Wednesday, 23 March 2011

What do I do now?

So... I've done the two windows in the dining room and I'm happy with the way they look.

I could do what I promised to do a put the window I removed from the dining room into the bedroom, but really I'm looking for something a bit more challenging.

I still have to do the office windows (my office; the SMALL one that comes off the dining room) and I've worked out a formal sort of lozenge design with a nice coloured diamond but I haven't worked out what colour the diamond should be yet.

So... I'm casting about, looking for a small, skilful project that won't take too long but might stretch me a bit.

My eyes lit on the front door with its poky little bottle glass puntil window. (I hate them anyway) and I thought "that's it!"

I wanted a design that would be intricate and colourful...

so I dug something out of a victorian design book.

I think it's supposed to be about a metre high so it makes the cutting for this particular window which is A4 size (approx) very intricate. We'll see how I get on!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Jan Morris's 'Venice'

I've been trying to satisfy my 'obsession' with Venice by reading Jan Morris's book Venice, first written in 1960 in the persona of James Morris, Morris tried to update it in 1970 and realised that it was not updateable. Much has changed, but much remains the same. La Serenissima has come through a dark period (lasting, however you make your calculation, for 150 or 750 years). It has now settled into a fairly secure future as the 'must see' wonder of the tourist world.

The Book is a "highly subjective, romantic, impressionist picture less of a city than of an experience." (Jan Morris) It is a book to cherish as much as Venice itself. and I would like to quote a short passage to illustrate the wonders therein:

"The church in Venice, though, is something more than all things bright and beautiful. It is descended from Byzantium, by faith out of nationalism: and sometimes to its high ritual in the Basilica of St Mark there is a tremendous sense of an eastern past, marbled, hazed and silken. St Mark's itself is a barbaric building, like a great Mongolian pleasure pavilion, or a fortress in Turkestan: and sometimes there is a suggestion of rich barbarism to its services too, devout, reverent and beautiful though they are.

In Easter week each year the Patriarch and his clergy bring from the vaults of the church treasury all its most sacred relics, and display them ceremonially to the people. This ancient function is heavy with reminders of the Orient. It takes place in the evening, when the Piazza is dark, and the dim lights of the Basilica shine mysteriously on the gold mosaics of its roof. The congregation mills about the nave in the half-light, switching from side to side, not knowing which way to look. A beadle in a cocked hat, with a silver sword and the face of a hereditary retainer, stands in a peremptory eighteenth-century attitude beside a pillar. The organ plays quietly from its loft, and sometimes there is a chant of male voices, and sometimes a sudden hubbub from the square outside when the door of the church is opened. All is murmurous and glinting.

A flash of gold and silver from an aisle, a swish of stiff vestments, the clink of a censer, and presently there advances through the crowd, clouded in incense, the patriarchal procession. Preceded by flurrying vergers, clearing a way through the congregation, it sweeps slowly and rheumatically up the church. A golden canopy of old tapestry sways and swings above the mitred Patriarch, and around it walk the priests, solemn and shuffling, clasping reverently the celebrated relics of St Mark's (enclosed in golden frames, jewelled caskets, crucifixes, medieval monstrances). You cannot see very well, for the crowd is constantly jostling, and the atmosphere is thick; but as the priests pass slowly by you catch a queer glimpse of copes and 'Poi Cristiani' 79 reliquaries, a cross set with some strange sacred souvenir, a fragment of bone in a crystal sphere, weird, ornate, elaborate objects, swaying and bobbing above the people as the old men carrying them stumble towards the altar.

It is an eastern ceremonial, a thing of misty and exotic splendour. When you turn to leave the great church, all those holy objects are placed on the rim of the pulpit, and all those grave priests are crowded together behind, like so many white-haired scholarly birds. Incense swirls around them; the church is full of slow shining movement; and in the Piazza outside, when you open the door, the holiday Venetians stroll from cafe to cafe in oblivion, like the men who sell Coca-Cola beneath the sneer of the Sphinx."

Visit Venice whenever you can (Winter is best if you actually want to SEE things; Summer will do for the excitement, heat, crowds and colour). If you can't get there, read Jan Morris's wonderful book.

Friday, 11 March 2011

It's all for Charideeee!

You might think a midweek Cahmpionship football match on an extremely cold evening is enough to persuade anyone to snuggle up by the fire and watch the TV.

But no, a group of students from Loughborough University Rag, together with the Marie Curie Cancer Care Fundraising team and led by Marea came out (attracted only by a ticket to the match and their ambition to collect more tna anyone else) to collect for the Great Daffodil Appeal.

The Marie Curie Nursing Service helps people who are approaching the end of their lives to remain at home if they wish to, through its nationwide network of Marie Curie Nurses who provide nursing care at home. The service is free to the people they care for, their families and carers. The core service is one-to-one overnight nursing from a Registered Nurse or Senior Healthcare Assistant in a patient’s home, usually for eight or nine hours.

Marea was very pleased that her staff got their photo taken with Sven Goran-Erickson and that it was featured in the match programme.

The famous Fundraising Bus turned up on time and so did all the student collectors and a couple of Marie Curie nurses.

We collected in the cold until the match had started, then we took or seats to watch. It was colder inside the ground than it had been outside. And, what's more, we got spanked by Norwich City, Leicester just getting a compensation goal about a minute before time (we had already left to go and tidy up the bus and get all the collecting boxes, etc organised). The score of 3-2 rather flattered Leicester City and it looks like our chances of promotion are slipping away.

Still, we collected over £2,500 if we include the sale of a donated Directors' Box. Not a bad night's work, thanks to all those Loughborough students.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Spring is on its way (just about)

I've been watching the verge under the hedgerow over the road very carefully in the hope that the daffodils and crocuses we planted last back end would begin to show. However, the weather's not been great - it's been a very damp February...

... and everything's been a bit bleak

not to say soaking wet....

But now, as we move into March, the crocuses are showing and the Daffodils are up and looking strong.

Around the remaining Elm saplings, they're looking good. (The boys who broke at least one of the Elm saplings - cost £250 each - were caught and we're looking for restorative justice. This probably means getting their parents to pay up.)

Under the wall by the care home, where it's a bit more sheltered, the dwarf daffodils are up and open...

... and, gloriously, so are the irises - perhaps my all-time favourite.

Looks like Spring is finally here. Can't wait for my retirement date at the end of May and a Summer of cricket, glass-cutting and the garden. Aaaaaah!