It was the joy of our household and dominated it for two decades, a classical artefact nestled within a very nondescript piece of architecture (our family house!), the sacrificial altar that was the sideboard. The elephant in the dining room, there it sat brooding darkly and majestically, overlooking every nuance of our little lives. Only the best was good enough for that piece of Victoriana, lace runners and crystal bowls and family photos and ornaments. The pair of doors on its sturdy pedestal fronted a trove of damask table linens, and best and second-best crockery and cutlery – ye gods, the Penates had nothing on this! The sideboard was actually hewn from a fine piece of wood, but its classical references demanded a symmetry of arrangement on top and all about it that our chaotic lives simply could not live up to. As I grew older, I hated the thing more and more.
You are not perfect, it seemed to glower at every turn. You are not ordered, symmetrical, classically lovely or harmoniously beautiful.
Nor was I – thank heavens then for modernism, an Enlightenment that heralded lighter and more rational furniture. No more domineering artefacts; no symmetry, centring or classical gravity sucking everything into its black hole. In my now modernistic realm, the family of five Billy bookcases is beholden to me. I am the master of my furniture, not its miserable servant. I can reorganise my Billys at a whim, reconfigure the shelves to my dictat, push the bookcases together or more them apart. In summary, the shelves morph in accordance with my ever-changing needs. The shelves are all at one a showcase for my essays into conceptual art, a resting place for my executive toys and a safe harbour for my literary volumes – in short, my furniture shows the world who I am. (to be continued)
Ain't the winter days long and dreary? Come and join this mini-tour of Trafalgar Square at its summer best....crowds of people...fountains playing....pigeons....National Gallery....trees....Neslon's Column....St Martin's Church....!
Research by the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute has revealed that between 7-19 per cent of adults in the US do not get enough sleep. Illnesses caused by lack of sleep include obesity, diabetes and heart disease, while up to 1.2 million work days are lost every year, costing the economy about 2% of GDP. In the UK, the economic loss from lack of sleep hits a similar figure. In addition, experts reckon that lack of sleep is behind numerous driving accidents and heinous mistakes at work. Left unchecked, a chronically sleepy subject is prone to a number of mental disorders, including depression. If you think that you need to catch up on sleep, the only remedy is to – that’s right. The key to a healthy mind is not, it seems, sitting on top of an Asian mountain, drinking yak’s milk as bells ring and monks chant mantras. Nope; you simply (a) switch off light, (b) put head on pillow and (c) close eyes, all as a prelude to eight hours in the land of nod - and not just occasionally, but every night. If you have trouble getting enough sleep, follow my getting to sleep guide, just published on Hub Pages. Sweet dreams.
The idea for a book combining colour theory and Greek mythology, which has always held my fascination, occurred to me just over two years ago.I have now launched Mythical Colouring. The majority of colouring books provide colour enthusiasts with patterns for essays into pure colour. However, even imagination requires a helping hand when matching and contrasting shades. The introductory notes and the guidelines that accompany every story serve as a springboard for the aspiring colourist.
Each story consists of two images, an A4-sized image and a smaller – though enlarged - detail from that image. Many enthusiasts may prefer to experiment on this detail before moving on to the full-sized picture. I have also provided blank squares at the outset of the book for pure colour experimentation.
Beginning with the story of a prehistoric deluge, the reader is taken through a montage of scenes from the lexicon of Greek mythology that include the pastoral worlds of Hyperion and Endymion, to the subterranean realm of Medea and the adventures of Hercules. In the accompanying guidelines, I explain how to attain the requisite atmosphere through the use of colour, and reminding the enthusiast that he or she is free to experiment.