Monthly Archives: May 2014

A sufficiency of spoons


Urgent need for buttons.  The shabby car park abuts some interesting archaeology, some of it, I suspect, quite ancient, with an unexpected lavishness of lilies.

1 rebuilding

I passed the house-clearance-when-you-drop shop and was caught:  EPNS?

2 window

At home I laid out the fleet.  There was a certain lack of knives, odd since everything else was there.  Was there another set once?  For this vintage, one might expect fish knives?

3 fleet

The detail has gone past being old-fashioned and is on its way back to period charm.

4 detail

This gives us the terminus post quem; though something tells me His Majesty might not have wanted to be closely associated with this modest line.

5 by appointment

Normally I would have sat on this tomb

Anonymous slab

Anonymous slab

… but today the circumambient obsessives with telephoto lenses  T   H   A   T      L   O   N   G   disrupted the ecclesiastical aura.

So I bunked off to Pallant House.  Stanley Spencer is visiting.

As I subscribe to the Winnie the Pooh zoo philosophy of going straight to your favourite animal and staying with them, I put down Spencer’s pretensions by getting around to him in my own good time, which turned out to be after most of the other stuff.  I had to hunt for a number of my favourites as they had been moved, and some were no longer visible at all 😦

You aren’t allowed photography even for personal use without a permit, but I wanted something to remember so took a couple of details in the original Pallant House, which makes a curious but surprisingly enjoyable setting for modern paintings.  Spencer, of course, was in the new wing.

Favourite shutters

Favourite shutters

Surviving architecture and shocking green button lights (the photo doesn't do them justice)

Surviving architecture and shocking green button lights (the photo doesn’t do them justice)

I want to know about the incident which led to this notice being placed

I want to know about the incident which led to this notice being placed

As I couldn’t photograph the paintings,  I tried to note pieces which I found intriguing.  The list on my phone grew longer and longer, and, now I come to look at it, fairly incomprehensible:

Moore small drawings in one legs suddenly get realistic joke?
Unattributed reservecollection bluew red horizon aerial view ish circle
Inner outer grey geometry peach squiggle lines red and black middle small objects
Branch swiss roll gold inside
Macedonia horse mapreading provender head in basket


I omit the other twenty seven items.

Pallant have kept a souvenir of one of their first commissioned artworks – the mussel staircase by Susie McMurray.  I saw the full installation at the time and found it enormously creepy.  Even in a two-by-three panel it is unsettling.

Then I finally headed for the special exhibition.  Spencer probably didn’t mind that I had deferred him, as his paintings kept their punch even for a lady of a certain age with a tired back and hot feet.  They don’t need any comment of mine …

I managed to emerge without buying any more books, which was fortunate as I had already shopped above my station.  I did buy three postcards:

John Craxton - Hare on Table;  Henry Moore - Two Sleepers;  Michael Andrews - Thames Painting: The Estuary

John Craxton – Hare on Table; Henry Moore – Two Sleepers; Michael Andrews – Thames Painting: The Estuary

Particularly silly to turn the Thames Estuary into a postcard, as the painting is about 60 square feet.  Still – visual note.

And did my encounter with High Art elevate my soul and brace my moral character to encounter the further difficulties of the day?  Hmmm – let’s leave that an open question.

Contemplating Hotspur


I was still considering the manic Hotspur of last night.  A couple of reviewers have not liked this interpretation, but I think it could be justified for Shakespeare’s Hotspur.   After all, if you wanted a fearless whacker on the leading edge of your heavy cavalry charge, forcing it through an armoured wall, a hyperactive borderline psychopath might be just the ticket, and could look very like a great leader.  Until, of course, you needed him to do grown up stuff, such as patience and prevarication.

But in this portrayal Hotspur is only an exaggeration of the other magnates around him, all touchy, aggressive and ambitious to a degree.  No wonder, the play says, that there is civil war.  And it is certainly possible that there is a covert Shakespearian commentary on the nobility of his own time.

No interpretation of Henry IV 1 will show us the historical Henry Percy, who was entrusted with diplomatic and ‘management’ roles, and was well on to 40 when he died – but then, the truest poetry is the most feigning?

As I ruminated thus, the fields did their best impersonation of timelessness,


spread out below wide green shoulders and lavishly bordered with campion, bluebells, bracken and cow parsley,

green 2

while the car followed its nose into the sunset.



Cherries at midnight


The RSC live screening of Henry IV 1 was showing tonight.  We did the usual early-for-the-favoured-seats thing and settled in for the marathon.  Some of the audience bring flasks and picnics, which gives these sessions a slightly off-key but amusing quality – I find myself peering furtively into the tupperware boxes of total strangers to see what they have brought along.  The preliminary interviews for all these live events are as irritating as finding chewing gum on the seat:  there is always a shiny woman squirming at the camera … get off dear.  But it’s fine once we are under way.

This was a good one.  All the characters got at least some of their due, with the King obviously a shadow of his former self and wondering how it all went so wrong, a notably rabid Hotspur who was never going to be at peace with anyone and could only be a Good Thing when safely dead, and a prince drugging himself against himself.  Falstaff makes or breaks this play, however, and Antony Sher had a fine old time.  His Sir John was both funny and evil: a mountain of impudence in every sense, a man of utter corruption and shamelessness, with the thinnest possible streak of surviving humanity.  How much did he know about himself?  Hard to say.  I await Part 2 with interest.

last few

‘Hang spring cleaning!’ …


… I uttered, though unlike the Mole I tucked myself in rather than rushing out.

A serious onslaught on the blue cotton was followed by a raid on the paper stash.  It’s extraordinary how it spreads itself once things get going. You would have thought there were eight of us working here, not just two.


The first cards of the day were the best.  And now it is back to the blue cotton.

Measured in feet


I was early in order not to be late.  This left me at leisure while walking by all the bookshops in town.  I made it past the first one, got caught in shops two, three, four and five, and luckily ran out of time for shop six.


Then I waved to a perfect blonde.


Now my bedside stack can be measured in feet.  I fear it will soon be measured in yards.