“For Children: You will need to know the difference between Friday and a fried egg. It’s quite a simple difference, but an important one. Friday comes at the end of the week, whereas a fried egg comes out of a chicken.” ― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
Must dash, quite busy today. Here are your links, and let me know what you’re getting up to this weekend in the comments!
This story broke last week, but I still think it’s important. First of all this happened in the county where my parents live so it immediately caught my personal attention, and secondly I think this piece does a really good job exploring its title question. Thrill? Experimentation? Ignorance? And the question, “Will this not be as big a deal someday and therefore less frightening?” is both an intriguing and odd one. On the one hand, a world where girls (and let’s face it, we are mostly talking about female exploitation and exposure here) aren’t stigmatized, bullied, or hounded into self-harm and suicide but allowed to move on with minimal negative impact seems like a pretty good one. But that means it’s also a world where sexualized images of real, non-consenting children are even more widely available. Weigh in in the comments, please, because I’m really curious to hear people’s reactions and thoughts.
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ― Anton Chekhov
You stumble upon the most unexpected things south of the river. For example, Jeff and I decided to take in a local street festival a few weeks ago (mostly for the food, because that is pretty consistently our top priority), and found a glass blowers shop and studio. I have no idea if it was just in honor of the day or not, but the back half of the studio where the actual workroom was located was open to the public to allow visitors to watch the artists at work.
I know nothing about glass blowing except that it looks like a time intensive process. I watched for nearly half an hour as the artist made seemingly minute adjustments to his molten project, sometimes puffing gently on his stick to slowly expand the glass, tweaking it with tools, rolling the glass on a table, and sometimes throwing off smoke as he rolled the glowing glass in a sort of mitt.
My only other experience with glass blowing is when my family was in Venice. As I recall, we had been taken to the famous island factory by boat and really enjoyed a tour but when we had finished and left the showroom without making a purchase, the disgruntled glassblowers refused to ferry us back to the city! It was a rather ridiculous and unsubtle plot to force my parents to buy something that backfired when my parents promptly said they would pay for a water taxi to take them back to the city instead. It’s been two decades, but I believe in the end they did ferry us back. Grudgingly.
I loved the tools, which look largely unchanged since the middle ages.
The whole process was rather mesmerizing to watch, with glowing furnaces and glass heating the room as blogs became recognizable shapes. It’s always interesting to watch artists work, especially if the medium is a less typical one.
I took no photos of the artistic pieces, obviously, but if you’re ever on Bermondsey Street (also home of the Fashion and Textiles Museum) it’s worth a look in.
“A goose flies by a chart the Royal Geographic Society could not improve.” ― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Since work calls and my email list is truly daunting, you get what the internet loves of a busy Monday morning: animals.
So, as we’ve been recounting, a few weeks ago, itching to get out of the city for the first time since March, we hopped on a train up to my family’s old stomping grounds of Cambridge. We had a whole day of unexpected pleasant surprising, capping off with stumbling upon a fair on our way back to the station in the late afternoon. Alongside the usual food and festivities were a few tents or entertainments out of the ordinary.
You don’t run into this sort of thing everyday.
There were at least half a dozen birds of prey that could be viewed and even handled under careful supervision. Several owls and hawks were available and they were all striking!
Falconry has a long history in Britain, in fact the ruin of a royal hunting lodge is just up the street…
I’m sorry, was I saying something? Because I think my brain shorted out a bit at the cuteness…
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ― L.M. Montgomery
Another week, another weekend approaches! It’s been a somewhat slow one, which has left some time for other schemes and projects, some of which are bearing fruit nicely. How’s that for vague?
However, they still require my attention so here are you links. Add anything else worth knowing in the comments, and tell me what you’re getting up to this weekend. I’m hoping to snag some tickets to the Westminster Abbey choir’s Christmas concerts (good grief, it is that time of year), scout some new work potentials, and sorting (still!) through photos of our recent travels and excursions. I’m never going to catch up…
The big new in feminism is my old stomping grounds, Utah. Specifically Utah State University and a violent threat. I cannot for the life of me understand the mind that can logically hold this thought: “Video games don’t cause men to be violent to women and if you don’t stop saying they do, I’ll kill you, bitch.”
I find Cambridge an asylum, in every sense of the word. -A.E. Housman
Just a few shots leftover from our Cambridge adventure that were too good not to share.
This sign is simple, but I thought it one of my loveliest snaps of the day.
In case you missed my write up on the best places to eat (hint, it’s right here) this is the side entrance of The Anchor which is on Laundress Lane, across the street from the world’s most charming bike and rental shop.
If you go to Cambridge, you must eat at Fitzbillies. I insist. I might even drag you there myself.
It’s hard to overemphasize how much Henry VIII is omnipresent in Britain. He’s (understandably) most often remembered in pop culture for his marriages, but the truth is that those episodes were mostly short and crammed together into the back half of his reign. His most controversial wife, Anne Boleyn was only married to him for around three years while Anne of Cleves (lucky woman) was only wife number four for a matter of weeks. His marriage to Katherine of Aragon lasted for 20 years by comparison. He brought the Renaissance to England (largely kicking and screaming) and throughout his reign he enacted a number of laws and reforms that turned England from a feudal and medieval backwater that most of Europe sighed about, rolled their eyes at, or schemed to overpower, into a force to be reckoned with.
As a result, his mark is everywhere. The ruins of abbeys and monasteries dot the country, his effigy turns up in surprising places, the royal supremacy he developed still holds in theory, and his direct touch is stamped over the history. He might have been a thoroughly nasty fellow and a terribly bad person, but I think a decent argument can be made that at points he was a good or at least effective king and certainly one of the most influential in history. Make of that what you will.
The Senate House, a gorgeous piece of neoclassical architecture alongside the medieval and Victorian ones.
“In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.” ― Mark Twain
I’m furious to report that the photos of the first room we entered on our way to the Haddon Library didn’t turn out at all. This room was dark, stuffed with shelves filled with books about ancient Babylon, first contact with the Zulu, Assyrian and Egyptian glossaries, and other fabulous finds. Some of the old tomes containing early maps were nearly as tall as me. And it turns out that the room had a slightly scandalous recent history.
The academic who was in charge of interacting with visitors told me the story of a recent department reshuffle when collections of libraries were combined and had to be moved from one location to another. Not only did they have to worry about the proper transfer of historically significant books, they also had to be sure that the order and classifications were preserved–putting a collection like this back together from scratch if it was scrambled was too daunting a task to be thought of! Luckily the professor in charge found a moving company that specializes in this and a disaster was avoided.
It didn’t seem like too many visitors were going to the Haddon Library through this entrance and the professor and librarian talked to me for nearly twenty minutes simply because I started asking questions about the massive books. It’s always a delight to me what you can learn about the workings of places and people if you just pull up a chair and are genuinely interested.
The Haddon Library itself looks like a Victorian Eccentric’s private room and it’s wonderful. It supports primarily Anthropology students and research. What I loved was the old card catalog still there and still in use. No school like old school. Literally in this case.