I confess and profess that my absence has been part due to the usual antics that winter and mournful, grey skies seem to bring and prevail upon my well-being. The winter this year seemed to be be merciless, unflinching and never ending so much so that when it was finally May; well, Spring seemed to have been bypassed altogether and Mother Nature decided to give us slow, infrequent bursts of intermittent sunshine (which in the end doubled up for a feeble attempt at Summer). It confused me, it confused my system and even the plants and trees seemed confused by this turn of events. My free time therefore has not been spent enjoying sporadic trains of thought nor creativity but merely, mostly a "chugging along" with life and all its slings and bows.
It hasn't been all bad, I promise. I just haven't felt creatively enthusiastic nor enthusiastically creative. In between the quotidian humdrum of simply living life, I have allowed my brain to be occasionally stimulated and my cultural senses to be re-awakened. In terms of cultural jaunts I have been jolting my brain back to life - be it by going to an occasional exhibition at the National Gallery (such as 'Barocci'), at the Royal Academy (such as 'Manet' or the acclaimed 'Bronze'), or the Queen's Galleries (a handful of visits to 'The Northern Renaissance' to indulge a craving for Holbein, for Schöngauer, for Durer and Memling) even a fleeting jaunt to the Louvre to see 'Late Raphael'; a drive to Haughton near King's Lynn; or endevouring to engage the eardrums in some live music once again whereby Stephen and I attended a performance of 'Ariadne auf Naxos' at Glyndeborne.
Glyndeborne itself has a wonderful feel and unique otherworldly charm about it; being able to polish one's shoes and wear a waistcoat and black tie, enjoy a picnic and walk around the lake and in the gardens which surround the opera house are quite inspiring. There is, as there will always be at such places, a slight air of pretension and pomposity by those who attend not with the intent of enjoying the music but to brag that they 'were there'. This certainly rings true (in a carillon worthy of a great cathedral) would be the apparent, nay obvious, intent of a certain, particular (and particulière) individual (of old) who we encountered. She was and is filled with such self-import at being there, dressed in shabby cheap (not shabby chic for sure) and whilst others possess elegance - she is possessing of all the looks, charm and marginally more teeth than the Stygian witches combined. Certainly Glyndeborne seemed rampant with Graeae in the truest sense of the word. But one does not go to look at the audience otherwise it truly would be fifty shades of grey. In conclusion, and on a positive note, to sum up, the actual work briefly - well, one couldn't deny the music was wonderful but I did question the rousing applause given by the audience to the performance delivered by the Composer in the piece (hammy would be generous and kind) who rather resembled k.d. lang (and mirrored her in the second act - where she/he shouldn't have been there at all!); and as for Ariadne, she was so enormous I considered a re-titling of 'Ariadne as Naxos' might have been more apropros. An iffy production by any standards, but a pleasant evening nonetheless.
Outside of such highly cultural jaunts which have been few and far between, life has been quiet. I have been enjoying adding to my library of books by exploring remaindered, or secondhand bookshops and charity shops to add every now and then something or other. As I have a small cornucopia of mediaeval literary tidbits and, as such books (or commentaries on them) are difficult to find, I have leapt forward in time somewhat to the Renaissance (one of my first loves in artistic terms) and been seeking out monographs on paintings, or on particular artists, or even exhibition catalogues from this time rather than far too many generalist non-specific works. I initially considered limiting myself just the the Northern Renaissance but have decided to more wide reaching although I admit that of all the periods that seem to resonate within my soul, I am finding myself especially drawn to the fifteenth century, with an occasional foray back into the thirteenth and fourteenth, and also the sixteenth. In between my quests for literary gems, I do enjoy looking for books for others - if I can find them. I used to sense and now recognise Stephen's frustration at not finding much on his chosen period - that is Baroque and Rococo with his leaping forward into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I have managed to find him a few special treats I am proud, not least one on an American 20th century architect which I can safely say, he never expected to find, new or otherwise, in this country.
So, here we are - a brief catch up, a somewhat succinct explication as to my absence over this hiatus since 2012. I shall boast myself, attempting to find strength and desire, and fulfillment of creative yearning allowing my inner self to sum up the inspiration to scribble some pensées; in the vague hope life shall start to prove more stimulating and I can allow my pen to run away with me, once more, once more....