Monday, 23 February 2015

Mother/daughter faux fur

So loved this pair sitting in front of me on the way home in the bus.
Mother (I think) and daughter, reunited - the daughter - with her yellow wheely suitcase (hidden) had clearly been away for a few days.
They laid their heads on each other's shoulders from time to time, both wearing lovely fur jackets - such a bond - such companionship and love.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Prep for a journey to Venice

Planning a trip to Venice in a couple of weeks - go almost annually now. Is this a pilgrimage? Is any journey made on a regular journey a pilgrimage? What is 'homage'?
Pilgrimages are not, of course, always religious.
Canaletto's paintings at the National Gallery take the breath away.

Later a friend gives me a book by Jan Morris on Carpaccio - which J.M. light-heartedly dismisses as a 'self indulgent caprice' but which really points to the depth of his paintings.
Great spring flowers here to lift the spirit: and an intense attention to detail, as in Canaletto.
Everything seen in a clear and bright light. A great metaphor for looking at life.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Poetry for the tube

White City tube station is not the most poetic place. But maybe there's always poetry in a journey

London Transport certainly thinks so.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Flowers at the dentist

Lots of journeys: one to a potential root canal appointment not the most pleasant.
Flowers in the dentist waiting room lift the spirits, I must say. Ill or tired: flowers are always good.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

More about a Hinge Feast

Candlemas.. ..more about a 'hinge feast'. Love the idea of being at a mid point between Christmas and Easter -- birth and death.. .
From Lucy Winkett's sermon at St James's Piccadilly (these sermons are available to download from the church website - an amazing idea):

And today is a hinge day in the liturgical
year. With Simeon’s words to Mary
foreshadowing the tragedy of Jesus’s life,
we turn today from the cradle to the cross.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

More spring flowers for the sick

What a miracle. The irises have come into bloom since Saturday.

Thinking back again to Padua, in March last year: there is, apparently, a 14th fresco in the Palazzo della Ragione of a spice shop a.k.a. pharmacy for the ailing.
There are cones for packing sales and albarelli - i.e. covered ceramic storage jars - for the spices.
It was closed when I went: a new pilgrimage is in order.
Apparently St Michael Archangel is sometimes depicted with a balance in medieval paintings of pharmacies, as his usual task is weighing souls in the balance - so he has a lot of practice of measuring things out  - mercy, though I suppose (not medicine).

Monday, 9 February 2015

Grape hyacinths and a hacking cough

Thank goodness spring flowers are exquisite. They make up for grey February. No better viewing for the flu-ridden than these grape hyacinths.
Sorting through photos from last year's visit to Padua remember the Botanical Gardens (the world's first) and cures for ailing pilgrims.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Mimosa and Mediterranean spring

No Mediterranean spring in Shepherds Bush this morning - and am laid up with a cough so not straying far from bed.
Even a small sprig of mimosa (pulled from a bush on Perrers Road) is enough to remember journeys to Italy and Spain just about now - first blossom and signs of spring.  Last Sunday - Candlemas - was a 'hinge feast'' in the liturgical calendar, half way between Christmas and Easter.

Below: Milan, March 2014.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

An early morning conversation at Paddington Station

Getting off the sleeper in a daze - SO many journeys start and end at Paddington -  pass the soldier who never sleeps on Platform 1.
And to my astonishment see that he can now speak: this is a 'speaking statue'.
Despite the fact that it's 640am and they have been unable to serve tea on the train due to 'scheduling issues' - stop to listen.
It's very moving: I recommend it.
There's something poignant about this statue: I think it's because the soldier is caught in the moment, a letter in his hand, his head slightly bowed as he reads.
The other 'caught in the moment' work of art I can think of is Piero della Francesca's painting of Christ's baptism  - in the National Gallery.
Christ stands still and ready to be baptised but behind him - just at that very instant, a man is pulling his shirt over his head, crystallising the moment.

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy