Monday 23 August 2021

Buying art

I don't collect art, at least as it's normally understood.   I do have a large collection of recorded music, and since music is an art form, you could argue that I collect art.   But if we restrict our definition to physical objects, you wouldn't call me an art collector.

However, there are certain objects that I have encountered during my life that I remember being attracted to.   There was a carved wooden bear (about 3 feet high) and cub, fashioned out of old railway sleepers if I remember rightly, that I saw perhaps 45 years ago in the Barbican in London.  I liked them, but it would have cost me about a month's (pre-tax) salary.  I didn't buy it, and the artist explained to me that I would remember, and probably regret the decision for ever.  He had a point.  But there was the cost, and how would we transport it, and where would we put it, and all the other excuses you make using logic in situations when it's emotion that counts.

There are a few other things too, prominent among them being a stained-glass screen, a room divider, that I first saw when I was on a flute course in the Dordogne,  perhaps 25 years ago.   Made by Jennifer Weller in Bordeaux, it shows three characters from Mozart's Magic Flute; Papageno, Tamino and the Queen of the Night.   I loved it then, but practical considerations held sway again.   I was pleased to discover at the time, that it was bought by someone I know, a lover of all things flute, a former professional player, and a teacher.

It is a sadnes that this great lady, to whom I (and many, many others) owe much in terms of musical understanding and fluting, is divesting herself of her flute-related treasures as she is nearing the end of her life.  So my pleasure in acquiring this screen that I have loved from afar, is not unalloyed.   Here it is, as displayed in its former home.

Friday 20 August 2021

Garden work (Continued)

I trim the hedge twice a year.   I always think of it as a long hard slog, but perhaps if I did it a bit more often, it would be less difficult.  It takes about three afternoons to cut it, but that's because I leave it so long that I have to spend quite a lot of time setting eyelines to make sure that the result is straight and level.  Perhaps if I could still see the outlines of the last trimming it would be easier.

The shredder in the foreground does a fine job of turning the trimmings into a ground cover to suppress weeds.  The long-throw trimmer hanging on the scaffold reaches 3/4 across the hedge.   The standard trimmer on the ground is for doing the vertical sides.

Wednesday 11 August 2021

Garden work

A task that has been nagging at me for some time (that is, for a few years), is the filling in of the gap behind a dry stone wall in the garden.   The wall (mostly) holds back the soil that is at a higher level, and  I figured it would take 3 or 4 metres cubed of topsoil to fill in the gap and bring it up to the level of the rest of the grass behind.   

I have been scouting around for topsoil, but Leo told me that our local waste recycling depot (déchetterie) is offering compost, free, once per month, in quantities of up to a cubic metre to anyone who wants to come and get it.   We went to get some.

It's black, smells a bit of being burnt, or perhaps of disinfectant, but looks to be good.  I came back with a trailer load and spent this afternoon transferring it into the gap.   The picture doesn't show the size or depth of the gap very well, but it is about half filled now, and so hopefully, next month and another cubic metre will see it sorted.

I have planted grass seed on the part that is at the right level, and that will tell me a lot about the compost as I watch it germinate and grow.

Wednesday 4 August 2021

Transports of delight

What a fine machine is the tractor!   I'm serving at the bistrot on a Tuesday evening, possibly for the last time if this pass sanitaire nonsense gets through.   My neighbour turns up with a family posse on this tractor and cart.  (Him, his new lady and her two kids).  Wonderfully rustic and not a seat belt or licence plate in sight.   Vintage 1947 I am told.  (Not the lady, the tractor)

Since he lives just up the road from me and I happened to have walked to the bistrot, I couldn't not cadge a lift back, could I?

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