Friday, 26 December 2008

Favourite Architecture

Click the heading to see more photos of the terraces
The most perfect architecture in London is found on the east side of Regent's Park where the Nash terraces run uninterrupted up the east side of the park from the Marylebone Rd to Primrose Hill

Camden Market

Camden Market is a mecca for young people looking for funky fashion, cheap food and artistic inspiration.Click the heading for some more photos

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Litchfield at Christmas

There was standing room only at the little church of St John the Less at Litchfield for the service on Christmas morning.
Carols sung including 'In the Bleak Midwinter', 'Of the Father's Love Begotten' and 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing'.

Click the heading for some more photos of the Litchfield service

Monday, 22 December 2008

Christmas Poetry

Christmas 1963 (or 2008?)

Because we wanted much that year and had little.
Because the winter phone for days stayed silent
that would call our father back to work,
and he kept silent too with our mother,
fearfully proud before us.

Because I was young that morning in gray light untouched on the rug
and our gifts were so few, propped along the furniture, for a second
my heart fell, then saw how large they made the spaces between them
to take the place of less.

Because the curtained sun rose brightly on our discarded paper and the things
themselves, these forty years, have grown too small to see,
the emptiness measured out remains the gift,
fills the whole room now,
that whole year out across the snowy lawn.
Because a drop of shame burned quietly in the province of love.
Because we had little that year and were given much.

Joseph Enzweiler, from The Man Who Ordered Perch

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Thomas Miller Carol Service 2008

Thomas Miller's annual carol service was held at St Katherine Cree Church in the City on 17th December.

This was the second of the carol services that Herry has been able to attend this year, the first being the Mission to Seafarers in St Michael Paternoster Royal. He would have loved to go to the service at Coventry Cathedral on Friday 19th when they sang Handel's Messiah, but wasn't able to make it. Litchfield's was on Sunday 21st December, a jolly affair in which the vicar has us all singing different parts of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas"

Some favourite carols are on line here. The essential is for a good choir to sing the descants!

Once in Royal David's City
In the Bleak Midwinter
Silent Night (a beautiful Irish version)
Of the Father's Love Begotten
The Sussex Carol
The Coventry Carol
In Dulce Jubilo
Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Lincoln Seligman

One of Lincoln Seligman's larger paintings at Taikoo Square in Hong Kong. Click the image for a better view

The artist Lincoln Seligman is an old friend who recently held a private showing of some of his work at his studio.

Click the heading for some informal photos of his work and here for some paintings from an earlier exhibition

Monday, 15 December 2008

Fine Cell Work at the Drapers' Hall

Fine Cell Work is a charity that teaches needlework to prison inmates and sells their work. The prisoners do the work when they are locked in their cells, and their skill and earnings give them hope and greater independence.

The charity is supported by the Drapers' Livery Company among many others, and a Christmas sale was held at Drapers' Hall on 15th December 2008 which was very well attended. Lord Ramsbotham, one of the patrons of the charity, gave a moving speech on the value of Fine Cell's work, while bemoaning the fact that it was currently only sanctioned in 26 of the UK's 140 prisons.

Click the heading for more examples of their work and scenes from the evening

On 19th November 2009, Fine Cell held their 2009 Livery Company sale at the Leathersellers' Hall.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Favourite Films

I was delighted to come across a film this week that I had never heard of and which matches my somewhat lowbrow tastes perfectly - 'Stardust' - starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert de Niro, Clare Danes and others. It's a romantic fantasy about the quest for a star that falls to earth (Clare Daines) and reminds me much of books like The Well At the World's End and The Night Land. It's produced and directed by Matthew Vaughan in Lord of the Rings tradition (it even has Ian McKellan as the narrator) and has the most stunning scenes and scenery. It was filmed in Scotland, Wales (my old haunt Pen-y-Fan) and Iceland. Click the heading for some stills from the TV showing of the film.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Mission to Seafarers' Carol Service 2008

The Mission to Seafarers held their annual Christmas concert at St Michael Paternoster Royal on 10th December. The Princess Royal attended as president and Robert Woods (an old friend from business and school) attended as chairman. It was the Rev Canon Bill Christianson's last carol service before his retirement as Secretary General. Laudamus Chamber Choir and Nigel-Evans Thompson led the carols and Richard Baker read several of the lessons including two very amusing pieces by Clare Bevan.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Inspector Wallander

Photo from BBC TV
Henning Mankell has written nine superb novels in which Inspector Wallander, a fallible, unfit and very human detective in a police force in Skane, southern Sweden is the main character. The BBC have now made films from three of the books, with Kenneth Branagh playing Wallander, but the Swedish versions are still better. No matter, Wallander is one of the most interesting and sympathetic characters in detective fiction.

Monday, 1 December 2008

The Lexus

The Lexus Coupe (in Japan, the 'Soarer') is one of the finest cars ever made. I was lucky enough to get one secondhand in 1994 - and I still have it. It passed 100,000 miles this week and so deserves some accolade.

Designed in California and built between 1991 and 2000, it's a true four-seater coupe with lovely lines. It comes in two basic versions - the V8 automatic and the GT twin-turbo manual which turns out 330bhp. Mine is the latter type, and the garage which looks after it says it's one of only five in the country.

It has been completely trouble-free - apart from a clutch (from too much city driving) and the occasional flat battery, due it being left for weeks when I travelled. It's not even thirsty; but recently it has had to give way to the Prius for London driving, as it still attracts the congestion charge.

But for sheer well-mannered fun on the open roads of Hampshire and Wiltshire, there is no better car. I'm sure that one day it'll be recognised as a classic.

Click the heading for more photos of the Lexus