Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Piping down the valleys wild

"Piper sit thee down and write
In a book that all may read --
So he vanish'd from my sight
And I pluck'd a hollow reed

And I made a rural pen,
And I stain'd the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs,
Every child may joy to hear."

From Songs of Innocence  William Blake

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Devouring Time

"But I forbid thee one most heinous crime:
O! carve not with thy hours my love's fair brow,
Nor draw no lines there with thy antique pen;
Him in thy course untainted do allow
For beauty's pattern to succeeding men.
Yet, do thy worst, old Time: despite thy wrong,
My love shall in my verse ever live young."

from Sonnet 19.  William Shakespeare

Friday, 26 July 2013

Holiday postcards

27 July:  "End of holiday quite definitely in sight, and everyone very kindly says, why not stay on?  I refer, in return, to Robert and the children -- and add, though not aloud, the servants, the laundry, the Women's Institiute, repainting the outside of the bath, and the state of my overdraft.  Everyone expresses civil regret at my departure, and I go so far as to declare recklessly that I shall be coming back next year -- which I well know to be unlikely in the extreme.
Spend last evening sending picture-postcards to everyone to whom I have been intending to send them ever since I started."

Diary of  a Provincial Lady  E.M.Delafield

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Delivering the letters

..."So I went to Carlisle (eleven miles away) that would be in 1934, and I biked..... off I would set on the bike to Carlisle to be there at six.  Well I was always there before six.
Then I had to bike back [to Wigton at the end of the day].  Well, I started at six o'clock and we sorted the letters into postman's walks and then after we had finished sorting into postman's walks we used to go out to our own postman's walk and clear the boxes, prepare them and about an hour after seven o'clock we would be packing our bags and going out to deliver the letters we had got ready.  And we would be back about somewhere about half past nine and ten o'clock in the morning.  And then we used to have half an hour for a meal and then we went back again and did another delivery of letters and parcels.  And in those days there were three deliveries of letters in the town area of Carlisle, there were three on Monday to Friday and on Saturday there were two deliveries.  Now there's two deliveries Monday to Friday and on delivery on Saturday and it's quite possible as time goes by that there will only be one delivery Monday to Friday -- but I don't think I'll be in the Post Office when that happens.  I think it will come because of the telephones.  People are using the telephone more now if their friends have got telephone and they have telephone, well they're not writing letters.  And the people that are writing letters are mostly oldish people that haven't the use of the phone.  They're dying off very quickly and if it wasn't for bills and circulars well I don't know what a postman would find to do."

Henry Fell, Carlisle postman.
Speak for England  Melvyn Bragg

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Whose letter?

"I sent a letter to my love, and on the way I dropped it;
One of you has picked it up and put it in your pocket.
It's not you, it's not you, it's not you........ It's You!"

Children's round game,  (anon).

Sunday, 21 July 2013

A lover's madrigal

Love in thy youth, fair maid; be wise,
Old Time will make thee colder,
And tho' each morning new arise
Yet we each day grow older.
Thou as Heaven art fair and young,
Thine eyes like twin stars shining:
But ere another day be sprung
All these will be declining.
Then winter comes with all his fears
And all thy sweets shall  borrow;
Too late then wilt thou shower thy tears
And I too late shall sorrow."

Madrigales and Ayres,  Walter Porter 1632

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A Photograph Album

" I close the book;
But the past slides out of its leaves to haunt me
And it seems, wherever I look,
Phantoms of irreclaimable happiness taunt me,
Then I see her, petalled in new-blown hours,
Beside me -- 'All you love most there
Has blossomed again,' she murmurs, 'all that you missed there
Has grown to be yours.'  "

The Album   C. Day-Lewis

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Nicola da Urbino

"Every touch is sensitive, singing and dancing, charged with a mysterious life of its own."

The Art of the Potter  William Honey

Friday, 12 July 2013

The artist's answer

"If you look for only one answer, then you will find only one."

Pablo Picasso.

Monday, 8 July 2013

The unaccountable element

"Fire is an awe-inspiring, unaccountable element, and it is good that this wild partner should at times assert his share in the potter's work."

Style in Pottery  Arthur Lane