Thursday, 3 August 2017

Laptop poorly

My laptop is dead.

Or, at very least it is in a deep coma.  Kiss of life hasn't worked and it is currently on life-support.
I've never written a blog posting on my phone before.  One-fingered tapping on tiny keys does not make for long posts so please expect a lengthy silence...

Monday, 31 July 2017

Now where was I...

Once upon a time I began a blog post.  After I had written a couple of sentences I decided I needed another photo – not just the ones I had prepared in advance.  So I went into the folder that I thought contained it.  I found all sorts of interesting photos.  Not the one I was after but enough go do at least four or five blog posts.  Each of these, of course, needed either internet research or the checking of dates.

One of the problems I have with my photos is that many of them are not labelled by subject.  So, for example, if I want to blog about the stone circle at Steinacleit on the Isle of Lewis I have to find the relevant photos.  If they aren’t named it means going through the pictures for each trip to the Hebrides over the last forty years (except that I know the photos were taken about ten years ago – or maybe five years ago….). 

In going through those folders I find more interesting photos.  One in particular made me check whether I had ever blogged about it.  So I opened up my blog….

Down the side of my blog is a list of other people’s blogs and their latest posts.  One of them caught my eye.  Having read that post – and commented – it reminded me that I owed someone an e-mail. 

So I opened up Google mail.  Oh, look, there’s a new e-mail from my friend over the water…

A few minutes later I am feeling thirsty and tired so I make a coffee and sit down in the lounge with a book…

Now what was it I was going to do today???

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Mobile phones in Kelvingrove...

My blog post about Kelvingrove caused a few comments about mobile phones.  I should point out that mobiles have been in evidence in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery for a long time.

For example, take a look at "The White Cockade" (1899) by William-Ewart-Lockhart.

 “The White Cockade” celebrated the attempt by Bonnie Prince Charlie to reclaim the throne of Britain for the House of Stuart. During the 1745 Jacobite uprising, the Prince plucked a white rose and placed it on his bonnet as a symbol of rebellion. His supporters did likewise.  Not many people know this but just as this young man's sweetheart was affixing a cockade to his cap she decided instead to take a quick selfie in case he was injured or killed during his escapades.

 Then there is the Allegory of the Senses which is even older...

(With special thanks to Friend-Über-special who helped me with this blog posting...)

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Today's word is paraprosdokian

A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to re-frame or re-interpret the first part.

A good example, where the word “right” changes meaning as the sentence is completed, is:  "War doesn’t determine who is right only who is left."

Another example - Silence is golden; duct tape is silver.

Thursday, 20 July 2017


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

While staying with Anna near Glasgow (thank you so much for your hospitality, Anna) we went to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.  It is the first time I have been there and I could have spent days wandering around.

As with all museums and galleries a large number of the holdings are not on display because of lack of space.  

I recall when I first went behind the scenes at the old Liverpool Museum (now the Merseyside World Museum).  I was fascinated by how many hundreds of drawers of moths there were.  At Kelvingrove just one drawer was being exhibited.


The Floating Heads installation by Sophie Cave was my outright favourite work at Kelvingrove. 

Cave created over 50 of them, each displaying different emotions including laughter and despair. The heads are completely white, but are lit so that their expressions are accentuated, which gives the installation a somewhat eerie feel. Since the installation is hung over the foyer, it is one of the first things visitors see when they enter the museum.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Fino, Ambleside

When GB and I go around together we sometimes revisit old haunts and check out whether our food stops and overnight stay places are as good as they used to be.  We also enjoy trying out places that we haven’t visited before.  One such place on our trip North this summer was Fino in Ambleside.  

We had debated whether to have a meal at dinner time but as the two Thai restaurants were full we settled for having a cheeseboard at Fino.  It was a brilliant choice.

With it I had a Kiwi, Lime and Mint Firefly followed by a coffee.  GB had a wine. 

The cheese board consisted of three types of local cheese, chutney, garlic bread and fruit.  It was wonderful.  The service was equally top class and the origins of the cheeses explained in detail.  We shall certainly visit there again.

Monday, 17 July 2017


Messymimi, that source of so much wonderful information, tells me it is 
Wear Crazy Socks to Work Day” 

Partner-who-loves-tea does that most days of the year…

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Cléo de Mérode

I have a new heartthrob - Cléo de Mérode.  (Interestingly, the word heartthrob has been used to describe someone who makes people feel romantic since the 1920's but in many dictionaries it is only used for a man.)  She does not, of course, replace Audrey Hepburn!

Cléopatra Diane de Mérode (27 September 1875 – 17 October 1966) was a French dancer of the Belle Époque.  She was born in Paris, the daughter of Austrian landscape artist Carl (also Karl) Freiherr von Merode (1853–1909). At the age of eight, Cléo was sent to study dance and made her professional debut at age eleven.

Cléo de Mérode became renowned for her glamour even more than for her dancing skills, and her image began appearing on such things as postcards and playing cards. A particular new hairstyle she chose to wear became the talk of Parisian women and was quickly adopted as a popular style for all. Her fame was such that Alexandre Falguière sculpted The Dancer in her image, which today can be seen in the Musée d'Orsay. In 1895, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec did her portrait, as would Charles Puyo, Alfredo Muller, and Giovanni Boldini. Her picture was taken by some of the most illustrious photographers of the day, including Félix Nadar.

In 1896, King Léopold II attended the ballet and saw Mérode dance. The 61-year-old Belgian King became enamoured with the 22-year-old ballet star, and gossip started that she was his latest mistress. Because the King had had two children with a woman reputed to be a prostitute, Cléo de Mérode's reputation suffered, and she had to live with it for the rest of her life. Nevertheless, Cléo de Mérode became an international star, performing across Europe and in the United States. At the peak of her popularity, she chose to dance at the Folies Bergère, taking the risk to do something other elites of the ballet had never done before. Her performance gained her a whole new following.

Monday, 5 June 2017

The key to happiness

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Packing a Suitcase for the Afterlife

Anyone who has known my blog for a long time may have visited some of the 'Blogs I enjoy visiting' in the left hand column.  In August 2013 I added Colleen Redman's 'Loose Leaf Notes' to that list.  The by-line on her blog header is  "A blog is to a writer what a canvas is to an artist."

Colleen has recently written 'Packing a Suitcase for the Afterlife', a poetry memoir published by Finishing Line Press (FLP), an award winning small press out of Georgetown, Kentucky.  Colleen writes and provides photography for The Floyd Press newspaper in Floyd, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and for other regional publications. Her poetry has been published nationally, regionally, online and most recently has appeared in Artemis Journal, Floyd County Moonshine, The Front Porch Review and The Poet’s Haven.

If you would like to hear Colleen read a couple of her poems please click on this link -

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Election

June 8th sees another UK election.

After listening to the candidates on the hustings I have at last found one I can wholeheartedly support.

Taylor Swift is just one of many who have demonstrated their support for him.

                    And he's promised that if he makes a mess he'll clean it up himself...


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Price of Fish

Usually when I think of a phrase to mention on my blog I can just turn to ‘Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable’ (a wonderful book) for a definition of it.  It may not be the definition I use but it can give me ideas.  Imagine my surprise when, for the first time in decades of using it, I looked up a phrase and Brewer’s didn’t have it! 

The phrase is “What’s that got to do with the price of fish?”

It means, simply, what is the relevance of that.   It denotes an irrelevance or non-sequitur in the current discussion.  Looking it up via Google I also found ‘….the price of eggs’ and ‘….the price of beans’, neither of which I had heard.  There was also ‘….the price of tea in China?’, which I have used as an alternative myself.

What is the equivalent in your country / language?

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Words and Phrases - To Spend a Penny

The phrase to spend a penny means to use the toilet, especially, but not exclusively, a public toilet.

It originates from the use of coin operated locks on public toilets. It was used mostly in the UK and mostly by women (men's urinals were often free of charge).

Such locks were first introduced, at a public toilet outside the Royal Exchange, London, in the 1850s. The term itself is later though. The first recorded citation of it is in H. Lewis's "Strange Story", 1945:

"'Us girls,' she said, 'are going to spend a penny!'"

'Spend a penny' has now largely gone out of use, partly because charges have changed and partly because it was always a coy euphemism, which now seems rather dated. The writing was on the wall for this phrase, so to speak, from 1977, when the Daily Telegraph printed an article headed "2p to spend a penny".  Nowadays it costs at least 20 new pence to spend an (old) penny.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Happy Birthday Dürer

Albrecht Dürer was a painter, printmaker, and theorist of the German Renaissance. Born in Nuremberg on 21st May 1471, he was the third child and second son of his parents, who had at least fourteen and possibly as many as eighteen children. His father, Albrecht Dürer the Elder, was a successful goldsmith, who in 1455 had moved to Nuremberg from Ajtós, near Gyula in Hungary.

Dürer established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his twenties due to his high-quality woodcut prints.   He died on 6 April 1528, also at Nuremberg, Germany.

Some Durer Quotes:-

Some think that they know everybody, but they really don't know themselves.
Albrecht Durer

Love and delight are better teachers than compulsion.
Albrecht Durer

What beauty is, I know not, though it adheres to many things.
Albrecht Durer

Dürer created large numbers of preparatory drawings, especially for his paintings and engravings, and many survive, most famously the Betende Hände (Praying Hands) from circa 1508, a study for an apostle in the Heller altarpiece. Dürer created the drawing using the technique of white heightening and black ink on (self-made) blue colored paper. The drawing shows a close up of two male hands clasped together praying. Also, the partly rolled up sleeves are seen.

(This copy of the drawing was given to me 
on my 21st birthday by my then girlfriend.)

The drawing was planned to occupy the central panel of the triptych installed in Frankfurt, which was later destroyed by a fire in 1729.  The drawing also once contained a sketch of the apostle's head, but the sheet with the head has been separated from it. Overall, Dürer made 18 sketches for the altarpiece. The image is thought probably to depict Dürer's own hands.

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