The secret gallery’s blog

Maybe the first secret gallery in Doolin, Co. Clare, Ireland

Posts Tagged ‘camino de santiago

The Frugal Kitchen

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The sight of a fridge that has little else but ends and rinds and vegetable on their last legs (well almost!) strangely, satisfies me greatly, when it comes to making something to  eat. I am much bolder and more inventive when I have to search through the remnants of the last weeks or fortnights shop. I end up by cooking something that I have never cooked before, this often means eating dispirit combinations of fodder but it is a little more interesting then having the same old reliable small selection again and again! Luckily I had some shallots hanging in the kitchen since I pulled them from the garden in the summer and some garlic that was starting to grow from cloves that I put into ground hoping they would grow into big bulbs of garlic. If only I could remember what I cooked!

On a memorable note, but not a gastronomic one! One day, while my Husband and I were walking  the Camino de Santiago, it was February so many of the villages were closed down; that is to say that to a passing hungry walker there was NADA! We were so hungry for a couple of days that when we arrived at yet another shut down village we walked around the village searching for anything we could eat. February is a bad time for this! When we walked in the Summer we found lots of fruit and nuts. My eyes were out on sticks, to my delight I found a couple of onions someone had thrown into a ditch! Outer skins removed they were the main ingredient of our soup for dinner! We were staying in a little Refugio or hostel where some previous pilgrims had left about 10 straws of dried spaghetti and one or two other tiny morsels of food, these with the onion and some rosemary we found, I made an edible but quite disgusting watery soup! I did taste very strongly of rosemary and was very watery but it was hot and got us through the night. I remember we even decorated that Albergue with some art, I wonder is it still there!


James walking the Camino de Santiago, somewhere in Rioja, in February 2005

Written by Marianne Slevin

7 November, 2009 at 5:36 pm

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The Camino Years

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Mixed Media on wall paper scrolls, Marianne Potterton 2006


Mixed Media Scrolls on walls paper, Marianne Potterton 2006



“Stars Swimming Dancing” Mixed Media on wall paper, Marianne Potterton 2006


DSC04140“Transparent Woman”  Indigo pigment and graphite on wall paper Marianne Potterton 2006



“Love Unity” pigment and black corn dye on wall paper Marianne Potterton 2005

We had a few interesting years living on the Camino de Santiago. We were looking after pilgrims who were walking and cycling or occasionally riding a horse. This is where I started to make scrolls using wall paper.  We were renovating an old Adobe “mud” house, while creating temporary camping Albergues and herb gardens and some time based art pieces along the way. More to come soon!

Written by Marianne Slevin

2 November, 2009 at 6:59 pm

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Walking the Burren Way

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Photograph taken on the Burren Way February 2009

I love being somewhere in nature where I turn a full circle and don’t see a house. This photograph was taken during one of these times, I had a few of these moments along the Burren way. A couple of weeks ago I walked the  Burren way from our house to Ballyvaughan and back again, it took three days and each day I walked 20kms or slightly more, I never like to say I have walked less then I actually have!

I slept in a tent for the two nights, the first night when I set up camp in a field with a bull and family and had to move just as it was starting to get dark! I found another place to camp, I think it might have been a fairy ring, it was full of cow poo but I found an area just big enough for the tent in between them!


This photograph was taken after a very steep climb from the road out of Ballyvaughan. A dog decided to be my guide, a bit like the self employed guides in Marrakech who pretend they are not guiding you but keep turning up casually as if you both just happened to be going the same way!

The Burren Way is a wonderful walk apart from the bits on the  busier roads, and the fact that you have to buy expensive bottled water. Apart from there being a lovely water fountain in Ballyvaughan I could not find any where else to get water. This was one of  the great things about the Camino de Santiago, there are “fuentes” (fountains) every 2 or 3 hours walk apart, so you don’t have to carry much water. If only the Burren way took a month to walk too!

Written by Marianne Slevin

6 March, 2009 at 10:34 am

Coincidences on the Camino de Santiago

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Baby buggy down the glen by the Falls Hotel Ennistymon


Yesterday while putting a rather sturdy three wheeled baby buggy in the boot of our 4×4 Lada Niva, I realised that I had bought the same buggy in Santiago two years before our son was to be born in that city. The reason I bought the buggy was because I had just fallen in love with James Slevin, who was pushing all of his supplies rather then carrying them on his back like the pilgrims, he was a long distance walker and I was determined to walk every step of the way beside, behind and in-front of him, it is not always practical to walk hand in hand wile pushing buggies, apart from the sweaty hand thing many of the places we went were tiny paths through woods and up mountains! Was me buying a baby buggy with a man I had only days before met and promptly fallen in love with, in this spiritual city such a strong yet unconscious affirmation that it would draw us back there two years later to give birth to our son?

Yesterday I got a little feel of that again as I pushed our Daughter and Son down the glen by the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon, it is a lovely walk, just a pity it is so short! At the moment James is planning a walk and is very sad to see that nearly all marked walks in Ireland are mainly on the road. If anybody knows of any walks not on roads in Ireland can you please let us know. There are a few lovely Green roads but they are not long enough to get off the gray roads for enough time to feel truly in nature.

Written by Marianne Slevin

10 January, 2009 at 11:07 am

Braving the elements!

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Sitting in the rain

Oil on canvas December 2008


Changing a baby in a field

Oil on canvas September 2008


Both of these small paintings relate to my own life, the first of pre-motherhood and the latter since having children. They are both partly to do with living more outside, travelling without a fixed home and travellers. I like to put unlikely scenarios into my work. Crossing time-lines and continents, I am drawn to taking some aspects of the past, such as how the woman is dressed and adding contemporary elements such as the traffic cones. To me it is important to be playful; I have to remind myself not to take my self so seriously! I like these lighthearted moments in life. As in the top painting sitting happily in the rain, this painting was from a memory of mine while James and I were walking the Camino de Santiago and then on to in the south Spain, we stopped for a rest , it was pouring rain and even the mat I sat on was covered in water, it was a very happy memory though! For 4 months I, and longer James, lived outside rarely sleeping indoors, either sleeping in a tent or even just in a sleeping bag on the ground, or even a band-stand! washing outside, eating outside, it felt great but now I am very grateful for having a house! 

Written by Marianne Slevin

28 December, 2008 at 3:52 pm