Friday, 21 September 2018

Herry's Journal Index

Poetry
What is Poetry?
The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 
Favourite Poetry - 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
The Patience of Ordinary Things
Favourite Haiku - Basho
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'

Writings
The Story of the Fox (The Little Prince) 
Favourite Writings - Big Wolf Little Wolf
Favourite Writings - Louis 1, King of the Sheep
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
Favourite Writings - Bruno Schultz 'August' 
Favourite Writings - Desiderata
John O'Donoghue at Glenstal Abbey
Things We Learn in Time
The River Test
The Stanzas of Dzyan
Astravakra Gita
I Am Shiva
The Other Song of Solomon
Peace
Blithe Moment
Jane Austen
Edith Wharton
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
Life by Biance Sparacino
The Five Signs of Lack of Intelligence
The Book of Kells
Watching The English
De Profundis - Oscar Wilde
Isaiah Berlin
Bertrand Russell's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
Favourite Writings - Ecclesiastes
Favourite Writings - Friendship
Favourite Writings - Love Undetectable by Andrew Sullivan
Favourite Writings - The Tao Te Ching
Favourite Writings - Seneca - We Are All Chained to Fortune

Comment
Art and What it means to Me
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 End of Cadogan
The Poison of Bonuses
The Law of Unintended Consequences
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
The Lexus
Why I Prefer Pubs to Restaurants 
Slideshows and The Little Prince
Treasure Island and the Avoidance of Tax
The Part Played by Insurance in the Financial Crisis 2008

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
Kate O'Brien 1953 - 2017
Bill Birch Reynardson 1923 - 2107


Events
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 2016
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
Christmas at Blenheim 2016
Winchester Cathedral Carol Service 2016
Winchester Portrait Exhibition 2017
Dedication of 'Ascension' for the SAS at Hereford Cathedral

Travel and Places

Memories of the Taj
Timeless India
Puttaparthy
India - the Cradle of Language, Astronomy and Science
Favourite Cities - Beirut
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
Stockbridge Christmas Evening 2016
Favourite Places - Lime Wood

Gardens and Flowers
Cascades Flower Arrangement Exhibition in Winchester Cathedral 2015
Winchester Flower Festival 2018
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
Favourite Gardens - Mottisfont Abbey
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
Summertime
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
Favourite Gardens - The Buildings August 2018
Favourite Gardens - the Laskett Gardens
Favourite Gardens - Terstan
Making the Garden at Old Swan House
Old Swan House Gardens Open for the NGS 2015
Old Swan House Garden Video 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
Old Swan House Garden Late 2016
Old Swan House Garden Video April 2018
Old Swan House Garden in June 2018
Old Swan House Garden in July 2018
Old Swan House Garden in August 2018
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
Chelsea Flower Show 2018
Chatsworth Flower Show 2017
Garden Design - Vaux le Vicomte
Mottisfont Rose Garden June 2013
Mottisfont Rose Garden June 2015
Mottisfont Rose Garden June 2017
Mottisfont Rose Garden June 2018
Hilliers Evening Tour for the NGS June 2018


Paintings and Photographs
Art and What it Means to Me
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
Emily Patrick Exhibition in Spitalfields 2008
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
Art Gallery of New South Wales - Frieda Kahlo
Lines of Thought - Isabel Seligman
How to Draw
The Garden Gallery Exhibition at the Grange
Turner - Painting With Light
Emily Patrick and Patience of Ordinary Things


Food and Wine
Favourite Restaurants - the River Cafe
Wine Writings
The Joy of Breakfast
Favourite Recipes - Dark Chunky Marmalade 


Favourite Blogs
Favourite Blogs - Spitalfields Life





Favourite Writings - Love Undetectable by Andrew Sullivan

I have previously posted a beautiful piece by David Whyte on friendship and wrote then: I value friendship more highly than love, of which it is a part, perhaps the greatest part. It is free of the tiresome jealousies and overheated humours of love and does not need constant validation.  I have now discovered, thank to Maria Popova's Brain Pickings, Andrew Sullivan's wonderful writing on the subject in Love Undetectable. .

For me, friendship has always been the most accessible of relationships — certainly far more so than romantic love. Friendship, I learned, provided a buffer in the interplay of emotions, a distance that made the risk of intimacy bearable, a space that allowed the other person to remain safely another person.

Sullivan argues that our world has failed to give friendship its due as “a critical social institution, as an ennobling moral experience, as an immensely delicate but essential interplay of the virtues required to sustain a fully realized human being.” And yet, he concedes, the cultural silence around friendship also reflects an inherent truth about the nature of the bond itself:
You can tell how strong the friendship is by the silence that envelops it. Lovers and spouses may talk frequently about their “relationship,” but friends tend to let their regard for one another speak for itself or let others point it out.
Reflecting on the tragedy of loss that prompted his meditation, he adds:
A part of this reticence is reflected in the moments when friendship is appreciated. If friendship rarely articulates itself when it is in full flood, it is often only given its due when it is over, especially if its end is sudden or caused by death. Suddenly, it seems, we have lost something so valuable and profound that we have to make up for our previous neglect and acknowledge it in ways that would have seemed inappropriate before… It is as if death and friendship enjoy a particularly close relationship, as if it is only when pressed to the extreme of experience that this least extreme of relationships finds its voice, or when we are forced to consider what really matters, that we begin to consider what friendship is.

In that consideration, Sullivan turns to Aristotle, who is perhaps philosophy’s greatest patron saint of friendship. In Aristotle’s day, the Ancient Greek notion of phila cast a wide net to capture the many dimensions of friendship. Sullivan writes:

In Aristotle’s hermetically sane universe, the instinct for human connection is so common and so self-evidently good that there is little compunction to rule certain friendships out of the arc of human friendliness. There is merely an attempt to understand and categorize each instance of phila and to place each instance of the instinct in its natural and ennobling place. Everything is true, Aristotle seems to say, so long as it is never taken for anything more than it is. And so friendship belongs to the nod of daily passengers on a commuter train, to the regular business client, and to the ornery neighbor. It encompasses the social climber and the social butterfly, the childhood crush and the lifelong soulmate. It comprises the relationship between a boss and his employees, a husband and his wife, a one-night stand and a longtime philanderer, a public official and his dubious contributor.

Friendship, for Aristotle, seems to be the cornerstone of human society and flourishing, an integral part of happiness, and bound up inextricably with the notion of virtue.
For Aristotle, the defining feature of friendship was the trifecta of reciprocity, equality, and the physical sharing of life. Sullivan tackles the first element:

Unlike a variety of other relationships, friendship requires an acknowledgement by both parties that they are involved or it fails to exist. One can admire someone who is completely unaware of our admiration, and the integrity of that admiration is not lost; one may even employ someone without knowing who it is specifically one employs; one may be related to a great-aunt whom one has never met (and may fail ever to meet). And one may, of course, fall in love with someone without the beloved being aware of it or reciprocating the love at all. And in all these cases, the relationships are still what they are, whatever the attitude of the other person in them: they are relationships of admiration, business, family, or love. But friendship is different. Friendship uniquely requires mutual self-knowledge and will. It takes two competent, willing people to be friends. You cannot impose a friendship on someone, although you can impose a crush, a lawsuit, or an obsession. If friendship is not reciprocated, it simply ceases to exist or, rather, it never existed in the first place.

Perhaps more challenging to grasp is the condition of sharing in one another’s physical life. Why should two friends be required to have regular physical and verbal contact? Sullivan writes:
It has been said that a person’s religion is best defined not by what he says he believes but simply by what he actually does. Equally, it could be said that one’s friends are simply those people with whom one spends one’s life. Period. Anything else is a form of rationalization.

What’s interesting to consider, however, is that at the time of Sullivan’s writing — and certainly in Aristotle’s time millennia earlier — the physical and the real overlapped far more congruously than they do today, in the age of digital sociality. Consider, for example, the friendship between two people who live apart and rarely spend physical time together, but are constantly and intimately connected via email, Facebook, Skype, text-messaging, and other digital extensions of physical presence. Is that relationship any less real, even though it isn’t rooted in physicality? Perhaps the criterion of “people with whom one spends one’s life” is better reframed as “people on whom one spends one’s emotional energies.”
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Still, for both Aristotle and Sullivan, as well as the centuries of thinkers in between, the most important criterion for friendship is that of “equality between the parties.” Sullivan explains:
This may seem a banal point on the surface, but the more you think about it, the more significant it seems. It is linked to reciprocity. Because each human being is equal in his capacity to assent or not to assent to a relationship, each is, in some sense, radically equal in the capacity for friendship. Even in relationships in which one person vastly outweighs the other in money, or wit, or good looks, or social power, the inferior party can quit the friendship of his own accord and reduce it to its essential elements. A friendship is thus ultimately defined by the desire of each person to be in it. And it is successful insofar as that desire is equal between the two parties.

Friendship… is almost a central symbol of human autonomy, and the most accessible example of that autonomy in practice.  This notion of autonomy is what takes us to Sullivan’s most central point — the supremacy of friendship over romantic love, or Aristotle’s notion of eros, despite our culture’s compulsive fetishism of the latter:
The great modern enemy of friendship has turned out to be love. By love, I don’t mean the principle of giving and mutual regard that lies at the heart of friendship [but] love in the banal, ubiquitous, compelling, and resilient modern meaning of love: the romantic love that obliterates all other goods, the love to which every life must apparently lead, the love that is consummated in sex and celebrated in every particle of our popular culture, the love that is institutionalized in marriage and instilled as a primary and ultimate good in every Western child. I mean eros, which is more than sex but is bound up with sex. I mean the longing for union with another being, the sense that such a union resolves the essential quandary of human existence, the belief that only such a union can abate the loneliness that seems to come with being human, and deter the march of time that threatens to trivialize our very existence. We live in a world, in fact, in which respect and support for eroshas  acquired the hallmarks of a cult.

Still, Sullivan concedes, the allure of romantic love isn’t hard to grasp. It has been described as a unique experience that makes “the boundaries between you and not-you relax and become more permeable,”“fever which comes and goes quite independently of the will.”Sullivan adds to history’s most moving definitions of love:

It can eclipse every other emotion and transport us to levels of bliss and communion we have never felt before. It is intoxicating, but, unlike most other forms of intoxication, it appears to have meaning and depth. We believe, for a moment, that we have found our soulmate, that we are reunited with another half of ourselves that finally gives meaning to everything in our lives. And because we are with that person, more often than not gazing into his or her eyes, it is easy and indeed necessary to abandon perspective. In fact, it almost seems a crime against love to retain any sort of perspective.
Eros, Sullivan points out, blinds us to even such universal concerns as time and death — why else would lovers promise one another eternal love and swear that they couldn’t live without each other? More than that, they even “insist upon it, because to trap it in time would be to impair the inherently unbounded nature of the experience” and “because anything else implies that love is just one competing good among others.” But this quality of eros comes with a dark side:
Love is a supremely jealous thing. It brooks no rival and obliterates every distraction. It seems to transport the human being — who is almost defined by time and morality — beyond the realm of both age and death. Which is why it is both so irresistible and so delusory.
It is from behind that shadow that friendship shines its superior light. Sullivan writes:

Of course, the impossibility of love is partly its attraction. It is an irrational act, a concession to the passions, a willing renunciation of reason and moderation — and that’s why we believe in it. It is also why, in part, the sober writers and thinkers of the ancient and medieval worlds found it a self-evidently inferior, if bewitching, experience. But their confidence in this regard was based not simply on a shrewd analysis of love but on a deeper appreciation of friendship. Without the possibility of friendship, after all, love might seem worth the price. If the promise of union, of an abatement to loneliness, of finding a soulmate, was only available through the vagaries of eros, then it might be worth all the heartbreak and insanity for a glimpse, however brief, of what makes life worth living. But if all these things were available in a human relationship that is not inherently self-destructive, then why, after all, should one choose the riskier and weaker option?

And in almost every regard, friendship delivers what love promises but fails to provide. The contrast between the two are, in fact, many, and largely damning to love’s reputation. Where love is swift, for example, friendship is slow. Love comes quickly, as the song has it, but friendship ripens with time. If love is at its most perfect in its infancy, friendship is most treasured as the years go by.
In fact, this difference in pace of development is what lends friendship its emotional gravitas.

If love is sudden, friendship is steady. At the moment of meeting a friend for the first time, we might be aware of an immediate “click” or a sudden mutual interest. But we don’t “fall in friendship.” And where love is often at its most intense in the period before the lover is possessed, in the exquisite suspense of the chase, and the stomach-fluttering nervousness of the capture, friendship can only really be experienced when both friends are fully used to each other. For friendship is based on knowledge, and love can be based on mere hope… You can love someone more than you know him, and he can be perfectly loved without being perfectly known. But the more you know a friend, the more a friend he is. (In some instances, as Stendhal famously argued in his 1822 treatise on the role of “crystallization” in love, knowledge can be the mortal enemy of love, squeezing the hope-giving fantasy out of a reality that comes up short.)

Besides the difference in pace, Sullivan also points to a difference in intensity of investment, which translates into a difference in stability:

Love affairs need immense energy, they demand a total commitment and a capacity for pain. Friendship, in contrast, merely needs tending. Although it is alive, a living, breathing thing, and can suffer from neglect, friendship can be left for a while without terrible consequences. Because it is built on the accumulation of past experiences, and not the fickle and vulnerable promise of future ones, it has a sturdiness that love may often lack, and an undemonstrative beauty that love would walk heedlessly past.

One interesting consequence of that dynamic — of the difference between eros and phila— unfolds in the realm of lifelong union, which Sullivan captures beautifully:

The most successful marriages, where the original spark of eros has slowly lit a flame of phila that sustains the union when other more compelling passions have long since died away. Indeed, one of the least celebrated but most important achievements of the increasingly successful battle for women’s equality is that it has properly expanded the universe of friendship for both men and women and made marriage more of a setting for friendship than for love. This is no mean accomplishment.
He contrasts C.S Lewis’s model of love as two people facing one another enraptured by the other’s gaze with the stance of friendship: The classic stance of two friends is side by side, looking ahead in the same direction. The two stances are not complementary; they are opposed. And although it is conceivable to unite them, it is quite a hazardous enterprise. When a friendship becomes a love, of course, the moment may be partially liberating. But it is liberating precisely because one is leaving the distance and discipline that friendship demands for the union and abandon that love promises.


Love is about control and loss of control. In love, we give ourselves up to each other. We lose control or, rather, we cede control to another, trusting in a way we would never otherwise trust, letting the other person hold the deepest part of our being in their hands, with the capacity to hurt it mortally. This cession of control is a deeply terrifying thing, which is why we crave it and are drawn to it like moths to the flame, and why we have to trust it unconditionally. In love, so many hazardous uncertainties in life are resolved: the constant negotiation with other souls, the fear and distrust that lie behind almost every interaction, the petty loneliness that we learned to live with as soon as we grew apart from our mother’s breast. We lose all this in the arms of another. We come home at last to a primal security, made manifest by each other’s nakedness…
And with that loss of control comes mutual power, the power to calm, the power to redeem, and the power to hurt.

Friendship, by contrast, offers a wholly different and diametrically opposed paradigm:

A condition of friendship is the abdication of power over another, indeed the abdication even of the wish for power over one another. And one is drawn to it not by need but by choice. If love is about the bliss of primal unfreedom, friendship is about the complicated enjoyment of human autonomy. As soon as a friend attempts to control a friend, the friendship ceases to exist. But until a lover seeks to possess his beloved, the love has hardly begun. Where love is all about the juggling of the power to hurt, friendship is about creating a space where power ceases to exist. There is a cost to this, of course. Friends will never provide what lovers provide: the ultimate resort, that safe space of repose, that relaxation of the bedsheets. But they provide something more reliable, and certainly less painful. They provide an acknowledgement not of the child within but of the adult without; they allow for an honesty which doesn’t threaten pain and criticism which doesn’t imply rejection. They promise not the bliss of the womb but the bracing adventure of the world. They do not solve loneliness, yet they mitigate it.

See also David Whyte on Frienship


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Favourite Writings - Louis 1, King of the Sheep


Louis 1, King of the Sheep, by Olivier Tallec 

A crown, blown by the wind, lands on Louis' head

'The first thing Louis 1 thought was that to govern, a King should have a sceptre'


'Louis 1 also told himself that a good King should address his people from time to time'


'Ambassadors from far and wide would also travel long distances to pay tribute to him, Louis 1, King of the Sheep'

'Next, Louis 1 decided that only the sheep who resembled him could live at his side. The others must be driven out'.

'But then, upon another windy day.....'

'Louis 1, King of the Sheep, became Louis the sheep once again'

See also, Big Wolf, Little Wolf

Monday, 10 September 2018

Favourite Gardens - Terstan

Terstan

Tesrtan is a large garden beautifully planted and maintained by Penny Burnfield and opened regularly for the NGS.

The property lies in an exquisite and unspoiled part of the Test Valley in Longstock from where no other building is visible - but from where one can clearly see the top of Stockbridge Down.





Some of Penny's succlents



For more photos, click here 

Friday, 7 September 2018

Favourite Gardens - The Laskett Gardens

Laskett





















Laskett Gardens have been created by Sir Roy Strong (of the V&A)  and his wife Julia Trevelyan Oman over the past 45 years and are now open to the public by arrangement, having been bequeathed to Perennial. In practice, visiting is managed by Fiona Fyshe, his PA.

The gardens consist of the most extraordinary concentration of statues, ornaments and classical structures surrounded by topiary and parterres allowing a huge number of avenues and corresponding views. It is garden as classical stage set for their many achievements and awards. It comes with an efficient audio system that allows one to hear Sir Roy explain what is on view at each viewpoint and what each space or structure represents. At its centre surprisingly, is an orchard in which is sited a new Belvedere that allows one to look out over the whole garden. For lovers of garden design, it's a masterclass. 

For more photos, click here  

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Winchester Flower Festival 2018







The Flower Festival was held in the Cathedral beginning on 5th September 2018, with the theme of the Winchester Bible.

For more photos, click here

For comparison, see the 'Cascades' exhibition of modern arrangements held in 2015.




Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Art and What it Means to Me

Turner

Reflecting on having visited three local art exhibitions this week, I thought to put down what I think about art.

First, my credentials in talking about this at all: I am not an artist, although I have been a photographer since my 20s and have long had an interest in gardening and garden design.
I studied History of Art under Graham Drew at Winchester and loved it. Since then I have visited many of the world's great galleries - some many times for different exhibitions - including in the UK the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Tate, the Tate Modern, the Royal Academy, the Wallace Collection, the Saatchi, the V&A, and many smaller galleries such as the Tate St Ives as well as exhibitions such as the St Laurent / Pierre Berge collection put on by Christies. Abroad, I know the Louvre, the Chagall and Matisse Museums in Nice, the Prado, the Ufizzi, TopkaiMOMA, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Palace Museum of Taiwan, the National Museum and the Palace Museum, Beijing, MOMAT (the Museum of Modern art, Tokyo) and the Miho Museum near Kyoto.


My interest in art comes fundamentally from its ability to induce a feeling of transcendence, of awe, of reverence, of amazement, of significance. William James in 'The Varieties of Religious Experience' wrote:

“Our normal waking consciousness… is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different… No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded.”

Viginia Woolf expressed it thus: ...'behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we — I mean all human beings — are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art. Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself'.

Or as Saul Bellow put it in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech “Only art penetrates.. the seeming realities of this world”

I love and look for this glorious penetration, this heightening of consciousness, this revelation and this significance. I don't often find it. 

“The dark second-floor apartment of the house in Market Square was shot through each day by the naked heat of summer: the silence of the shimmering streaks of air, the squares of brightness dreaming their intense dreams on the floor.” - Bruno Schultz