Friday, 21 February 2014

With the going down of the sun

I'm a West Australian, born and bred and yet I'll admit, this is not a view I see nearly as often as I should.

Don't get me wrong, I love the sunset and frequently catch some of it, at varying levels of visibility, but it is rather infrequent that I will actually wander down to the beach and catch it in all its glory.

Friday evening was one such evening. N suggested we go out as opposed to staying in and as that naturally precluded anywhere with loud music and potential dancing, we decided on the beach.
Her condition was that we pop by and visit some friends already scheduled to be at the beach.
My condition was that we got there in time for the sunset. A big ask as N is notorious for always running late.

The drive up from Fremantle follows the coast and so for 15 minutes N was staring out the window watching the sun slowly creeping towards the horizon, hoping that she hadn't caused us to miss it, or that I'd suddenly swerve off the road and pull out my camera, all the while berating her for running late... again.
However we made it.

Cottesloe Beach is usually too popular a beach for my liking, but on this occasion it was beautiful.

Scores of people were enjoying the refreshing water and the sun's final rays silhouetted their actions, those of two groups of rowers and the replica 'bell' that stands tall in the waters off the coast.

Upon arrival, I made a beeline for the water's edge, all the time stopping and sinking into the sand to take more photos, while N skirted around the seagull footprints and stood tentatively at the tidal mark suspiciously eyeing the advancing waves.

There wasn't a fanfare of colours this evening, as the cloud cover was relatively sparse and though N insisted on me keeping my eyes open, we didn't see the green flash as the sun sank below the horizon. I was asked when exactly sunset was so N knew when to look hardest, but not having my own personal 'guy who likes the sky' (Thank you Claire) nearby to ask, and feeling unequal to answering accurately we just enjoyed the view and the feel of unexpectedly wet fabric against our skin.

With the sun having sunk below the horizon, we directed our footsteps towards the grassy area under the patch of pine trees in the branches of which a host of rainbow lorikeets had  unexpectedly landed and were settling down for the night... after asking each other how their day was, who they'd seen, where they'd been, what their family was up to before wishing each and every one good night and finally settling down for the night.

With that, we also decided it was time to head home, for a meal and the chance to settle down in front of an old RomCom. But not before one last look at the painted sky.

We are indeed blessed to be able to enjoy such spectacular views.

Natural History Museum - London

I want to introduce you to one of the museums in London. A very specific one that occupies pride of place on Cromwell Road.
It's not the Victoria and Albert, London's exhibitor of historical fashion.
It's the other one.
The Natural History Museum.

I assure you, its not just anyone I drag to this museum, (one of) my favourites in London. Though I do ensure it takes its rightful place on the 'must see in London' lists of many of my family and friends. However the reason for this, is not the result of the museum's content alone. It is the building itself that holds my gaze the longest.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Review: Flushed

The second play from Maddy Bell, Flushed is a roaring delight and if this is even a glimmer of her capabilities, I can't wait to see what she offers up next.

Trapped at the funeral of their grandmother, held at their old school, cousins Ronnie and Steph are dreading the fact that they have to perform and then mingle with the family, and be nice into the bargain. As a result, they've barricaded themselves in the Ladies Loo and need extricating with tact, blackmail or family obligation, or a healthy dose of all three. Sheltering in the toilets, the girls spend their time reminiscing about their childhood together, comparing family gossip and musing over their own desires and secrets.

Unlike Bell's previous play, Hello Boys, I am pleased to report that the characters in Flushed do not feel to be mere stereotypes portraying the black and white of the dating scene, but display a chemistry and understanding that makes it believable that Steph and Ronnie are the very best of cousins and well aware of each's potential to get them both in and/or out of a number of hilarious predicaments. For anyone who has grown up with a close childhood friend, be they sibling, cousin, school friend or neighbour, Flushed captures beautifully the nostalgia of one's own childhood memories and the pain in realising that you may be drifting apart, each absorbed in your own life. Both girls hole up in the bathroom, remembering with mortification (and amusement) past misdemeanors, and share with the audience their crippling doubts and the heavy burden of trying to live up to the family's expectations.

This is a far more 'feminist' piece than Bell's previous play, but as one audience member was overheard to say, it is only viewed as feminist because it is a play written by a woman, about women, acted out by women. That does not mean though that it does not delve into issues we are all prone to feel, regardless of our sex, gender, age or ethnicity, or tell stories in which men are not equally a part. It is just that on this occasion, these stories are being told purely from a female view point. Flushed is a homage to the fairer sex and the undeniable way grandmothers delight in everything their grandchildren do, all the while retaining the ability to shock this modern generation.

Be warned, this is not a play full of potty jokes. This is a play about what women get up to when they disappear to the Ladies Loo (and feel no inclination to come out).

You may never view the Ladies Loo in quite the same way again.

St Peter's (Not St Paul's)

24 August 2012

I should probably explain: having lived in London for two years, I'd come to refer to the big sainty church in the city as St Paul's. After all, in London, that's what the big church was... until we got to Rome. Unfortunately by then habit had set in, and my brain obviously didn't think it a life or death situation that needed rectifying.

Truthfully, St Peter, St Paul: in my eyes they were pretty much one and the same; two early followers of Jesus who set about establishing Christianity and the Catholic church/Doctrine as we know it. And they both ended up with big swanky churches.

Dressed at our most modest (shoulders and knees covered), Mum and I made our way to that church for a leisurely wander with the occasional comment... or two.

For popular attractions where there is a known problem of lengthy queues, we make a point of getting there nice and early so that regardless we can walk straight through. On this particular day there appeared to be little need for our forethought as the square was empty and winding queue lines completely empty.

Passing the very welcoming St Peter. Surprising really given the Catholic church doesn't believe they'll let in any old riffraff, unless he's since become aware of the pagan tourists wandering through his holy house in idle curiosity. 

Michelangelo's Pieta

I was collecting religious folks, particularly the camera-wielding variety, but missed the ultimate Charles Addams shot as none of them wandered into the sunbeam. As I was getting slightly excited at the sight of the delightful dears, I think Mum felt it was for the best. 

Charles Addams, in The New Yorker, 10 August 1940

Though you can't see it (the tourist/pilgrim is standing in the way) St Peter has lost his toes (and soon his foot) due to the good luck that oozes out of it thereby encouraging people to rub it.

All in all, there seems to be a plethora of monuments to important Catholics scattered throughout. In addition to more than enough Popes, each one seemingly vying for a bigger and 'better' monument, there are also a number of monuments to a number of monarchs who either lost of abdicated their thrones as a result of their religious convictions. 

Monument to Maria Clementina Sobieska, wife of the 'Old Pretender' to the English throne.

Monument to Queen Christina of Sweden

Monument to the Royal Stuarts (the Old Pretender and his two sons)

Monument to Pope Innocent XII

His Holiness of the Teacups

His Holiness of the Bees (not related to Napoleon
and his bees).

Monument to Pope Alexander VIII...

... complete with an hourglass-wielding Death.

Monument to Pope John XXIII(?)

Monument to Pope Clement XI

Growing up, my sister and I had our favourite Greek goddesses.
Mine was Artemis, hers was Athena. So for her now, Athena
 (or her illegitimate half sister Roma). And a big pussy cat.

An Altar inlaid with mosaics

A red porphyry sarcophagus of Probus, the 4th century Prefect of Rome, surmounted by the lid
 of the sarcophagus of Hadrian to which an ornament of the Lamb of God has been added.

Tis an elephant! (though it does look to have been photoshopped
 in accordance with the current ideas of feminine beauty)

Me and my love of gargoyles/grotesques. Aren't they beautiful!

It took us a while to notice, but every fresco, every painting within St Peter's is no longer the original, but has been replaced by a perfectly matched and crafted mosaic. The reason for this is that for the purposes of preservation the paintings need a constant temperature and humidity. With so many people coming through the doors of St Peter's this is impossible to attain. However as these are each and every one an integral part of the atmosphere and decoration of the place they have been substituted with meticulously detailed glass mosaics that will survive the ravages of time and tourist.

The view of one of the transepts from the base of the dome

Having satisfied our thirst for the inside we continued to climb upwards, spiralling towards the top of the cupola where there were to be had unparalleled views across Rome and the Vatican gardens.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...