Tuesday, July 28, 2015

the absurdity of Moth


Moth is clearly hoping that these metal quails (crafted in the workshop of some New Mexican jail, and very much loved pieces of vernacular art) will come alive, and jump into her mouth.  Maybe she's thinking of the ones outside the wall - one adult (there must have been a Bird Tragedy involving the other), and eleven bustling adolescents.



Monday, July 27, 2015

back in NM


One knows that one's back in New Mexico when the sunset from one's back yard looks like this ...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

a long day


Here's an orchid that I gave to my mother on my last trip back - it's doing extraordinarily well (as her orchids do).  From my current vantage point, in the Sheraton at Albuquerque airport, this morning, in Wimbledon, seems a very long time ago ...

Saturday, July 25, 2015

ah, England ...


Truly, I don't know any other country where one encounters a tethered concrete sheep grazing on a front lawn.

Friday, July 24, 2015

the most adorable house in London?


I stumbled upon this today whilst making my way from Senate House (keynote delivered! questions answered!) to the BL - somewhere in the wilds of Kings Cross, or south KingsX, in a land of council flats and cheap hotels - and this was down a dog-leg side street, and was covetable beyond words - tall, thin, plant-bedecked, and with St Pancras in the background.  Given that I'd just been talking (among other things) about the allure, from the early C19th onwards, of London's hidden places that reveal themselves like little intimate secrets, this seemed amazingly timely.


And yes, it was a very, very wet day.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

folded roses


One of the real delights of Bloomsbury and roundabouts these days is the rapid proliferation of little shops and cafes and artisanal thingies - and of looking in their windows (en route to the British Library, for a mash-up of putting together my presentation for tomorrow's Loving London talk, and some healthy self-plagiarism from the intro to To the Lighthouse that I wrote some - ouch - nearly thirty years ago - I needed the quotations, at the very least, for a very short, very simple piece I'm writing for the BL's own website.  I was sure that my parents would have a copy - but no: hence the BL).  These origami roses were in the window of a wedding dress designer's: I was so hoping that they'd be made of some of the pages about Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, but alas, 'twas not to be ...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

a lion and a unicorn


This is pretty terrific - St George's, Bloomsbury.  I could have sworn, though, that I'd never seen this magnificent lion and unicorn before - how could I have missed them, in all my years in working at the British Library before it moved?

Turned out that I didn't: the church was in disrepair and financial difficulty a long whiles, but in the 2000s obtained (among other funding) money from the World Heritage Foundation, and now it's very striking.  This is a Hawksmoor church, built after the 1711 Act allowed for the building of 50 more London churches, and it's had a veritable history (Anthony Trollope was christened here; Emily Davison, the suffragette who threw herself under the King's horse in the 1913 Derby.  But the Lion and the Unicorn - they (re)arrived in 2006, sculpted by Tim Crawley, after original drawings.


You think you've seen the spire somewhere before?  Yes!  It's in the background to Hogarth's Gin Lane.  Since my current (wonderful) hotel, the Bloomsbury Hotel, has given me a two-for-the-price-of-one card for the bar, Gin Lane my still be alive and kicking in 2015.