This is a long and possibly boring blog but the story must be told!
Shortly after opening Hotel Los Castaños, a charming American asked to buy the Moroccan plate that adorned her room. I was about to agree until my clever daughter warned me we would have no decor left if I sold to everyone who wanted a bit.
So when a charming pregnant Swedish couple asked to buy the Moroccan moon and stars bougeoir (can’t find a nice world in English to describe it) I nearly said yes but, as I was planning a trip to Marrakech, said I would buy them one and also replenish my stock.
That was twelve months ago.
The trip didn’t happen. Later in the year when planning a visit to my daughter in UK, I remembered how she coveted my leather Moroccan slippers (like these) so I decided we would pop over to Fes to get some. And some bougeoirs.
Searching from souk to souk for the slippers only to be told that the slippers came from Marrakech and the bougeoirs from Rabat, I was in despair. Finally a helpful youngster led us through the narrow confusing alleys of the Medina to a shop where I found the slippers. Success! The owners and guests of the riad where we were staying had all become intrigued by the “hunt the slipper” quest of the crazies from Andalucia!
As a final attempt, I sought out the guide who had introduced us to the Fes Medina, the most complex in the world. By some miracle, he put me in touch with a potter friend in Salé, the potter´s village near Rabat where the original bougeoirs came from.
I sent him the photograph at the top of this long and possibly boring blog with dimensions and ordered ten. They were ready within a few weeks. This was in November last year.
The first problem was how to get money to the potter. It was impossible.
The next problem was how to transport them safely. It can be difficult sending items from North Africa for obvious reasons. Posting on local knowledge sites only produced winky snarky emojis.
Scratch the head. Think. For a while it seemed impossible.
Then I remembered somebody who did transport between UK and Spain so I asked him and wonder of wonders he knew somebody who transported mosaics from Tanger. She kindly agreed to help and put me in touch with her man in Tanger called Believe who would get in touch with the potter and arrange it all.
The potter got a bus to Tanger from Rabat, Believe paid him for the bougeoirs and the bus fare. He asked me to send what I owed by Western Union to Italy.
Bougeoirs now in Tanger. So close.
The mosaics woman from Gaucin went in February to collect her assignment and mine.
I drove the 50 minutes to Gaucin soon after and finally took delivery of the beautiful bougeoirs.
Ripping open the packaging, I realised they were not an exact copy. The same but different. Just as beautiful. The potter’s own interpretation which made them his.
Nearly a year had passed since the beginning of this saga and I had forgotten the name of the person who wanted one! I made it the opening topic of my next newsletter hoping against hope that they would see it and respond. They did! The candlelight holder was dispatched forthwith and arrived to the delight of the new baby boy in Stockholm!