1 We are taking a walking course in London, with Joanna Hall of The Walking Diet.
With her walking technique, I am walking faster—much faster—and, more importantly, really, really enjoying it. I am walking about 4 miles a day around London, when I am there, and Oxford.
2 Leighton House
Frederick, Lord Leighton was a Pre-Raphaelite artist who was immensely rich privileged and never needed to work for his living. Unlike othesr born to his happy state of affairs, however, he did make something of his life.
When he declared his intention of becoming an artist, his parents opposed it, unless he became a preeminent artist. And so he assured them he would become one of the preeminent artists of his generation. And he did—becoming the President of the Royal Academy.
Leighton, who was probably gay, never married. His gorgeous house is dedicated to beauty. There are beautiful Moorish rooms much like the Alhambra and the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, all tiles, and gold mosaics and fountains. The light-flooded enormous studio is to die for!
And, in line with the aesthetic movement, beauty for beauty’s sake, he has a mishmash of lovely things from throughout the world in every room—peacock fans, Japanese vases, inlaid ivory Ottoman chests!! There is even a Narcissus room, after the Narcissus room in the just-discovered Pompeii. His bedroom, oddly, is a near-monastic cell amid all this magnificence.
3 Britain’s glory is her gardens. The ponds with wild ducks, the spring bulbs, soft birdsong—oh, exploring them in early spring mid-week with all the retirees is an otherworldly, almost mystical experience.
Here are some images from Kew Gardens
and the Oxford Botanic Garden
4 And Wisley Garden in Surrey
5 We walked yesterday through a flooded University Parks in Oxford. What a strange half-watery, other-worldly place it was—familiar fields under water, the river and ponds having burst their banks, the meadows now the habitation of swans, ducks, coots and glebes. There were very few people around, and it felt like a thin place, other worlds very present.
Hopkins felt that about Oxford
Towery city and branchy between towers;
Cuckoo-echoing, bell-swarmèd, lark-charmèd, rook-racked, river-rounded;
Yet ah! this air I gather and I release
He lived on; these weeds and waters, these walls are what
He haunted who of all men most sways my spirits to peace;
He wrote that of Duns Scotus. I feel like that about him.
6 My daughters
Irene, 13, now has a blog, Life Among the Cupcakes. I begged her to have a blog about books, since she reads a lot and writes like an angel, but she sagely explained that she must be herself, and not me, and her passion is baking!! Humph!
Other Irene quotes—I think everyone should be a Buddhist. Even if they are a Christian.
Irene stayed home one day to work at our family business (a publishing company). It was a “take your daughter to work day,” but we work from home. And the phone kept ringing. The doorbell kept ringing. She was disgruntled and disgusted. “People don’t realize how important I am. They don’t realize I have stayed home from school just to work!” Work said with utter contempt compared with the sublimity of school, which she loves!
Zoe is doing a lot of talks at her school’s Christian Union which she runs, and at the Pathfinders (10-14) group at Church. She has been voted as “Most Likely to be the First Female Archbishop of Canterbury” for her school’s yearbook. Studying theology at Jesus College, Cambridge, however, is a more immediate item on her agenda.
7 New Year’s Resolutions
I now wish I had followed Zen Habits sage advice, and made just one resolution a month. Next year.
However, here is my progress on my resolutions.
|Weight (lb)||Cum. Loss|
|Week of||Goal Km||Actually done KM|
Linking up with The Conversion Diary–http://www.conversiondiary.com/
and Leigh Kramer–http://www.leighkramer.com/blog/2013/03/what-im-into-march-2013-edition.html
Organising my house
Next week’s challenge