Not blue


It started blue but suddenly wasn’t.

(Click a thumbnail for the gallery)

Grunting. And snarling.


Mr Turner grunts and growls his way through the film, and not necessarily in an amiable tone.

Not sure how historical some of the details are, and occasionally I thought the language was more clunky than authentic. But we were glued to the story, fascinated by the presentation of Turner’s painting techniques, intrigued by the scenes re-creating 19th century London and Margate, and wanting to visit the real pictures again.

On not being told what to think




Treehorn is shrinking.  We imagine his situation through the responses of the people in his life, which are at once absurd and devastatingly recognizable.  The few hundred words of the story are almost pitch-perfect, while the Edward Gorey black-and-white illustrations embody the strangeness of the ordinary.  While reading, one longs to smack Treehorn’s parents and stick needles all over the Principal, and after reading there is a residual tendency to apologise to all the children you have ever known.  Also to check one’s own height before going to bed.

Fantasy, satire, parable – whatever it is, every home should have one.

Aetat. 14


I, Claudius

Re-reading I, Claudius for the nth time, I contemplated Graves’ success in making us so believe in his central characters that we devalue any actual historical evidence which would contradict his portraits – a feat similar to that of Shakespeare’s creation of Richard III.  And beneath the wonderful fictional portraits lies a similar motive:  a political interpretation of historical events for the author’s own time, more veiled and perhaps more pervasive than Shakespeare could achieve in the narrow compass of his play.  But on the first reading I was scarcely aware of this subtext, my whole attention being taken up with the hair-raising vices and almost equally alarming virtues of the Imperial clan.

I, 1971

Reading Graves’ novel fed a tentative interest in classical history and literature, encouraging me to read further and more deeply, and I owe him much for that alone.  Beginning to understand English literature or European history worked much better with at least a dribble of Homer, Sophocles, and Virgil running in the veins.  And the re-reading has sent me off again:

I will read it next

It’s translated by Robert Graves, of course.

The ten-colander challenge – 11


Late arrival at the colander party -

Colander 11:   The turn-it-upside-down-salad-shaker-colander,  also known as the humane-ventilated-capture-and-retention-of-stray-newts-and-other-small-animals-colander.

colander 11

Bother.  I am now being glared at by 11 bisque-fired colanders eager to express themselves in daily life, and I am yet to work out a glaze I like on this clay.