Assorted prints


Apologies for the poor quality of snaps, but I was on the move in a conference centre and the artist’s names were mostly indecipherable from the squiggles on the frame. All modern and British, though, which is whetting my appetite for the RA Summer Exhibition.

all photos June 2016.

Women in Art

These sites crack me up. “Oh look, he’s brought his guitar….no really, what a great party.”

Women having crap times at parties and batting off proposals here:

Women Having A Terrible Time At Parties In Western Art History

Women Rejecting Marriage Proposals In Western Art History



This beautifully-acted, well-shot and quietly restrained film about 18 months after I bought it on DVD and possibly having a quiet cry while watching.


I blame all those Disney films for creating a Pavlovian reaction where I am now guaranteed to cry two thirds of the way through any film. Or perhaps it was watching a film about shattered hope so close to the Brexit result.

The Little White Horse

When she had finished her delicious supper and gone back to the hall she found it empty, but candlelight shining from beneath the parlour door told her where she would find everybody. And there they all four were, Wiggins and Serena sleeping before the fire and Sir Benjamin and Miss Heliotrope beside them, seated one on each side of the small table that usually stood against the wall with the chessmen and workbox upon it. … Those frozen chessmen were being used again at last.

At hard times, there’s nothing for it but to read children’s books and retreat. Coming out of the dip I can read poetry, and higher up the slope toward the peak are new books, travel writing and non-fiction, heading slowly towards biography and classic novels. Sometimes, however, you just need the book equivalent of cream on your porridge, and a hug the first day you get out of bed from the flu, and for that I read this:




As I am (temporarily) somewhere warm, sunny and NOT THE UK, I’ve chosen this summer classic for today. You can almost smell the flowers on the air as you look at this. Manet, Lilacs in a vase. Image from commons.wikimedia

Victoria Clayton

“I think you may have something there, my child.” Orlando blew his nose on my towel. Knowing his mood to be fragile, I did not protest. He slung his own towel round his neck and stood up. “Anyway, Fritz deserves the best and somewhere inside me there may be something worth his while.” He put on his Eugene Onegin look – sorrow tempered by newly acquired wisdom – and went thoughtfully away.

One of my favourite, favourite authors for comfort reading, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book by Victoria Clayton that I disliked and her style is so good. A lesser writer wouldn’t have such good rhythm, and a plainer one would have missed out the final “thoughtfully”.

Opera, ballet and country houses often feature in her plots, along with close friendships,  surveys of the English gentry and a heroine who is usually uncertain as well as free-spirited.

As with Nancy Mitford and PG Wodehouse, some of her best jokes have become adopted shorthand between my mother and me, in particular the Onegin Look, which features in her book below, whose heroine is a ballerina, hence the O.L. and her own Aurora Smile (a bit much at close quarters, it turns out):


On a separate note, this is so not the kind of title that Clayton would choose that it makes me sad inside to see such an original author forced through the sausage factory of the in-house marketing team and into a frankly dire title and blurb.

I become enraged anyway when I see books with “The Girl’s Guide To…” in the title. It’s so bloody twee, not to say patronising. Manic Pixie Girl probably reads those kinds of books. Grrr.

Summer shade


In dire need of Cheering Up from Friday’s Brexit fiasco, I will be posting pretty things for the next couple of days as light relief from walking round my house and garden railing at the world. Whilst I practice my late-period Onegin look, here is a 1921 illustration by Alexander Rzewuski of a dress to be worn whilst listening to Stravinsky or Ravel.

image from Pinterest.