On the way back from the British Museum yesterday, this was the scene over Soho.
(Yes, it’s school half-term again — light blogging predicted for the duration.)
Summer is upon us, bringing with it school holidays, visits to various places, miscellaneous distractions galore. For this reason — as well as for the reason that, during the summer, most people quite reasonably have better things to do than sitting inside looking at the internet — blogging here is going to be light in the extreme until some point in early September.
For the moment, though, here are a couple of cheerful snaps of gravestones from the churches of the Glaven Valley in north Norfolk. The one above is from the churchyard of St. Margaret, Cley-next-the-Sea, while the one below is from St. Mary, Wiveton. The first I liked because of its, ahem, casually syncretic Christianity, as well as the good carving, while the second serves as a reminder of a time in which a life spent learning to be a capable millwright was clearly a source of some pride.
Enjoy the summer.
School half term holidays traditionally signal large gaps in the admittedly already pretty gappy posting schedule here at Fugitive Ink — and who are we to overturn tradition? In lieu of comment on the Coalition, the Queen’s Speech or even Stephen Games’ Pevsner: The Early Life, then, here is a photo from a recent excursion to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, if only to pass the time until normal posting resumes.
Kew, incidentally, is a marvellous place — that rare thing, an institution in receipt of substantial public funding which nevertheless appears to deserve every single penny spent on it. Not least, unlike most of our ‘public services’, it offers something for more or less everyone. The buildings, from Sir William Chambers’ elegant little follies (1760s) to Decimus Burton’s brilliant Palm House (1844-48, pictured above) to the strangely effective Princess of Wales Conservatory (1987), read like a lively survey of the past three centuries of English architecture. Although no great fan of most ‘environmental’ projects, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank scheme appeals to me enormously. Perhaps this is because it somehow comes across as an eighteenth century project — encyclopaedic, engaged with agrarian improvement, benignly imperial — as opposed to some sort of rite of nature-worship.
There’s exoticism to be enjoyed amongst the glasshouses, tranquility to be found in the parklike prospects, an education in the habits of herbs available in the neat little gardens behind Kew Palace, civilised strolls to be undertaken amongst the regular beds of roses. For those of faintly melancholy inclination, there’s a cycad that’s more or less the last of its line. In Chambers’ handsome Orangery, there’s not only respite from the sun, the possibility of very good coffee and walnut cake, but also heavy glasses with moulded flies perching on them — extremely enviable. There’s a nicely laid out shop selling everything from plants to books to gardening tools, although, alas, not those heavy glasses with the moulded flies perching on them. And then there’s an enormous pagoda, a Minka house, dozens of sweet-smelling lilacs, ideas for things to be done with herbaceous borders and wildflower lawns, beehives, a heron, art galleries, a playground, more plants than one could learn about in a lifetime and, well, quite a lot else besides.
Kew is, in other words, highly recommended, not least for those whose normal lives are on hold until school half term finishes. More serious posting will, one hopes, resume next week.
Wondering how best to pass a sunny May Day morning in Blakeney, Norfolk? Here’s an idea — why not try making digital, full colour pastiches of the photography of Edwin Smith?
Cats, children’s pictures and festive greetings, all in one post — just as well, then, that this is so obviously a very serious blog!
It would absolutely amaze me if anything ends up being read, written or even thought in these parts until school holidays come to an end circa 12 January. In the meantime, though — and rather more to the point — here’s hoping that 2010 turns out to be full of great happiness for all friends of Fugitive Ink.
Christmas is, or at least ought to be, more a time for blessing than blasting.
So I won’t even bother to list, let alone blast, the miscellaneous reasons why my plans to post all sorts of things over the past couple of weeks — a review of Oleg Grabar’s beautiful Masterpieces of Islamic Art: The Decorated Page from the 8th to the 17th Century, for instance, or a festive evisceration of our Poet Laureate’s latest offering — came to nothing, noting only in passing the modest hope that 2010 will offer at least the odd moment of leisure, contemplation and steady self-confidence, free from ‘why even bother with blogging anyway?’ sub-existential crises. Well, we shall see.
First, though, seasonal blessings are the order of the day. Specifically, bless the friends of Fugitive Ink, old and new. Warmest thanks for reading the over-written and sporadically-posted nonsense that appears here, saying interesting things about it, linking to it or voting for it, sending emails that amused or inspired, and generally providing the encouragement without which I’d have given up on this project years ago, or perhaps never even started it in the first place.
Your support and kindness matters more than you probably realise. In any event, best wishes to every one of you for a very happy Christmas, followed by a New Year full of nothing but pleasant surprises — see you again, I hope, in 2010.