Friday, 25 January 2008

Vogue's Book of Houses, Gardens, People

A unique book, written by Valentine Lawford and photographed by his long-time friend Horst, with whom he lived on Long Island after leaving the diplomatic service in 1950. The book was published in 1968 and is long out of print. I had a copy from my parents which was unaccountably lost. This copy was obtained from a bookesller in New York, at considerable cost. Click on the heading for some illustrations from the book, with one page of Valentine's writing.

Favourite Wines - the Reds

Chard Farm, Gibston, Nr Queenstown

I posted a note about one of my favourite white wines last summer - the spectacular Napa Valley Far Niente. Now that beautiful white wine has been joined by another of great quality - Devil's Lair from the Margaret River area of Australia (where others that I love, such as Cullen and Vasse Felix, also live.)

But now that winter is upon us reds are more welcome, particularly my favourite New Zealand Pinot Noirs. It's difficult to chose between Cloudy Bay, Neudorf, Mt Difficulty and Villa Maria (who make the Wine Society's fine Exhibition Pinot Noir), with Chard Farm's Viper coming in close behind, but who cares? They are all delicious!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

A Favourite Book

To the North-West I looked, and in the wide field of my glass, saw plain the bright glare of the fire from the Red Pit, shine upwards against the underside of the vast chin of the North-West Watcher--The Watching Thing of the North-West. . . .

Beyond these, South and West of them, was the enormous bulk of the South-West Watcher, and from the ground rose what we named the Eye Beam--a single ray of grey light, which came up out of the ground, and lit the right eye of the monster. . .

There rose the vast bulk of the South-East Watcher--The Watching Thing of the South-East. And to the right and to the left of the squat monster burned the Torches; maybe half-a-mile upon each side; yet sufficient light they threw to show the lumbered-forward head of the never-sleeping Brute.

And, so to tell more about the South Watcher. A million years gone, as I have told, came it out from the blackness of the South, and grew steadily nearer through twenty thousand years; but so slow that in no one year could a man perceive that it had moved.

Yet it had movement, and had come thus far upon its road to the Redoubt, when the Glowing Dome rose out of the ground before it--growing slowly. And this had stayed the way of the Monster; so that through an eternity it had looked towards the Pyramid across the pale glare of the Dome, and seeming to have no power to advance nearer.

And, presently, I was come upward almost to the top of the hill, the which took me nigh three hours. And surely, when I was come that I could see the grimness of the Lesser Pyramid, going upward very desolate and silent into the night, lo! an utter shaking fear did take me; for the sweet cunning of my spirit did know that there abode no human in all that great and dark bulk; but that there did await me there, monstrous and horrid things that should bring destruction upon my soul. And I went downward of the hill, very quiet in the darkness; and so in the end, away from that place.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Favourite Views - Stocks Farm

Views of Stocks Farm in summer and winter

I can't claim credit for these fabulous photos. I found them on Flickr. The first one is taken by a chap called Michael. I hope he doesn't mind me posting it here. It's of Stocks and the cottages on the down, taken in early summer. The other is taken by Treescaper in winter, with the barley showing and the other fields awaiting spring sowing.

An earlier photo of the same view appears here



There is a reason why the family are always talking of moving to Chelsea; the 18th Century architecture is timeless and beautiful - even on a January day - and you can walk to the parks and shops and restaurants without ever needing to take the car. One day we may end up there.....