Wait until next year

Putting off what could be done tomorrow, today

Category: history

Cathedral Et Chartres

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So much distance is meant by it:
just as with the backdrop of a scene
the world is meant; and as through that scene
the hero strides, cloaked in his action’s mantle: —

so the darkness of this doorway strides acting
onto the tragic theater of its depths,
as boundlessly and seething as God the Father
and just as He transforming wondrously

into a Son, who is distributed here
among many small, almost unspeaking roles,
all taken from misery’s repertoire.

For it’s only (this we know) from
the blind, the cast-out, and the mad
that, like a great actor, the Saviour emerges.

Excerpt from The Portal, Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Edward Snow

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CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES WITH THE LABOURING POOR

On Wednesday the labouring cottagers of the village of Picardy, situated between Abbey Wood and Erith, contiguous to Belvedere, the seat of Sir Culling E Eardley, were gratified with an unusual entertainment. The whole of the villagers were invited by Mr Wm. Richardson, an official gentleman in London, and who has recently taken Picardy House, to dine with the family. The party sat down at one o’clock to the good old Christmas fare of roast beef and plum pudding, the host and hostess presiding, while the younger branches of the family waited upon the guests. The beverage was a modest supply of the best brown stout, and an unlimited quantity of tea and coffee. After dinner only three toasts were given by the host: “the health of her gracious majesty”; “the healths of Sir Culling and Lady Eardley and family” with a few remarks in reference to the deep interest which the latter took in the welfare of the neighbourhood, and the exertions which they had made to improve its moral and religious condition, and “health and happiness to the villagers of Picardy.” Mr Richardson, in proposing the latter, alluded to the Heavenly message of “Peace and Goodwill,” as referring to every village, and that it was in the power of every cottager to do something towards promoting the same. The family then retired, and left the party to enjoy themselves for the rest of the evening. It would be difficult to describe the feelings of gratification of these poor villagers, several of them very aged, at their meeting together, participating in the social comforts of life, with the sympathy and attentions of their more affluent neighbour; its effect in promoting happiness and kindness amongst them was abundantly manifest.

Kentish Independent, 6 January 1855

Peace and Goodwill to you all. May you enjoy some good old Christmas fare, and have a modest supply of the best brown stout.

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Forum Romanum, for Mr Soane’s Museum

What they say of troubles, that they never come alone, might also be said of the passions. They arrive together, like the Muses or the Furies.

François-René de Chateaubriand, Memoirs from Beyond the Grave

I recently made my way around Sir John Soane’s Museum, the house of the 19th century architect, left untouched since his death. Rather than the curation you would see in a normal museum, I encountered the curation of a home, of a man. Soane was a collector, of art, artefacts, the esoteric. He was also a creator, and so the home is full of his follies and innovations, architecturally and thematically. Read the rest of this entry »

Selenography

Bad photo of the moon

“A white moon appears like a hole in the sky”

Bye Bye Pride, The Go-Betweens

I leave home and it still feels like night. The moon looms large. I make my way towards the station, and towards the moon. There are a few other people on the street, but nobody seems startled by the size of the shape in the sky. Read the rest of this entry »

The same thing

Blurred shadow of dirigible, zeppelin

I spend too much time looking at commons images. The images you can use and share without worrying about copyright or payment. They can improve a piece of writing and can sometimes offer an inspiration. They are generally one of the internet’s better rabbit holes, a glimpse into the past but also an alternate history, a motley collection of professional and amateur photography, strange illustrations from stranger books, carvings, engravings, lithographs, screengrabs. A world once there, a world gone, a world never known about.

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