Thursday, 9 January 2014

January what can you say....

January is one of those months where everything starts slowly after the Holidays. People are back to work, more debts on credit card than would be advisable, apparently this is why the Canadian dollar is falling in value on the Stock Market, too much debt by individual Canadians, unemployment is also up to 8% while it is going down in the USA. We are not past the ides of January and it's the first of two winter school holidays. Some will head south, others will go skiing, others will just go to the mall. One wonders what would we do if we did not have the malls, as if you could possibly need more stuff just after the Holidays. I have not set foot in a mall since 1985. I am no longer sure what they look like, not a bad thing.

The days are getting longer a few minutes everyday, on a bright sunny day like today when the sun is so bright as it is reflected off the ice and snow that you need strong sun glasses in order to see anything, it can give you a pick me up feeling.

Puppies continue to lounge in the sunshine, it seems that they cannot get enough sun on any given day. January is also the time of the year for yearly physical and I have already done my blood work. Next week it's the examination, I do not expect anything to be revealed. Good health is precious and worth more than gold.

The late Hugh Lord Cholmondeley (chum-lay) at his home in Houghton Hall, Norfolk with his collection of toy lead soldiers depicting here the battle of Waterloo.

Houghton Hall, Norfolk

This week is also busy with little things, like going to the car repair shop to have the damage to the rear bumper fixed. A minor accident due to very slippery roads and black ice. I was parked and in a shop and saw it happen. Luckily for me the gentleman stopped and gave me the necessary details and his insurance paid it all. For a minor thing it still was one thousand dollars in repair and handwork.
Even walking is difficult and most people walk in the street because the sidewalks are impossible as they are covered with a thick coat of very slippery ice. 

Next week two days of volunteering at the museum which always keeps me very busy and tired at the end of the day, but it is a lot of fun and challenging. I will try to explain the Renaissance to 11 year old kids in 50 minutes. I have to be efficient and to the point in my presentation, difficult to do when they have not studies geography or world history and have a very sketchy idea about art in general.
So the Renaissance is very far away from their preoccupations but who knows they may find it interesting, I will try to connect it to their reality in some way.

If you wonder about the late Lord Cholmondely and Houghton Hall well I also have a collection of about 140 lead soldiers, no where near his impressive collection and my house being somewhat smaller than Houghton Hall, I would have no room for such a large collection. But nonetheless I should rearrange my army. I do not know if David the current Lord Cholmondeley is an avid lead soldier collector.

Here is David Lord Cholmondeley who is also Lord Chamberlain of Her Majesty at Houghton Hall
posing by a painting of Geoffrey Kneller's of Juan Carreras. The only painting bought by Czarina Catherine II the Great in 1779 to have returned permanently to Houghton Hall. His ancestor Sir Robert Walpole sold his painting collection to Catherine the Great. A wonderful exhibit of the collection was held in the fall of 2013 at Houghton Hall, the first ever of this fabulous collection now permanently at the Hermitage.
My point is have you noticed his socks? Now you can tell this is a gentlemen, purple socks, I need a pair, such raffine taste.


  1. Didn't I point you in the Cholmondley direction? I think I may even have sent as a postcard that very picture of the old collector.

    Pink clerical socks from Gammarelli near Santa Maria sopra Minerva are the thing. Though mine wore out after two wearings, so maybe they have a cheap batch they palm off on tourists...

    1. David always the observant eye, indeed you did point me in that direction.
      I will have to look up the sock place, though maybe in London they might have such things.

  2. dear me! the purple socks are a bit offsetting
    but I thought the soldiers are bit offsetting as well.

    1. Offsetting, Monsieur I have no idea what you are talking about. As for the socks by dear friend David above in a comment put me in touch with the tailor of the Pope who supplies him with socks, Gammarelli. Now I will be shopping there for the sheer quality of it.

  3. So much of interest here... but oh those purple socks...