Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


This painting is by Louis le Nain (1593-1648.) He and his two brothers were painters in 17th century France.


Some time ago I mentioned that my daily routine at the computer includes visiting a number of world-wide charity websites, where, by means of a click, you can donate to each charity at no cost to yourself.

Each organisation has provided donors with figures for 2009, and it’s great to know that the scheme continues to be successful.

HUNGER SITE     60.3 million cups of food provided
BREAST CANCER  2,808 mammograms paid for
CHILD HEALTH    751,381 children helped
LITERACY           445,648 books for children supplied
RAINFOREST       11,500 acres of land saved
ANIMAL RESCUE  78.7 million bowls of food provided

The Hunger site web address is - - and the other sites can be accessed from there.


I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.

I remember, I remember,
The roses, red and white;
The violets and the lily-cups,
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday -
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember,
Where I was used to swing;
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing:
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!

I remember, I remember,
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky;
It was a childish ignorance,
But now ‘tis little joy
To know I’m farther off from Heaven
Than when I was a boy. (Thomas Hood 1799-1845)


This is an interesting view of “Women’s Fashions in the 1920s” (There’s no sound during this slide show, though a there are a few seconds of music at the end)


When I was 15 or 16 years old, a boy I knew only slightly took me into his home to meet his mother.

As we entered the lounge, I had quite a shock for a very attractive dark-haired woman was draped over the sofa. Ropes of beads round her neck, very short dark hair, a bandeau across her forehead, a cigarette in a holder - she was the image of a 1920s flapper girl. Now this was in the early 1940s!

That was the only occasion I met that boy’s mother. I learned later that she was a recluse, and people said that she lived in her own little dream world.


The German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff has achieved world-wide fame in opera, in the concert hall and through his recordings. He won the Grammy Award for the Best Classical Vocal Performance in 2000, 2004 and 2006. He is a Professor at the Hanns Eisler Music School in Berlin. This amazing man is also a jazz singer - and the type of jazz he does is really wild!!!

Here are two videos - “Old Man River”  and then, in a nice crooning style “Moon River." The first one is accompanied by the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle.


On today’s “JOHN’S QUIET CORNER” there’s a an excellent clip of Wilhelm Kempff playing the first movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”


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