Friday, 15 November 2013

Quarter Of A Million!

We've only gone and bloody done it!

A quarter of a million hapless souls have stumbled across this blog since I first started it back in August 2011. Honestly, I never ever thought I would get to such a massive milestone and without all of you? I wouldn't have made it this far.

A huge thank you to each and every one of my readers. You're all brilliant!

Here's to the next quarter of a million!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A Visit To Salisbury Cathedral

It's taken me a bit of time to get this post done, and for that I apologise. I was going to write this when I got home last Monday, but given the news about my dear friend I am sure you can understand why I put it off. At any rate, last Monday (4th Nov), I took myself off for a morning in Salisbury. I have always loved Salisbury, and when I was younger I used to go to gigs at the arts centre there and the little pub named "The Winchester Gate". Of course, the history of the city is utterly fascinating, and I am in love with the cathedral.

So I hopped on a train and toddled off to Salisbury Cathedral. A building so full of history.

Briefly, the original cathedral was on the site of Old Sarum. I was planning on heading up there during my trip but couldn't really be bothered to walk the two miles through the city, or find a bus. Yes, I'm lazy. At any rate, there is a wonderful story that an archer stood upon Old Sarum and fired an arrow. Where the arrow landed it was decided the new cathedral would be built. The cathedral we see today was started in 1220, and the tower and spire were completed during the 1330's.

Random fact: If any of you have seen "Pillars of the Earth" you will recognise the front face. Simply, the cathedral in the show was based on Salisbury Cathedral.

Random fact No 2: David Oakes who plays William Hamleigh is from Salisbury, and his father works for Salisury cathedral.

Once I had rambled around the cathedral and visited the shop (I ALWAYS make sure I visit the shops in places like this, and picked up a Bernard Cornwell novel - he's my friend on Facebook. True story!) I made my over to the museum.

I was slightly disappointed to find that the archaeology sections were closed off due to a lot of work going on at the museum. However it was still nice to wander around this small museum. As I wandered around there were particular displays on dress throughout the years and as I wandered through that gallery? Christ, the dummies scared the hell out of me. There was also a display on ceramics. I had a wander through, paying particular attention to the older stuff i.e. the samian ware, as well as the medieval stuff. But as it got more modern I found myself growing bored and took myself for a wander elsewhere.

Little disappointed I didn't get to see the Amesbury archer...

This guy dates to the bronze age and was found near Stonehenge during a housing development. It's morbid, but I have a bit of a thing for human bones...

At any rate, I couldn't see him and a lot of the archaeological stuff. Still, the museum itself is a wonderful place and I recommend visiting. I brought a wonderful book from their shop on the archaeology of death and burial. Morbid reading, but incredibly interesting. 

In all, an interesting morning. A shame I couldn't stay longer, but I am planning on going back on my next day off to spend a whole day there looking back around the Cathedral, the museums in the close and heading up to Old Sarum. Keep your eyes peeled for further posts on Salisbury.

Monday, 11 November 2013

We Will Remember Them

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Here's to all those who lost their lives in past conflict, and recent conflict. To those who died protecting their country. On 11th November, at 11am 1918 the armistice was signed and ever since we have taken two minutes silence at 11am to remember the fallen of past and present conflict. I myself have had family fight in both world wars, as well as the recent Afghanistan conflict, so personally I believe that today should be a day of thought and reflection.

Thank you.

Les We Forget.

Monday, 4 November 2013

In Memory Of Hasan - Art Historian Extraordinaire and Fantastic Friend.

It is with a heavy heart that I write today's post. I came online this morning only to find out that my dear friend Hasan Niyazi, author of the fantastic Renaissance and Art History blog "Three Pipe Problem" has sadly passed away. This was a huge shock, as I was only talking with him on twitter last week about my plans for my week off and he was looking forward to seeing photographs of the places I had planned to visit.

Hasan's blog was one of the first I found when I started LBM, and we connected through our love of Renaissance history and our "mythbusting" over The Borgias. He was a delight to speak to, and his research spoke volumes of his passion and love for the Renaissance and all things art history. Truth be told, Hasan was, and still is, a complete inspiration to me and I shall continue to use his blog and his work not only for my own research but to keep his memory alive. It was clear from the moment that I first started talking to Hasan that his passion lay in the Renaissance, and I remember him commenting on my photo of me next to Raphael's tomb. We often discussed Italian art, and I was always in awe over his love and passion for Raphael. His story of how his tour guide in Rome let him in the Pantheon on his own to save the rest of the group his flailing always made me crack up. 

Hasan, my dear friend. You will be sorely missed not only by me but by your friends and readers. My heart goes out to your family. I wish we had been able to speak more, although when we did it was always a pleasure. Thank you for inspiring me to keep this blog going, thank you for being such a good friend. I will miss you and will always remember you.

I may never have had the chance to meet Hasan, and despite the fact that we lived half a world apart I considered him (and still do) an amazing friend, a colleague and an inspiration.

May you rest in peace, my friend. Next time I'm in Italy? The trip shall be dedicated to you.