Sydney city seems to have lost a lot of its bookstores lately. Fortunately, the two best ones (in my opinion anyway) Kinokuniya and Abbey's are still going strong but the others have either gone or have been reduced to pale shadows of their former selves and are full of books by television chefs.
In Holland, however, there is a bookstore to make you swoon called Selexyz Dominicanen. The space was originally a 13th-century Dominican church which was then used as an ‘indoor bike pound’ by the locals up until 2007. It was then restored to its former glory and turned into a bookstore. I can't imagine anything more lovely than to browse in there!
Hello! It's Thursday! I hope everyone's week is progressing in an orderly manner!
I've been perusing my mountain of National Geographics again and I came across this rather wonderful photo essay on Tolstoy (1828 - 1910) and the particular corner of Russia that he inhabited.
According to the article, Count Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy (yes, he was an aristocrat) is among the most widely translated authors. His two most well known books are of course War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Reading this article makes me want to drop everything and immerse myself in them!
Here he is at 20 and at 82, two years before his death.
Apparently he was a pretty wild young lad. "I am living like a beast", he wrote in his diary which he started at school and kept until the end of his life. He failed to complete a law degree and spent his time partying with the Gypsies that still ran a theatre in Moscow at that time.
Tolstoy had a wild and adventurous life. He joined the army after dropping out of university, had his first story "Childhood" accepted for publication at the age of 24 and then went off to fight in the Crimean War. He lost his 32 room family mansion in a game of cards whilst in the army and so, when he married at 34, he brought his bride home to a separate two-story wing of the former mansion. He then started a school for the illiterate children of peasants. Meanwhile, his short stories were a hit in St Petersburg but he turned his back on that fame and set about writing War and Peace. Seven years later, the great masterpiece was completed in 1869.
Aside from his writing, he is influential in his religious beliefs and is said to have been an inspiration to men such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi. He was also passionate about nature. The article says that the outdoors were a church to Tolstoy.
Immediately below is a path lined with linden trees that he used to walk along ever day and below that is an avenue of birch trees at his ancestral estate. "I noticed this beauty..and fell in love with it," he wrote of this beloved avenue.
I hope everyone had a super Christmas yesterday! I had a delightful day with my family and am now recovering nicely at home! :0)
I thought seeing as it was the celebration of Christ's birth yesterday I'd have a shadow shot of a favourite church of mine: St Mark's Anglican Church in Darling Point. It's not too far from where I live and I pass it on my constitutional evening walk a few days a week. On Sunday mornings we can hear the bells ringing for the Sunday service and on Saturdays there's usually a wedding.
It was built in 1852 in the English Gothic style; more specifically the Victorian Romanesque style that was popular in the day. It's built from lovely sandstone which changes colour at different times of the day.
And! Just as an aside, it was where Elton John married his sound engineer, Renata Blauel, in 1984 and where Muriel of Muriel's Wedding fame was also married!
Shadow Shot Sunday is a fab meme set up by Tracy of Hey Harriet! If you'd like to join in you are more than welcome to! All you need to do is read the instructions here.
My Shadow Shot Sunday photo is of a rather frightening looking gargoyle that was spotted by my eagle eyed boyfriend in a mall in Melbourne. Actually, I think it may be the devil! I'm sorry I didn't get a better shot of him now.
...and it's wrong of me to call him a gargoyle because a true gargoyle has a water spout. To be thoroughly technical about it he is a non-waterspout grotesque! More specifically he is a chimera non-waterspout grotesque. A chimera is a figure that is a mixture of beasts. This one is a half goaty thing and a man? I'm not quite sure. The chimera grotesques were put atop buildings to warn people about the dangers of becoming complacent about the devil.
Shadow Shot Sunday is a super fun meme established by Tracy of Hey Harriet. Anyone can join in! If you'd like to do so, here are the instructions.
This is The Patron Saint of Humming-Birds. It was another exceptionally warm weekend but I managed to get this lovely lady out onto paper. I have actually been thinking quite a bit about humming-birds and patron Saints e.t.c lately and I'm quite pleased that this is the end result.
In fact I am quite fond of Patron Saints. This is the second one I have drawn so far. The first Patron Saint I drew was The Patron Saint of Rabbits - I made her into a greeting card. Here she is below.
I am also a big fan of Roberto Rossellini's film about the Franciscan monks and the Patron Saint of animals: Saint Francis of Assisi. It's called The Flowers of St. Francis. There are lots of delightful scenes of Saint Francis with animals - and having them gather round him in rapt attention. If you haven't seen this movie, I strongly suggest you do so as it is truly wonderful. Astonishingly, all the actors in this film are actual monks and non-professional actors. It is very touching and I think it has left a lasting impression on me.
Speaking of flowers, a very delightful aspect of all this warm weather is my Dad's gardenia bushes. They are bursting forth all over the shop! My Dad has two bushes: one has small button hole blossoms that totally cover the bush and the other has enormous blooms that are as big as your hand! Both smell like heaven so I never mind which ones he picks for me. Below are two photos I took of some flowers from the "big" bush. They are a little yellow but they still look all waxy and fit and of course they smell divine!
I hope everyone had a restful and relaxing weekend!