Alexander Averin

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Powis Castle

    Before Summer Rain

    Suddenly, from all the green around you,
    something-you don't know what-has disappeared;
    you feel it creeping closer to the window,
    in total silence. From the nearby wood

    you hear the urgent whistling of a plover,
    reminding you of someone's Saint Jerome:
    so much solitude and passion come
    from that one voice, whose fierce request the downpour

    will grant. The walls, with their ancient portraits, glide
    away from us, cautiously, as though
    they weren't supposed to hear what we are saying.

    And reflected on the faded tapestries now;
    the chill, uncertain sunlight of those long
    childhood hours when you were so afraid.

    Raine Marie Rilke
    Translated by Stephen Mitchell

Dear Diary,

I must apologise for not blogging for ages. Life got in the way as it often does, along with a change in routine.

Here is my latest effort before I make my way to the Ark.

I have to keep reminding myself it is summer and as I write these words the river is rising, its now earthy brown water is lapping at the bottom of the bridge and is already over the bank in places. It has rained solidly all morning, lightly in the main but with occasional very strong and angry bursts. If we are going to be flooded there is nothing we can do to prevent it; I am quite philosophical now. I can’t remember when I last hung washing out to dry(you might recall that is one of my peculiar pleasures).

So I sit upstairs looking out of the study window and posting you a few summery pics taken last weekend at Powis Castle, near Welshpool. I hope their bright colours will cheer you. It was probably the only sunny day we have had for some time. And would you believe it, though it is a long way from home we met one of our neighbours there. The gardens are beautiful, with gorgeous flowerbeds set on terraces overlooking twenty plus acres of grass and woodland.

I took a few pics of the blossoms.

A shady spot!

A camera-shy mother peahen and her babes

I have taken a couple of weeks off work but my dreams of working in the garden and rewarding myself by sitting on my deckchair by the river with a Good Book have all but vanished. It has even been chilly and extra layers of clothing and our new central heating have been employed at times.

So what have I been doing? I have been chasing the dead - working on our family trees, tying up loose ends and doing some more detective work. Escaping into the past I guess but very enjoyable, albeit extremely addictive. I have found a few gems of information and am still on the case.

I have been reading too and will post next about some of the Good Books that I would force upon you.

I will sign off now as I have to go out this afternoon, I just hope I don’t return to a flooded cottage.

Bye for now,
Go mbeanna Dia duit,

Monday 13 July 2009

Memory banks - a deposit and a withdrawal.

A Memory Tree

Each item, each ornament,
each bauble, bangle, a memory
a special moment in our lives
remembered each year in the decorating
the dressing of the tree, under which the presents
will be placed, connections to special times,
milestones in our family
birthdays, firsts and more
family history too, of ornaments
given and gotten from
earlier saints we have known

Raymond A Foss

Dear Diary,

Fond memory brings the light of other days around me

Thomas More

Aries (Mar21-Apr20)

A piece of music, whiff of perfume or magazine article might remind you of times gone by. Don't fight the feeling; revisit a long forgotten territory and savour this trip down memory lane. You might feel uplifted that some experiences from years ago feel like it happened yesterday. Sharing this with others could stir up a few more old memories. This gives you a chance to celebrate how interesting at times, your life has been.

Synchronicity at work again. The above is my horoscope courtesy of Russell Grant.

I went to my daughter’s graduation ceremony recently, she obtained a BA in English and History and I have feelings of great pride at her achievements, not least because she is a mother of three and has been through some difficult times that coincided with her studies, so I am doubly proud of her.

The memory of that occasion will stay with me and will go into my happy memory bank.

Along with that feeling of great joy the degree ceremony took me back to the days before I was a mother. Thirty years in fact in - a past life - when I worked at a university in a (scientific) departmental office as a secretary for a Professor and through the job met many postgraduate students as well as a large number of younger undergraduates. Much groundbreaking research was carried out there and it still is.

These were the days of electric typewriters, IBM Golfballs, anyone remember those? (I am showing my age now but what the heck, I still feel exactly the same). The post-grads were always in and out of the office and we would type anything they wanted. There were lots of symposiums, conferences etc and we were always included in the social activities, they were wonderful times.

I am digressing.

At the weekend I was thinking back to those happy days and something made me Google the name of one of the post-grads; I can honestly say that all the students were extremely nice but this one in particular, who was from Cyprus, was probably the nicest; he always had a big smile and would bring gifts, send cards on our birthdays, that sort of thing. We saw all the students through their studies, typing their long and detailed scientific theses privately in our spare time and we rejoiced with them when they obtained their doctorates.

Anyway, just one click of my mouse on Saturday and to my pleasant surprise I found him and even more exciting I learned that he is now a Professor himself in the same university. I sent him a quick email, I didn’t even think he would remember me but a reply came yesterday to say that he did and (coincidentally again) he is having lunch this week with the lovely woman who used to be in charge of us in the office, he still meets her two or three times a year for lunch and they reminisce together. It was good to hear that they both have the same strong and very fond memories of the old days as I do, he mentioned the camaraderie, the fun and the spirit within the department which was indeed something special. Now the commercial pressures on universities mean that those days will never come again. But we can look back and as he said nostalgia is a wonderful thing.

I started with a quote, here’s another to end with:

The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness and knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.

Kahlil Gibran

That’s all for now,
May all your memories be happy ones,

Thursday 9 July 2009

Favourites - A Meme

A favourite picture by Monet, a favourite artist

Dear Diary,

My heart? that's my second favourite organ.
Woody Allen,

I promised to do this meme for dear Frances so here goes.

I think it will be a disappointment though, so apologies in advance.

Five favourite songs?

I am no good at favourites because I find it impossible to choose a favourite anything, I just cannot whittle down my many many loves to just one. I suppose it’s a bit like when you have children, or grandchildren… you could never have a favourite, you would never have one as you love them all equally don’t you?

And I have favourite songs that change frequently. At the moment there are two.

Ohio see previous blog and you can hear it there as well.

I have really fallen in love with a voice and its song though and it is Gurrumul singing Wyathul and you can hear that as well on a previous blog (see below).

I am currently into Paolo Nutini as well and love his song Candy. You can hear that in a previous blog as well. My son sings this one now and does a brilliant job with it.

Johnny Walker has been presenting Wogan’s morning show on Radio 2 for the last fortnight and he has of course been playing excellent music. I don’t dislike Terry Wogan but I do wish Johnny would take over the programme, it would be nice to get rid of the inane and sometimes vulgar schoolboy humour that is on Wogan’s slot now and the lack of good music to boot.

I am digressing as usual.

Other songs I have enjoyed this week?

My son has written a new song which I love and it is on my brain.

I have Paul Brady in my CD player and also the highly underrated Jack Savoretti. I have just been listening to Foreigner’s I want to know what Love Is, that is one of my Desert Island Discs (I will blog those one day).

Five Films?

Even harder this one. I don’t watch a lot of films.

Waiting to be watched is On the Black Hill, the book by Bruce Chatwin is a classic, you must read it. Also waiting is the Jane Austen Book Club. The last film I watched was with my youngest granddaughter and it was The Yes Man with Jim Carey, we both enjoyed it, it was funny but kind of had a message too.

These are the latest films I have enjoyed.
  • The Yes Man
  • Sixty-six
  • The Changeling
  • The Constant Gardener
  • The Duchess
  • Taken
  • Ghost Town (Ricky Gervaise)
  • Nights in Rodanth

Five Crushes?

Hells Bells this is hard. I don’t know if I ever had a crush on anyone? I must have done back in the mists of time, but so long ago I can’t remember.

If it has to be a crush on a person I certainly don’t have any now, no-one springs to mind at all, I must be getting old. I admire some people, the Dalai Lama, Tony Benn, Nelson Mandela for example and I had a soft spot for Spike Milligan. I like the aforementioned Johnny Walker. I like Barack Obama too, he is so eloquent in his speech and in his writing and I like what he has to say.

Now I suppose I have crushes on songs, singers, musicians, poets, writers, artists, things of beauty.

Five Random Things?

Things that make life worth living I guess.

For me they are

Nature's beauty
Last but not least,
definitely not least
And yes that makes Six.

And finally,

Sorry it was so boring and unimaginative.

Bye for now,

Monday 6 July 2009

Remember - Tom Rush

Dear Johnny Walker played this the other morning and had me in fits. I hope it will brighten your day.