After coming across the Cathedrals and Churches of Britain feed a few weeks previously, I was spurred on to finally get across to Norwich and the cathedral that I’d been wanting to see for some time.
I went in on one those crisp, sunny, blue-sky winter days that are surely the perfect weather. The Close was looking like the most perfect Trollope/Elizabeth Goudge/ Catherine Fox literary fantasy, and the yew tree outside the cathedral was a rare corner of shade.
The cloisters – possibly my favourite part of any cathedral, as I tend to make a beeline for them – were beautiful.
I wasn’t expecting Norwich Cathedral to be such an old foundation
(there’s some wonderfully sturdy Norman columns underneath the lacy ceiling)
and the cathedral was still in Christmas mood, looking extremely welcoming in the sunlight.
In the side chapels was a mix of old stained glass (the Agincourt window) and more modern pieces.
I rather liked these two former bishops as well. Those were the days…
Afterwards I set off into the city, which was peppered with more churches, including this one on the main square with an excellent flying roof (so called because of the carved angels on the beams)
The run up to Christmas is always a great time for some overhears on the street/Tube/canal paths of London. Every word is true and unadulterated…
“So when he turned up he was just palpitating”
“…Because we need time to prepare. Some of them need to go and put on clothes.”
“So I’m going to Montenegro.”
“You know there’s a wardrobe falling down the stairs?” “Yeah”
(Two coppers to each other) “I got her a sword to go with her two daggers. She’s so not girly.”
“But I did pay him for the drugs.”
“You can’t really drink one bottle at a time, because that would be a twenty year project”
“It’s like a cheese-filled condom”
“And then he said he’d been in a car crash but he’d bought me tickets for the gig too anyway and did I want to go. But it’s bollocks because he was never in a car crash anyway.”
“No I can’t unzip them, it’s my bunions.”
“It’s alright when she lies down, so it must be her neck, don’t you think?” “But it’s also ok when she talks.”
“Do you know anyone who know someone anything about the stock exchange?” “Well they seem to.”
Because it’s been a while since we had cat pictures here, and there’s nothing like a bit of Marie Kondo-ing on top too. Don’t forget to file your rats / mini-pigs in amongst your rolled sock drawer.
13th century bestiary in the Bodleian.
one of my favourite Cezanne portraits from the current show at the National Portrait Gallery. I like her resolute pose and the way he’s painted the spoon in the coffee cup.
Liking this range from Hades wool, which reminds me a lot of Tessa Perlow’s work.
Or rather devouring both these Christmas books. I must have cooked 5 different recipes from the Anna Jones within the first week of having it, and the Emily Wilson translation completes my triumvirate of Bettany Hughes and Mary Beard on my shelves.
The Instagram feed of @susan_holloway_scott_author has such lovely paintings on it. I don’t know where she finds them all, but I especially love her ability to run a theme (women having tea; sewing; blue dresses; sisters) across a real variety of pieces. She must have a wonderful visual memory for finding ideas, and her feed really inspires me. Here’s a selection from her “sisters” series.
From top to bottom:
The three daughters of John Julius von Vieth and Gossenau by Anton Graff
Sargent – the Acheson sisters
The sisters – William McGregor Paxton
Bella and Hanna, eldest daughters of M L Nathanson by Cristoffer Eckersberg
My granddaughters – Edmund Charles Tarbell
Sisters – William Gabriel de Glehn
Sargent – the Misses Hill
Rather like these projects by Neil Dusheiko architects; they look very livable, and have a good use of light and space. He uses some interesting materials too, like charred wood, which is naturally rain and fire resistant.
It’s a joke on the Backlisted podcast that if you praise an author on Twitter, a kind of intellectual race to the bottom begins, with fans crawling out of the woodwork to ask if you’ve read variously the short stories / letters / journals yet. But it is true that letters are wonderful things to find – full of jokes, turns of phrase and bizarre incidents. Dora Carrington telling an inamorato that she loved him as much as raspberries and cream is one favourite; Sydney Smith recommending warm fires, cheering books and a pleasant bedroom for seeing our depression is another, and Dicke s was renowned for firing off rockets by every post.
So I think Letters Live, which has actors reading aloud a series of letters from the past – a kind of brought to life Letters of Note website – sounds just right for a night out at this time of year.