So what have I done in the last couple of weeks? Bits and pieces. I finished some Lewis Carroll work, and went with my friend to see "Men and Chicken" one of the weirdest films I've seen. In it, five seriously dysfunctional brothers make gruesome blackly humorous discoveries on a remote Danish island. I can't describe it. And I certainly don't recommend you to watch the trailer. Like most trailers, it makes you not want to see the movie. I'd say it's not very politically correct, but my friend adored it.
We saw the last of the roses, at least for now. Some of the bushes will bloom again at the end of the summer.
On Wednesday I happened to be passing the Jewish Museum in London's Camden Town and realised I'd never ever been inside. It's a modern building hidden inside an old one, and larger than it looks at first. My favourite exhibit was this cape, the property of Doris Benjamin, a nurse in World War 2. Like the other nurses, apparently Doris begged regimental badges and shoulder flashes from the men that she nursed, and sewed them on her cape. A nice way to remember them, and a discussion point for the patients, too, I bet.
About half a mile away, in Primrose Hill, I spotted some bas-reliefs decorating the large, grand 1950s stone doorway of Cecil Sharp House. Named after England's most famous folk-song collector, Cecil Sharp House is the HQ of the English Folk Dance and Song Society and its library is a treasure trove of curious customs and songs going back centuries.
This carving shows a Hobby Horse, a creature in English folk dancing. The Hobby takes all shapes and forms and often disrupts the dance by weaving in and out of the dancers, or else it dances on its own. They must go back many hundreds of years, possibly even before Christianity. This one makes me think of a witchdoctor as it capers about.
Cecil Sharp House runs all kinds of activities, some rather unexpected - I even once attended a class to learn how to dance the quadrille (don't ask) and last time I went with T's cousin, there was a whole Regency costume ball going on in the basement. I snapped this pair queuing up for coffee in the interval.
At present Cecil Sharp House has a display of artworks it has commissioned or bought over the ages, including a gigantic patchwork quilt from 1992. This is one of the panels.
And for those of you who have not had enough of English folk dancing, this is the Shepherd's Hey mentioned in the panel. The first few minutes will probably be enough, and the jingly sound is the bells on their legs, in case you aren't familiar with morris dancing.
T and I went to the British Library's exhibition "Shakespeare in Ten Acts" about the way Shakespeare performances have been reinterpreted over the centuries. It reminded me of all kinds of movies and performances I've seen, and made me long to see Derek Jarman's wonderful "Tempest" again. (Here's one of my favourite clips - Elisabeth Welch singing "Stormy Weather."
And I spotted this Shakespeare teapot, which I would love to own.
Saw a White Admiral butterfly - don't remember having seen one before.
And the heather was out in a sandy bit of Hampstead Heath, London felt as if it was miles away.
I had a staring match with Ol' Four Eyes, the cat. First time I saw him peering in through the window, those markings gave me quite a shock.
And caught the end of a beautiful sunset.