Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Herry's Journal Index

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 
The Four Quartets
Favourite Poetry - The North Ship
Favourite Poetry - Akhmatova
Favourite Poetry - Pablo Neruda
Edna St Vincent Millay - Love is is not All
Edna St Vincent Millay - Eight Sonnets V
Edna St Vincent Millay - Dirge Without Music
Favourite Poetry - Poesie Mondane, Bestemmia 619
Favourite Poetry - Wind
Favourite Poetry - October
Favourite Poems - Hiawatha
Favourite Poems - Ithaca
Favourite Poems - Kindness
Favourite Poems - C9th Chinese Poem on Old Age
Favourite Poems - Beloved Earth 
Favourite Poems - Animals
Favourite Poems - Stag's Leap
Favourite Poems - The Wilderness
Favourite Poems - No Man Is An Island
Kei's Poetry - Ego Sum
Kei's Poetry - The Dressing Table
Kei's Poetry - For Obachan
Favourite Carols
Favourite Songs - Kathleen Ferrier 'Land of Hope and Glory'

The Story of the Fox (The Little Prince) 
Favourite Writings - Beyond Euphrates
The Dazzling Fluidity of Days
Favourite Writings - The Lycian Shore
Favourite Writings - More Freya Stark
Favourite Books - 'Wait For Me' by Debo Devonshire
Favourite Writings - Jalaluddin al-Rumi
The River Test
The Stanzas of Dzyan
Astravakra Gita
I Am Shiva
Jane Austen
The Song of the Weather
The Snow Country
The Forms of Love
The Scientist and the Universe
The Scientist and the Universe II
Ruskin on Pugin's Conversion to Roman Catholicism
100 Books Famous in Children's Literature
100 Books Famous in Children's Literature - the List
Vogue's Book of Houses, Gardens and People
A Study of History
A History of Intimacy
Wise Advice - Sally Brampton
More Wise Advice - Sally Brampton
The Book of Kells
Watching The English
De Profundis - Oscar Wilde
Isaiah Berlin

Post EU Referendum Blues
Fracking - a Real and Present Danger
Stockbridge and the Storms of February 2014
Grave Threat to Longstock and Stockbridge from Developers 
Destruction of the Winchester College Wingnuts
Falloden Nature Reserve Closed to Walkers
The Curious Case of the Middle Lane
The Curse of Road Noise
The Poison of Bonuses
Inequality - A Growing Problem
Illogical Arguments
Games People Play
Slideshows and The Little Prince
The Dazzling Fluidity of Days
Early June Morning
The Joy of Fly Fishing
The Big Issue
Geography and How We've Lost It
The Highway Code in 100 Words
The Joy of Cricket
Leonard Cohen The Master
Favourite Songs - Leonard Cohen
The Joy of YouTube
Thoughts on SOPA and PIPA
Farewell Tempo
The Rat Pack
Why I Prefer Pubs to Restaurants 
Slideshows and The Little Prince
Treasure Island and the Avoidance of Tax

Obituaries and Eulogies
Dirge Without Music
The Rat Pack
Rosie Jenks 1943 - 2005
Gopika Fraser 1965 - 2009
Cmdr Colin Balfour RN 1924 - 2009 
Norman Buckingham 1918 - 2010
The Rev Hamilton Lloyd 1919 - 2011
Suzanne Lloyd 1923 - 2011
Sally Macpherson 1940 - 2012
Nick Duke 1945 - 2013
S Venkiteswaran 1941 - 2013
Joanne Louise Taylor (Jo Johns) 1939 - 2014
Ernie Stiles - 1941 - 1914
Lucie Skipwith 1942 - 2014
Annie May Spawton 1944 - 2014

Herry's Trinity House Retirement 2006
Herry's Tokyo Retirement 2006
Herry's Beijing Retirement 2006
Herry's Office Retirement 2006
Herry's 70th Birthday Party July 2015
Lawford Lunch at the Drapers' Hall 2014
Winchester College 50 Years On Dinner 2014
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2014
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2013
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2012
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2011
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2010
Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair at the Drapers' Hall 2009
The Royal Hospital Carol Service 2009
The Royal Hospital Carol Service 2010
The Royal Hospital Carol Service 2011
The Royal Hospital Chelsea Dinner 2010
Fine Cell at the V&A
Fine Cell at the Drapers' Hall
Fine Cell at the Leathersellers' Hall 2009
Fine Cell at the Leathersellers' Hall 2009
Fine Cell at the Glaziers' Hall
The Drapers' Almshouses
The Drapers' Almshouse Outing to Winchester 2009
The Drapers' Almshouse Teaparty 2007
The Drapers' Almshouse Teaparty 2008
The Drapers' New Year's Service
Thomas Miller Carol Service 2008
Thomas Miller Carol Service 2009
Thomas Miller Carol Service 2010
Thomas Miller Carol Service 2011
Thomas Miller Carol Service 2013
The Mission to Seafarers Carol Concert 2008
The Mission to Seafarers Carol Concert 2009
The Mission to Seafarers Carol Concert 2010
Stockbridge Christmas Evening Shopping 2014
Remembrance Sunday at Litchfield

Travel and Places

Favourite Cities - Beirut
Memories of the Taj
Timeless India
India - the Cradle of Language, Astronomy and Science
Russia - The Wild East
Favourite Places - Palace Hotel, Tokyo
Favourite Places - Winchester Cathedral
Favourite Places - Wells Cathedral
Favourite Places - Coventry Cathedral
Coventry's Awe-Inspiring Cathedral
Coventry's Awe-Inspiring Cathedral II
Coventry Cathedral - the Sutherland Tapestry
Coventry Cathedral Golden Jubilee
Coventry Cathedral Carol Concert 2013
Favourite Places in Autumn - Japan
Favourite Places - Stockbridge
Old Swan House History
Christmas Scenes in London
Christmas Scenes 2008
Mottisfont Abbey in Winter
More Frosty Walks
Favourite Houses - Hinton Ampner
Favourite Places - The East Banqueting House
Favourite Restaurants - The River Cafe
Farewell Robert Le Pirate
The Murphy's and the French Riviera
Drapers' Almshouse Outing to Winchester 2009
Japan - Imabari and the Kurushima Strait
Japan - Early Morning Chimes
Hymn to Dear Japan March 2011
One of Hutton's Glass Screen Angels in Hampshire
The Great Churches of the City of London
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry Reopening 2008
John O'Donohue at Glenshal Abbey
Elmore Abbey

Gardens and Flowers
Cascades Flower Arrangement Exhibition in Winchester Cathedral
Old Swan House Garden Open for the NGS 2015
Chelsea Flower Show 2014
Favourite Gardens - Ashtall Manor
Favourite Gardens - Bere Mill in Spring
Favourite Gardens - Adwell
Favourite Gardens - Hinton Ampner
Favourite Gardens - Stockbridge Town Gardens
Favourite Gardens - Wherwell Village Gardens
Favourite Gardens - Bramdean House
Favourite Gardens - Dean House
Favourite Gardens - A Secret Garden
Favourite Gardens - West Green
The Manor at Upton Grey
on form at Ashtall Manor
Heale House Garden
Adwell Garden Fair
The National Gardens Scheme
Glorious Gardens in the National Gardens Scheme
The Secret Gardens of Spitalfields
Autumn Colours in Kyoto
Autumn Beeches
The Orangery in Winter
Snow in April
Favourite Views - Koko at The Orangery
Favourite Views - Fields of Barley
Favourite Gardens - The Buildings in Autumn 
Favourite Gardens - The Buildings, Broughton
Making the Garden at Old Swan House
Old Swan House Garden
Old Swan House Gardens Open for the NGS 2015
Old Swan House Garden in June 2014
Old Swan House Garden in Summer and Autumn
Old Swan House Garden in July
Old Swan House Garden in June
Old Swan House Garden in August 2016
Old Swan House Garden in September 2016
Chelsea Flower Show 2007
Chelsea Flower Show 2008
Chelsea Flower Show 2010
Chelsea Flower Show 2011
Chelsea Flower Show 2012
Chelsea Flower Show 2013
Chelsea Flower Show 2014
Chelsea Flower Show 2016
Garden Design - Vaux le Vicomte

Paintings and Photographs
St Laurent and Pierre Berge Collection
Saatchi Gallery - New Art from India
Saatchi Gallery - New Art from China
Saatchi Gallery - New Art from the Middle East
Anish Kapoor's Exhibition
Anish Kapoor in Kensington Gardens 2010
Horst at the V&A - Photographer of Style
Van Gogh at the Royal Academy 2010
An Inland Voyage at the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
Ibrahim El-Salahi at the Tate Modern
Gaugin at the Tate Modern
Francis Bacon Exhibition at the Tate
The Tate Modern's 10th Anniversary
Picasso Exhibition at the National Gallery
Anish Kapoor at the Royal Academy 2009
Lines of Thought - Isabel Seligman

Food and Wine
Wine Writings
The Joy of Breakfast
Favourite Recipes - Dark Chunky Marmalade 

Favourite Blogs
Favourite Blogs - Spitalfields Life
Favourite Blogs - Neilbabble

Garden Design - Vaux Le Vicomte

One of the most brilliant aspects of Le Nôtre’s concept was the use of an optical illusion known as ‘anamorphosis abscondita’, resulting in decelerated or accelerated perspective according to whether the gardens were viewed away from, or towards the château. This was achieved by means of visual devices that rendered ovular pools as circular, and changed the apparent level of the grottoes at the far end of the park, by means of an optical effect based on the tenth theorem of Euclid’s optics - Andrew Lyndon Skeggs 
Le Nôtre employed an optical illusion called anamorphosis abscondita (which might be roughly translated as 'hidden distortion') in his garden design in order to establish decelerated perspective. The most apparent change in this manner is of the reflecting pools. They are narrower at the closest point to the viewer (standing at the rear of the château) than at their farthest point; this makes them appear closer to the viewer. From a certain designed viewing point, the distortion designed into the landscape elements produces a particular forced perspective and the eye perceives the elements to be closer than they actually are. That point, for Vaux-le-Vicomte, is at the top of the stairs at the rear of the château. Standing atop the grand staircase, one begins to experience the garden with a magnificent perspectival view. The anamorphosis abscondita creates visual effects, which are not encountered in nature, making the spectacle of gardens designed in this way extremely unusual to the viewer (who experiences a tension between the natural perspective cues in his peripheral vision and the forced perspective of the formal garden). The perspective effects are not readily apparent in photographs, either, making viewing the gardens in person the only way of truly experiencing them.
From the top of the grand staircase, this gives the impression that the entire garden is revealed in one single glance. Initially, the view consists of symmetrical rows of shrubbery, avenues, fountains, statues, flowers and other pieces developed to imitate nature: the elements exemplify the Baroque desire to mold nature to fit its wishes, thus using nature to imitate nature. The centrepiece is a large reflecting pool flanked by grottos holding statues in their many niches. The grand sloping lawn is not visible until one begins to explore the garden, when the viewer is made aware of the optical elements involved and discovers that the garden is much larger than it looks. Next, a circular pool, previously seen as ovular due to foreshortening, is passed and a canal that bisects the site is revealed, as well as a lower level path. As the viewer continues on, the second pool shows itself to be square and the grottos and their niched statues become clearer. However, when one walks towards the grottos, the relationship between the pool and the grottos appears awry. The grottos are actually on a much lower level than the rest of the garden and separated by a wide canal that is over half a mile (almost a kilometre) long. According to Allen Weiss, in Mirrors of Infinity, this optical effect is a result of the use of the tenth theorem of Euclid's Optics, which asserts that "the most distant parts of planes situated below the eye appear to be the most elevated".
In Fouquet’s time, interested parties could cross the canal in a boat, but walking around the canal provides a view of the woods that mark what is no longer the garden and shows the distortion of the grottos previously seen as sculptural. Once the canal and grottos have been passed, the large sloping lawn is reached and the garden is viewed from the initial viewpoint’s vanishing point, thus completing the circuit as intended by Le Nôtre. From this point, the distortions create the illusion that the gardens are much longer than they actually are. The many discoveries made as one travels through the dynamic garden contrast the static view of the garden from the château. - Wikipedia 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The River Test

The Test at Wherwell

Recently, I was fortunate enough to be invited for a day's fishing on a beautiful stretch of the river at Awbridge by old friends, and as I don't actually fish, spent an hour after lunch reading a marvellous book, 'A Summer On The Test' by John Waller Hills, published in 1946. In it he tells the history of fishing on the Test and extolls its virtues as well as institutions such as the Houghton Club, which did - and still do - much to keep the river so well. He writes beautifully of course, and his prose has the marvellous limpidity of the river itself .

Chalk streams are regarded by their admirers with an affection which is unreasoning as true love ever should be, and of all such streams the Test commands their deepest devotion. To appreciate its full individuality you have to go to the middle or lower reaches. The higher stretches are delicately beautiful, but you must got down about to Wherwell before the special qualities of the Test are apparent. There are its broad valley, the half cliffs, the swing and rush and depth of the river, and its strong clear volume. Most people think that Hampshire streams consist either of thin shallows, spread wide between flat meadows, or else still almost steamless depths, and it is a surprise to find the Test is strong, quick and deep. And, in spite of all the damage man has done and is is doing, , it still keeps its character. Perhaps, to those who can look back so many years as I can, it has deteriorated. On the whole the hatch of fly is less plentiful, for you do not so often see those great volumes which were common thirty years ago. But I am satisfied that small fly is increasing and mayfly is quite as thick as any angler could want. In the upper reaches, too, trout are less abundant. Lastly, I am convinced, though the conviction rests on fallible personal observation, that the water is not as clear as it was. In order to appreciate the change, you have only to look at one of its pure tributaries, such as the Bourne, and you can then realise what the old Test was like. It was not so much that the water was stainless,: many streams are that, such, for instance, as the Dartmoor brooks: but it was as if it possessed a crystalline quality of its own, different from all other water. The colour of weeds and stones and gravel, seen through its medium, was not only not dimmed, but acquired an added brilliancy and radiancy. This you do not see now, and in fact even the upper Test is slightly tinged with colour. But still, in spite of the wear and tear of time, in spite of man and his many iniquities, the essential Test remain to us. She is still the greatest trout river in the world,: and it is to be hoped that this present generation will hand her on unspoilt to their successors. 

'A Summer On The Test' - John Waller Hills, 1946

The Test at Wherwell
See also The Joy of Fly Fishing

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Sunday, 11 September 2016

De Profundis - Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

De Profundis is a wonderfully wise, profound and moving letter written by Oscar Wilde from Reading Jail, and is here read in the same jail by Stephen Rae for the BBC.

An excerpt:

'Who never ate his bread in sorrow, Who never spent the midnight hours Weeping and waiting for the morrow, - He knows you not, ye heavenly powers.'

They were the lines which that noble Queen of Prussia, whom Napoleon treated with such coarse brutality, used to quote in her humiliation and exile; they were the lines my mother often quoted in the troubles of her later life. I absolutely declined to accept or admit the enormous truth hidden in them. I could not understand it. I remember quite well how I used to tell her that I did not want to eat my bread in sorrow, or to pass any night weeping and watching for a more bitter dawn.

I had no idea that it was one of the special things that the Fates had in store for me: that for a whole year of my life, indeed, I was to do little else. But so has my portion been meted out to me; and during the last few months I have, after terrible difficulties and struggles, been able to comprehend some of the lessons hidden in the heart of pain. Clergymen and people who use phrases without wisdom sometimes talk of suffering as a mystery. It is really a revelation. One discerns things one never discerned before. One approaches the whole of history from a different standpoint. What one had felt dimly, through instinct, about art, is intellectually and emotionally realised with perfect clearness of vision and absolute intensity of apprehension.

I now see that sorrow, being the supreme emotion of which man is capable, is at once the type and test of all great art. What the artist is always looking for is the mode of existence in which soul and body are one and indivisible: in which the outward is expressive of the inward: in which form reveals. Of such modes of existence there are not a few: youth and the arts preoccupied with youth may serve as a model for us at one moment: at another we may like to think that, in its subtlety and sensitiveness of impression, its suggestion of a spirit dwelling in external things and making its raiment of earth and air, of mist and city alike, and in its morbid sympathy of its moods, and tones, and colours, modern landscape art is realising for us pictorially what was realised in such plastic perfection by the Greeks. Music, in which all subject is absorbed in expression and cannot be separated from it, is a complex example, and a flower or a child a simple example, of what I mean; but sorrow is the ultimate type both in life and art.

Behind joy and laughter there may be a temperament, coarse, hard and callous. But behind sorrow there is always sorrow. Pain, unlike pleasure, wears no mask. Truth in art is not any correspondence between the essential idea and the accidental existence; it is not the resemblance of shape to shadow, or of the form mirrored in the crystal to the form itself; it is no echo coming from a hollow hill, any more than it is a silver well of water in the valley that shows the moon to the moon and Narcissus to Narcissus. Truth in art is the unity of a thing with itself: the outward rendered expressive of the inward: the soul made incarnate: the body instinct with spirit. For this reason there is no truth comparable to sorrow. There are times when sorrow seems to me to be the only truth. Other things may be illusions of the eye or the appetite, made to blind the one and cloy the other, but out of sorrow have the worlds been built, and at the birth of a child or a star there is pain.

More than this, there is about sorrow an intense, an extraordinary reality. I have said of myself that I was one who stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age. There is not a single wretched man in this wretched place along with me who does not stand in symbolic relation to the very secret of life. For the secret of life is suffering. It is what is hidden behind everything. When we begin to live, what is sweet is so sweet to us, and what is bitter so bitter, that we inevitably direct all our desires towards pleasures, and seek not merely for a 'month or twain to feed on honeycomb,' but for all our years to taste no other food, ignorant all the while that we may really be starving the soul.

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Thursday, 8 September 2016

Old Swan House Garden in September

The garden in early autumn

The grasses and euphorbia seen through verbena

The brighter colours of autumn
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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Lines of Thought – Isabel Seligman

Lines of Thought – Isabel Seligman

Isabel Seligman has written a marvellous book on drawing for the British Museum that I started reading while fishing with her parents. It's available at an exhibition of drawings from the British Museum in Poole but will be published at the end of September, when I'll be able to complete my reading.  

'Drawing is the clarification of thought.' – Henri Matisse

'I know of no art that calls for the use of more intelligence than that of drawing. Whether it be a question of conjuring from the whole complex of what is seen, the one pencil stroke that is right, of summarizing a structure, of not letting one’s hand wander, of deciphering and mentally formulating before putting down; or whether the moment be dominated by creation, the controlling idea becoming richer and clearer by what it becomes on the paper and under one’s eyes; every mental faculty finds its function in the task'.  – Paul Valery

'Be bold, have a go and risk your paper' - Samuel Van Hoogsgraten

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Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Rat Pack

Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Peter Lawford who - with Sammy Davis Jnr and Joey Bishop - comprised The Rat Pack
This photo comes from a website for 'cool' iconic images - the kind that has lots of Humphrey Bogart and Gary Cooper shots - but is possibly one of the images that most defines a whole era of 'cool'.  It's black and white of course, and the men are beautifully dressed and look totally at ease, just swinging along towards the next party. Notable is the absence of Sammy Davis Jnr - but in that era, although he joined them on stage, he wasn't able to socialise with them in public. Joey Bishop was also a member and wrote much of their on-stage material.

There is an excellent film about the Rat Pack on YouTube here 

See Herry's Archives for some details of Peter Lawford's link to the family

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Friday, 19 August 2016

Post EU Referendum Blues

I avoided writing anything about the EU Referendum here as I, along with the majority of voters, hardly credited the possibility of Leave winning, and hoped that after it was over we could get back to managing significantly better (though still not out of the 2008 recession) than the rest of the EU and continuing to attract the foreign investment which has created many of the better jobs in recent years on the basis of our access to the whole of the EU market and our relatively light regulations.

That Leave won at all was a catastrophe, which has simultaneously unleashed some of the most unpleasant bigotry and racism that has been seen in this country in years and thrown us collectively into a state of utter confusion. As the Irishman, when asked how to get to a certain destination, put it, "Well, I would't start from here'. That Leave won by the slim margin of 4% points to the disgraceful negligence of the government in not setting a constitution-altering referendum margin at the normal 60 - 66%. And that on top of the sheer idiocy of putting the country's future into the hands of a population that had been fed a diet of anti-EU propaganda and misinformation by the majority of high-circulation newspapers for years.

The result has caused us to look at friends with mixture of bafflement and fury equivalent to discovering that they are Roundheads when you thought that they were Cavaliers, and to cause hostility even in families, particularly between the young and the old. And the problem cannot just be wished away, as it is with us constantly. I was talking yesterday to a young German gardener who fortunately had not experienced any of the hostility reported by many in some parts of the country, but who seemed unaware that she was actually now a pawn in the Brexit negotiations and could in theory be asked to leave her adopted country - as could the millions of Britons who now reside in EU countries overseas - and seem unaware that they too are 'immigrants' to those countries and similarly pawns in this appalling situation.

I have of course written to the Prime Minister as well as my MP, but beyond that, there is little anyone can do except watch in horror as the dire consequences unfold and the path forward remains almost totally unmapped.

I could write more, but have said enough. However, today I read a piece in the FT that puts the situation very well indeed and deserves to be repeated.

"It is utterly disgraceful, in a modern democracy, that we are left in a situation where a majority of Remain voters (for which read trade experts, economists, negotiators and civil servants, who are, for obvious reasons, more likely to be Remainers) are left to work out the detail of providing the evidence, strategy and implementation of a post-Brexit reality that exists solely in the heads of Leavers and has utterly no substance in reality.
There is no evidence, on paper, in research, economics, statistics or even common sense, to support anything less than a sub-optimal post-EU reality for Britian, regardless of which 'plan' it chooses. Moreover any misconception that any country could have any say, or ability to shape its place as a global power outside of bloc alliances shows a fundamental lack of any appreciation of the mechanics of the UK's role in the world, its geopolitics, strategy, security and prosperity.

It beggars belief any modern country can find itself in a position where a mass delusion becomes an accepted norm, which the entire substance and infrastructure of its state subordinates itself to a phenomenal act of self-mutilation, where any effort to debate or apply the usual legal, parliamentary democratic and liberal values, architecture, rights principle and function of a representative democracy with freedom of speech is met with - and let's not beat about the bush - a patently moronic mantra of 'Brexit is happening, so accept it', and which assumes that Parliament and the normal democratic process should have no say in the future regulation, implementation and structure of the Post-Brexit plan, because any plan would be so utterly sub-optimal that it could never, under any circumstances, make it past the common sense gatekeepers of Parliament or due process.

This is not just the EU we are leaving. We are leaving the modern world and entering a terrifying alternative reality of post-rationalism, the undermining of the UK's democratic architecture and potential fracturing of the very substance of the British state."

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Old Swan House Garden in August 2016

Looking down the garden from under the hazel with the grasses 'calling you' (Gillian Pugh)
The grasses in August
Peroskia and pheasant grass seen through verbena
Stachys, lavender and crocosmia

The summerhouse
The garden is now pretty mature, having first been planted in the autumn of 2013 and the spring of 2014. The yew hedge is about four feet tall - and over five in places - and will be topped at about five feet as a screen for the drive. I made a plant list for the garden openings this year and surprised myself when I found that it ran to seven pages. Some of the plants are named (and some forgotten) in this video of a walk around the garden (be warned, it takes over 30 minutes!)

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Favourite Places - Stockbridge

The view over Stockbridge and the Test Valley towards Stockbridge Down on a summer evening