Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

il dolce far niente

It is sweet to do nothing ...

Relaxing weekend so far with only a mere nod in the direction of studying and most energy and time being invested in planning a holiday.

Because of one thing and another (mainly this course I'm doing) this year's main holiday will be in September, which feels like a long wait. So planning feels good.

We thought about France for a while and then realised we just wanted to go back to Italy. So, Tuscany it is again - though a different part from where we stayed in June last year.

It was probably the most restful holiday we've ever had.

We stayed in a b&b on a hill with wonderful views of San Gimignano...

...checked out the market...

...wandered the streets of Volterra...

...marvelled at the Duomo in Siena...

...and smelt the roses...

Can't wait to go back.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Any regular reader of my blog will have gathered how much I love New York. My younger daughter came across this on facebook. It brought back happy memories of my visits.

NYC - Mindrelic Timelapse from Mindrelic on Vimeo.

Friday, January 28, 2011

R & R

Another day for studying. And feeling a little more positive this morning.
Not least because A & I are looking forward to a gig this evening.
I Am Kloot are playing in Shepherd's Bush tonight. We happened upon them at the Summer Sessions in Greenwich last year and were keen to see them again.

This is their single from last year

Thursday, January 27, 2011

learning curve

Day off work today. And what better way to spend it than in study? Concentrated study. In front of the computer, concentrating, ignoring all distractions, soaking up knowledge, learning the difference between sensitivity and specificity in relation to the performance of a binary test. I kid you not.

So far, I've hung up some washing, emptied the dishwasher, eaten breakfast, drunk tea, checked facebook, and twitter, looked at pictures of snow, checked out a couple of music festivals this summer, made another cup of tea, checked emails, fed the cats, blogged ...

... and found some curvy photos

1. marble in the duomo, siena
2. paving
3. charlie
4. helter skelter, london

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

thameside tuesday

As promised, I took a camera with me today when I travelled up to town for college.
Sat by the river in the misty rain, tucking into homemade soup for lunch.

This was the view

After lunch I went for a brief stroll along the south bank and joined the small crowd watching this guy

Further on I came across a shiny Airstream far from home

As I turned away from the river to head for college, I took a look back

I'll try to remember to take a camera with me every Tuesday while I'm on this course.

Monday, January 24, 2011

theme thursday (on monday) - flip

caught on London's south bank, where there's always something going on.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Was sad to read on Roy's blog on friday about religious bigotry. We should all hate bigotry, whether it be political, religious or whatever (should we be bigoted against bigots??)

Anyway, I found this poem by RS Thomas and thought I'd copy it here.

It's especially for the Grahams and Bentleys of this world who are convinced only they have the answers to life's big questions and seek to exclude others from their own private little heavens if they're not prepared to jump through all the hoops in the 'right' way.

The Kingdom

It’s a long way off but inside it

There are quite different things going on:

Festivals at which the poor man

Is king and the consumptive is
Healed; mirrors in which the blind look

At themselves and love looks at them

Back; and industry is for mending
The bent bones and the minds fractured

By life. It’s a long way off, but to get

There takes no time and admission

Is free, if you purge yourself

Of desire, and present yourself with

Your need only and the simple offering

Of your faith, green as a leaf.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


On call last night and had very little sleep. This has left me weary with little energy for blogging. Time to hit the sack now. I can hear Himself in the kitchen, loading the dishwasher, turning out the lights. The TV is off and the candles on the mantelpiece are smoking lazily as the wicks' orange glow dwindles and goes out.

Time for bed.

And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.
~D.H. Lawrence

Friday, January 21, 2011

mining the archives 1

With grateful thanks to Betty C for the post title and the idea.
A scroll through the E drive on my PC has dug out the following ...

all taken in new york last october.

1. view from the high line
2. view from central park
3. graffiti and a precariously placed water tower
4. reflections on w 13th
5. coffee shop in brooklyn

Thursday, January 20, 2011

poems on the underground

Once upon a time somebody had a really good idea.

To brighten the day of Tube travellers, they decided to put up poems inside the carriages in place of some of the adverts

This is my favourite.


I boom-mumble I bass-blow
I hull-heavy I big/slow
I boat bump I limpet-skin
I soft-sink I sky-swim
I sea-search I salt-swallow
I bone-backed I fluke-follow

I gulf-cross I listen-talk
I moon-map I wave-walk
I tail-turn I time-keep
I ship-wreck I song-seek
I blue-blood I grumble-sing
I fish-heart I dream king

Sophie Stephenson-Wright

You can find more poems here

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Back at college today. Not so good. I won't bore you with the details, but I found some of the things the lecturer said, professionally quite offensive. I kept quiet - wasn't in the mood to challenge her - and when the lecture was over I decided to go for a walk rather than catching the train straight home.
What an idiot! No camera. The late afternoon sunshine illuminated the Victorian terraced houses in the narrow streets behind Waterloo Station. As I walked on towards London Bridge I passed small cafes, art galleries, a community theatre, all in a fabulous, eclectic mix of architecture. I stopped feeling stressed and upset and started to smile.
I love London.
Next week I'll remember my camera.

photo taken in new york last year

Monday, January 17, 2011

friars court

At the weekend we visited the venue where our older daughter and her partner are planning to marry next year. Even on a cold, wet January day there was something magical about Friars Court.

The house has a moat

The 'garden of reflection' has strategically placed mirrors

Just perfect for catching the bright colours of wedding finery.

The house is built of cotswold stone and is over 300 years old, but 'there have been buildings on the site since 1149 when the Monastic Knights of St. John founded the first 'Hospitallery' in Oxfordshire. Here the resident friars would have offered rest and refreshment to the weary medieval traveller.'

Jeffrey, our host, was an absolute delight. He fed us with tea and homemade cake while he regaled us with stories of previous weddings. We came away with plenty of helpful ideas to make the day go more smoothly.

I'll keep you up to date on progress.

And, no.
I will not be wearing a hat!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

light and shade

1.lake garda, italy
2. olive leaves, italy
3. from the high line, nyc
4. doors, home

Saturday, January 15, 2011


new york city, oct 2010
1-4 the high line
5 brooklyn

Friday, January 14, 2011

be seated

new york city, oct 2010
1,2 the high line

3-5 coney island

Thursday, January 13, 2011

in peril

Saw this in Manhattan last October.

Compared with what's going on elsewhere in the world, London seems to be relatively peril-free at the moment.
But I did hear that Tube workers are threatening a strike on the day of Prince William's wedding in April.
Whilst I can't quite see myself up there standing in the crowd, waving a flag, I think it's a shame to want to spoil people's day. Never mind the message it gives to our tourists.
Bad idea. Witless, in fact.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

sweet thames

The college where I'm studying is situated on the fashionable South Bank of the Thames in London. There are a couple of TV studios nearby as well as concert halls and theatres.
Yesterday, as I was wandering in search of lunch, I passed a small gaggle of photographers surrounding a heavily made-up, diminutive blonde woman. She looked vaguely familiar.
I found out later that it was Kerry Katona and that she'd been rehearsing for a programme called Dancing on Ice. Apparently after I'd passed by she bared her bottom for the photographers. A bit unwise, I thought. It was pretty chilly by the river yesterday.

Fortunately there are more pleasant sights on the South Bank.

Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song ...