Sunday, March 31, 2019

Laetare Sunday

"Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. Psalm: I rejoiced when they said to me: 'we shall go into God's House!'"


Also, Elvish new year.


Also, time change day in Europe. (boo)


A few random recent pics:

One of the late Gothic altarpieces at the Perugia gallery. I'm astonished that you are allowed to take photos, and to walk straight up to it. No glass or ropes, and no uniformed employees hovering about. You can get right up close to it to see how it was done.

The great Perugia Altarpice by Fra Angelico.

The hazards of eating your own home grown produce; he dropped off a broccoli leaf a moment before I was about to eat it.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Egg tempera and the Renaissance

Fascinating talk on egg tempera painting in the early Italian Renaissance. He's got a few modern prejudices - especially about Byzantine art - but a good overview of how the world of western art developed from the canons of the ancient Christian East.

It would be great if artists who know about the history of art would trouble themselves to learn something about the history of the Church, since the two are so intimately bound up.

("Pappacy"? ... really? I know it's kind of mean, but I can't stop smiling every time he tries to pronounce "Giotto". "Jeeyahddo."...)


Monday, March 18, 2019

The body matters: the interment of King Richard III

We know instinctively, down to our bones, that the body is important, even after death, that Descartes and all his followers were wrong; the body isn't just a disposable meat suitcase for carrying around our souls. The body matters, and we feel it, we understand this, because we are our bodies.

This was surprisingly moving. It's what civilised people do.


Friday, March 15, 2019

First fruits

Well, first flower heads, at any rate.

Cut the first Romanesco broccoli of the season last night and had it for dinner. A bit early, so the flavour was not so well developed, but still very nice and full of goodness.

And there's nothing like the feeling one gets from going out to the garden with a pair of kitchen scissors to get something to eat.

Put them in a bit late this year, not 'til December, so they're not really ready yet. Last year I did a mix of winter brassicas planted as seedlings in September, and they were ready in March and April. Everything except the red cabbage did very well, and I've still got a little bit of cauliflower in the freezer. But this year I just did the Romanesco, which is pretty much my favourite veg ever, and isn't always available in the local shops, even in season. So I just wanted a big bunch of it.

Brassicas really are superfoods, every kind is good for you. Eat the leaves too. Just cut off the big ones on the outside and discard (compost) the whitish cores which are very stringy. The green parts are absolutely jammed with nutrients. Broccoli has one of the highest vitamin C ratings of any of our cultivars.


Saturday, March 09, 2019

Walking the hair-thin line between Zen serenity and madness...

When you're walking around the house looking for things to dust...

It doesn't usually look like this. 

I've been making the house closer and closer to absolute perfection for three days, anticipating the forespoken arrival of the agency lady to take pictures, though no sign of this worthy has yet been heralded. She was supposed to be here on Thursday. I thought I had it ready then, but discovered that Mandelbrot had snuck in that night and installed an infinitely regressing metaphysical ladder of possible domestic perfection I will never reach the end of.

First daffodils of the season, and a sprig of a local wild brassica, blossoming mightily all over.

But the house...

I've washed everything that could be washed, dusted the tops of things that are never dusted or, verily, even seen by mortal eye. I've polished the windows, taken down and washed the curtains, removed an entire civilisation of dust bunnies under the bed.

I've been madly cleaning after doing anything. After the washing up for lunch I took a clean dry cloth and polished off all the water droplets on the sinkal area - they leave marks but if you get them fast enough...

But I'm in a state of domestic suspension. I can't *do* anything but clean or read a book - very carefully - until this wretched woman turns up. I am happy that my home is, perhaps for the first time in decades, in a condition I would not be embarrassed to invite my grandma into, but at some point the cleaning has to be finished and life resumed.

I can feel the tendrils of OCD mania coiling gently and insidiously into my mind... I'm wandering the house, dust cloth in hand, looking for things an inch out of alignment. I feel like I want to follow the kitties around with a lint brush. I am reminded that there are people who live like this all the time, and I am saddened for those poor suffering souls.

I will never be zen. Just too many of my Irish and Welsh female ancestresses clamouring in my mind.

This is how madness starts.