Bea, your web site is spectacular. I love the colors, the approach, the design, the words.

Nancy

The past is here, now

The past is here, now

Ah, now I see why I always see it, it is with me, not behind me.  I am lucky enough to have experienced life in such a way that the past constitutes a trove and not a hobble. The past is never behind. It is always to the side. Source: John Berger, Pig Earth, quoted in...

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An inventory of sounds

An inventory of sounds

A moment captured in sounds by an alert listener as he walks.  Noting the precious details of the world is for me a strong element of living in the spirit of nuannaarpoq.  Perhaps we could parachute in on one sense or another, sight, hearing, smell, and focus it on a...

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A maritime spectrum

A maritime spectrum

A wonderful array of colours washing in and out of each other with the sea soughing the shore.  It would have taken a sharp eye to spot this spectrum of subtle hues.  Have you ever studied the sky and actually tried to name the range of colours it can present? The...

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To look and be wonderful

To look and be wonderful

A favourite four-character phrase in Chinese is biao li ru yi meaning something like 'surface-inside-as-one', in other words being what you seem, which is to say, authentic.  It soon presented itself as an essential component of a nuannaarpoq manifesto. Here Adam...

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Tea for two

Tea for two

Dogs are playful but otters are surely the arch-nuannaarpoqians of the animal world.  Here Gavin Maxwell takes his friendly otter on the sleeper train with him, and the animal settles into his bunk in such a human stance that the attendant, bringing tea in the...

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Of place and memory

Of place and memory

I had never realised that this is perhaps an article of faith with me until I read of Nicolson's belief in place as a repository of memory.  I remember stepping into a house beautiful in its architecture, position, layout and furnishings, but so steeped in sadness...

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When does autumn begin?

When does autumn begin?

Officially, around 21st September, and this year it arrived with the precision of a Swiss watch.  But sometimes it can slip its calendar moorings, and choose another moment.  I loved this marker of Gavin Maxwell's. Autumn begins for me with the first day on which the...

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Thinking, from every angle

Thinking, from every angle

I love this description of the eccentric British Consul in Rhodes after the war.  The better to mull over a newly striking idea, he would precipitously slam on the brakes of the car and give it his full mental attention. Only hope he looked in the rear-view mirror...

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The long sense of possibility

The long sense of possibility

Insights into creativity and innovation in the song of the nightingale - I particularly like how he draws on what he already knows, as we can draw on our past, both personal and collective, to forge the new.  And 'gurgle-beauty', what a lovely notion! Every snatch of...

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Ah yes, so it does

Ah yes, so it does

A simple injunction, but timely, always. Be patient. It takes time for ideas to become clear. Source: Adam Nicolson, Sissinghurst: An unfinished history (London: Harper Press, 2009), p. 120Photo credit: Quadronet_Webdesign at pixabay

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The purpose of a house

The purpose of a house

To provide shelter?  A roof over your head? Security at night from wolves and thieves? A place to stash your stuff?  Yes, maybe, all those things and more. But also this: a place to dream in peace. I talked to her about Gaston Bachelard and his idea that the purpose...

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An Elizabethan rose

An Elizabethan rose

Adam Nicolson describes his grandmother finding an unknown tenacious rose in the ruinous place which she renovated and transformed into today Sissinghurst Gardens.  I like that this rose is indestructible and might, just might, trace its roots to the original...

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Admiration patches

Admiration patches

Nobody hatched or planned the idea of Admiration Patches.  Instead, they were unconsciously crowd-created by individuals literally 'voting with their feet'.  The gardens at Sissinghurst have thousands of visitors and by the end of the open season, their admiring eyes...

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Why did I never tell him?

Why did I never tell him?

Over time, the need to avoid such a scenario has grown in me.  Without being morbid, we never know when we will see someone again, and it's important to have a no-regrets approach to expressing love or friendship, even implicitly. Recently I called an old friend whom...

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Beauty is not based on consensus

Beauty is not based on consensus

A thoughtful comment on the nature of beauty.  I like the idea that it is a denial of the average and is only possible with exceptionalism.  I don't know if this is true, but it resonates with me. And the innate sense of its own worth, without the need for external...

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In praise of the scruffy and marginal

In praise of the scruffy and marginal

I love hedgehogs and see them as an ambling, loveable, flea-scratching symbol of hope and freedom, as well as the rights of the scruffy and marginal to be scruffy and marginal.  If they can survive in your garden, your garden is healthy. If the species survives our...

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Catch a falling flower

Catch a falling flower

After weeks of dancing around pandemic implications, we were overjoyed to have three members of my family visit us for ten days.  During their stay we spent a sunny day walking around Geneva before visiting old family friends for tea. 'Old family friends' is a general...

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Dancing summer days

Dancing summer days

They are still with us, although we're far from that beautifully named, white-spumed 'maned Aegean'.  Eke them out, enjoy each and every one and then bask through the winter months in recollection of them.... memories of this pure sunlight, these dancing summer days...

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These days of September

These days of September

A surprising insight by the author of All Quiet on the Western Front.  You will never see this month the same way again, here proposed as a metaphor for a stage of life, the ninth month of a lifespan of twelve.  So many fine aspects of a human existence, including...

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Cheer up, you have escaped

Cheer up, you have escaped

Here Durrell describes the woman who became his second wife, who joined him in Rhodes after the war.  I was struck by the comment that a 'sad childhood is poor preparation for unexpected happiness', particularly as there were large parts of my childhood which could be...

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Delightful in its anomalies

Delightful in its anomalies

Hoyle was the British Consul in Rhodes during the two years following the war, and became a close friend of Lawrence Durrell.  He is eccentric, ornery, particular, and funny, possibly unintentionally. He also had a heart problem which obliged him to stop and rest...

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Aristocrats of the spirit

Aristocrats of the spirit

Are you one?  If not, why not?  An aristocrat of the spirit doesn't need palatial dwellings or magniloquent titles, just a spirit imbued with creativity and its impulses.   This noble characterisation is Durrell's way of paying tribute to an Austrian potter he knew...

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A fisherman’s happiness

A fisherman’s happiness

Durrell has some wonderful exchanges with a philosopher-fisherman called Manoli during his two years living in Rhodes after the war.  I liked this idea of cultivating your own happiness like a pot of basil on the window sill. His happiness is his own work, cultivated...

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Of perfect summer mornings

Of perfect summer mornings

Being a madrugadista, I love descriptions of the magic hours of daylight before the world is up and about.  It sets me up for the day if I wake by dawn in summer, around five in June but by now, mid-August, already slipping well into six o'clock.  As I see the night...

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Work and peace

Work and peace

Hölderlin, who wasn't frequently at peace with himself, describes the value of a day spent working, at ease and in one's element.  How work can feel when it works.See also Adam Nicolson's comment on the value and pleasure of working alone.Anyone who has never been...

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A dream summer scene

A dream summer scene

One of the charms of Miklos Banffy's superb Transylvanian Trilogy is the evocative and tapestried description of landscapes by a man who knew and loved them in their detail, and who, when he was writing, knew that many of them were no longer accessible to him.  This...

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Calm and contentment

Calm and contentment

Christian Ludwig seems to have been a wise man, able to look on things with calm and contentment.  He lived at a time no less tumultuous, and perhaps in some ways more so, than our own.  A reminder to cleave to the good and keep one's equanimity.Your calm, the lovely...

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A perfect process

A perfect process

My kind of decision-making process, superbly succinct and balanced. Not sure how much I live up to it, but certainly one to aspire to.Reflect coldly!  And then act with fire!  Source: Friedrich Hölderlin, letter to Karl Gok, 21 August 1794, Essays and Letters, trans....

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On working alone

On working alone

Adam Nicolson's description of working alone resonated with me, as I have also nearly always done so, and it is my preferred mode, even though I thoroughly enjoyed the time I worked in close connection with colleagues.  This doesn't mean I doubt the benefits of team...

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Love is …

Love is …

For me, if not for others, a perfect definition of love, by a 12th century troubadour.  The image, of wall art in Lisbon, struck me as a perfect illustration.For as all true loversKnow, love is perfect kindness. Source: Guiraut de Borneilh (c. 1138-1215), quoted in...

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Neglect nothing

Neglect nothing

This sense of completion in an artist's life struck me, and it made me think about what I may be neglecting now. I take as read the implication that he means 'nothing important'.  A no-regrets summary of life. It also echoes something my father has said a few times...

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A record of love

A record of love

Thoreau's journals have many comments on the nature of journals, of which this one is closest to my own impetus for writing one, albeit patchily: I put off writing for weeks because once I start there is so much to say, even keeping only to one's 'affection for any...

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Luck be lavender tonight

Luck be lavender tonight

Lavender is a resistant plant, surviving a generous spectrum of cold and heat, rain and drought. It's perhaps therefore an appropriate plant to bring you bomb-dodging luck in a blitz. I liked this anecdote by Steinbeck, firstly the details that people remember of...

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Rita meets the Bee Gees

Rita meets the Bee Gees

A few years ago I had a professional trauma and a friend sent me this video. It became my resistance song, making me laugh at the nonsense. Having noticed that when leaving an organisation, it was common to lace your parting farewell note with strategic input and...

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Far the greater number

Far the greater number

If you can die concluding that by far the greater number of people in the world are very good, you have had a good life or perhaps you have just lived it well.  Here, Steinbeck concludes his slim, rich account of a month spent in the Soviet Union at the height of the...

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The culture of place

The culture of place

An interesting observation by James Rebanks, who has fought to keep alive some older traditions of farming and sheep-rearing, including a particular type of sheep, in the north of England.  His book seems to have touched a chord, resonating with a deep-seated need for...

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A people of poetry, music and dancing

A people of poetry, music and dancing

Being cautious about characteristics attributed to entire nations which might be more suitably attributed to individuals, I hesitated to share these observations by Steinbeck of his experience of Georgians, during a short visit of a few days or perhaps a week. What it...

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Sunlight time

Sunlight time

Time pouring down with the sunlight while diaphanous drakeflies dance on the water. A perfect summer scene and one to share at the cusp of summer. I am still sorting drakeflies from damsel- and dragonflies.  It appears that what I have been joyously calling out as...

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Hone your senses

Hone your senses

An unexpected reason to take up the arts, it sharpens your appreciation. Among other things, it seems that many forms make you notice detail, they invite you to see or hear more, at different levels. They also invite focus, filtering out distraction and the...

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Of wholehearted hospitality

Of wholehearted hospitality

Steinbeck describes the warmth and generosity of the welcome he and Robert Capa received in Ukraine, during their month long trip to the Soviet Union in 1946. The entire village was party to the plan, and contributed what they could. This was a great show of...

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Time fell away

Time fell away

This describes one of those timeless stretches when you step outside the sturm und drang and step into flow of one kind or another. This is the detachment we find each in our own way, but commonly it seems to involve contact with a natural setting, or being involved...

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Joy in a whistle

Joy in a whistle

A wonderful moment captured, or imagined, in the playful, cavorting, dangerous life of an otter. Here Tarka's mate whistles to him and he responds in joy. 'Soon he heard a whistle, and a feeling of joy warmed his being.'  Williamson's is one of the most enchanting and...

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Emblem of transience

Emblem of transience

A contemplative observation on flowers and their beauty. However, to the transcience I would add resilience. It amazes me how flowers come to places from which they've been excluded, if given half a chance. I find them boldly blooming in hair-pin cracks in pavements...

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At one with the universe

At one with the universe

A joyous, rolicking testimony of the power of wine to turn men into gods, or at least make them feel that way. Zorba's exuberance and vivid experience of even the commonplace makes him a world class nuannaarpoqian. May you occasionally feel as if you will live a...

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