April 28, 2011

Proportion to one's courage

Tibetan Mani Prayer Wheels*
 Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.  ~Ana├»s Nin

I don't know what inspired my wanting to use this image. I guess it's because I'm moving out of London for awhile. It's because I'm into the last two or three weeks of the semester and hence employment and money.

To say there is no fear or concern about these things would make me a liar. The old adage, we'll see what happens is very relevant here. That, I guess is the benefit of being the stereotypical, laid back Australian. I know things will be tough, I know I might not get to travel much or see temporary exhibits at different museums and art galleries, and I know that living a fancy high life might have to be put on the shelf for a while. But all of that, much as it will be trying, doesn't matter much. Life is good. Life has taken me on an amazing journey. Life has introduced me to many wonderful people.

I have learnt, from this last nine months, that relinquishing my death grip on the details, I can still survive in this crazy world. I also promise to do another blog, very soon about my travels in the Middle East. That journal got packed early on and I haven't had the heart to try and dig it out.

Till next time, remember our Captain Mal - "the wheel never stops turning..."


April 26, 2011

Living "The Children's Book"

N.B. There are a lot of images in this post.

Slowly but surely, I am working my way through "The Children's Book" by A.S.Byatt.

It's wonderful. Part of me wants to read it really quickly, the other part of me wants to take it slowly, so that I can savour every moment of it. The characters are like dear friends now, and the areas where the story has been, I have been to.

A couple of weekends ago, I decided to go to Rye, one of the well trod destinations in the book. While no doubt, it will have changed since the turn of the last century, it is still a pretty little place where people will stop and say hello or good morning. I feel like I may have been in London to long, as the first time it happened, I was a surprised.

I wandered up one street and found myself at St Mary's. I climbed to the top of the tower, smacking my head into one of the low doorways. Given I'm not the tallest person in the world, it makes me wonder how short the builders and original bell ringers would have been.

View from the top of St Mary's, overlooking the town.

View from St Mary's, overlooking Romney Marsh
Romney Marsh sounds like such an amazing place to explore. While I was looking at this scene I really wanted to go out and play.

Inside St Mary's. This was going to be my Easter card, had I gotten around to sending it.

For interests sake. Not sure if the body was ever sent home.

Looking through the cherry blossoms. The cross on the left is the war memorial.
Ypres Castle
I took this picture because I like the name of the house.

Walking back down to the High Street past Lamb House

See details of this gate in the next picture.

- - - - - - - - - -

Last weekend, Angie and I went exploring along Old Street and Shoreditch. Primarily because I had seen a cemetary near one of the bus stops and I wanted to explore. We started at the Barbican Tube station and went towards Charterhouse Square. Charterhouse is one of three building Elizabeth I would still recognise if she came back to London

For those of you who pay attention to the facades of tv characters homes, you'll recognise this as Poirot's home.
Tomb stone of John Bunyan. I was excited because I own a 1930 copy of it. As you can see by his date of death, my copy is quite young considering.

Top of Bunyan's tomb

Tokens on top of William Blakes headstone

Daniel Defoe

This is Bruce. His little mate was Bruce. In fact, all squirrels shall now be called Bruce.

Giant grafitti Bruce

*All photos are copywrite to me. The only one I don't own is the cover of the book.

April 16, 2011

The CP & TW

"Read Me" by ImaginaryAn*
The BBC has been showing Michael Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White. I read half of the book, in 2004 when I was procrastinating between university assignments. Eventually, the need to finish the assignments became too great, and so the book was forgotten and to this day remains un-finished. When the series started getting advertised, I’ll admit, I was excited. I love period drama’s and I figured this a way of finishing the book, so to speak.

Problem One.
846 pages needing to be condensed into four, one hours episodes.

Problem Two.
Poor, poor, casting.

Romola Garai as Sugar is acceptable however, a little predictable, and a little to calm in the role. The character in the book is quite calm, but there seems to be little passion. The book Sugar writes, about murdering her clients fails to elicit any real response as well. There is nothing really shocking. It is what it is.

Romola Garai
William Rackham, played by Chris O’Dowd is out of his depth with the role. The role requires someone charismatic and a little bit creepy, which O’Dowd does not embody this. His mode of speaking means you pay too much attention to his lisp over what he is saying.
Chris O'Dowd
Shirley Henderson as Mrs Fox, is a joy, but her quirkiness always brings out something more in a show.
Shirley Henderson
Mark Gatsiss as Henry Racham, brother of William, should, I hate to say it, continue in what he is good at; writing. I would prefer to watch new episodes of Sherlock Holmes. Henry’s death scene, in the second episode is visually terrible. It makes me wonder at the budget of the production, that they could not effectively set a dummy alight. Poor, poor CGI.
Mark Gatsiss
Amanda Hale, who I have not before encountered, is a delight as Mrs Agnes Rackham. She’s slowly losing her mind because of the abuse being inflicted on her by Dr Fox, played by Richard E. Grant.
Amanda Hale
Too much of the story seems to have been lost in the translation from book to television. I feel as though I have been forced into a relationship with these characters after 2 hours, when, within the book you are nearly half way through the 846 pages before you have decided if you like them of not.

To put it simply, I do not care for the characters in this version. I do not care if they have a happy ending of if they all die slow and painfully. I will not be watching the rest of the series, I want to enjoy what I cannot remember and what I do not know about the ending. I will get the book, and enjoy the literature.

The whole endeavour has not been wasted though. I have found a poem by Tennyson that until now I have never read and cannot believe it so. The following poem is one of the most beautiful I have ever read and want to share it with you now.

Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;

Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The firefly wakens: waken thou with me.

Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.

Now lies the Earth all Danae to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.

Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.

Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake:

So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.
-- Tennyson


April 13, 2011

Stonehenge and Salisbury

19 March 2011

The sun was sneaking its head out this morning when I woke. Very relieved  as yesterday was wet and miserable. Today's start was slightly earlier than last Saturday (Windsor post) because the journey was further. So like last week, I got up, got organised, and headed again for Waterloo station.

It was easier to find the two ladies taking the walk this time. They seemed a little bit louder. Paid the £53 and hung around waiting for the train to leave. This train was better than the last as it had a moajorit of its seats facing fowards. I ended up sitting next to a lady who was very comfortable in telling me her opinion on anything and everything as well as asking me crazy and completely random questions. The quiet trip with my ipod didn't happen.

We arrived in Salisbury around 11am. At the train station we were divided into two groups as about 65+ people had arrived. I found myself in Chris' group and we learnt our first stop for the day would be Stonehenge, arrived at via the scenic route. We filed aboard the bus and were soon being whisked through New Sarum, or Salisbury as its now, more commonly known.

Chris pointed out the architectual features of the landscape, the checker board pattern walls and fences. This pattern is acheived by alternating between chalk (the ground remains of prehistoric shells) and flint. I kept expecting Phil Harding to appear and say "ooh ahh". The land is also quite wet as lots of different rivers run through the region. Because it's all farmland too, there isn't anything to stop the water run off.

Phil Harding - Image Source*
As we got closer to the Henge you can see lots of mounds appearing on the landscape.

This photo is of Dorset, but gives you an idea - Image Source*
These are the funeral barrows of the dead dating back to the Bronze Age, and continued in variation through the Iron Age and longer. Just before these mounds start to appear though, you drive past a large hill. I think even those without archaeological backgrounds would recognise it as something important. The rest of the area is fairly flat around it, and this stands out as a man made structure. It is Old Sarum. You can see all the levels of fortifications etc. Very impressive.

Air view of Old Sarum - Image Source*
We reached the Henge about 15 minutes later.

Stonehenge is as impressive as you expect it to be. Salisbury Plain sweeps out into the distance. The strangest part for me was the roadways carved through the middle of it. You literally stand in the middle of two main highways.

Most of the tour met up with Chris at the bus at the designated time. One guy however, was 20 minutes late. I realised when he finally got back on the bus that he was the one I'd watched getting ready to "commune" with the stones. He and his mother were later heard to be bitching about Chris cause she had threatened to leave him behind if he was late again.

We drove back into town and adjourned for lunch. When we all met up again, we went a short distance to Salisbury Cathedral.

Not sure what this little guy is, but he seemed a stange adornment to have at the end of a row of choir stalls.

From these two pictures, it is easy, I feel, to see how writers and artists were inspired by the view. To end with, I'll leave you with a painting done by Constable of the Salisbury Cathedral Spire. Magical.

Constable "Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows" - Image Source*

*http://www.show.me.uk/site/news/STO486.html Phil Harding
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/old-sarum/#Left Old Sarum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bronkham_Hill_barrow_cemetery,_Dorset.jpg Barrow
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/john-constable-salisbury-cathedral-from-the-meadows Constable

April 07, 2011

A Triumvirate

Scents by !Zang-sama*
 I recall, many moons ago, Father Craig (and here I may do him a dis-service) telling me that everything came in threes. Good, or bad. Much like the tinity. I have always agreed. Today, I have yet another reason to believe in the law of threes.

Standing on the escalator, coming out of the tube station at Turnpike Lane, I found my self stood behind a fairly well dressed woman. I looked up, to see the passing distance and right at that unfortunate moment, I discovered she had a finger, up to the first knuckle, shoved up her bum through her skirt. It appeared to be quite itchy as said finger was moving at pace.

Smiling to myself I swiped my card at the turnstile and headed for the stairs.

Walking up the stairs I followed a young man in jeans, who, at that very moment, farted in my face. I coughed and spluttered. He turned to look at me but did not have the good grace to look embarrassed.

The third took the shape of a young woman, whom, like many, wears leggings as trousers. This is not a good look and is often akin to sausages fit to bursting their skins. For this poor unfortunate woman, it was no different. The tights were stretched thin over her thighs and backside, so much so, that the very stripey and colourful boyleg underpants she had on were plain to see.

And hence, my trio ends. The scratcher, the stinker and the stretcher.


April 02, 2011

In a Graveyard: Kensal Green

Wandering properties of death

Arresting moons within our eyes and smiles
We did rest
Amongst the granite tombs to catch our breath
Worldly sounds of endless warring

Were for just a moment silent stars
Worldly boundaries of dying
Were for just a moment never ours
All was new
Just as the black horizons blue
Then along the bending path away
I smiled in knowing I'd be back one day - Rufus Wainwright

Angie and I spent a lazy Sunday wandering through Kensal Green Cemetery. N.B This post is entirely consistent of photos.