Thursday, November 19, 2009

What do Marx, three-year-old nieces and paeonia moutans have in common?

I sit in an office quite a lot, thinking about history, writing about history, researching history - oh, and facebooking (a concept so crucial to time-wasters that it has become a verb). This year the walls of my little cubicle are MADE of red pin-board type material, and the temptation to cover them with Things is just too great. I am not by a window, so this substitutes as the window out which I gaze when pondering. More will be added, I have no doubt, but for now, here is My Window. (I apologise for the quality of the photo; I took it with my webcam.)

Middle: Karl Marx. His tombstone at Highgate Cemetery, possibly my favourite of the places I visited in London. When I look at this I get a delicious chill running down my spine; it also is kind of relevant to my interest in Soviet history.

Bottom left: "Rendezvous", the famous 1939 political cartoon by David Low. This is an incredibly cool cartoon just on appearances alone, but once you understand a little of the history it simply thrills me, and I love it more and more every time I look at it. Hitler and Stalin, sworn enemies for the entire 1930s, completely scathing about each other - right up until 1939, when suddenly they sign a non-aggression pact, shocking the world, and take over Poland together, like good chums.

To the right: Marc Chagall's stained glass window based on Psalm 150, which is housed in Chichester Cathedral, which I visited in the south of England. I love the concept of modern stained glass, especially when it's sooo pretty, and so expressive of the psalm. In fact, I did a whole blog post on it.

To the right: Paeonia moutan, a postcard I bought at Kew Gardens in London, and then decided to keep, not send, since it was purty.

Bottom right: A postcard sent recently from Bretagne, France, by one of my best friends, who travelled in Europe with me before going to start a job in Bretagne. SUCH a beautiful picture and it reminds me of my friend whom I miss heaps!

Middle left: A famous poster of Lenin, bought as a postcard from Memento Park in Budapest. I particularly like that I can understand the Russian words on it: "Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin will live!"

Above left: A painting I saw at the National Gallery, London: "Christ before the High Priest", by Gerrit van Honthorst. It doesn't translate incredibly well onto postcard-sized card, but the full-sized painting was just amazing; the use of light and dark was so effective; everything about it was expressive, and I LOVED it.

To the right: A photo I took of a sunrise in Dunedin, from the park next door to my sister's house. (I blogged about it here.) I recently bought a colour printer and printed this off and was very pleased with the result. I have to say, this is the picture that distracts me the most because it's sooo pretty.

To the right again: my niece, two and a half at the time, riding a donkey at the local zoo with an over-sized helmet and a huge happy grin on her face.

Middle right: picture by said niece, drawn recently for my birthday. She is only just three, but she wrote my name on the top left corner!! Yup, she's a genius.


Tailor Madison said...

you have good blogs.
they keep me company on those long dark nights when I feel so alone.

Stacy said...

Very fun. I need to add a personal touch to my office. It's quite bland.

pilgrimchick said...

I may have windows, but ever since I took this job, I have taken no time to customize the interior of my office. It is just as dull and boring as it was when I walked in.