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Past Meets Present at Clandon Park

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Today I am taking the challenge set by Becky of It Caught My Eye in Portugal to compare a photograph of the past with a recent one I have taken myself.

I have lived near to Clandon Park for 37 years and although I didn’t particularly admire the appearance of the outside architecture, I always felt at home walking around this National Trust property.  Inside as well as the Marble Entrance Hall, there were beautifully decorated rooms full of enchanting china.

When I first saw the smoke and flames of the house fire which caused so much destruction I was very sad and my more recent photos show that although the shell remains, the roof and much of the interior has been destroyed.  Now the NT are looking for an architect to oversee its rebuilding.  I am looking forward to a hopeful future for the House.

Clandon

 

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Please visit some of Becky’s #PastMeetsPresent Pages and maybe join in yourself.

Teaser Tuesday #TuesdayBookBlogs

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme.  Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two or three “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

gilded-lily

This is the first historical novel by Deborah Swift which I have chosen to read.  I was introduced to her books by Terry Tyler and I have already enjoyed Deborah’s 20th century novel written under her other nom de plume, Davina Blake.  The Gilded Lily is the story of two sisters on the run, searching for a better life on the streets of Restoration London.

“Do you think the dead can see us?

His wife cursed me. If it weren’t for her..” She took a shuddering breath. “She hexed me – I saw her give me the cold eye when she was in the dock. She saw to it we’d have no peace. We would have been happy, snug and safe in our warm little house….he loved me. He would have done anything for me. Even though I were just a maidservant. …Why did he have to die?”

#WordlessWednesday ~Snow in Surrey 2009

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#FridayReads ~Reviewing my favourite books from 2016

According to Goodreads, of the 65 books I have read this year, 21 are contemporary stories, 18 historical fiction, 7 crime novels and 5 mysteries. In addition, I chose to read 5 non-fiction history books, 3 steampunk novels, 2 travel books, one young child’s book, one dystopian novel and one of literary fiction. Only one is specifically a romantic novel, but of course romance often turns up in historical novels or mysteries too and definitely in most contemporary stories. There is a lot of blurring at the edges.
The number of books in each category does not surprise me, but perhaps next year I should try self-help, vampire books or maybe return to fantasy or science fiction. I’m not promising!
These are my highlights of the year.

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Midnight Sky Cover LARGE EBOOK

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Rusty

AB Bamboo Island

Lake House

I could list more, but I will stop with these chosen few from my favourite genres; historical, contemporary and mystery.  If you click on a book cover it will link you to my review of that book.

#AtoZChallenge Letter S

Continuing my theme of art inspiring literature:-

S is for Starry Night

starry-night-

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

 

Van Gogh’s Starry Night is a painting which we all know and love.  Inevitably it has inspired verse.

The Starry Night by Anne Sexton

That does not keep me from having a terrible need of — shall I say the word — religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars. –Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother

The town does not exist

except where one black-haired tree slips

up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.

The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.

Oh starry starry night! This is how

I want to die.

 

It moves. They are all alive.

Even the moon bulges in its orange irons

to push children, like a god, from its eye.

The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.

Oh starry starry night! This is how

I want to die:

 

into that rushing beast of the night,

sucked up by that great dragon, to split

from my life with no flag,

no belly,

no cry.

Anne Sexton‘s poem was written in 1961.  Ten years later Don McLean produced this beautiful song, Starry, Starry Night.

Lyrics

Starry, starry night.

Paint your palette blue and grey,

Look out on a summer’s day,

With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.

Shadows on the hills,

Sketch the trees and the daffodils,

Catch the breeze and the winter chills,

In colors on the snowy linen land. Now I understand what you tried to say to me

 

how you suffered for your sanity

how you tried to set them free.

They would not listen

they did not know how

 

perhaps they’ll listen now.

 

Don McLean

The song on Youtube

Link to the other A to Z Challengers

The Belle of Mayfair brings Romeo to the #Edwardian stage #ArchiveDay

Romeo and Juliet

“These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder
Which, as they kiss, consume”
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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Romeo and Juliet by Ford Maddox Brown

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been a popular choice for artists.  It has also been transposed into other settings such as the film West Side Story showing the New York street gangs of the late 1950s.

In April 1906 a musical called The Belle of Mayfair opened at the Vaudeville Theatre in London.  This was also based on Romeo and Juliet in the current time, Romeo being played by the renowned actor Farren Souter.  On opening Edna May took the role of Juliet but after a few months she stormed out of the production.

Edna

16 year old Phyllis Dare, studying in Brussels, was summoned to London to take over the role.

Phyllis

With much trepidation she returned to the stage and was greatly supported by her fellow actors and the audiences.  In December she moved to pantomime and the role of Juliet was assumed by actress Billie Burke until it closed in April 1907.

Mayfair

It would seem that the play was as turbulent as the tragedy.

#AtoZChallenge Letter P

P  is for Pablo Picasso

No-one can deny the impact and influence of the art created by Pablo Picasso.  In the early 20th century, after three years of travels around Spain and France, Picasso entered his Blue period.

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blue

After meeting Fernande Oliver, who became his mistress, his paintings were influenced by his happy relationship with her and she appears in several of them.  During this Rose period his subjects were harlequins and circus folk in shades of orange and pink.

circus

Pierrot_et_Arlequin

Picasso’s African period from 1907-1909 was a blend of stylised figures as in African sculpture with the painting style of post-impressionist Cezanne and Gauguin.  His masterpiece of this period was Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

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In 1910 he turned to more abstract art.  Working with George Braque he created cubism.

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Girl with a Mandolin  1910

In 1935, Pablo stopped painting for a while and began to write poetry.  Some of his poems were clearly the work of a visual artist.

Dawn

The dawn that day rose

Just as the mist of the night

Subsided like a foam descending

To reveal clear water ahead

The Bees in the hive stirred about

To retrieve more honey

It was on that day that I stared into the

Mirror of luck.

Hours passed by just

As flies whizzed under a scorchy sun

The foam above the crystal water rose again

The mist of the dusk rose high above me

shattering the mirror to grits

I plunged down from a mountain

Into the depths of dreariness

It was then that I acknowledged

What I’ve been through

It was then that I screamed

‘HEY, day! It was now that I crystallized

your power in the mirror of my mind’

And thence I sat in the chair of dreariness

Waiting for the gleams of gold and silver

To shine on once more upon the mirror.

Pablo Picasso

But most dealt strongly with his feelings.

Oranges from the south of Spain

  Oranges from the south of Spain

stars hang out at night

linen left to dry

 

red geraniums along the balconies

nodding, nodding

willing to agree to anything

just to keep their colour

 

a gang of kids running through the streets

faceless pranksters

the moon a plate held before each face

who am I? saying who am I

running through the streets saying who am I?

 

the shadows of the buildings

becoming cats that move away

the trees immobilized

left to stand alone in the dark

rubbing their bark from regret

like cicadas

 

oranges have more delicacy

softly falling, falling

in the groves

on the hills

softly eaten, eaten

by the earth

swallowed whole

as if by a snake

not earth

as if by millions

slithering in the groves at night

millions

stalking the oranges that fall softly

softly to the earth

 

hunting there in the groves

that form a ring around each town

You can find a list of all the other A to Z Challengers here

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