeling that Elizabeth needs her help, Maud resolves to discover the truth and save her beloved friend.

This singular obsession forms a cornerstone of Maud’s rapidly dissolving present. But the clues she discovers seem only to lead her deeper into her past, to another unsolved disappearance: her sister, Sukey, who vanished shortly after World War II.

As vivid memories of a tragedy that occurred more fifty years ago come flooding back, Maud discovers new momentum in her search for her friend. Could the mystery of Sukey’s disappearance hold the key to finding Elizabeth?


My Review

I’d heard a great deal about ‘Elizabeth is Missing’, and I had been meaning to read it for a long time, as I knew it was about an elderly lady who suffered dementia. It’s a subject which interests me personally and I was intrigued about how the author approached this illness in a novel.

I was not disappointed in this poignant, yet humorous novel, which deals with memory, identity and aging.

The narrator, Maud, is 82 and she is suffering from dementia. Maud is moving in with her daughter, Helen, and her granddaughter, whom she often forgets, however her long-term memory is vivid albeit sketchy.

Maud is obsessed with finding her friend and neighbour, Elizabeth, whom she insists is missing. Her obsessive search, including trips to the police station, are some of the most humorous parts of the novel.

However, her confused mind is also still searching for a sister who disappeared when she was a teenager, in 1946. Past and present are entwined in the narration as we see events from her confused point of view.

I enjoyed the first part very much, however the second half dragged for me, as I anxiously waited for the plot to move forward, which didn’t happen until the last two chapters, where the mystery is unveiled.

I enjoyed the originality of the novel and Maud’s first person narration. Many unreliable narrators in contemporary novels are manipulative or downright wicked, but Maud’s confused voice is honest, believable, humourous and heartbreaking.

Readers can expect a slow burn mystery told from the unique perspective of an endearing and unwittingly humorous, main character who is suffering from dementia.


Elizabeth is Missing is a very special novel. It is Emma Healey’s debut and was named best first novel at the Costa Book Awards 2015. Maud was was inspired by the author’s grandmothers. 
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This Tanka is for Colleen Chesebro’s challenge.  This week we are using synonyms of ‘bewitch’ and ‘treasure’.

Picture taken in the Hall of the Hotel Real in Segovia, Spain.

Seduced by a Star

Seduced by Cary

Even playing the villain

My favourite star

Spellbound by his wit and charm

Perfect English gentleman


Cary Grant, Sophia Loren and Frank Sinatra, among others, stayed at the Hotel Real in Segovia, Spain, in 1956, while filming The Pride and the Passion (1957).

Cary, who was married at the time to Betsy Drake, fell in love, or lust, with Sophia during the filming, but she was in love with Carlo Ponti, whom she married shortly after.

Rumour has it that Cary continued to pursue Sophia during subsequent films in which they co-starred, but Sophia is said to have rejected him every time.  


View from the rooftop, Hotel Real in Segovia

I didn’t know about any of this when I arrived at the hotel, I hadn’t even planned to stay in Segovia. It was a last minute decision on my way home to Cordoba. I was naturally thrilled to find so much memorabilia in the hotel and to imagine that these two actors walked along the hall, perhaps up the stairs, and looked out over the roof top terrace to see the very same view of the city I saw a few days ago. 

Rooftop, solarium at Hotel Real, Segovia.

I’m aware thar Archie Leach was far from a perfect gentleman, but Cary Grant will always be my favourite actor, because I’ll never tire of watching Charade, North by Northwest, My Cousin Rachel, Notorious, To Catch a Thief... all unforgettable. 

Charade movieposter.jpg

 By the way, Segovia is a magical city and I’ll be posting more pictures of my visit tomorrow on ‘Sunday Walks’.


Would you like to take part? The rules are simple.

Use synonyms of Colleen’s two-word prompt, this week, joy and fury, write blog post using one of the following poetic forms: haiku, tanka, Haibun, cinquaine or senryu. 

Add a picture if you like. Pingback to Colleen’s blog post.



#ThursdayDoors Basilica of San Pedro, #Cordoba #Spain

I meant to post these pictures of the Basilica of Saint Pedro in Cordoba, on Thursday, 29th June, Saint Peter’s Day, but it was my last day at school before the summer holidays, a bit hectic! Then I went away for a much needed break and had to put it off again. It’s live at last!

Pedro, or Peter was my father’s middle name and 29th June was also his birthday, so, although he died eleven years ago, it’s a day I remember well.

We never had a big celebration because we lived in different countries, and almost different continents, from an early age, but I’d always make sure to phone him and catch up on his birthday.

Front door

Side door

Back door which leads onto a square.

I walk past the church of San Pedro every day on my way to school. Its construction began in the late 13th century and was completed in the early 14th century.

It amazes me how such an ancient building is still an active part of our 21st century cities. People admire it, walk around it, meet there, sit and chat in the square outside its doors, and pray, marry and say their final goodbye to their loved ones within its doors and walls. If they could speak…


Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon andlinking up on Norm’s blog here.

Follow Luccia Gray on Social Media:




Check out Luccia Gray’s Books on Amazon