Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

True Love

(via swissmiss)

You look great!

307lookgreat, originally uploaded by bobopuppyhead.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I'm on a roll

Yes! I've just found out I won £14.80 in last Friday's EuroMillions draw! And last week I had won £7.00, so I guess I'm on a roll [wishful thinking]!

Sadly though, this is still not enough to cover the £4100 Ana's orthodontic braces will cost[sigh]...

Anyway, today we picnicked in Stowe Gardens. The weather was OK for a couple of hours but then it turned chilly and the picnic had to end early. Still, we had a good time and enjoyed a great walk around the beautiful gardens. Ana was really curious about Stowe School , which is right next to the gardens, and she looked it up on the Internet when she got home. After a while she decided she didn't like it, which - if you consider the fees - is just as well...


Autumn trails

Stowe Landscape Gardens


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Indian summer

Once again we're having wonderful weather this weekend. Our evening stroll around Furzton Lake was very pleasant and I took some photos.

evening walk

evening walk

foolin' around

Afterwards, the kids offered to prepare a light supper all by themselves. It was delicious.



Hier Encore

Camille Pissarro, The Boulevard Montmartre at Night, 1897

Hier encore
J'avais vingt ans
Je caressais le temps
Et jouais de la vie
Comme on joue de l'amour
Et je vivais la nuit
Sans compter sur mes jours
Qui fuyaient dans le temps

J'ai fait tant de projets
Qui sont restés en l'air
J'ai fondé tant d'espoirs
Qui se sont envolés
Que je reste perdu
Ne sachant où aller
Les yeux cherchant le ciel
Mais le cœur mis en terre

Hier encore
J'avais vingt ans
Je gaspillais le temps
En croyant l'arrêter
Et pour le retenir
Même le devancer
Je n'ai fait que courir
Et me suis essoufflé

Ignorant le passé
Conjuguant au futur
Je précédais de moi
Toute conversation
Et donnais mon avis
Que je voulais le bon
Pour critiquer le monde
Avec désinvolture

Hier encore
J'avais vingt ans
Mais j'ai perdu mon temps
A faire des folies
Qui ne me laissent au fond
Rien de vraiment précis
Que quelques rides au front
Et la peur de l'ennui

Car mes amours sont mortes
Avant que d'exister
Mes amis sont partis
Et ne reviendront pas
Par ma faute j'ai fait
Le vide autour de moi
Et j'ai gâché ma vie
Et mes jeunes années

Du meilleur et du pire
En jetant le meilleur
J'ai figé mes sourires
Et j'ai glacé mes pleurs
Où sont-ils à présent
A présent mes vingt ans?



When I have ceased to break my wings
Against the faultiness of things,
And learned that compromises wait
Behind each hardly opened gate,
When I have looked Life in the eyes,
Grown calm and very coldly wise,
Life will have given me the Truth,
And taken in exchange -- my youth.

-- Sara Teasdale --

Friday, September 26, 2008


I must confess that everytime I receive a request to use one of my photographs, I still get a little tingly feeling of pride. I'm just so amazed at how far and wide my pictures are being used and what they're being used for: city guides in the iPhone and iPod touch, libraries, university projects, academic publications... the list goes on!

I've just received a very kind request from Goa to use my "Bookworm" picture in the blog of a children's library called... Bookworm. Doesn't it fit right in?

Plans for the weekend

Jacek Yerka, The Apple Cake Recipe, uploaded by Gatochy.

Baking an apple pie with Clara and strolling among the glorious colours of Autumn at Stowe Gardens.

The US Presidential Elections

Cast your vote here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

To the Consolations of Philosophy

Thank you but
not just at the moment

I know you will say
I have said that before
I know you have been
there all along somewhere
in another time zone

I studied once
those beautiful instructions
when I was young and
far from here
they seemed distant then
they seem distant now
from everything I remember

I hope they stayed with you
when the noose started to tighten
and you could say no more
and after wisdom
and the days of iron
the eyes started from your head

I know the words
must have been set down
partly for yourself
unjustly condemned after
a good life

I know the design
of the world is beyond
our comprehension
thank you
but grief is selfish and in
the present when
the stars do not seem to move
I was not listening

I know it is not
sensible to expect
fortune to grant her
gifts forever
I know

Quote for today

“Life is like a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep on moving.” - Einstein

This is London

As part of Bruno Taylor “Playful Spaces” project, a swing was installed at a London bus stop. Fun.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Unfortunate Coincidence

Marc Chagall. Lovers in the Lilacs. 1930.

By the time you swear you're his,
Shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is

Infinite, undying -
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.

-- Dorothy Parker --

I scream, you scream..

I scream, you scream.., originally uploaded by balsamia.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Welcome, Autumn!

Fallen beauty, originally uploaded by Claudia1967.

Oh ! je voudrais tant que tu te souviennes
Des jours heureux où nous étions amis.
En ce temps-là la vie était plus belle,
Et le soleil plus brûlant qu'aujourd'hui.
Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle.
Tu vois, je n'ai pas oublié...
Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle,
Les souvenirs et les regrets aussi
Et le vent du nord les emporte
Dans la nuit froide de l'oubli.
Tu vois, je n'ai pas oublié
La chanson que tu me chantais.

C'est une chanson qui nous ressemble.
Toi, tu m'aimais et je t'aimais
Et nous vivions tous deux ensemble,
Toi qui m'aimais, moi qui t'aimais.
Mais la vie sépare ceux qui s'aiment,
Tout doucement, sans faire de bruit
Et la mer efface sur le sable
Les pas des amants désunis.

Les feuilles mortes se ramassent à la pelle,
Les souvenirs et les regrets aussi
Mais mon amour silencieux et fidèle
Sourit toujours et remercie la vie.
Je t'aimais tant, tu étais si jolie.
Comment veux-tu que je t'oublie ?
En ce temps-là, la vie était plus belle
Et le soleil plus brûlant qu'aujourd'hui.
Tu étais ma plus douce amie
Mais je n'ai que faire des regrets
Et la chanson que tu chantais,
Toujours, toujours je l'entendrai !

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens, originally uploaded by ~~~AiDualC~~~.

Spent Sunday at Kew. Wonderful weather with hints of Autumn's imminent arrival all around.

The girls had to be dragged out of the house in the morning but they ended up enjoying the day and were dead tired by bed time, which is a very welcome rarity.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The time eater

The jaws of the terrifying chronophage gape, its tail quivers and then gulp: another minute has been inexorably devoured. The creature blinks twice in satisfaction. After 60 gulps, the hour strikes with the ominous clonk of a chain dropping into a coffin.

The new clock at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge is meant to remind us that once a second is gone, it is gone forever. It cost over £1million to make, seven years to build, doesn't have any hands or numbers and it only tells the exact time once every five minutes.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Black and Gold

Satellite Photo of London, also showing the M25 motorway. Image courtesy of Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. Via

Snippets of thought on moments of enlightenment

Hell is not knowing what you wish you did and knowing what you wish you didn't.

Mauritian Sunset

‘Mauritian Sunset’ by Sandy Smith.
(via swissmiss)

Art going around in circles

"Turning the Place Over" by Richard Wilson

"One of Wilson’s incredible temporary works, Turning the Place Over colonises Cross Keys House, Moorfields. It runs in daylight hours, triggered by a light sensor. Co-commissioned by the Liverpool Culture Company and Liverpool Biennial, co-funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency and The Northern Way, and facilitated by Liverpool Vision, the project is a stunning trailblazer for Liverpool’s Year as European Capital of Culture 2008, and the jewel in the crown of the Culture Company’s public art programme.

Richard Wilson is one of Britain’s most renowned sculptors. He is internationally celebrated for his interventions in architectural space that draw heavily for their inspiration from the worlds of engineering and construction.

Turning the Place Over consists of an 8 metres diameter ovoid cut from the façade of a building in Liverpool city centre and made to oscillate in three dimensions. The revolving façade rests on a specially designed giant rotator, usually used in the shipping and nuclear industries, and acts as a huge opening and closing ‘window’, offering recurrent glimpses of the interior during its constant cycle during daylight hours."

Via the Liverpool Biennial site.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Arbores Laetae (Joyful Trees)

"Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Arbores Laetae playfully reinvents the tradition of the public park. The work transforms a brownfield site, situated on a key route into city centre, into a beautiful wooded space for contemplation.

Consisting of 17 vibrant hornbeam trees formally planted in a grid pattern, at the heart of this landscape three trees will slowly rotate. In place of the familiar movement of shade according to the rotation of the earth around the sun, here shade migrates at an artificial speed, transforming the familiar patterns of the natural world into artificial creations.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro are well known for their interdisciplinary approach, fusing architecture and urban design with visual art, electronic media and performance. Founded in 1979 by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro joined the practice in 1997, and became partner in 2004. Their work marries rigorous critique with a playful iconoclasm. Their pavilion for the Swiss Expo in 2002, for example, was an elaborate play on the notion of spectacle. A building literally created out of hot air, the Blur Building floated like a giant cloud on the surface of a lake. Their retrospective exhibition at the Whitney included the site specific installation Mural (2003), in which a robotic arm mounted on a track was programmed to periodically drill holes in the perfect white cube space. Their recently unveiled Boston ICA building enshrines the act of viewing, creating a space that is conducive to viewing on multiple levels, both the art forms it contains, and the environment it inhabits. "

Via the Liverpool Biennial site.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Office

How many David Brents have you had to put up with at work during your lifetime?

I can really relate to this series, it's depressingly hilarious (once you've worked in The Office...)

True Love

Marc Chagal, Lovers in the Red Sky, 1950

True love. Is it normal
is it serious, is it practical?
What does the world get from two people
who exist in a world of their own?

Placed on the same pedestal for no good reason,
drawn randomly from millions but convinced
it had to happen this way - in reward for what?
For nothing.
The light descends from nowhere.
Why on these two and not on others?
Doesn't this outrage justice? Yes it does.
Doesn't it disrupt our painstakingly erected principles,
and cast the moral from the peak? Yes on both accounts.

Look at the happy couple.
Couldn't they at least try to hide it,
fake a little depression for their friends' sake?
Listen to them laughing - its an insult.
The language they use - deceptively clear.
And their little celebrations, rituals,
the elaborate mutual routines -
it's obviously a plot behind the human race's back!

It's hard even to guess how far things might go
if people start to follow their example.
What could religion and poetry count on?
What would be remembered? What renounced?
Who'd want to stay within bounds?

True love. Is it really necessary?
Tact and common sense tell us to pass over it in silence,
like a scandal in Life's highest circles.
Perfectly good children are born without its help.
It couldn't populate the planet in a million years,
it comes along so rarely.

Let the people who never find true love
keep saying that there's no such thing.

Their faith will make it easier for them to live and die.

Wislawa Szymborska ---

Coffee in Heaven

Coffee In Heaven

You'll be greeted
by a nice cup of coffee
when you get to heaven
and strains of angelic harmony.

But wouldn't you be devastated
if they only serve decaffeinated
while from the percolators of hell

your soul was assaulted
by Satan's fresh espresso smell?

John Agard

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Optical illusions

Is it moving?
Even more beautiful optical illusions in here.

The Children's Hour

J.J. Shannon, Jungle Tales 1895, originally uploaded by Gatochy.

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O'er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!

-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow --

Daily commute

Daily commute

Good morning!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The day is gone

The Triumphant Firebird

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me
That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life's endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow --

Literature Map

I stumbled upon this experimental Literature Map site last night and had a bit of fun with it. Type in the name of an author and it maps out a constellation of other writers that the readers of that author will probably also like to read. The closer the names of two authors are the higher the probability of a reader who likes one of them also liking the other.

The Paul Auster experiment was interesting:

I'm going to give Haruki Murakami a try.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


[Praia dos] Três Irmãos

Southern Lights



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's oh so quiet


The sound of silence