Saturday, 31 December 2016

Said a Blade of Grass

Old Swan House Garden in Autumn
Said a blade of grass to an autumn leaf, “You make such a noise falling! You scatter all my winter dreams.” 
Said the leaf indignant, “Low-born and low-dwelling! Songless, peevish thing! You live not in the upper air and you cannot tell the sound of singing.” 
Then the autumn leaf lay down upon the earth and slept. And when spring came she waked again — and she was a blade of grass. 
And when it was autumn and her winter sleep was upon her, and above her through all the air the leaves were falling, she muttered to herself, “O these autumn leaves! They make such noise! They scatter all my winter dreams.”
Kahil Gibran 

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Winchester Cathedral Carol Service

The annual carol service at Winchester Cathedral was beautiful as ever. 1500 attended and there were people standing.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Christmas at Blenheim 2016

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim is the most astonishing castle in the country; absolutely magnificent, and of course set in a perfect Capability Brown landscape.

The lake at Blenheim taken from the West gate at sunset. The view of the palace from the West gate is often described as the finest view in England.
This year for the first time they have created a night-time garden walk - Christmas at Blenheim - which is beautifully done and absolutely spectacular. Being dark and without a tripod I found it difficult to capture the stunning effects adequately, and there are many spots in which music is played and some in which actors perform. Do try and go!

The Temple of Diana where Winston Churchill proposed to Clementine

Friday, 9 December 2016

Christmas at Christ Church, Oxford

Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

A beautiful "Nine Lessons and Carols' at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Wellbeing of Women Christmas Fair 2016

Drapers' Hall fi;;ed with stalls for the Fair

The Drapers' City Fair held annually and free in the Hall by Wellbeing of Women since 2009, was the best attended yet and raised a record amount for the charity. Over 50 stalls sold high-quality gifts and food and drink including my favourite Christmas cake (which so heavy with fruit that feels like a black hole).

Friday, 2 December 2016

Stockbridge Christmas Evening 2016

St Peter's Church and the Christmas tree after lighting
Stockbridge holds a Christmas shopping evening at the beginning of December every year. Each year the town looks prettier and prettier as more lighting is added, and more and more people attend. This year the tree on the church lawn was beautifully lit as was the Town Hall, and Sally Taylor of South Today came to help Alex Lewis (and his son Sam) switch on the lights.
Alex Lewis, Sam and Sally Taylor switching on the light

Prior to this, a horse-drawn coach carried the local MP, the Lord of the Manor and the mayor of Test Valley from Old St Peter's to new St Peter's, proceeded by the Town Crier.  

Stockbridge Town Hall. The horse-drawn carriage can be seen approaching 
Middle Wallop Military Wives Choir

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

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 does - 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 get 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

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Favourite Gardens - Heale House

I first visited the gardens of Heale House near Salisbury over 25 years ago and remember them - and the glorious C16th house - as particularly lovely. A second visit this week confirmed that memory. Several noteable features such as the superbly trained apple trees are comparatively recent plantings (1976) but now look satisfactorily ancient, and the line of silver birch below the garden on the south side of the house have been underplanted in the manner of Highgrove. The Japanese planting along the streams beside the tea house is charming and full of light and shadow and it all combines to create a marvellous serene and secluded garden.

There is also an exceptional nursery (as well as a good tearoom) where one finds delightful and unusual plants.

Click here for more photos of the garden.

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Saturday, 9 July 2016

Favourite Writings - Bernard Levin on a Wexford Opera

On a memorable performance of Spontini's La Vestale, by Bernard Levin

1979 was The Year of the Missing Lemon Juice. The Theatre Royal in Wexford holds 440; it was completely full that night, so there are, allowing for a few who have already died (it is not true, though it might well have been, that some died of laughter at the time), hardly more than four hundred people who now share, to the end of their lives, an experience from which the rest of the world, now and for ever, is excluded. When the last of us dies, the experience will die with us, for although it is already enshrined in legend, no one who was not an eye witness will ever really understand what we felt. Certainly I am aware that these words cannot convey more than the facts, and the facts, as so often and most particularly in this case, are only part, and a small part, too, of the whole truth. But I must try...

The set for Act I of the opera consisted of a platform laid over the stage, raised about a foot at the back and sloping evenly to the footlights. This was meant to represent the interior of the Temple where burned the sacred flame, and had therefore to look like marble; the designer had achieved a convincing alternative by covering the raised stage in Formica. But the Formica was slippery; to avoid the risk of a performer taking a tumble, designer and stage manager had between them discovered that an ample sprinkling of lemon juice would make the surface sufficiently sticky to provide a secure foothold. The story now forks; down one road, there lies the belief that the member of the stage staff whose duty it was to sprinkle the lifesaving liquid, and who had done so without fail at rehearsal and at the earlier performances (this was the last one of the Festival), had simply forgotten. Down the other branch in the road is a much more attractive rumour: that the theatre charlady, inspecting the premises in the afternoon, had seen to her horror and indignation that the stage was covered in the remains of some spilt liquid, and, inspired by professional pride, had thereupon set to and given it a good scrub and polish all over. The roads now join again, for apart from the superior charm of the second version, it makes no difference what the explanation was. What matters is what happened.

What happened began to happen very early. The hero of the opera strides on to the stage immediately after the curtain has gone up. The hero strode; and instantly fell flat on his back. There was a murmur of sympathy and concern from the audience for his embarrassment and for the possibility that he might have been hurt; it was the last such sound that was to be heard that night, and it was very soon to be replaced by sounds of a very different nature.
The hero got to his feet, with considerable difficulty, and, having slid some way down the stage in falling, proceeded to stride up-stage to where he should have been in the first place; he had, of course, gone on singing throughout, for the music had not stopped. Striding up-stage, however, was plainly more difficult than he had reckoned on, for every time he took a step and tried to follow it with another, the foot with which he had taken the first proceeded to slide down-stage again, swiftly followed by its companion; he may not have known it, but he was giving a perfect demonstration of what is called marcher sur place, a graceful manoeuvre normally used in mime, and seen at its best in the work of Marcel Marceau.

Finding progress uphill difficult, indeed impossible, the hero wisely decided to abandon the attempt and stay where he was, singing bravely on, no doubt calculating that, since the stage was brightly lit, the next character to enter would notice him and adjust his own movements accordingly. So it proved, in a sense at least, for the next character to enter was the hero's trusted friend and confidant, who, seeing his hero further down-stage than he was supposed to be, loyally decided to join him there. Truth to tell, he had little choice, for from the moment he had stepped on to the stage he had begun to slide downhill, arms semaphoring, like Scrooge's clerk on the way home to his Christmas dinner. His downhill progress was arrested by his fetching up against his friend with a thud; this, as it happened, was not altogether inappropriate, as the opera called for them to embrace in friendly greeting at that point. It did not, however, call for them, locked in each other's arms and propelled by the impetus of the friend's descent, to careen helplessly further down-stage with the evident intention of going straight into the orchestra pit with vocal accompaniment - for the hero's aria had, on the arrival of his companion, been transformed into a duet.
On the brink of ultimate disaster they managed to arrest their joint progress to destruction and, working their way along the edge of the stage like mountaineers seeking a route round an unbridgeable crevasse, most gallantly began, with infinite pain and by a form of progress most aptly described in the title of Lenin's famous pamphlet, Four Steps Forward, Three Steps Back, to climb up the terrible hill. It speedily became clear that this hazardous ascent was not being made simply from a desire to retain dramatic credibility; it had a much more practical object. The only structure breaking the otherwise all too smooth surface of the stage was a marble pillar, a yard or so high, on which there burned the sacred flame of the rite. This pillar was embedded firmly in the stage, and it had obviously occurred to both mountaineers at once that if they could only reach it it would provide a secure base for their subsequent operations, since if they held on to it for dear life they would at any rate be safe from any further danger of sliding downhill and/or breaking their necks. It was soon borne in upon them that they had undertaken a labour of truly Sisyphean proportions, and would have been most heartily pardoned by the audience if they had abandoned the librettist's words at this point, and fitted to the music instead the old moral verse: The heights by great men reached and kept, Were not attained by sudden flight; But they, while their companions slept, Were toiling upwards in the night.
By this time the audience - all 440 of us - were in a state of such abandon with laughter that several of us felt that if this were to continue a moment longer we would be in danger of doing ourselves a serious internal mischief, little did we know that the fun was just beginning, for shortly after Mallory and Irvine reached their longed-for goal, the chorus entered, and instantly flung themselves en masse into a very freely choreographed version of Les Patineurs, albeit to the wrong music. The heroine herself, the priestess Giulia, with a survival instinct strong enough to suggest that she would be the one to get close to should any reader of these lines happen to be shipwrecked along with the Wexford opera company, skated into the wings and kicked her shoes off and then, finding on her return that this had hardly improved matters, skated back to the wings and removed her tights as well.

Now, however, the singing never having stopped for a moment, the chorus had come to the same conclusion as had the hero and his friend, namely that holding on to the holy pillar was the only way to remain upright and more or less immobile. The trouble with this conclusion was that there was only one such pillar on the stage, and it was a small one; as the cast crowded round it, it seemed that there would be some very unseemly brawling among those seeking a hand-hold, a foothold, even a bare finger-hold, on this tiny island of security in the terrible sea of impermanence. By an instinctive understanding of the principles of co-operation, however, they decided the matter without bloodshed; those nearest the pillar clutched it, those next nearest clutched the clutchers, those farther away still clutched those, and so on until, in a kind of daisy- chain that snaked across the stage, everybody was accommodated.

The condition of the audience was now one of fully extended hysteria, which was having the most extraordinary effect - itself intensifying the audience's condition - on the orchestra. At Wexford, the orchestra pit runs under the stage; only a single row of players - those at the edge of the pit nearest the audience, together, of course, with the conductor -could see what was happening on the stage. The rest realized that something out of the ordinary was going on up there, and would have been singularly dull of wit if they had not, for many members of the audience were now slumped on the floor weeping helplessly in the agony of their mirth, and although the orchestra at Wexford cannot see the stage, it can certainly see the auditorium.

Theologians tell us that the delights of the next world are eternal. Perhaps; but what is certain is that all earthly ones, alas, are temporary, and duly, after giving us a glimpse of the more enduring joy of Heaven that must have strengthened the devout in their faith and caused instant conversion among many of the unbelievers, the entertainment came to an end when the first act of the opera did so, amid such cheering as I had never before heard in an opera house, and can never hope to hear again. In the interval before Act II, a member of the production staff walked back and forth across the stage, sprinkling it with the precious nectar, and we knew that our happiness was at an end. But he who, after such happiness, would have demanded more, would be greedy indeed, and most of us were content to know that, for one crowded half-hour, we on honeydew had fed, and drunk the milk of Paradise.

Bernard Levin

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Herry's Journal Index

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 
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 - Wind
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 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

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
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
Why I Prefer Pubs to Restaurants 
Slideshows and The Little Prince
Treasure Island and the Avoidance of Tax

Obituaries and Eulogies
Dirge Without Music
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

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
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
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
Old Swan House Garden
Old Swan House Gardens Open for the NGS 2015
Old Swan House Garden in June 2015
Old Swan House Garden in Summer and Autumn
Old Swan House Garden in July
Old Swan House Garden in June
Making the Garden at Old Swan House
Old Swan House Garden Open for the NGS 2015
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

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
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

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

Favourite Blogs
Favourite Blogs - Spitalfields Life
Favourite Blogs - Neilbabble