Friday, October 4, 2019

A Psychedelic Nautilus


I've taken almost no pictures this week. It's been generally wet and miserable, and I haven't wanted to lug around my camera. So this is a shot from my last Capital Ring walk -- a piece of machinery (I think?) that's been repurposed as sculpture in East London. It looks like a tuba, or maybe a nautilus, but it's close to the Abbey Mills Pumping Station so I suspect it has something to do with pumping water.

So, yeah, the weather hasn't been encouraging. Wednesday was nice, but otherwise it's been cold and rainy. I haven't been out in the garden at all. I've been reading in the paper about how the UK was supposed to get "lashed" last night and today by the remnants of Hurricane Lorenzo, but if there's any lashing going on it's not here. It's as quiet as an empty church out there this morning.

(Lorenzo apparently passed far to the west of London, and is now northwest of Ireland.)

We have a tree-trimming company coming next week to give us an estimate on our annual garden cleanup. Some of our bushes -- particularly the mock orange near the patio -- are wildly overgrown. (Almost as overgrown as our front garden.) Standing on the patio, you get the sense that a green wave of vegetation is about to break over your head. It's a little unsettling. Kind of "Jurassic Park." We need to whip that into shape.

I went with some co-workers to an event last night called "Letters Live" at Royal Albert Hall. It was a general celebration of the art of the well-written letter, consisting of famous actors and other personalities reading a variety of letters -- some funny, some serious -- from the past. Participants included Olivia Coleman, Jude Law, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It was a fascinating evening, and of course it made me realize that every letter I ever wrote was sadly bland and boring -- but it also made me miss letter-writing in general. We just don't put the effort into e-mails that we used to invest in handwritten letters, do we? Or maybe the writing isn't that different but e-mails just seem more impersonal and slapdash.

I have a box of old letters that I've saved, many since childhood. Some are from people long-dead, like my grandparents, or more recently dead, like my father. I never read them, but I also have no intention of discarding them. They contain a little bit of each person, a bit of voice. Just having them around makes me feel connected to those people.


This was a present from Dave, waiting for me when I came back from Florida. Isn't it great? Olga's marks aren't quite right -- she has a round spot in the center of her back -- and I'm not sure when we've ever been sitting on a dock. But that's quibbling, because overall it's a darn near perfect representation of both of us. On the other side it says, "I can't. I have plans with my dog." He ordered it through Facebook, and the creators will adapt that image to look like any dog and owner. I've been using it at work and showing it off to everyone.

Speaking of which, I hope the weather gets better this weekend so I can take Olga on an adventure. We both need it! I think Saturday's supposed to be relatively dry. Fingers crossed!

16 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

That is the most beautiful coffee mug EVER! I love it. What a thoughtful gift!

Ms. Moon said...

And...I was going to say that the loss of letter-writing is seriously going to impact history. In Keith Richards' book Life, he has copies of the letters he sent to his aunt when he had just met Mick Jagger and was starting to play music with him. So, yeah, this isn't THE most historic of historic events but it's an example of bring history to life in a way that nothing else can. Such an immediate retelling of events with all of the voice of the writer intact.

The Padre said...

Just Love That Cup - Well Done Brother - Also, Your Beans And Memories Posting Was Brilliant - Some Very Special Moments In Time - Bummer On The Bee Sting And Bummer On The Weather - Stay Strong And Enjoy The Weekend

Cheers

The Bug said...

That is a fabulous mug! What a great idea.

I have a bunch of letters that I sent to people when I was in Zambia. They all collected them for me so I could "write a book." Hahahaha! I worked hard to make them entertaining though, so maybe I should revisit that idea (well, not write a book, but maybe put some on my blog). We'll see.

Today's high here is 91 degrees & tomorrow's high is supposed to be 63. What the heck.

Sharon said...

I LOVE that mug! What a great gift! The letter writing event sounds very interesting. I bet I would have enjoyed it. You are right, we don't write letters like we used to many years ago. Email is just not the same. However, I have to say that when email first became a "thing", my friend David used to write the best and most descriptive emails. It's actually how I got to know him. We worked for the same boss but in separate buildings. He would write long emails about what his group was doing. I read them for weeks when I finally said "I've got to meet this guy". We've been friends ever since and that was about 25 years ago.

ellen abbott said...

what a great present! my mother kept every letter I ever wrote to her from childhood at camp to adulthood, with the probable exception of when she moved to my brother's house and then in a family home before she died. my sister had them, she's the family historian, and she gave them to me about a year before the flood. I read a few of them but they weren't happy letters so I didn't read any more of them. why revisit the unhappy parts of my childhood? they were in a box on the floor when the house flooded and I threw them away without a second thought. as for emails to far away friends, mine are long and chatty so I guess it just depends on what type of communication you are using it for.

Red said...

Letter writing was not so immediate . Letter writing was more leisurely . We took our time and thought about things. Few people wrote every day I'm sorry that I only have one letter from my past.

Linda Sue said...

letters and books on real paper! I have kept so many, it would have been a chunk lost had it all been digital- so YES, letters!!
Thoughtful gift, well done, useful and sweet. I guess this marriage thing will stick...

robin andrea said...

I love hand-written letters. They are the BEST and will be around long after this crazy phase of electronic words on a screen have long disappeared. That cup is truly grand. What a great gift.

37paddington said...

Aww, Dave missed you! That is a wonderful mug!

Edna B said...

I think the reason folks don't write as many letters is because a lot of folks nowadays can't write anyway. They learned how to read digital and to poke letters on their phone text messages. So sad. We need to get back to basics in our schools. I love your mug. I've seen it on Facebook and wondered how it would be in person. It's quite nice. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

Allison said...

I love the coffee cup. That is the best gift ever. I miss well written letters. My mother always typed hers to me. She'd fold the paper in half and fit it all on half a sheet. With the advent of cell phones and kids staring at them all day, I suspect they'll all be language delayed and unable to construct a coherent sentence.

jenny_o said...

Oh, I love that mug! And the sentiment hits home for me although in my case it's plans with the cats, haha

Regarding letters vs emails, I've always written emails the way I wrote letters, but I find there aren't many who write back that way. It's easier for me to write long emails than long letters because of my carpal tunnel issue and the fact I type quickly, whereas most of my correspondents don't type easily. They prefer phone calls, which I don't enjoy.

Catalyst said...

What a great gift!

e said...

That mug is terrific! I still write and receive cards and letters from people in different parts of the country and just yesterday I received a hand painted card. I'll never discard them. Have a good weekend.

Comox Valley and beyond said...

What a thoughtful gift Steve, as your such an ardent gardener and the fact that you are
having someone come in to cut back some of it, does that mean that the landlady has renewed your lease for another year? I remember you were perturbed when she mentioned it, the reason I ask why should you spend the money if you may have to move ???, she is lucky to have you both as renters as you take such good care of the place and you deserve to be told one way or another.