Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Downton Abbey Episode 3-The Hunt/Mary meets Pamuk

Exceeding all expectations....


Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Turks in top hats

Episode 3 of Downton Abbey featured a "gorgeous Turk" - the Earl's words, not mine. But I do agree, Kemal Pamuk [ played by Theo James ] was gorgeous.  It isn't hard to work out where Julian Fellowes got the name, only in 1912, Turks used a patronymic, not a surname so he would have been Kemal,   ...son of   ---    Never mind, by any name, Kemal Pamuk stole the show, along with Lady Mary's heart.

As I watched - and drooled - it did cross my mind that perhaps Julian Fellowes had read my story April and May and been inspired by my Kerim Pasha, another Turk who speaks perfect English and who wears a top hat.
But no, that's just wishful thinking. Probably he was inspired by photos of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who was known as 'Golden Head' in his young, party-going days on the social circuit in several countries. He looked as good in the old Ottoman officer's cap as he did in a top hat.


                                                  Which headgear do you prefer?

Friday, 8 October 2010

Finding inspiration


Our stop in Arles was intended to break a long car journey. We had time to visit the Museum [see previous blog entry] and in addition allowed ourselves another hour for a meal and a short walk in the old town. It was a sunny day, hot enough for everyone to walk in the shade of the massive plane trees that lined the road. The cafe terraces were crowded and the open air restaurants pretty full as well.

Right opposite the Espace van Gogh [what was the hospital when he lived in Arles] we found a small restaurant where we sat under a parasol and ate lamb tagine followed by fromage frais with honey and red fruits. The atmosphere was peaceful, the food was good and the pace of life distinctly leisurely.

                            The Espace Van Gogh, a colourful square surrounded by shady arcades.
There was just time for a short stroll to the nearby Place de la République to see the 'pyramide' and the marvellous carved figures on the façade of St Trophime cathedral.
The impression we gained is that Arles is a town where it is good to live. And we only saw it on an ordinary day. There are many traditions, many festivals. At such times the city is vibrant and recalls its long and rich history.
Plenty there to set the imagination working.



Saturday, 2 October 2010

Inspiring... Arles, the Rhone and Julius Caesar

                                                         Arles centre and the Rhone

The Rhone River: Memories of Caesar.

 This stunning exhibition is currently on display in the Musée Départemental Arles Antique.
For the last twenty years archaeologists have been working underwater, pulling out of the murk and silt of the mighty River Rhone over seven hundred objects that bear witness to to the importance of the city in Roman times. In addition to everyday items and evidence of trade in every type of material, there are artefacts which show the wealth and culture of Arles in the Roman era.
The highlight of the exhibition is this bust of Julius Caesar. The carved head seems so real, so immediate that it is easy to feel this is a man you could meet round the next street corner [on his way to the theatre or the arena... sorry, imagination running away with me there...]

More intriguing for me, was the metal statuette placed next to Caesar - and at a lower level - of the Gaulish captive. This man, stripped of his clothes, hands tied and forced to his knees before the conqueror of his country, is a poignant reminder of the power of brute force, perhaps more so with all the trappings of wealth and ceremony surrounding him.

I'm left with the feeling that his tale must be told....