Monday, 30 March 2009

Favourite Places - Edmanson's Close, Tottenham

Edmanson's Close, Tottenham, is one of the almshouses maintained by the Drapers' Livery Company. 60 peaceful cottages are provided here for local 'poor persons of good character', with 140 more in Greenwich and Southwark. Various outings and concerts are arranged for the residents, one of the most popular being the annual teaparty at Drapers' Hall.

I have a special attachment to these almshouses as they were built close to where my great-grandfather, John Lawford, lived at Downhills Park

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Gopika Fraser 1965 - 2009

Gopika Fraser, 24th March 2009 A dear friend and mother to my godson Sean, Niall and Kyle and much loved wife of Iain. On Friday 27th March, over 500 people attended her funeral at the Karrakatta Crematorium, Perth.

Click here for some photos of Gopika and her family

"Goodbye" said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see clearly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." Saint-Exupery 'The Little Prince'

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Favourite Places

St Ronan's my old prep school, on a fine spring day. I attended a memorial service for one of the masters, Burnaby Portal, who had arrived as I was leaving, and the planting of a grove of oak trees. The school is raising money for a sports hall.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Favourite Places in Spring

When spring arrives, one of my favourite places is Battersea Park. There is an area near the west gate where the crocuses spread out under the trees in an amazing sheet of colour. Does anyone know of a larger concentration of these quintessential spring flowers?

To which I received the reply - 'at Kew' - from Kew Gardens

Monday, 9 March 2009

Les Azuriales Opera

Sarah and Mark Holford brought their Les Azuriales Opera to a private house in Queen's Gate Terrace with performances from some of the younger singers who have performed for them at the week-long Les Azuriales season at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on Cap Ferrat. There was some superb singing of a dozen pieces, accompanied by Bryan Evans, their musical director. Some photos and a video are available here. Click the heading for a longer video

Friday, 6 March 2009

Favourite Places

A lovely view of Stocks cottages from Old Winchester Hill, taken in 1998. This photo (with a superimposed image of a chap from Defra) appears in the March 2009 edition of Country Life. The viewpoint is similar to these photos as well as this one

The O2

The O2 on the Thames at Geenwich, resurrected from the Millenium Dome as a concert, sports and entertainment site, is one of the largest indoor venues in Europe, seating 20,000, Since opening in 2007 it has been the most successful concert venue in the world after Madison Square Garden and the MEN Arena. Tina Turner was in concert there - a fabulous show. Click the heading for some photos and videos from the event.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Favourite Poetry - The Wilderness

The Wilderness

I came too late to the hills: they were swept bare
Winters before I was born of song and story,
Of spell or speech with power of oracle or invocation,

The great ash long dead by a roofless house, its branches rotten,
The voice of the crows an inarticulate cry,
And from the wells and springs the holy water ebbed away.

A child I ran in the wind on a withered moor
Crying out after those great presences who were not there,
Long lost in the forgetfulness of the forgotten.

Only the archaic forms themselves could tell!
In sacred speech of hoodie on gray stone, or hawk in air,
Of Eden where the lonely rowan bends over the dark pool.

Yet I have glimpsed the bright mountain behind the mountain,
Knowledge under the leaves, tasted the bitter berries red,
Drunk water cold and clear from an inexhaustible hidden fountain.

Kathleen Raine

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Picasso Exhibition

The original painting Las Meninas by Velasquez at the Prado and Picasso's version

The Picasso Exhibition at the National Gallery attempts to show Picasso in the context of his radical reworkings of the great paintings of the past. It's interesting and comes with an exemplary iPod accompaniment which includes photos of the paintings from which he was drawing his inspiration, but compared to the quality and tranquillity and of Christie's exhibition of St Laurent and Berge's collection, which included some stunning and less contrived Picassos, some of these pictures seemed rather tiresome.