2nd february 2004

summer somewhere


from Tarkovsky's Stalker.

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3rd february 2004

they read to each other in public

Over at embleton they've become dab hands at the photoessay: the latest, Tourists, is excellent.

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4th february 2004

summer somewhere else


from Jacques Tati's Vacances de M. Hulot.

Tati's reach here reminds me of the maid in Stanley Spencer's Dinner On the Hotel Lawn . . .

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5th february 2004

4th January 1872

Sam & I went down to Dulwich by rail to see the picture Gallery at the College. I was delighted with the beautiful picture of Rembrandt's pretty servant girl . . . but the gems of the collection are the two superb Murillos, the two Spanish peasant boys and the Spanish flower girl.
The Crystal Palace at Sydenham glittered upon the hill in the sunshine like an enormous diamond and seemed to be close to Dulwich.

- Francis Kilvert

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6th february 2004


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7th february 2004


He's standing in a darkened room
Peering out through the curtains.
Across the street there's a woman
Who's getting undressed.
She's halfway there,
Her white roundness
Shows through the branches.
In a week's time she'll be
All naked.

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9th february 2004

best value in Dub

Sometimes a great notion strikes . . . I'd been wondering for a while what to do with my tiny portion of air miles, which got me a return flight to a not-specially-appetizing selection of Eurocities. Then I remembered that June 16th this year is Bloomsday 100, and where else would you want to be on that day but in Dublin? So the ticket is already booked, and I'll be on the streets early enough for some inner organs, I hope.
Recommendations? The martello tower, the strand, the quays, a few pubs, I thought vaguely. Maybe someone can suggest better.
At least I've got a few months to read Ulysses in.

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11th february 2004


In Dačice, in the Czech republic, there's a sculpture of a sugar cube.
In Manchester UK, one of a bottle of Vimto.
Readers are invited to submit their favourite grocery statuary.

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12th february 2004

subway map of the month


It's Omsk, by the looks of things a commodious and well-laid city*. You could even walk to the airport, perhaps.
In fact the map above is a plan, and Omsk's metro has not yet been built. Take a taxi.

* Dostoyevsky may have thought otherwise . . .

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23rd february 2004

bitten on a bee

In the heat of the day to the garden I strode
Seeking calm in the umbrous domain of the toad
But there in the shade of a giant cardoon
Wide-eyed and perspiring lay Mrs Ravoon.

cardoon, n. A composite plant (Cynara Cardunculus), closely allied to the Artichoke; a native of the south of Europe and north of Africa, and cultivated in kitchen-gardens, esp. on the continent*, for the fleshy stalks of the inner leaves, which are made tender by blanching.
The cardoon was prob. first cultivated in Northern France in the 16th or ? end of 15th c.; it is mentioned by Parkinson (Paradisus 1629) under the name of Carduus esculentus (Edible Thistle), and is said in Treas. Bot. to have been first cultivated in England in 1656.

The latest garden acquisition is in the kitchen-y bit of the bed, looking fine, tall and silvery. It awaits conversion into a tagine ingredient.

* O, OED, you parochial prig!

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25th february 2004

dreamed of seven forty sevens over geometric farms

false alarm

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In Massachusetts all the way
From Boston down to Buzzards Bay
They feed you 'til you want to die
On rhubarb pie, and pumpkin pie, and horrible huckleberry pie . . .

- Hilaire Belloc