Sea-Side Sizzle

A summer of seafood to satisfy the senses… with Monnie’s home grown veggies, herbs and pickles.

Merry Christmas 2020

Monica and I want to thank all Nellyglass patrons for your devoted support. Despite the weirdness of 2020, you have helped make this a wonderful year for us! And to everyone, may all the joy and blessings in the new year be yours. Merry Christmas!


St. Patrick’s Day 2020

unsun catchers

It’s storming (sort of) here in Saint John on March 17th. Monica and I are holed up in the house, with the fireplace on, watching the snow and reading the news as the world reels from COVID-19.

Saint Patrick, so it is said, drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Wish he could do the same with this virus! Here’s to your good health, my friends.

Perhaps some glass will lift the spirits. Here are six lovely ones I saw in the past year.

A cute likeness of a cute pet

Late in 2018, I had the awesome opportunity to test my skills for the first time at a making a stained glass pet portrait… of Bizzy, a beautiful little French Bulldog. I was glad the panel turned out nice but the real joy was when I delivered it and got to meet the real thing! Read the story of Bizzy, a Pet’s Portrait

Where Art meets Science

The Design phase of a project is my favorite, hands down! It is here that left and right brain work together to produce a pattern. I love the geometry of drawing angles and circles, using intersecting lines to define the shapes of the glass pieces (left brain). I also love how an image evolves on the page as I call on past memories to envision my topic (right brain). All this to say I find designing very very satisfying.

20 – Exploring Madrid

My mission today was to see some of Madrid’s churches and most popular monuments. Monica was a trooper to tag along with me. We were on the streets at 8:30 and into Iglesia San Isidro just around the corner from our apartment in time for morning mass. San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid and his remains are held in the church along with his wife, Santa Maria. This church was also the official cathedral of Madrid until the late 1900s when the Almudena Cathedral next to the Royal Palace was complete and assumed the title.

Next we strolled to the post office to mail some postcards and then into the absolutely stunning Basilica of San Francisco el Grande. What a gorgeous church! The windows are beautiful, of course, but really take a back seat to the statuary and frescoes. Photos are not allowed but since Mon and I were the only ones there, I couldn’t resist.

Next we visited the Cathedral of the Almudena at Plaza de la Armeria, next to the Royal Palace (residence of the King). This church was begun in the 1800s but not completed until the mid 1900s when it became the official Cathedral of Madrid. It is lovely with abundant statuary, historical relics and priceless artwork. The windows are contemporary and some are exquisitely vibrant.

We carried on to see Plaza de Oriente, stopped for gelato, strolled through Plaza Espana, and unintentionally into Iglesia Santa Teresa. Nice surprise… beautiful glass… very bright church compared to some others.

Then we walked the entire length of Gran Via. Lots of construction as the city is widening the sidewalks to accommodate the increased tourism. The architecture here is sublimely Spanish… ornate and grand. We paused for lunch at James Joyce Pub for chicken salad and chicken burgers. And then, into the huge and tranquil Retiro Park. This is a wonderful 350 acre green space in an otherwise concrete city. All around people were enjoying the peace and quiet.

Back to the apartment to relax and regroup with Maneau and Jake to share stories of our day. Monica’s i-phone had registered 14.3 kms. Our feet were a bit tired but glasses of wine dulled the throb. Refreshed, the four of us strolled to nearby Plaza Mayor for an excellent meal of paella and sangria at Los Galayos. It was a wonderful day in this wonderful city.

Here are the photo highlights of Day 20 – Exploring Madrid.

12 – Sintra

Today we booked a tour to Sintra with our host, Nuno, and it turned out to be so much more. Sintra is a resort town in the foothills of the Sintra mountains to the west of Lisbon. It has been a longtime sanctuary for Portuguese royalty.

Arriving in the town of Sintra 45 minutes later, Nuno dropped us off at the entrance gate to Pena Palace. Built in the mid 1800s by King Ferdinand, it is a whimsical fairytale castle filled with baroque treasures and ornate Manuline architecture. The most fascinating aspect is the location… built on the edge of sheer drop cliffs, one gets a bit nervous on the wall walk… don’t look down… but the views are spectacular.

After Pena Palace, Monica and Maneau decided to go shopping in the town of Sintra while Jake and I opted to tour another area of Sintra Park called Quinta de Regaleira (Royal Gardens). Built at the end of the 18th century, it is a 50 acre ensemble of Manuline structures (lookouts, towers, cistern, stature, chapel and palace) set amid secret forest pathways and underground grottos. It is unbelievably exotic.

Nuno picked us all up at 2pm and we headed for the coast to find lunch. He took us to a seaside village called Praia das Macas, and to the Macas Club restaurant. Nuno even ordered wine and menu choices for us… what service! We enjoyed excellent fish and octopus while watching the giant surf waves rolling onto the pristine beach. Magical!

After lunch, Nuno took us to a coastal lookout site that few tourists get to see, Praia das Azenhas do Mar, a red clay roofed, white Adobe village perched on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic. It was gorgeous and we got some lovely memory shots.

Then we proceeded down the coast to Cabo da Rocha, the most western point of continental Europe, to see the beautiful lighthouse. Monica was elated (you know how she loves lighthouses). A bit more touristy here but not unbearable and certainly a must see.

Continuing on down the coast, we stopped for photo ops at Boca Inferno (The Mouth of Hell) and the town of Cascais, a peaceful but touristy fishing hamlet on the mouth of the Tagus River. And then home arriving at 6pm. It was a nine-hour day, full of many amazing moments and thoroughly exhausting in the best way. Nuno Silves (our apartment host and tour guide) was amazing and we highly recommend his services.

Here are the photo highlights of Day 12- Sintra.