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It was a very full-on week, followed by a surprisingly quiet weekend, which had the great benefit that I could at last find time to begin to think about the Narnia Fic Exchange.  And there was some little struggle involved,wrestling with the form, but finally I can say that
I've managed to sign up for the NFE 2015!

and am feeling tentatively hopeful about the prospect. The freeform tags alone looked like there was a lot of fun to be had.  :)
(If anyone's reading this and wondering if they'd like to play, I assure you it's a most exhilarating way to leap into the Narnia fanfic game!  Here's how!)

Does anyone remember, by the way, that in last year's NFE I wrote about Tirian remembering being taken as a child to "float in darkness where waters lapped and glow-stars spread across the cavern-roofs..." 
That was based on my remembering a visit ages ago to these caves in beautiful New Zealand - truly, almost magically beautiful.

This is the week designated to celebrate indigenous peoples and culture in Australia, called for historical reasons NAIDOC Week; this year's theme is "We all stand on sacred ground: learn, respect and celebrate".  (Yes!)
Of course there's an absolute plethora of things in Australian media I could be linking to, but this is something from the Guardian - about an Aboriginal activist I'd never even heard of, but whose story I won't be forgetting. 
(The business about the search for a photograph puzzled me - surely if you're arrested, there's going to be a photograph somewhere? and then I remembered the Blitz...)

This weekend also is Greece's referendum on its future, and today, fittingly, the psalm-of-the-day was 123, ending: "... we have had more than enough of contempt, too much of the scorn of the indolent rich, and of the derision of the proud."  Yes, for sure - feeling for you, Greece! 
Oh, and here's Joseph Stiglitz on that situation.

and... this weekend's not quite finished, so I still have time to tackle the Great Mango Glut.  For the first time in my life: fruit leather!  Wish me luck!  :)



Barcelona

Jun. 18th, 2014 10:38 pm
heliopausa: (Default)
So...  Barcelona! :)   Loved it!  Though it felt a little edgier than Rome, let alone Geneva, there was so much vibrancy, so much to enjoy.  Things like:

Accidentally running into the Feast of St Rita, which involved lots of (mostly red) roses, and a photo )
and concerts: Two concerts, one exquisite and the other very, very sad )

and as mentioned elsewhere the wonderful misericords in the choirstalls of the Cathedral, which we only saw by accident, and which we were the only people looking at, at that particular time.  I was especially enraptured to discover the one in this photograph: )

and there were many more things which were enormous fun in Barcelona.  :) food!  history!  architecture! more ancient Romans! more Napoleon! Catalan identity at every turn!  the tiles along the streets!  I should have found a way to stay longer...

heliopausa: (Default)
So much!  I have nearly drowned in it all,  Fragments follow... 
- the pine trees, and the poppies blowing wild in every grassy weedy space in Rome - and in other places, too, but it was Rome where I first saw them, and they amazed me, and I loved them, every time.
- In the Vatican museum, the maps - the long corridor where all  the places of the known world, and especially the Italian states of the mid-sixteenth century, are painted directly onto the walls - and also two even earlier very big  "real" maps, ie made to be taken on voyages and filled in along the way.  The painted maps had wonderful small views of hills and rivers and ships at sea,and the cloth (vellum?) maps were so evocative of actual use,of being unrolled in the captain's cabin, and carefully inked in as people debated the accuracy of every dot and line.
- the wonderful monsters exhibition in the Palazzo Massimo!  which was actually not monsters, but fantasy beings - sirens and gorgons and centaurs and seadragons, showing how many different conceptions there were of the same being in different times and different places.  And I've tried pictures, but here I am in Madrid railway station and it's all feeling complicated to load them, so here they aren't... but I loved how different were the many views of what a gorgon looks like, or a siren or anything really...
- two amazing Holbeins which like everyone else I had long known in reproductions - the Henry the Eighth portrait, and right next to  it,the Erasmus portrait.  Henry the Eighth looked puffy, unhappy, ill - huge respect for Holbein, how he could paint something so real(as it seemed to me) while still producing an acceptable portrait of a king.  And Erasmus had the most beautiful hands - thoughtful, caring, hands, lit so beautifully, tenderly.  Wow!  Thank you, Hans Holbein.
- And lots and lots of semi-archeology- the underground at San Clemente church, with the old Mithraeum and then the 800s church on top of that, and a St Cyril but not the one from Alexandria (good!) and lots of old churches everywhere, with tenth-century mosaics and twelfth century frescos (I didn't much care for the baroquerie, though)
and amazing scraps of inscriptions in stone (especially in the brilliant epigraphy museum in the buildings which were once Diocletian's baths).

Then, in Geneva, which was meant to be a catch-your-breath couple of days with nothing much happening (because Geneva... lake and UN and nothing much else, I thought) we blundered into a wonderful permanent exhibition of excavations under St Peter's Cathedral, which was - well, no frescoes, no St Cyril, no Mithram, but absolutely terrific remnants of the nuts and bolts of the old Roman settlement, and the succeeding Christian church,with bishop's residence and anchorites' dwellings - the water supply and the under-floor heating and pavements and a large tiled floor- and from before that, a burial from the pre-Roman tribes, with evidence of burnt timber nearby... not a haphazard burial is all that could be deduced (by me - wiser people have found more, I expect.  But in that museum/exhibition as in every single one since, we were thrown out before we'd finished looking, because it was closing.  It is all utterly absorbing and fascinating. 
Oh, and more about Geneva... the wonderful wonderful water which flows freely for the taking - as does Rome's, but this was even better water than Rome's - straight down from the mountains and blissful to drink.  And everywhere plaques, especially about famous Genevans, or famous Swiss, but also famous passers-by (like George Eliot, who is helpfully explained as being "Miss Evans").

But then to Barcelona, and more amazement...  (to be continued)
heliopausa: (Default)
I've been leading a most disrupted life, travelling and doing complex family stuff.  (Not all that complex, but my family has the ability to make the easiest things the subject of high drama.  Or the luxury of doing so, I guess; if one of us was really in trouble, I know all this unnecessary tumult would just fade, leaving only plain family solidarity.)

But essentially there's three weeks' worth of jumbled life and non-writing behind me, and now I'm trying to pick up the threads. 
One tiny thing from my travels:  I was in Adelaide, and by accident caught a most wonderful and generous exhibition at the the Art Gallery there, with Jain, Hindu and Islamic art from the sub-continent of India/Pakistan/Bangladesh.  Carved doors from wealthy houses, and silver-embroidered banners, and an astonishing ten-metre-long scroll inviting a Jain master-monk to Gujarat, and exquisite miniatures, and...I thought of Susan... a couple of archer's rings, smoothly gold on the string side, but richly set with emeralds and other jewels on the other side, and much, much more!  (I had never even heard of archer's rings,and was fascinated.) 
The whole exhibition, anyway, was brilliant; it felt such a privilege to be able to enjoy it, and so much was so generously offered by the Gallery and by private collectors - and by the Adelaide Jain, Hindu and Muslim communities, too, who were offering talks and workshops, and who (especially the Jains, it seemed but I expect it changed from day to day) were involved as a devotional matter, as well as sharing culture, with scattered offerings of flowers, sweets, money - even earrings, I saw - put on the plinths before certain statues.  And lots of joyous family-friendly extras - for example, the game of Snakes and Ladders turns out to have begun as a Jain teaching device, and out in the courtyard there was a big game drawn in some kind of semi-permanent chalk (?) to be played on in the glorious sunshine. (well, the day I was there, it was glorious sunshine.  :)  )   Oh, happy Adelaide, to have such an art gallery!

And I will be throwing myself back into writing, to get that next chapter of Ivory up - my mind is bursting with all the thoughts I have about that - but also, I'm offering stories as part of fandomaid for the Philippines - my offer here, and the whole project here.  :)

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