Friday, December 30, 2011

Letters of York

A vintage post-office display from the Railway Museum in York, featuring two of my favorite tropes, numbers and series of objects.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

In the Future

This week's somewhat mindbending theme is Future. Herewith, the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Firenze, Italia, completed in 1360. And here we are in the future that none of the Dominicans involved in its building could have foreseen, restoring it to the condition it had in the past.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Flood Tide of Shadow

A sun-dappled morning in Locke Park, Barnsley, Yorkshire. Careful, don't get your feet shady!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


One of my favorite spots in Italy is the island of Capri. Part of the attraction is that I'm a huge Graham Greene fan, and he spent much of his life here. But it's a lively place with many warrens of lanes across the hillside. I spent only one brief but memorable afternoon there in 2005. It's a great place to stock up on limoncello, I might add.

I love the shapes of this church in the main village.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Mister Softee meets Mister Death in Haworth, Yorkshire, 2005.

Raise from your bed of languor
Raise from your bed of dismay
Your friends will not come tomorrow
As they did not come today

You must rely on yourself, they said,
You must rely on yourself,
Oh but I find this pill so bitter said the poor man
As he took it from the shelf

Crying, O sweet Death come to me
Come to me for company,
Sweet Death it is only you I can
Constrain for company.

- Stevie Smith

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Featured Novice: Piper Bentley

I was going through my folders of photos and remembered how much I liked the ones taken by my daughter Piper (then barely 10) while we were in Italy in 2007. So I thought I'd share them.

We spent many hours and calories trudging up and down ancient staircases throughout Tuscany and Umbria. I'm not sure where this one is.

Here too I'm unsure of the location, but I love Piper's eye for shape and composition. Although swallows were ubiquitous, I like to think she intentionally captured this one.

Perugia (before)
We walked along an elevated sidewalk in this town, which let us spy on a few apartments. I love the lonely washcloth on the clothesline and its shadow. These pigeons were suspiciously hanging around this window.

Perugia (after)
Soon we understood what they were waiting for.

Randy, at the Molino
The neighbor kitten was a constant companion in our villa and was inclined to try to mate with our feet whenever possible, hence his name). Here his wanton disregard for a house of cards is captured.

Arezzo flea market
A huge and fabulous market for anything old you can imagine.

I'm pretty sure this is Cortona, but every town we visited had wonderful doors.

San Gimignano
Piper took my advice to sometimes look up from the pavement.

La strada
This is on the road somewhere. I love the serendipity of the "curve" sign's appearance.

Piper won a school award for this one, which she took of an urban stream.

One of the few signs of life in this town, which was essentially closed for the winter.

Literally, the graffiti means "I and you three meters above the sky." (That is, in "seventh heaven.") It's also a book and movie title.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Event: Pasquale Processione

Theme Thursday and Weekend in Black and White once again: Although I've never been in Italy for Christmas, I've been there twice for Easter. Here are some shots from a night-time Good Friday procession through the streets of Sansepolcro, Tuscany, April 2007. It went on for several hours, with virtually the entire town taking part, bundled up in the cold and slowly walking past stations of the cross staged every couple of streets, with townsfolk and children in costume as Israelites and Centurions. Monks in black peaked robes accompanied us and the parade was led by priests with candelabras; many people carried their own candles.

Looking forward

The Medieval meets the present

Young Catholics doing their best impression of young Jews

We three kings of Orient are

Pieta and fruit

Shorn Christ and an overcome Centurion