Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Through a glass smearily, or otherwise, with an inconsequential glimpse of domestic ordinariness.

Sitting at the table playing with the camera, trying to find what could be done with different settings.  'Glass envy' my friend called her passion for lenses;

Glass can come in many forms, and I wondered what other glasses one could look through.

Or sometimes inspiration can come from the bottom of a glass, they say.  Though I was only drinking tea, from a cup.

This old blue cup is, remarkably, still going.  It chips and chips again, and the handle is cracked at the base, so I'm taking a risk using it really, but the stoneware and glaze seem to be so soft and friable that the chips quickly smooth down to a familiar wornness, and as long as no one else uses it they are nothing to worry about, and the cracked handle seems to be holding up all right by friction.

So here is the whole scene.

Foreground:- my very small notebook computer, on which I was trying to find forums and help pages to give me advice on the use of the camera;
- my reading glasses, which I have to take on and off, alternating with distance ones - ah the joys of middle age! - between screen and camera;
- pen pencil and notebook with the intention, rapidly abandoned, of noting which settings I was using for later reference;
- teacup, as aforesaid.

Middle ground: - Tom's reading forelimbs;
-his teacup, which is even older than mine and was a free gift from the Folio Society, which I am, truly, ashamed to admit we were lured into joining at a time Before Internet when English language reading matter was at a premium (unbelievable now, when there are more interesting things to read immediately to hand than can successfully be accomplished in both our remaining lifetimes).  The Folio Society entrapped us with introductory offers of good reference books then subsequently forced us to buy those awful pretentiously bound overpriced things which are their raison d'être. Still, Tom got a free mug out of it which is still going;
- salt and pepper, we sometimes try to acquire and get into the habit of using classier s&p sets but always seem to return to a plastic pot and a very scuzzy old pepper mill which still seems to grind better than any other, I don't care for coarse sea salt at the table, it's a foody pretension too far IMHO;
- paper napkins and foil takeaway/freezer containers - paper napkins are the scourge of drawers and cupboards, I've decided, once out of their silly ineffectual cellophane wrappers they scatter and bung up every available space, rendering themselves crumpled and useless in the process. These were waiting to be removed, along with the scores of lidless plastic containers and containerless lids, to to a secondary holding facility, a Curver® storage unit out the back, where their movements will be monitored and contained, or that's the plan;
- the large candle glass, an object which I believe truly fulfils Morris's Golden Rule.  The Molés gave it to us years ago and we use it all the time (this is the glass through which the first two pictures are taken, it could probably do with a clean but maybe the smeary bits add interest);
- a yellow cellophane bag of Grenoble walnuts, Tom's current favourite treat and better for him than sweets, plus he gets the exercise of cracking the shells;
- a pink azalea in a pot from B the German Doctor just after Christmas, she said it might grow in the garden afterwards, though I have my doubts, but a flowering plant growing is always nicer than a bunch of cut ones, I think, even if they all wilt and die in the end.

Background: - a tub of glucosamine tablets, a book of 365 sudoku puzzles, and a packet of Victory V lozenges, yes, I know, it sounds like the contents of a Saga Holidays goody bag (that's a thought, since turning my half-century I guess qualify for Saga now...);
- barely visible here but you can see it in the first pictures, a wineglass with a couple of stems of winter flowering honeysuckle and wallflowers, picked for their fragrance, the frost will have nipped the wallflowers now;
- tray with some oddments of fruit, apples and oranges, which as we all know are incomparable, and a Christmas bauble found on the floor after its companions had been packed away on Twelfth Night;
- and beyond that, window on the world outside, also smeary, but irredeemably so, since Tom applied some silicone product to it in the hopes of stopping it leaking in the unremitting prevailing wildness and wet of the weather on the south-west facing front of the house, and we have never been able to clean the stuff off. Baked dry as driftwood in summer, pelted and soaked at most other times, we almost wished we'd kept the horrid old PVC windows and never replaced them with wood. We've remedied the water ingress as best we can (the silicone didn't work, new seals did to a point), now we just mop up and shut up.

What an untidy table we have.


Then I went out and played with the exposure, or was it the shutter speed? Perhaps it was. Or are they one and the same?  Anyway, the terrace and garden in ghostly over-exposure, somewhat tweaked, which for some reason I rather like.


So this is the way life goes just now, peaceful, with little of excitement or remark.  I wonder if there's really a place for this kind of 'chatty letter' trivial blogging, which rather gives the activity a bad name, and presumes on one's readers' time and patience, but not to worry, there are few rules, or obligations on either side.  In truth I tend to think that this is inevitably a time of dormancy, of clearing space and making order, of catching up and conserving and waiting.  I've a great yen to read, all over the place, to satisfy curiosity and browse, more than to try to make anything much of my own.

The frost has gone, but there are still some frosty photos to go over, so more of those anon, I guess.


zephyr said...

well, i was entertained...let us not dwell on what that may or may not say about me/my day.

i don't think it is merely voyeuristic curiosity, either. Domestic details do tell their own story.

And what a lovely azalea. Hothouse grown woodies can make the transition--i've been told--if they are protected from dramatic changes/shocks to their systems. But i've never tried, so i can't testify that it's true.

exposure (in photo terms) = combination of shutter speed and size of aperture opening in the lens(f stop). Therefore, over exposure = adjustment(s) that allows "excess" light to reach camera sensor/film.

Sabine said...

Your pictures are really gorgeous today.

herhimnbryn said...

YOur table, my kitchen counter!!
Victory V, love 'em. Can get them here, but they don't seem to taste as strong as I remember them.

marja-leena said...

Wow, love your new banner photo. And of course all the others as well as your chattiness, always entertaining even when about the daily and supposedly humdrum. Our table often starts to look like this now that husband has an iPad which he seems to prefer to use here, until I grumble when it's time to set it for dinner.

Dale said...

:-) this post made me happy.

Rouchswalwe said...

I'll drink to "chatty letter" blogging! Ale followed by Port.

Catalyst said...

I love hearing about your life.

Lucy said...

Thanks friends.

Domestic detail usually appeals to people in moderation, as, after all, we've all got it and most of us like to compare! The table is the warmest and brightest place in the afternoon, between the south facing window and the fireplace, so we spend quite a bit of time there, and stuff tends to pile up.

HHB - did you follow the link about VVs? Fascinating, apparently they used to have cannabis in them! Tom's Christmas stocking this year was almost entirely filled with Victory Vs. When I last went to England he had a cough or sore throat or something and at the last minute thought about them, and asked me to bring some back if possible. It so happens that Bishops Stortford, near my sister's, has an excellent old-fashioned sweet shop, where I got not only those but also stuff like cinder toffee. Once they were used up I ordered a load more from

A bit pricey on postage but worth it for a treat. If you regard Victory Vs as a treat of course... Otherwise they do all kinds of other retro sweets.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

You take the ordinary and produce the extraordinary.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love the different angles you give us on ordinary things here. And that mug is beautiful, it reminds me of mugs made in the small pottery near my house when I lived in Malawi.

Anne said...

Another vote for chatty letter blogging with lots of trivial detail. And great pictures. The new header is stunning.

Sheila said...

I just love the one with the glass in the foreground and the pink flowers behind. Something inviting and mysterious there, it seeems.

(And I just noticed your "gathering moss" theme. Cute. I love moss; maybe that's why my blog gathers so much of it?)

anna tambour said...

Yes, this is the place. What you are doing travels straight from heart to hearts. Beauty discovered, meaning found, inconsequentials noticed and the in- ripped from their modesty. Keep finding. Even your writing about what you might think trivial, is filled with unself-important revelations, ponderingworth thoughts.

And you're also a true artist visually, both in your eye and in the way you bring the image to ours.

DuchessOmnium said...

I also enjoyed the chattiness. The photos made me want to wipe my computer screen.

Roderick Robinson said...

Glad to know someone else can be fooled into one of those book club deals. In my case the bait on the trap was Webster's half-a-hundredweight dictionary (we were living in the US at the time) and it was Hell's own job discharging the buying obligations over the following year. But what's Tom crouched over and is his finger pointing to a difficult word which, had he been reading Chick's Own, would have been hyphenated - perhaps more than once? But you may be two decades too young to know about Chick's Own.

HKatz said...

I like how in the third photo the flowers seem to be playing peek-a-boo from behind the slightly opaque glass. I enjoy how you look at the world around you, even the little domestic details.

Lucy said...

Thanks again, you're all very nice.

Lorenzo - Cheeky. You are quite right, Chick's Own died nearly five years before I was born; Tom says you may have been reading it at that time but he wasn't. On Googling, the main point made about it was just the one you made: the splitting up of words into syllables with hyphens, which must have reflected some kind of current pedagogic practice in infant literacy, formal or otherwise. In defence of Tom's moving finger which reads and having read... well it doesn't in fact move. I fear his reading is so sadly subject to frequent interruptions from spouse and dog that it is as well to keep a pointer on the text so as not to lose his place. (I've never actually noticed it moving anyway...)

You made us laugh a-plenty.

YourFireAnt said...

Lucy, fantastic photos with the glass in 'em. Oh, I love them. Especially the first two.