Throwback Thursday

Willy Or Won't He

Jacek Goldman and his Sister Wanda, Krakw, 1924 Jacek Goldman and his sister Wanda. Krakw, 1924. “My mother Wanda Meloch (nee Goldman) was killed in Bialystok after the Germans invaded in the summer of 1941. Jacek left the Warsaw Ghetto to join the partisans and nobody ever heard from him again. I received this photograph from my family in New York.” Katarzyna Meloch, Warszawa

While attempting to clean up what I laughing call my office I knocked a box off a shelf – out tumble all the family photos I had found when I closed up my mother’s house. The photos I had promised myself I would scan and catalogue while there were still people around who could remember those faces and places. A well-intentioned task still not begun 10 years later.

That and a New York Times article about a photograph exhibition at the Yeshiva University Museum in New York had me turning to a bookshelf to…

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Thowback Thursday

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday and because Eamon Kelly was one of the great seanchaí of our time and his stories truly celebrate Ireland.

Willy Or Won't He

The tradition of the seanchaithe is as old as the history of Ireland – and in fact they were the folk history of Ireland from the earliest times.  Some were servants of the tribal chiefs and it was their duty to keep track of the history and stories of their clan and in absence of written records to pass them on.  Some were itinerant travellers, moving from community to community offering their abilities in exchange for food, shelter and, in times of war, protection.  Others were members of established settlements who told and retold the histories and tales of the community and the country at ceremonies, feasts and events. Their stories, and the art of telling them, were passed on from one to another without being written down in an oral tradition that stretches to the earliest days of settlement on the island.

They should not be confused with the…

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A Loving Father

Throwback Thursday – a day late.

Yesterday my friend Debra, over at She Who Seeks, posted a slightly tongue-in-cheek tribute to a player in the pageant that is Christmas, who is often overlooked in all the carry-on:  Saint Joseph.  I’ve always had a soft-spot for the good saint and on a trip to Ariccia discovered a lovely painting, a copy of which now figures amongst the art work in our home. In the spirit of the season I thought I’d share it once again.

Willy Or Won't He

Though the Palazzo Chigi in Ariccia is filled with many wonders, I think the most wonderful is this simple painting by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. And the subject is not all that common – the normal devotional painting is Madonna with Child but here the infant Christ is held by his Earthly father San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph).


It was executed in 1623 for the chapel of the Palazzo and is one of Bernini’s rare paintings. And it is the only known work actually signed by the artist. All religious significance aside I find it an incredible vision of paternal love.

11 lulgio – San Benedetto da Norcia

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Throwback Thursday

Sorting through the Christmas ornaments – have I ever mentioned that we have too damned many Christmas ornaments???? way to many!!!! – is a bit like going through the books: you hold one in your hand, look at it and suddenly there’s a wash of memories.

Amongst the many glass ornaments from Poland is an old style London telephone box – a rarity now it would seem. When I saw it amongst the many gloriously coloured baubles I felt that it had a place 25c87-telephoneon at least two Christmas trees that I knew of: ours and my friend Deb’s. On my return to Canada there was one careful packed in my suitcase.  As I recall it was mid-August when I gave it to her and the first thing she did was hang it in the kitchen window of the house she was renting in Kirkland near Montreal as a reminder of her home back in London. That last time I saw her it was on the tree in the sitting room at the house in Bracknell.

Now when I unpack it from its tissue wrapping I’m reminded of all those times we had together and that last visit just after Christmas in January 2008.  Our lunch at Fortnum and Mason, Stephen Fry’s panto Cinderella at the Old Vic and some shirt shopping afterwards as well as excursions to Windsor Castle, the Windsor Farm Shop and some great pub nights.  And I’m also reminded of the conversation on the train into town when she confided the results of her latest test and her determination to “give beating the bugger” a damned good shot.   She was as good as her word and gave it her best, but the “bugger” eventual did win.

It’s been seven years now but I still recall this little episode from that trip like it was yesterday:

Quel Chapeau!!!!*

I’ve been told the title of the original posting was incorrect but …….

Willy Or Won't He

Our wanderings through Fortnum and Mason last week brought us to the Ladies Hat Department and this lovely number caught our eye immediately.


I was begging Deb to try it on so I could take a picture when a very friendly Irish saleslady with an “Are You Being Served?” manner, came gliding over. We were trapped! Deb did try it on but I couldn’t get a picture which is a shame because it looked great on her and she said it was one of the most comfortable hats she had every worn. In lilting tones the Saleslady extolled the virtues and glories of said chapeau for that special occasion. Deb wryly remarked that she had found the hat now all she had to do was find that occasion. I suggested with a big birthday coming up perhaps we had found the perfect gift and I could drop a hint to…

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Throwback Thursday

In the past 38 years we have moved 12 times: sometimes entire households; other times bits and pieces; sometimes it’s been across oceans other times just to a new apartment upstairs.  Often we have been splitting up a household to two different destinations, sometimes consolidating two inventories into one.  With each move we vow that there will be less stuff come the next one – that has yet to happen but we can always hope.

We’ve now been in the one spot for over four years – a bit of a record I believe – but a move is looming on the horizon.  Our landlord has told us that come the late spring he plans to sell the apartment so I guess it would be best to start going through our treasures and winnow out the chaff.

My friend Spo over at UrSpo was talking about going through books a few days ago and I have to admit that, for me at least, getting rid of books is always a major challenge.  In the mad grip of “we have to downsize now because Spring is only seven months away” Laurent has been going through many of his books and carting them off to the local library. I have yet to join this barbaric culling frenzy but I know it must be done, though perhaps not with the urgency that has driven him to donate The History of Polish Military Aircraft (in Polish) to the unsuspecting library.

The problem is that when I start going through books I begin to thumb the pages, read a passage here or there, look at a picture or two and …. well there goes a day lost and with alarming frequency a book back on the shelf.

I looked back on a post I wrote as we began to pack up for the last move in 2011 and though there will be fewer CDs and books I can tell you there will be one book that will go back on the shelf and come with me in the next move.

On this day in 2007: Android mobile operating system is unveiled by Google.

Willy Or Won't He

When you have to pack up house and move once every three or four years it becomes more and more of a chore. As the years pass you accumulate what George Carlin use to call in his monologue “Stuff”. And if you’re like I am that stuff runs the gamete from Art to Ziploc bags with miscellaneous nuts and bolts in them. (I thought I was pushing it with that last one so I could do the A to Z thing until I found said Ziploc bags in our tool box earlier today!) And before every pack up comes the big “if you haven’t used it in the past two years get rid of it” movement.  And it started here yesterday.

Clothing of course make up a good part of the inventory but fortunately my weight loss has made it easier to pick out what will come to Canada…

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