Two months too late, the words of those Christmas carols about snow and cold weather are perfectly suited to London. My apologies to those of you who live in places where snow is a regular winter occurrence and who are wondering what all the fuss is about. I live in the south of a country where the climate is temperate, so any extremes mean acres of newsprint and all conversations dominated by talk of the weather. Actually we always talk about the weather, this may be a big island, but it is an island and the weather can change in a matter of hours. A lot of visitors from overseas, even somewhere as close as France, have the misplaced belief that it rains in London everyday, heavily. Er no, it doesn’t. Drizzle is more our style, Rome and Paris have more rain than London. That’s a fact. Yes, I do get irritated by people who seem to think Brits are born with webbed feet. Climate crisis is changing that though, and downpours are becoming the new normal. The snow is probably part of the same pattern.
So my pictures from today start in our garden.
I woke in the night and knew there had been more snowfall. There was a quality to the light that is peculiar to snow. I looked out of the window and saw everything covered in white.
Purple in the snow
Our poor flowers are suffering. There’s a pale pink hyacinth that’s completely buried.
Our plants today are bowed down with the weight of the snow.
Hartley was out and about early, but then must have retired inside. His apewprints were everywhere, and I saw him eyeing the bird feeders.
Mosaic with growth
When the snow goes I need to weed this mosaic. Continue reading
A stone’s throw from the Southbank (well, if you outstandingly good at stonethrowing anyway) is St John’s church. It’s an elegant building, with a graceful spire.
In the surrounding garden yesterday evening, I saw a couple arrive and set out a picnic supper on the grass, enjoying the warm sunshine. I sat for a few minutes on a comfortable bench before heading home.
But when the sun goes down, the scene changes outside this beautiful church. Homeless people gather and vans arrive with volunteers serving food.
The church is also the headquarters of Southbank Mosaics, an outfit begun by ex-teacher David Tootill, dedicated to beautifying ugly areas, and the garden is full of examples of its work.
There are planters:
I have started to look at my books to begin a cull.
I don’t know where I got the hoarding gene from, but it wasn’t Mother. She loved to throw things out. I learned this to my cost many many times. I’d return from university to find, or rather not find, my clothes ‘reorganised’. When pressed, Mother would look wide-eyed and say she didn’t know where they were. She probably calmed her conscience with the reflection that by the time I discovered my losses – my black polo neck jumper, patched at the elbows with leather, unravelling at the cuffs and waist, and so old it was almost an antique, stands out in my mind – she would not have known. Papers I had carefully stored, letters, notebooks, old diaries; privacy was no match for Mother’s clearing zeal.
On one occasion, deciding I would not miss a treasured Edwardian parasol, and realising the next day I was looking for it, she had to make a hurried repurchase from the charity shop. I still have it. Continue reading
A dingy section of street under a Victorian railway arch is not the most likely place to find mosaics, let alone mosaics of important buildings in Spanish town complete with graffiti.
La Casa de las Conchas
I’ve been to Salamanca several times. I even spent part of one summer not learning Spanish there. It is very beautiful, but the scenes of hell in the cathedral make you remember the zeal with which the Inquisition purged the populace. And why London ended up with a Spanish and Portuguese synagogue. There is a rather lovely and peaceful convent, but the name slips my memory. It’s been a long day. Continue reading
I have nearly finished my latest postcard mosaic. It is a bit kitsch, but I like it.
I’ve been looking out for another cat fridge magnet since making this one some time ago. I know I have a better photo of it somewhere, but I can’t locate it just now. Continue reading
At the gloomy end of a ground floor corridor in St Thomas’ Hospital, London, hangs this paper mosaic.
Phew. They like it.
I gave my friends their present. I told them that if they did not like it, that would be fine. I would prefer them to refuse it rather than accept it and wonder what on earth to do with it. But they really like it.
Some more pix on this prompt. I find it interesting how many of us associate water with peacefulness, though the photograph with the prompt didn’t strike me as peaceful.
So, to kick off, here is the marina under snow last winter. When there is no one about, the marina is the most peaceful spot I know. I feel my breathing change when I am there.
Marina Under Snow
Summer this time, still at the marina, and the swan parents have a new brood.
The Swan Family
Another in my postcard series. I need to finish around the edges, maybe using copper ribbon, or more likely painting it. There are a few, very small gaps. I may fill them with tiny shards. Originally I had being going to grout, but then decided against that. The ceramic pieces were given to me by London Potter, Barbara Wakefield. http://barbarawakefield.co.uk/
Last night was the final mosaics class this term. It felt very odd to be wishing people a Happy Christmas before November is over.