Tuesday, July 18, 2006


A gift to arrive home and read the comments on the post below. So much support, warmth and good common sense …..

The head is clearer. Putting hang-ups and self-doubt to one side, the main drawback of life in the blogosphere is that it has always provided - for me anyway - a real distraction from getting things done in the flesh-and-blood world. And over the next several months the latter must have priority in terms of time, energy and emotional focus. Therefore I do need to take a long break. A blog hiatus, if you like.

I doubt though that I will want to stay away permanently. If you would like to be notified when blogging resumes, send an email to: elefthis2 at yahoo dot co dot uk, and I’ll let you know. Not sure whether it will be here or at a new blog so I’ll leave this one up, at least for the time being.

Thank you EVERYBODY who has visited since last September. Each and every one of you, whether you have commented regularly, or once or twice, or have just dropped by silently, is so very much appreciated and valued.

I feel sad now but I need to do this. Until our paths cross again, wishing you all much happiness and whatever else you wish for yourself.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Heading out of town for a few days. Good timing. I am considering stopping blogging.

Reasons to stop: I can't afford the time, especially now. Dissatisfaction with the quality of what I produce, particularly in comparison to other bloggers. It's just too hard sometimes, putting myself out there.

Reasons to continue: It is a creative outlet. The fact that something is difficult isn't a reason not to do it. Blog friendships.

There. I’ve said it. That's a relief in itself. Let's see if the break helps to clear the head.

At the moment though I'm coming down on the side of stopping.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sunday evening


I know, I said more pictures than words … but this slipped through the net.

My French friend J held a World Cup Final party. She and I and her English husband, her grown-up children, another French friend, an Australian, and a Polish couple and their two little girls all squeezed into J’s small living room. We sat in front of the television - some in chairs, some on the floor - and drank wine or fruit juice and nibbled on pate, cheese, French bread and a Polish speciality brought by Irina, as we watched the game.

We were of one mind that Italy were the better side because they played as a team, but we weren’t able to warm to them. We were aghast at Zidane's head butt (the captain, his last match before retirement, oh no ….), we agreed that the referee did an excellent job, we commiserated with Thierry Henry who for much of the game was brilliant but unsupported by his team-mates, and felt for Lilian Thuram’s tearful sadness in defeat. Thanks to the action replays and the input of my fellow guests I now have a better grasp of the offside rule. We discussed whether we would rather be the goalkeeper or the striker in penalty shootouts. I said the goalkeeper had the worst of it, but I was in the minority.

On the way home there were small clusters of jubilant Italians partying in the street, some waving at the passing traffic. As the bus waited for a red light to change I caught myself smiling.

Contrary perhaps to my expectations the evening had been an enjoyable one. Talking. Making human connections.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Getting clear

The momentum of the move is picking up and is now demanding more of my time. The next week in particular is going to be busy with a short trip to my new home town and some enjoyable (I hope) social events.

By the end of the month I need to clear the flat of everything that won't be needed in the new home. I have already filled one black bin bag, but there will be many more for the dustman to take away before it is all over. You would think that living in a small apartment there wouldn't be much "stuff". Not so. It's not an easy job either - time, focus and emotional energy are needed.

If it doesn't all get done so be it, but I don't want the reason to be because I didn't give it my best shot.

There will therefore be at least ten days of light posting - more pictures than words - on the blog, and less time reading other blogs. I will be around though, just not so often.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Self-portrait: Seeing and Being Seen

Portrait 5
Click to enlarge

My third and final entry for the self-portrait marathon. I have achieved what I thought would be impossible at the outset - a close-up, full face picture looking straight at the camera. Except of course that there was no camera. Just a reflected Doppelgänger, returning the gaze and armed with a soft black pencil and paper.

Anything approaching a likeness? Not for me to judge, and I am not sure anyway that verisimilitude is that important. But if we're being picky, the jawline isn't quite right and nor are the eyebrows, and ....

I drew whilst looking hard at my reflection in the mirror, and consequently something of what it feels like when I am intense and concentrating - obsessing even - comes across for me in the sketch. Having the hair pulled back in a small pony tail, off-centre on this occasion, is a real bonus in hot weather. This is not my usual look, but it is easier to draw.

A little water got spilled on the paper after finishing the drawing and I was going to scrap it and start again, but once it had dried I rather liked the sunburst effect.

It's unnerving posting this - like opening a door without knowing what's behind it.

The door does need opening, though.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Different Realities

Hot. Waiting for the house to open. Click to enlarge.

Sunday afternoon. 30° C . We made our way through the crowds in Spitalfields, a part of the East End which was settled by the Huguenots fleeing religious persecution in France in the 17th century. In recent years it has become deeply trendy, with art galleries, winebars and glass high rise office blocks rubbing shoulders with rows of Georgian houses which are now priced out of reach of most of the original inhabitants. I view the area with some suspicion now because of its yuppification, but there was no denying its sweltering, teeming liveliness.

I was with my sister, the organiser of our outing. She lives outside London but is often more tuned in than I am to happenings in the capital and she had found out about Dennis Severs’ House.

It is difficult to know how to describe it. In the words of
the website (which is really worth a look) the house in Folgate Street, built in 1724, is:

… a time capsule .. sometimes opened up. Its creator Dennis Severs, an artist who used his visitor’s imagination as a canvas and who lived in the house in the same way as its original occupants might have done in the early 18th century.

The house is set out as a series of “tableaux vivants” as the home of a family of Huguenot weavers during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, with a soundtrack of sounds of the period such as horses hooves, voices, bells. Smells of cooking wafting through the rooms.

There are no tours as such, the visitor is simply directed to start in the basement and end at the attic. Speech louder than a whisper is forbidden, and visitors are asked to give focus and concentration to the experience.

The house is crammed with period artefacts . There were open fires in several of the rooms, even in Sunday’s heat, but strangely the indoor temperature was not too uncomfortable. Candles supplemented the light coming through the windows. A black cat was ensconced comfortably on a window seat in one of the bedrooms, and looked at us curiously as we approached. In the dining room, a half eaten apple had been left on one of the plates at the table and a man’s wig hung on one of the chairs. Unfinished cups of coffee too. A place frozen in time.

There was just too much to see and hear, too much detail to absorb. Nonetheless the experience was a haunting one.

We re-emerged into the glare of the afternoon sun, back to the world of ipods and wifis. Sitting in the shade outside a coffee shop at the foot of one of the glass towers we talked about the house and then started to catch up with the minutiae of each other's lives – jobs, friends, plans. We get on well, my sister and I, and it was good to see her again.

Later I came across these words on the website.

Take it from Mr. Severs, a bystander, that when you are under the spell of your own time you are as interesting to watch as were those before; it is always the same plot: Soul - Soul. For him it was your humanity in response to the house that adds life to it and makes tending it so worthwhile.

"Under the spell of your own time". My mind has been hovering around that phrase since Sunday evening. I think I know what I understand by it, but that's perhaps for another post.