Saturday, May 9, 2020

George or Charles?

While on my long London walk on Monday, I came across these interesting sculptures in Golden Square -- "Big Bra" and "Corset" by Kalliopi Lemos. They're part of a series that aims to "deconstruct existing symbols and stereotypes" of femininity, and "express the need for women to fortify themselves with armaments of defense in order to cope with gender injustice." (According to the placard on display next to the sculptures.)

Golden Square is kind of a weird little place. Apparently it was originally the site of a plague pit, or mass grave for victims of the Bubonic Plague, as well as a grazing area for horses. One permanent resident of the park is this statue:

Supposedly it depicts either George II (the plinth says "Georgius II") or, according to the information board in the park, Charles II. At any rate, he looks a little...surprised. He's been standing there since 1753, and perhaps a couple of centuries of pigeon poo are partly responsible for damaging his complexion.

Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of VE Day, and there were socially distant events to mark the occasion, but I must admit I didn't pay much attention. There's too much drama now, and I've never been completely comfortable with celebrations of nationalism and military might. (Let me just point out, though, that Vera Lynn is STILL ALIVE! She's 103!)

Our upstairs neighbor, the Russian, got out his pressure washer yesterday and cleaned the steps and sidewalk in front of the house. He borrowed our hose (and water supply) to do it, and I thought it might take him an hour or two. But no -- he was out there for 7 1/2 hours! He cleaned not only the concrete but the rocks in the front garden, a row of wooden garden edging I didn't even know was there, his parking space and everything else even vaguely associated with our property. God only knows how much water he used. I suppose I should be appreciative, but I thought it was just weird. Do I care if there's dirt on the sidewalk? No, I do not. It's the sidewalk.

I told him to save the valerian growing along the steps, which he did, but I could see he hated me for it. I think if he had his way the front garden would contain only a few precisely trimmed shrubs that he could clip every weekend with tiny scissors.

I already mentioned that we arranged to have the council come on Monday to collect and discard our old patio furniture. We had a couple of items, though, that they refused to take -- a glass shower door that we removed from the bathroom when we had it painted, and a 13-foot-long plastic pipe that used to run up the side of the house. They said it was "construction waste" and they couldn't handle it for health & safety reasons. Well, yesterday, we called a private firm and they came and carried it away for the insane price of £60, and hopefully they didn't just drive it out to some woodland and dump it. (The council isn't charging much to remove the furniture, so overall I figure we're paying a fairly reasonable price to get rid of everything.)

Earlier this week I tried to order flowers for my mom for Mother's Day, which in America is this Sunday. I used an online network of florists, but they sent me an e-mail saying they were unable to deliver Sunday and to call them. So I did, and it turns out they actually couldn't deliver at all unless I provided another address, because they can't deliver to assisted living facilities due to coronavirus. Well, I didn't really have an alternative -- I mean, my mom lives in assisted living and she can't even have visitors at the moment, so I just cancelled the order. Flowers are a rip-off anyway. I'll call her tomorrow and tell her the whole story and she'll have a good laugh.

Speaking of pigeons, as we were above, have you ever seen a pigeon with a pink tail? I saw this one on the way home from the grocery store yesterday. Definitely unlike any other pigeon I've ever seen! Both of its legs were banded, so it must be privately owned or an object of study by someone. Pigeon owners have been known to dye their birds, but this wasn't garish pink -- more like a lovely salmon color -- and it doesn't seem dyed. There's a type of pink pigeon native to Mauritius, but it doesn't look like that either. Anyway, this is just an iPhone photo, but I hope I see it again sometime when I have my good camera.


  1. How come the pink pigeon's shadow is actually the shadow of a bottle of wine?

    Oh - and please see this recent addition to the geograph site:-

  2. I have never seen a pigeon with a pink tail. Wow!

    I get so disgusted with some of the pretentious descriptions of works of art, both by artists and by art curators (who often write their own personal interpretations). I would enjoy those pieces of sculpture except for the self-important descriptions that force me to think a certain way without allowing me to experience the art personally. (Obviously, I have some "feelings" about this.)

  3. if the pink on the pigeon is paint whoever did it was arty about it with the spots.

    I wonder if the remains of the plague victims are still buried under there.

  4. An interesting sculpture indeed. It doesn't readily bring to mind gender inequality issues.
    I have never seen a pigeon with a pink tail. Fascinating find.

  5. You don't know whether to laugh or cry about the cleaning your sidewalk got. Sometimes we meet up with some oddballs.

  6. Pretentious descriptions of art don't put me off as much as pretentious descriptions of food on menus. But hey! Life is short. Who cares?
    I like those sculptures and can definitely understand what they're saying. Perhaps the artist should next do one of Spanx.
    That pigeon is quite striking.
    Sounds to me like your upstairs neighbor may be going stir-crazy. Rather annoying.

  7. You really do see some interesting art and stuff on the streets there. I am so glad that YP posted his comment because I would have missed the wine bottle shadow of the pink-tailed pigeon. What an interesting bird.
    It'll be nice to talk with your mom and have a good laugh together on Mother's Day.

  8. I was thrilled to read that Vera Lynn is still with us. I love her WWII song and have asked that it be played at my funeral, if I have one, which I doubt. Perhaps a party. I would prefer that. "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when . . ." Oh, there is one other song I want played at my departure: "The Lumberjack Song" by the Monty Pythons.

  9. I'm not sure how a huge metal bra and corset is supposed to overcome gender injustice. I was five and half years old on VE day. I started school that year. I remember the huge celebrations and street parties we had that summer. As for the flowers, your Mom will enjoy the phone call so much more. Just hearing your voice will make her heart happy. Your pink tailed pigeon is really quite beautiful. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  10. I agree, cut flowers ARE a rip-off. I don't get why people want to kill flowers anyway. Like Edna said, your mom will be happy just to talk with you.

    That pigeon's pink feathers are lovely!

  11. Those sculptures look like torture devices...but I can see the point. Happy Mother's Day to your mothers.

  12. I guess it’s good they had that placard by the sculpture because I would NOT have gotten the point. Catalyst made me laugh - The Lumberjack Song - snicker.

  13. YP: Perhaps I was subconsciously composing my photo for just the right shadow?! That's funny about the Geograph picture. I imagine that place gets photographed a lot!

    Mitchell: I agree. Sometimes those explanations are belabored. This one was also really badly written!

    John: Hope you enjoy what you find! I link to the Wikipedia page in my post.

    Ellen: I wonder too. It's not at all uncommon in London to find bodies when digging for construction purposes and that kind of thing.

    Sharon: Isn't that bird crazy? It really stood out. The fact that it was banded suggests that it IS unique and important to someone.

    Red: I couldn't believe it! Such a waste of time and resources.

    Ms Moon: I'm not sure it's stir-craziness. He's always like that. I think their house must look like a surgical suite.

    Robin: I didn't notice that shadow either!

    Catalyst: It is remarkable that Ms. Lynn is still with us. Apparently there's a documentary about her on Netflix that I may watch. I think "The Lumberjack Song" is an excellent choice! LOL

    Edna: I'm sure the celebrations must have been massive. No more death and destruction. What a relief!

    Jenny-O: Especially around Mother's Day. I think it's all such a scam.

    E: Exactly -- I think they're supposed to!

    Bug: I assumed they were somehow related to women's emancipation. Especially the corset. Thank God those are a thing of the past.