Pretties

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In fact, twice in one day because I  can’t resist: a scrapbook of Instagram pretties: Schiaparelli dresses from @the_corsetedbeauty;

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an Evelyn Dunbar sketch from @designfortoday;

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an elegant doodle from @garancedore;

 

marmalade jars and the delightful National Trust home of Standen from phil._.b;

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dogs on the beach from @thewomensroomblog

Tiger women

In the middle of heat rage a few weeks ago, I saw this fierce woman, captured in a 1930s photo by Fubing Chang.

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Instantly I thought of her waving a battle banner, and @jennifershortotextiles showed me both the flag and how this girl might appear nowadays.

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Finally, her palace: on sale in the Atlas Mountains via Christie’s,

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where she sits waiting for lunch in the heat (@thebreadcompanion)

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Sweeping

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Beautiful animation in Studio Ghibli’s The Red Turtle, which reminded me how much I want to see the House of Illustration’s anime exhibition. A film without a spoken soundtrack but rich in sound and visual exploration, it follows a man cast ashore on a deserted island, his acceptance that he cannot escape and the happy life he builds for himself.

Nourishment

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As usual on a bank holiday, I spend a lot of time lying on (not in) my bed, still in my pyjamas, reading and planning lots of meals.

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About 9pm I might start cooking some, getting to bed at 2am the next morning a bit too tired and irritable and completely mis-setting my body clock for the rest of the weekend. I am also very happy for finding new voices and stories.

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This time it was Rachel Alice Roddy, whose tales of Testaccio and Sicily grabbed me (photos from Rachel’s Instagram above; link to blog here). For those of you around, head to Stoke Newington Festival & other sites in London this month to hear her talk about cookbook as memoir and taste her cooking.

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Rachel’s feed then led me to Hanna of  Building Feasts, whose supper clubs look divine, and whose weekly round ups include both makeup and books amongst the food. Both Hanna and Rachel feel like direct links to Nigella Lawson, whose writing and sheer enjoyment of food can’t be faulted.

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Finally, here is the great idea of Kino Vino, pairing a cuisine and a film. Little Vera and Russian dumplings are still to come, as is a pairing of I Am Love with Rachel’s cooking. Full circle.

Top two photos my own; Building Feasts & Rachel images from their Instsgrams.

Aratea

At seemingly random points across the composition (but not at all random in reality) the page is studded with tiny squares of gold leaf. These are the stars in the constellation depicted. The text, which runs to several pages, explains that the stars rotate ceaselessly between the celestial poles, and that these are guarded by the bears of Crete, who had protected Jupiter as a baby from his cannibalistic father, Saturn, in return for which they had been set in the sky to mark the poles. They are known as Helice of the seven stars and Cynosura, who has never deceived Phoenician sailors guided by her. Between them…runs a giant snake, like a river, with stars along its body…These are the constellations which we still know as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, with the Plough.

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Tantalising writing by Christopher de Hamel about the Leiden Aratea, here. Image from Medieval Fragments.

Sunshine

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I came across this Virginia Woolf quote below, which reminded me of this favourite book, with its invitation to “those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine” to hire an Italian castle for the month of April. Yes please…

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If life has a base that it stands upon, it is a bowl that one fills and fills and fills – then my bowl without a doubt stands upon this memory. It is of lying half asleep, half awake, in bed in the nursery at St Ives. It is of hearing the waves breaking, one, two, one, two, and sending a splash of water over the beach; and then breaking, one, two, one, two, behind a yellow blind. It is of hearing the blind draw its little acorn across the floor as the wind blew the blind out. It is of lying and hearing this splash and seeing this light…

Candlemas

 

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A lovely feast, poised exactly between the winter and spring solstices, and a time of hope. It is also 40 days after Christmas, and is therefore the mirror feast of Pentecost, in this case for the presentation of Christ in the Temple (the prophetic word arriving in the sanctuary), rather than the flaming Spirit descending on earth (God’s revelation shared with and through us all).

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These photos were taken in the dark of the week before Christmas, in Salisbury Cathedral. The installation of giant paper peonies and roses was suspended behind the high altar in a candlelit space, lavender oil scenting the air, and above duvets and pillows laid out so that visitors could rest and look at the ceiling. It is one of the most magical and peaceful things I’ve seen, and again had a dual twist of blossom/snowfall and the spirit at Pentecost.

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All photos by me, December 2016.

Weihnachten fancies

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As soon as I saw this picture of the Stadtschloss in Weimar I could imagine drawing up in a sleigh through the snow, ready for a ball. Maybe it’s time to finally read Fontane’s  After the Storm,  sometimes described as a German War and Peace, which has been on my shelf for about four years.

Gotha, Schlofl Friedenstein

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Schloss Friedenstein Gotha.

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On the otherwise hand, finding this lady and her coquettish bonnet and scarf on my photo roll, and then coming across this interesting article by Kathryn Hughes, has made me fancy a bit more George Eliot.

Euphemia White Van Rensselaer by George P. Healy, photo October 2016 from the Met. Schloss images via the German tourist board websites.

Eyes as big as plates

 

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How phenomenonally beautiful is this idea & this photo from Karoline Hjorth and Riita Ikonen? Their Kickstarter page is here & I wish I’d seen it when it was open. Instead I’ll keep an eye out for their book.

 

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The rhubarb camouflage made me laugh too – my dad has killed more rhubarb with his lawn mowing than a school kitchen’s worth of crumble, so this hideout would be perfect for him!