Moments, Florence

Self is still looking for pictures to accord with the Daily Post Photo Challenge this week, RARE.

Back in November 2015, she got a surprise invitation from her niece Irene to go on a trip to Florence.

But of course! Self has decided that she will never say NO when it comes to travel. And she’d never been to Florence.  All the pictures below are from that trip.

First, a picture taken in the Piazza Signoria. Self had spent the day at the Palazzo Vecchio, her niece had gone to the Uffizi. We met up at the square to have dinner. Self took the picture from one of the sidewalk cafés:

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Piazza Signoria, Florence’s Iconic Square: November 2015

On our first morning in Florence, self and Irene were wending our way from our hotel to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore when we passed a library. And though the library was not in any of our guidebooks, self never passed a library she didn’t wish to explore.

So here’s what was inside:

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Self’s ever-curious soul led her to this library, on a street close to the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral.

It turned out to be a library made up entirely of opera librettos. And self thought that was the most fabulous thing.

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The most rare and fabulous thing.

Stay tuned.

Another Basho Sentence

Even while I was getting ready, mending my torn trousers, tying a new strap to my hat, and applying moxa to my legs to strengthen them, I was already dreaming of the full moon rising over the islands of Matsushima.

— from The Narrow Road to the Deep North, translated from the Japanese by Nobuyuki Yuasa

1689, Basho made three major journeys in his lifetime. The Narrow Road was the result of the third and last. He was 50.

Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: Basho

You’re floating in a sea of tranquil words. You’re lost in reading Basho:

In their ecstasy of a single night
Under the moon of summer.

Nothing can be more tranquil than a Basho haiku.

And then:

  • That rugged mountain in the village of Sarashina is where the villagers in the remote past used to abandon their ageing mothers among the rocks.

Bam! It’s like a sudden blow to the head. You never see it coming.

“A Visit to Sarashina Village” is in Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which self started reading about a week ago and which is going to be — self can feel it — the defining reading experience of the summer, if not of the entire 2016. It is a very, very thin book, but self advances about a page a day.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Mornings in Cork

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is MORNING:

  • For this week’s photo challenge, publish a new post with an image that means morning to you.

Self’s idea of a perfect morning is waking up in Café Paradiso in Cork.

It means a good, hearty Irish breakfast with scones and croissants and butter and cream and jam and yogurt:

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One of the great pleasures of staying in Café Paradiso is, in addition to the great FOOD, the selection of art books in the rooms.

And dear blog readers know about self’s fascination with windows, right? These are the windows in the Blue Room:

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The Blue Room, Café Paradiso, Cork

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Basho left Edo in the spring of 1689 and travelled the great arc of the northern routes (Oshukaido and Hokurikudo) in six months, arriving in Ogaki in the autumn of 1689.

He got to the River Oi and wanted to cross but it had rained all day and the river was too swollen to allow it. He continued without crossing the river until he got to the “steep precipice of Sayo-no-nakayama”:

Half-asleep on horseback
I saw as if in a dream
A distant moon and a line of smoke
For the morning tea.

Self was mistaken about the entire work being written in haiku. Here’s a prose passage:

My head is clean shaven, and I have a string of beads in my hand. I am indeed dressed like a priest but priest I am not, for the dust of the world still clings to me.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.

Stay tuned.

Basho: Edo, Summer 1676

Finished The Lonely City, started The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Matsuo Basho. It’s a travel book like no other, written in haiku.

In the summer of 1676, Basho returned to his native Edo for a brief visit. He wrote this poem after. It is included in the introduction by translator Nobuyuki Yuasa.

My souvenir from Edo
Is the refreshingly cold wind
Of Mount Fuji
I brought home on my fan.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

WIP: Raw

This is a story self started, 2014, in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. Kept it going when she moved from Annaghmakerrig to Inchicore. Father H still alive then.

Varnish and varnish. I’ll say this for K: she is tenacious. Especially about her delusions.

“Me mum’s a thick,” she said once. “A focking thick.”

“Hmmm,” I said.

“She a root rotter,” K said.

The “I” is a man, but everyone who’s read the story automatically thinks it’s a woman because they know self wrote it and she’s, umm, a woman?

LOL

Stay tuned.

Lynn Barber for The Guardian: Self Dies

Paul Theroux, 19 February 2000:

. . .  he didn’t look remotely like the Paul Theroux I met 15 years ago at a dinner party in London. That Theroux was urbane and elegant — this one is wearing shorts and has a string of dolphins tattooed around his ankle. Oh, please! You cannot be a serious writer and have dolphins tattooed around your ankle — I am sorry, it would take too long to explain, but you just can’t.

She is hilarious. Self first made her acquaintance (via The Irish Times) at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre (or TGC), spring 2014. She was instantly smitten.

Then forgot about her. Until just now.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Year 2016 Thus Far: Favorite Places

Philadelphia: So glad that she was in the City of Brotherly love when Orlando happened. Because there is something comforting about being in the city where her older sister went to Biz School:

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City of Brotherly Love: June 2016

New York:  Chris, William, Mandy, Carmen, Judy, Luis

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Living Room of Brother-in-Law’s Apartment, Manhattan, June 2016

The British Museum, because, because. Just because.

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Classical Elegance: The British Museum, early June 2016

Dodo and Helen came from different parts: Cambridge and York, respectively. We met in London:

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Everything is easier with friends: On the No. 10 bus, June 2016

And Bletchley Park:

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Swan, Bletchley Park, June 2016

Bloomsbury Square and environs:

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The Duke of Bedford’s Private Garden in Bloomsbury, June 2016

This is the first of a series of posts where self will keep looking back to 2016 Thus Far.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Pure 2: New York and London

  • “I love finding beauty in the mundane, and purity in the midst of our chaotic, over-connected world.”

— Jen H., Daily Post Photo Challenge (Theme: PURE)

Examples: a city-scape; a museum

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New York skyline, June 2016: The “purity” of early morning, the day not yet begun

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Classical Elegance: The British Museum, early June 2016

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Classical Elegance, The British Museum, June 2016

New York looks peaceful in the early morning light.

The venerable British Museum opened up its interior with classically simple lines.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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