An A to Z.

Every once in a while Jane at Beyond Eden Rock does an A to Z and I thought this time I would join in...

A is for Aᴜᴛᴜᴍɴ.

Taken yesterday.

It's beginning to look very autumnal here. The leaves have faded, some are even yellow, and the flowers that survived this abysmal summer are going a little brown on their edges. The season is most certainly changing.

B is for Bɪɢ Bᴇɴ Rᴏᴡ.

Big Ben (Credit: Yui Mok)

It was announced that Big Ben would be silenced for four years, for the first time since 1859, whilst vital repair work is done on it. But, for some of us it seems, the idea of silencing Big Ben is too much, so there's a debate (almost overshadowing Brexit) on whether it is a) best to silence it, b) best to deafen the workers, or c) if it would actually deafen the workers anyway. To add to the trauma, it's also just come out that the Ayrton Light, installed at Queen Victoria's request, will be switched off: it's only ever been switched off for World War I and World War II.

C is for Cʟᴇᴀɴɪɴɢ.

This is how I will be spending my weekend: today the house, tomorrow the greenhouse.
But it will be worth it!

D is for Dᴜᴍᴀs.

Currently reading: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.

E is for Eɴɢʟɪsʜ Sᴜᴍᴍᴇʀ.

I think I've mentioned here and there (and everywhere!) that it is awful. The best headline on the subject is from the BBC - British summer time: It's raining.

F is for Fɪʟɪᴘᴘᴏ Bʀᴜɴᴇʟʟᴇsᴄʜɪ.

Brunelleschi Duomo [Photo credits: étoiles filantes].

I'm back to reading Vasari's Lives of the Artists and the next post will be on Brunelleschi, hopefully over the weekend or early next week.

G is for Gᴜᴀʀᴅɪᴀɴ Cᴀʀᴛᴏᴏɴs.

Ben Jennings on Theresa May's appeal for policy ideas.

I love political cartoons, especially Ben Jennings' for The Guardian and also Dave Brown for The Independent. Above is one of my recent favourites.

H is for Hᴀᴡᴋ.

This morning there was a very young sparrowhawk in the garden! It moved too fast to get a picture.

One of my favourite songs and, for a very long time now, when I'm waiting for something I find myself tapping out this beat.

J is for Jᴏɴᴀᴛʜᴀɴ Wɪʟᴅ.

Henry Fielding's Jonathan Wild was the last book I read. I did enjoy it but I'm afraid I can't find much to say on it at present, so it may be quite a while before I review it, if I do.

K is for Kᴀʀᴀᴍᴀᴢᴏᴠ.

I first read Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov a few years ago now and have always wanted to read it but still find it intimidating. Ruth's excellent recent review has given me some confidence to try again so soon, early autumn if not before, I'm going to give it another shot.

L is for Lᴜsᴛ Fᴏʀ Lɪꜰᴇ.

Lana Del Rey by Neil Krug.

Lana Del Rey is one of my favourites, and her Lust for Life was released in July this year. It's pretty much all I've listened to since. It's tough to pick out a favourite, but I do particularly love Cherry, Change, and God Bless America.

M is for Mᴜsʜʀᴏᴏᴍs.

They are absolutely everywhere here, many grouped together like little villages. I took some pictures for Wordless Wednesday.

N is for Nᴇɴᴇʜ Cʜᴇʀʀʏ

Neneh Cherry's Buffalo Stance is a song I can't get out of my head today.

O is for Oᴡʟs.

I love listening to the owls as I'm falling asleep, and they were pretty active last night despite the rain.

P is for Pᴏʟɪᴛɪᴄs.

Another book I'm currently reading: Politics by Aristotle.

Q is for Qᴜᴇᴇɴ Eʟɪᴢᴀʙᴇᴛʜ II.

The Queen and Prince Charles at the State Opening of Parliament.
[Photo credits: Wpa Pool / Getty Images]

There are rumours that she's abdicating?! Surely not!?

R is for Rᴇᴘᴜʙʟɪᴄ.

Next on my reading pile - Plato's Republic.

S is for Sᴇᴠᴇɴ Nᴀᴛɪᴏɴ Aʀᴍʏ.

I was very amused to learn that the White Stripes' Seven Nation Army sales spiked by 16,893% because of Jeremy Corbyn!

T is for Tᴜᴍʙʟʀ.

I was very excited this morning to see my Tumblr now has 37,000 followers!

U is for Uɴsᴏᴄɪᴀʟ Sᴏᴄɪᴀʟɪsᴛ.

An Unsocial Socialist by George Bernard Shaw is the last book I read and will be the next novel I review on here and frankly I'm struggling! What an odd book it is. I think I like it.

V is for Vᴏʟᴇ.

Water Vole.

Water Voles might be re-introduced to our area! I do hope I see one.

W is for Wᴀʟᴋɪɴɢ.

I've been doing a lot of walking recently, more so than usual, and I do find it wonderfully calming.

X is for Xᴇɴᴏᴘʜᴏɴ.

After I've read Politics and Republic, my next planned read for my Ancient Greek and Roman Challenge is Xenophon's Hellenica.

I sung You're Not from Brighton by Fatboy Slim to a dog today substituting the word "check" for "Jet", which is the dog's name...

Z is for Zᴏʟᴀ.

Zola by V-.A Poirson for La Vie Parisienne (1st February 1890).

Zola. Always on my mind.


  1. marvelous and eclectic collection... walking is good; i do more bike riding now that joint pain has appeared... age takes it's toll...

    1. Oh dear :) I'm not much of a biker, not rode a bike since the 90s! Walking is good, and for some reason there's hardly any midgies in the forest (I don't get why, I thought it'd be ideal). There's a lot of swallows hanging out around the meadow too, it's lovely to watch them. And, another good reason for walking - I've picked up loads of pine cones to decorate for Christmas!

  2. How fun to do an A-Z! I'm in Portland and will be doing no such thing anytime soon. But American tabloids claim about once a month that the Queen is going to abdicate in favor of Will -- so I'll believe it when I see it?

    1. I'm going to be cynical here and suggest it's all to do with the anniversary of Princess Diana. There's been loads here about how awful Prince Charles is and what a rotten king he'd make (I don't agree, not at all) at present, and to publish a story saying we're about to have Charles as king and, more importantly, Camilla as queen (don't get me started on queens and consorts) really gets people buying / clicking. What is funny is there's some folk actually think we get to choose our king, and we can somehow make sure Charles doesn't 'get' to be king. They've not quite got the hang of the concept of 'monarchy' :)

      It'll be a very sad day when she goes, be it abdication or... you know. I'm not a 'Royal Watcher' but I do appreciate what they do, and I appreciate the concept (if that makes sense). I hope she doesn't abdicate. And if she does, expect nothing sensible from Britain for a while, we'll fall apart most likely ;) (Not that anyone's been getting anything sensible from us of late).

      Hope you're enjoying Portland! :)

    2. Oh, Diana anniversary, of course. I hadn't thought about it enough to connect the two things in my head, but our tabloids are having Diana fever too. I always thought being Princess Diana would be about the worst thing ever. I have a lot of respect for the Queen, but I kind of think that monarchy is an iniquitous system on the whole. (Maybe it's like democracy -- the worst system around except for all the others, heh)

      Portland was lovely! The weather there is about perfect. We all decided we want to move to Portland. I'll be writing a post in a bit.

    3. Did you go to Portland for the eclipse? When it was on the news Portland was the first to be mentioned and I remembered you said you were there.

      I agree that a monarchy in the strict definition would be pretty awful, but with us the monarch doesn't have absolute power. Got into a long long long email discussion with my American friend during our election over what the Queen can and can't do. It's more limited than people realise. As for democracy... I don't know... feel like we live in a plutocracy sometimes :) But the whole system is interesting and certainly not all bad. The House of Lords is, in my mind, rather abused though - Blair threw in a load of Labour peers then Cameron chucked in a load of Tories. It's ridiculous. Someone referred to our system as a 'chumocracy' and I think that really does make sense, especially now! As for the Queen - must admit I like the pomp and ceremony. State Openings, Trooping of the Colour - history, horses, and shiny things. Can't resist it, I'm useless :)

      We've got loads of Princess Diana programmes on at present, can't believe it's been 20 years. Also one of our 'national treasures' died so there's another load of programmes about him - there's really not much to watch over here!

      Looking forward to your post :)

    4. Yep, it was an eclipse trip. Portland doesn't actually lie within the band of totality, but my brother lives there, so it was a good place to start from and also I had never been to Portland (!).

      Yes, the extremely limited monarchy you have now is a huge improvement from absolute power! I do feel like it lends some stability; as we are seeing from the US' current example, pure party politics have some drawbacks too, and 'chumocracy' is an excellent description of both systems at this point. But OTOH I'd hate to be born to a job, or to live my life so completely in the spotlight, and this whole 'getting to pick who you marry' thing is pretty recent. (I figure Will and Kate took forever to decide in order to make sure that Kate was really willing to take on this horrible job, which apparently includes the world getting to comment on your looks 24 hours after giving birth. O.o)

      I will admit to being a fellow sucker for a good dose of pomp and ceremony, though!

    5. The eclipse looked great! We had one a few years ago, got a picture of the shadow made by a mirror (here). I'll admit it hardly compared with NASAs :)

      I've barely followed what the Democrats are doing right now but I gather it's not wildly impressive. Clinton's book should be interesting - don't plan on buying it but will no doubt read the snippets etc. Never been too taken with the Democrats, but then I don't know much. The tiny bits I do know made me think of Blair, part of why I was put off.

      As for Royals - one of them (one of the princes, William or Harry) did say it's tough to be born into, takes some coming to terms with. The Queen will be a tough act to follow, adding to the pressure. And Kate - did you ever hear about the "Waity Katie" thing? A nickname from our media: remarkably stupid of our press, that.

      We were a bit short-changed of our pomp and ceremony for the State Opening - the Queen just wore her usual formal. People joked it was hardly worth her getting changed, and frankly it probably wasn't!

  3. I love the simplicity of your blog. It's lovely.

    Congratulations on 37K admirers on Tumblr. Are most of those images your own? I enjoy your photos on the blog, too. Thanks for giving to us Americans a taste of England. : )

    It is interesting that you mention the Queen b/c I had never heard of this until earlier today when I saw a headline stating she would not step aside for William (I believe it did say William); but I did not know it was an issue.

    Thanks for the shout out for the BK review, though I struggled with it - the blog post, that is! : /

    1. Hey, thank you! The images on Tumblr are mostly *not* my own. If you were to click on each picture the credits are usually there unless I reblogged them from someone who didn't add credits. I do try to be careful though. And yeah, 37k, it's bizarre but it's also luck! There's loads of amazing Tumblrs I follow who don't have that kind of number.

      As for the Queen, I did also see yesterday somewhere else that Charles would not be side-stepped. I have a million opinions on this, but in brief I don't think Charles should be side-stepped at all. Plus I think he'd be a very good king and this 'Camilla is evil' is nonsense. It's a shame too. She'd be a good consort, and I'd be proud of both of them, I really would. It's the old Princess Diana issue, that's why so many have taken against him. The Diana worshippers are most likely to be Royal watchers, so they're the most vocal and opinionated. Anyway, can't say I'm wildly interested in their private lives. Ought to be kept private in my opinion.

      There's an awful lot of talk at present of the Queen not being around any more. Not sure if they're trying to be prepare us for something or if they're being deliberately miserable. Read a very depressing article published yesterday (here)about what will happen when she dies, all about mourning and replacing passports, money, and stamps. All very odd. Her mother got to over 100 so let's hope we don't have to worry about this for a long time!

      And yes, once again well done on your BK review - it was excellent! :)

    2. If you think about it, altering the process for public opinion may not be a good idea b/c it may effect future transition processes. Do people really want that to happen?

      The sad thing about the story [Diana, Charles, and Camilla] is a theme that is all too common in classic fiction - that men and women were not able to marry whom they wanted, and many marriages ended in distress b/c they were arranged. As I understand it, Charles and Camilla already loved one another, but - as politics go - Diana was chosen for him instead. Anyone could have seen that that was not going to work out.

      Oh, and I was incorrect about the Queen side-stepping "William." It says Charles. I must have imagined it said "William" in the headline. My brain.

    3. I agree re. altering the process. It's a funny thing, the Royals, the Lords, the idea of the unelected having such an impact on our democracy: in theory it's the kind of thing one probably ought to be against, but it's so very useful at times. Asides from which the Lords etc, well, some of them, do take it seriously and one can trust some of them. Not all, but some. Might as well keep the whole thing as it is, basically. And also there's the continuity and stability. If we *could* choose then the whole thing would go to pot and it would be utterly pointless. It's not X Factor, nor is it a popularity contest.

      As for the old Charles and Camilla debate... I gather the Charles and Diana marriage was arranged by the Queen Mother and Diana's grandmother? It was arranged anyway as you say. I also read, not sure if true, that Camilla's marriage to Andrew Parker Bowles was announced in the Times before they were even engaged to essentially force their hand. It's bizarre. The aristocracy and upper middle class are rather odd at times, which is partly why I don't have much to say on their private lives - I don't understand their ways :) It is such a shame Charles couldn't marry Camilla to start with, but I gather she was a tad wild back in the day, or had that reputation, so would have been then an unsuitable match and mother of the heir. And poor Diana was hopelessly unprepared, which obviously wasn't her fault. It was quite a mistake, and such a shame.

      It really is like a classic novel, isn't it! Wouldn't Trollope have done a good version of this!

  4. Woohoo!! congratulations on 37k followers! Awesome sauce! I love Run as well....I think it is a thing of our generation! I read The Brother Karamazov in 2015 for the first time and I was left speechless. To say it was brilliant is an understatement and should you choose to read it in next couple of months, I will be happy to give you company! I love the Autumn picture as well The Guardian's cartoon! Brilliant!

    1. Run's the best :) And I do love The Guardian's cartoons, and The Independent as well - great stuff. Martin Rowson's on Big Ben the other day was good - did you see it (here)? And the autumn picture - it still amazes me. We're pretty much in autumn here, it's utterly bizarre. That said one of my sweet peas finally flowered yesterday :) Who knows, perhaps we're in spring. Seasons are merging....

    2. The Big Ben one is awesome! I saw it the other day! Sweet Pea now? Oh! Wow! Yes...seasons are merging!

    3. I felt a bit sorry for the solitary sweet pea this morning - it was so cold (5 degrees) and there's supposed to be a frost coming soon... It finally emerged and look what it's greeted with! Poor thing :)

    4. And we look like we're going to have an extended summer here: sunshine, hot temperatures and many days lots of pollution ..... I'm actually looking forward to autumn but I can understand that you might not if you feel like you haven't even had a summer.

    5. I'm mostly looking forward to autumn (as someone said on Twitter I'm disheartened by this "fake summer"). But it's a bit strange. I hope we get a proper autumn and winter and not more grey skies. I hate this grey! It's been sunny all morning though, which is fantastic, but it's back to grey now. Still I'd rather this than the summer other people in the world have been having. Quite a dramatic summer this year.


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