28 March, 2009

a matter of teeth . . .

This post is dedicated to M.G., my most excellent dentist. We have been having to see too much of each other recently but I hope that this will shortly change! Last time he carved a new tooth for me, to sit where, until then, there had been a painful and annoying spike. When he had finished, he passed me a mirror.
" Michelangelo. "I said, amazed at what I saw.
" You should see my David." He replied.

Thank you, Miles!

Here is a little something to amuse him and and I hope others. It is a perfectly genuine Advertisment and comes from an Almanack of 1726 entitled The British Merlin.

ARTIFICIAL TEETH, set in so firm, as to eat with them and so Exact as not to be distinguish’d from natural: they are not to be taken out at Night, as is by some falsely suggested; but may be worn Years together: Yet are they so fitted, as to be taken out and put in at the pleasure of the Persons that use them; and are an Ornament to the Mouth, and greatly helpful to the speech: Also Teeth clean’d and drawn by John Watts and Samuel Rutter, Operators, who apply themselves wholly to the said business, and live in Racquet-Court, Fleet-Street, LONDON.

25 March, 2009

A Fritillary and a memory of Robin Tanner

It is Spring gift-time again! The arrival of this Snakeshead Fritillary (just the one but all the more wondrous for that) beside our pond not only gladdens the heart with its fragile beauty but also reminds us of the legacy of Robin Tanner . . . his consummate etchings of course but also his encouragement of us (among so many others) in our early endeavours including the lovely books we did with him and with his wife Heather.

Year after year, letters would come from Robin at this time of the year beginning "Was there ever such a beautiful Spring . . . !"

I was pleased to dig out this piece of board that brought three of the etchings to us many years ago and which bore examples of his superb hand writing that all those who corresponded with him treasured.

This was one of my favourite of Robin's etchings. No need for him to make do with just the one flower!

15 March, 2009

At last the earth thinks its SPRING!

Just look at that for power and strength and the lusty life-force of Spring! Wonderful! There may still be frosts to come but officially Winter must be past. We (with a visiting friend) certainly celebrated today by having our lunch outside in the sun.

This amazing plant (a dramatic, if inedible, relative of Rhubarb . . . whose name I sadly cannot remember) is spreading sideways in a very impressive way as well as indulging in its main trick of growing upwards, very far and very fast. In almost no time at all there will be flower stalks and leaves about six feet high!

The Mullein below will also grow gloriously tall but that is not quite why I am mentioning it here. The fact is that it has just turned up . . . in a pot just in front of our house . . . a pot otherwise containing something dead but not yet dug up.

I know that not everyone is as fortunate as we are to have a garden for things to turn up in but, in these days of downturn, credit crunch and having to do without this and that, it seems to me that we are rich indeed to have been presented with something as wonderfully beautiful in its architecture and as sensuous in its feel as this glorious plant.

And here, finally, is a more general view in the domain . . . with some Welsh daffodils!
Feel the warmth!

07 March, 2009

Ralph Kiggell: Swimmers Mural, Hong Kong

An email this morning from Ralph Kiggell excited us so much that I rush to pass on the message and enable others to see these amazing photographs . . . and others on Ralph's Picasa site.

We knew that he was working (in Foshan, China) on an enormous mural to be placed, eventually, in a swimming pool in Hong Kong but one image is worth a thousand words and these images simply took my breath away!

This is a comment from Ralph: This is the swimmers mural at an early stage, with some changes to come. Expected to be completed early April, then shipped in pieces downriver to Hong Kong and installed by the LRC pool in May.

Those who have seen Ralph's glorious Leading the Cranes Home (one of my absolute favourites among Old Stile Press books) will recognize the style here. I am just all the more filled with enthusiastic anticipation . . . knowing that the sequel that we working on at the moment has the working title of 'Water'.