Monthly Archives: September 2015

Manila

I was reading a novel the other day in which mention was made of ‘a blue manila folder’. This brought me up short, because surely manila is (a) an envelope and (b) the substance for which the adjective ‘buff-coloured’ was … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: September

Decisions, decisions: the autumn equinox is producing such wonderful sights that I’m spoiled for choice for September’s plant of the month. Sedums, rudbeckias, penstemons, cyclamen, colchicums, and of course Michaelmas daisies – which I’m alarmed to see are undergoing a … Continue reading

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Object of the Month: September

I’m not yet done with Venice (how could one ever be?), and this month’s highlighted object can currently be seen there, in the wonderful Ca’ Rezzonico (left), which, after a chequered history, is now the museum of eighteenth-century Venice. The … Continue reading

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We Close in Venice (Part 3: Why Venice AGAIN?)

As our holiday draws to an end, and we contemplate our return – to autumn, to cleansing of the liver, to new challenges, and to a totally pissed-off Max the Cat, who started getting antsy when we brought out the … Continue reading

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How Not to Go to the Venice Biennale

Unless you really go for the sort of art for which you need an A4-sized explanatory label containing phrases such as ‘multiple discourses’, ‘time and transience’, ‘viscerally visual’, ‘expressive dynamism’, ‘atemporal incongruence’ or ‘axis of displacements’, ‘sonorous light of introspective … Continue reading

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We Close in Venice (Part 2: Mantua me genuit)

I would assert that there is unlikely to be any greater, more playful or more evocative epitaph in any language than the one (dubiously) ascribed to Virgil: Mantua me genuit, Calabri rapuere, tenet nunc Parthenope; cecini pascua, rura, duces, with … Continue reading

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We Close in Venice (Part 1)

Unlike Cole Porter’s troupe of strolling players, we did not open in Venice: we go there last, having spent two very hot days in Ferrara, and having arrived in Mantua, to the twin delights of wifi and a terrific thunderstorm … Continue reading

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Sister of the More Famous Maria

You could have knocked me down with something between a feather and a dumbbell, when, while mooching round Mill Road Cemetery in Cambridge, I came across the grave of Lucy, wife of the Rev. John Robinson, of the Armagh Observatory, … Continue reading

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Portents of Autumn

After a very wet and gloomy August, things have bucked up slightly at the beginning of September, but though the late summer glories of the herbaceous beds at Cambridge University Botanic Garden are still looking wonderful, some of the trees … Continue reading

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