Proust and Versailles

As self lingers over the Introduction to Lydia Davis’s translation of Swann’s Way, she learns that Proust wrote most of Remembrance of Things Past in Versailles, in an apartment on 102, boulevard Haussmann. The apartment is now owned by a bank, but one can still see the bedroom where he spent most of his writing time.

Self’s niece planned a trip to Versailles in May 2017, and self, so impressed by niece’s thirst for adventure, agreed to accompany her. The lines to get into the palace were overwhelming (and most were Asian tourists). It was hot.

But — Proust! If only she had known!

Here are a few pictures from that visit.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Monotones (One Single Color)

Cee Neuner has very interesting prompts. This week’s is MONOTONES. Love it.

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Lake Annagmakerrig: 4:30 a.m., 8 November 2018 (Just realized that it’s too light in the photograph for 4:30 a.m. DUH! The photo is time-stamped for California time, which is eight hours ahead of Ireland. The actual time in Ireland when self took the picture was 12:30 p.m.)

It amuses self to think about how the first color that usually comes to mind when one thinks of Ireland is green.

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Clouds, Annaghmakerrig: 7:30 a.m. (California time, which means 3:30 p.m. in Ireland), 7 November 2018

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Fatsia, Backyard, Redwood City: 11 a.m., 26 September 2018

Gary Kamiya: The “Tenderloin” District, San Francisco

  • What is remarkable about the Tenderloin is that it has remained physically unchanged for more than 80 years. It is a time capsule. The same progressive forces that have kept out ‘progress’ and inadvertently created a Museum of Depravity, have also created a Museum of the Lost City, a vanished world memorialized in the neighborhood’s extraordinary collection of residential hotels. There are hundreds of these historic SROs in the Tenderloin, the largest number in the world. The SROs are the reason that in 2008, the Uptown Tenderloin was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 24th San Francisco neighborhood to be so listed.

— Gary Kamiya, “Adventures in the Skin Trade”

Which Way Photo Challenge, Part 2

Much thanks to sonofabeach96 for the prompt, which sent self back to her archive of photographs, taken during her most recent trip:

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London Alley, 20 November 2018

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Rainy Night, London, 20 November 2018

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Wolvercote, the Ruins of Godstow Abbey in the distance, 16 November 2018: Philip Pullman’s LA BELLE SAUVAGE led self here. (When’s Book 2, The Secret Commonwealth, coming out? Been waiting a long, long time!)

Which Way Photo Challenge (Week of 27 December 2018)

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Showing the ways people move from one place to another on land: roads, walkways, stairs, elevators, escalators, railway tracks, ski lifts, runways, canals, locks, parking lots, driveways, tunnels.

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The Black Sheep Pub & Restaurant, Downtown Philadelphia, 5 December 2018

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Crossing Over the River Wear, Durham, 29 November 2018

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Millenium Bridge, London, 22 November 2018

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

On This Day, One Year Ago

Self happened to be in the City of Light. This is what she did.

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Catching People Unaware (in England)

All gratitude to Cee Neuner, for a prompt that allowed self to share these pictures, taken during her latest trip. She’d never have thought of posting them otherwise.

Traveling in winter is hard, self didn’t know just how hard until she was in the middle of the trip.

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Blackfriar Train Station, London, November 2018

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The Millenium Bridge, London, November 2018

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Close-Up or Macro

Self loves posting for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. It gives her a chance to post photographs from her archives that might otherwise be overlooked. Such as the close-up of her bedside lamp at The Penn Club, where she stays whenever she is in London:

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Room # 1, The Penn Club: Bedford Place, London

Or this tea-set:

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London Review Cakeshop: Bury St., London

Or this amusing pair of socks:

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Gift Shop, Ashmolean: Oxford, England

Thank you, Cee Neuner, for the prompt!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Last Sunday in London

Self is in her room, reading a copy of The Guardian.

The trial of the “man who drove his car into a crowd of activists who  had been protesting against a white nationalist rally, leaving one woman dead and several injured,” has begun in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This morning, self returned to the Royal Academy of Art for a repeat viewing of the Oceania Exhibit.

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Royal Academy of Art: Sunday, 2 December 2018

She liked it even more, the second time around. She stayed watching the video for nearly an hour.

The little handout that accompanies the exhibit starts with:

Two-hundred and fifty years ago, in August 1768, four months before George III founded the Royal Academy of Arts, Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook left Plymouth in command of the HMS Endeavour.

She remembers reading a book by Tony Horwitz: Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before and, well, that book must have made quite an impression because it fixed Captain Cook’s voyage forever in her memory and now, 15 years later, here she is, in London, having seen the Oceania exhibit twice!

As she left the Royal Academy (still in a daze of cultural overload), she happened to notice that there was a store across the street called FORTNUM & MASON. And the display windows were so Christmas-y! She decided to check it out:

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Fortnum & Mason: Sunday, 2 December 2018

Self entered through a revolving door and promptly found herself in the middle of a mob scene the like of which she has never experienced in London. What she means: people were grabbing blue boxes of chocolates off shelves directly in front of her, and pushing them into shopping carts. Yes, dear blog readers. English people were pushing shopping carts around a store, the contents consisting entirely of chocolate. There were boxes of dark chocolate, boxes of milk chocolate, boxes of assorted chocolate, boxes of chocolate with nuts, boxes of chocolate with creamy centers — you name it.

Self decided then and there that she would not leave the store without sampling some of this delightful chocolate. A shopgirl told her to take a number. She was # 19. She then asked the shopgirl what were the most popular chocolate purchases, and the girl replied, without any hesitation: TRUFFLES. Caramel Salt.

OMGGGGGGG

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Chocolate Counter, Fortnum & Mason: Sunday, 2 December 2018

She wanted to buy a box of chocolates for son and daughter-in-law, but didn’t know what kind they liked: milk chocolate or not? And this is when self bitterly regretted that her Verizon phone does not work. Has not worked for two months. In fact, Verizon just e-mailed self that she would not be able to avail of their international services. Thank you, Verizon, FOR TELLING SELF WHAT SHE ALREADY KNOWS.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Reading Svetlana Alexievich, After Returning from the British Library

Self saw the exhibit Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms at the British Library this morning. Despite the fact that she got there practically at opening, the exhibit was very crowded. And she is short. And all the people between her and the display cases seemed very tall. Nevertheless, she is glad she went. On one wall is a quote, dating from the late 11th century. Which is to say, after the Norman Conquest. She forgot to note the identity of the writer, but guesses it must have been a monk:

Nothing has gone well for a long time now. There has been harrying and hunger, burning and bloodshed.

She returned to her rooms and resumed reading Svetlana Alexievich’s oral history of Russian women soldiers: The Unwomanly Face of War. From the essay that begins the book (A Human Being Is Greater Than War):

‘Women’s’ war has its own colors, its own smells, its own lighting, and its own range of feelings. Its own words . . . And it is not only they (people) who suffer, but the earth, the birds, the trees.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

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