I need to start posting more than once a month :) but anyway glad to say that the bug has finally left and I'm back to normal energy levels. And Spring is on the way. This and the coming 2 months are my favourite time of year, and I'm so delighted to have crocuses and a few early daffodils showing. Here are some crocuses lit by the sun.
I'm trying hard to get fitter again, having sat around like a slug for 6 weeks. Our older daughter is a tai chi fan and has made a short video for us of a daily routine. It keeps some flexibility but more importantly is a daily focus on how my body is moving, and reminds me to exercise it more.
T has also been ill with the same bug and he's only just getting better, but we've taken some walks on Hampstead Heath. This is still wintry but, as ever, there is always something to see, even if only shadows and reflections.
In the sunshine, the lakes shone, and bare tree branches glittered.
One morning our walk took us across the viaduct quite early in the day. (The viaduct is a whole story by itself but let me just say it was built about 1890 and stands alone in the woods.) The low sun cast the carvings into bold relief. I had never noticed them before, and liked the variety of the carvings. This one I thought very elegant.
I also wondered who worked so hard and for so long to carve "STONED HERE ON DAY"? What they were trying to say isn't quite clear ....but perhaps that's to be expected.
Some of this stone graffiti had the air of primitive carvings. What do you think this might be?
About ten minutes walk from the viaduct is Kenwood House, the Heath's big mansion. If you click the link you might recognise it from many movies, most recently, I think, Belle. I am a big fan of English Heritage which keeps the house and its treasures open all year, free of charge, complete with its interesting art collection, grand interiors and other treasures. I liked this gilded lion lurking on the side of an 18th century table
And this detail from an early JMW Turner painting shows what his work was like when he was not being quite so abstract. I love it, and it makes me wish I could have known the seaside when these old boats were a common sight.
A days ago T and I got the tube to a Southwark pub and attended to an amusing and interesting talk at the Southeast London Folklore Society by the artist and ghost-hunter Sarah Sparkes. She was talking about the magical library and extraordinary life of Harry Price, ghosthunter. Here's a photo I took of one of her slides projected on the screen. I think Harry looks quite the lad.
The library is held at Senate House, of University of Central London, which dates only from the 1930s but is said to be riddled with ghosts, including several haunted elevators. Not sure I would take that too seriously.
Sarah also touched on Borley Rectory, Essex, a large old house which Harry Price once owned. It was for many years famous as the Most Haunted House in England. In fact, my parents had a book about when I was a kid and I have to say that even at the age of 8, I was not convinced by Borley Rectory! But Harry Price's life story is a great, sometimes laugh-out-loud tale of a humble-born magician and born entertainer, who was determined to be remembered one way or another.
I also did a clear-out, and found this little book dating from 1852. I'm not that interested in Paris's Principal Monuments (which at that time, of course, did not include the Eiffel Tower) but the book was only 50p at a car boot sale, and although small, the engravings are beautiful when looked at through a magnifying glass. But what is this building on the cover? Does anyone recognise it?
T felt recovered enough at the weekend to take a walk with me over to Highgate, where we spotted this interesting advert stuck on a community notice board. It really ought to be the beginning of a novel or a movie, don't you think? How do you think it will pan out?
By the way, since this is a real person's real advert (even though they are advertising on a public message board) I've blocked out some of the phone number.
So that's been me - and I wish you a very good week!