Friday, 21 September 2012

Museo Massimo - Rome

Actually known as Museo Nazionale Romano and located within the Palazzo Massimo, this museum is one of my top recommendations from Rome, and sprang to mind again when my sister requested suggestions for her own imminent visit to this city of old Julius.

As mentioned in a previous post, this museum was a god-send after the disappointment of several others, but raiding my photos I felt the need to showcase a few more of its utter delights.

Though at first glance this appears very much to be a garden room, for the most part, the plants reproduced have an association with funerals and the hope for immortality. Included are Oleander (its toxicity making it a symbol of death), Arbutus (used in funeral rites to protect the dead), Date palm (possessive of powers of regeneration), Box (associated with the god Hades), Coronary Chrysanthemum (a component of funerary garlands) and among others the Opium Poppy (a close relation of death).

I wish I possessed the skills to paint something as detailed as this. It is a familiar scene though, similar to the one I am fortunate to see every time I look out of the family room window onto the back lawn.

The Greek Prometheus who angered the gods by stealing their fire to give to the mortals. As punishment he was chained to a rock and daily, Zeus' eagle would descend upon him and pick out his liver. What impresses me most about this myth though is the medical accuracy of it; even then, the Greeks knew that the liver was the one organ that could regenerate itself, to be eaten again the next day.

My darling friend N is not the most accepting of any ducks due to the indecent behaviour of the ones patrolling UWA, so this is for her, with my love.

While these ducks are beautiful in their detail and realism, they are but a small part of the border of a far more impressive mosaic, portraying most possibly a scene on the river Nile.

Would I be a sadist if I contemplated including a few of these in the tiling of a guest shower? 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Orange of Ireland

When I was in Bodrum I bought a very bright orange cotton shawl. While I didn't need it in Greece or Rome, the moment I reached Ireland it became a godsend: after the sun of the Mediterranean the weather in Ireland felt colder than ever and I needed the shawl to keep the icey draughts away from the neck of my coat. Back in Dublin after a tour of the island, I continued to wear it: I liked the colour and against the dull grey sky and cold summer air, it provided a bright spot in each day.

I intended on my last morning in Dublin to visit the Castle and spend the morning meandering through its rooms. So after buying my requisite Ireland charm, I headed in that direction. Unfortunately, as seemed to be my luck with the Dublin Castle, it was closed for the day for a private function. As I approached and bounded into the foyer for more information, a cameraman at the door switched on his camera and very obviously started recording. Thinking about it, I wondered if the function was political: there hadn't been people arriving in cocktail dresses. Was his reaction simply because I was wearing orange? Because I was wearing orange and walking with a purposeful stride, and there had been recent troubles in Belfast? I don't know...

I like to think I looked unique enough to warrant notice.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Wishes and Kisses

Ireland appears to be the necessary place to go to have wishes granted. I only managed a week on this emerald isle, but  was offered the most ingenious ways of getting a husband, regaining my virginity and  gaining an even greater gift of the gab.
The first occurred at Glendalough, a small religious community buried in the depth of a lush valley and surrounded by rolling hills, fresh streams cutting their way through the rocky terrain, spontaneous forests of evergreens and a string of lakes that reflected back the pale grey sky.

If anything it was a setting in which to have wishes granted. In the midst of this idyll there was a large stone cross, unadorned with any ornate carving  but standing next to a delicate pink fushia. Now legend as it was told to us is that if you can put your arms around the base of this cross and interlock your fingers you were destined to be married within the year. However as I attempted this feat another person was informed that such a feat simply granted a wish of your choice. I did, and I could, but I wonder if it means I'll get married in a year, have a wish granted or just have long arms. I suppose we shall have to wait...

Further around the coast we encountered Dunuaire Castle situated on a tiny peninsula in the Galway bay. Dating back to the 16th century it is a simple tower castle and courtyard surrounded by high stone wall and thin path circling this outer wall. Here legend has it that a wander anti-clockwise along this beaten path would restore the virginity of anyone who completed the loop. However as wikipedia makes no reference of this but instead tells tale that if a person stands at the front gate and asks a question they will have their answer by the end of the day, I do wonder if our legend find its root in a tour-guide manual. 

And if this isn't enough, our tour then joined the pilgrim to Blarney Castle in the hopes of being blessed with great eloquence or skills of flattery . If only I needed that. However I was as happy as anyone to hang backwards over the battlements of the castle in order to kiss what has become a smooth and polished building block. Such eloquence! The question then becomes: how does it work if you already have a gift of the gab?
do they cancel each other out?
does one negate the other?
are they piled on top of each other so the more you kiss it the more eloquent you become...?

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