Sunday, 10 May 2015


Last weekend Polesden Lacey, which is owned by the National Trust. My aunt - not the same aunt who had to paddle to safety in Richmond with me or the aunt who moved out to Italy, but a third aunt - described it rather well as a place you could imagine moving into. It's stately but not unwieldy, with pleasant bathrooms and leather chairs worn soft with use as well as a grand piano and a room all mirrors and gold, dark panelled halls and a white wall-length linen closet.

The gardens were nice too, kitchen gardens, silvery lavender, and sheets of bluebells in the woods. Enormous tulips; but then all the tulips seem enormous this year, great tall goblets on fat, sappy stems.

This weekend started straight after work on Friday when I went to the 'Defining Beauty' exhibition at the British Museum (this is the exhibition I meant to go to a few weeks ago when I fetched up doing Portobello Rd and Bayswater instead). Rather nice, and only half price for art fund members, but I studied Ancient History at degree level so some of the labelling and the history was bound to be a little too shallow and simplistic for me. I also don't think we have enough source material to know what Ancient Athenians really thought about (to give just one example) women - and even if we do it doesn't seem likely that their views remained static throughout the whole 200 year period. Consider how views can change in just 50 years in our own era.

The statues are gorgeous though, and after the exhibition I still had the rest of the museum to wander round. Sappho's lyric poetry was being performed near the Parthenon Marbles to the strumming of instruments - although not, I think, a lyre - and a quartet of guitar and drums and violins was playing something toe-tapping in one corner of the main hall -  that huge glass-enclosed space that somehow has intimate corners despite being vast and sunlit.

Yesterday was a pub lunch in Chichester (and a very nice art shop in which I bought a sketch book for my upcoming trip to Verona, and my youngest aunt - the paddling in the Thames one - bought wrapping paper and other things which caught her eye). And today I saw my 6 year old cousin who, as usual, seems to be pursuing a career as my personal trainer: cricket, timed laps around the war memorial while we waited for the baby aunt (she was watering and putting chrysanthemums on my grandparents' grave), relay races, cops and robbers, more cricket, tea and ice cream and then crazy golf. In return I showed him how to take his pulse.

And on Tuesday I go to Verona.

Hence Random Picture of Balcony

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