Posts Tagged Medina

Riad Maizie — the Cast

Early Morn­ing Sun on the Roof

Sun in the Courtyard

Dan and I bought Riad Maizie, in the very old­est part of the  Med­ina of Mar­rakech just 100 yards away from the orig­i­nal mosque, ten years ago. We knew that it was here that we could devote our­selves to gam­bling and gladly read We fell in love with it imme­di­ately, and then pro­ceeded to slither head­long into one drama after another, until two years ago, when we realised that it had to be run Mafia-style, within the fam­ily. The story of our bumpy ride can be read in my book, ‘Cin­na­mon City’. Riad Maizie is now a fam­ily busi­ness — you can see the seri­ous info on — but I thought I’d intro­duce you to the peo­ple who give it warmth and character.

Maizie her­self


Maizie was a mere dot when we bought the pretty, aban­doned court­yard house in Octo­ber 2001. We named it after her to cel­e­brate its com­ple­tion and her arrival on the planet. Her first visit was some­what marred by the fact that she had chicken pox, and spent the time explor­ing the accoustics. Despite every­one tip­toe­ing, she would wake at the twit­ter of a soli­tary bird, creak of a sin­gle hinge, a per­am­bu­lat­ing lizard’s quiet cough, and she would scream and scream. She has greatly improved since then.

Dan, work­ing in the Olive Room


Dan the Carpenter

Dan loves Mar­rakech — the King­dom of Boys. It takes me for­ever to get to Dje­maa el Fna these days because every other bloke wants to know how he is, where he is and when he’s com­ing back to Mar­rakech. The answer is that he spent a year man­ag­ing the riad, quite bril­liantly, and now lurks here in Italy in his frow­sty lair doing his Oscar car­toon, and noth­ing short of an earth­quake will budge him.

Leo, Chi­lali and Maizie



Leo and Saki are Maizie and Chilali’s par­ents. Leo is a Web­site Meis­ter, and really got us going when he did such a bril­liant job on — of course he always com­plains that it needs updat­ing. He web­site is called for rea­sons best known to himself.

Super­man and Batboy

Plus ca change.….


When Dan came back to Italy, Spigs took over. He com­bines eccen­tric, effi­cient and con­vivial man­age­ment with learn­ing Ara­bic, provoca­tive paint­ing, superla­tive cook­ing (he worked as a chef for a cou­ple of years in Spain) and SKATEBOARD FANATICISM.

Spigs the Charmer

Spigs the Chef

He has a mas­ter­plan to set up a skate­board park for the bored youf of Mar­rakech — who oth­er­wise turn to less salu­bri­ous pas­times — and to some­how to pro­vide them with afford­able skate­boards. It’s a great idea — his  name is Will, and I can’t help but think, where there’s a Will, there’s a way.

Spigs the Artist

Amal and her Family

Amal holds the place together. With a sweet, secre­tive smile, she makes Riad Maizie into a home. She has a major reper­toire of fab Moroc­can cui­sine, for which she shops fresh every day — even down to the spices with which she makes her own dis­tinc­tive ras el hanout.

Amal and tomato man

Amal and spice man

Hicham, his wife Nezha and her sis­ter Amal

The trio work peace­fully together and for them the riad rep­re­sents sta­bil­ity, cash, and amuse­ment. They observe us, our friends and the guests with dis­creet inter­est, and earn acco­lades for their quiet atten­tion to com­fort and plea­sure, with­out a trace of judge­ment for riotous or eccen­tric behav­iour . Nezha buffs the brass basins until they shine like gold, she and Amal cook together, and Hicham is guard,  handy­man, organ­iser and gen­er­ally Mr. Fixit.

Our Mates, Yussef and Jamal

Yussef, Spigs’s Ara­bic teacher

Jamal and friend — famil­iar to read­ers of the book.

Jamal used to play and sell musi­cal instru­ments, but decided it was irre­li­gious and now sells teapots.


Me with appar­ently no legs — a prob for a yoga teacher

Oh, there they are.….

So, there you have it — you now know every­one. Next I’m going to intro­duce you to the riad, the city and the shop­ping. Baci, M

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