jeudi 23 décembre 2010

'Twas the night before Christmas

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Dear readers,

I don't expect many of you will read this tonight and frankly I'd be concerned if you didn't have nicer things to do but I'll post it anyway. Please forgive my absence on this blog, not replying to your comments or reading your posts but I've been swept up in a whirlwind blowing in all different directions. It all started a week ago, waiting for hours at the airport while somewhere above, our plane was waiting to land. Airports are the strangest of places, anonymous and designed to cut you off from all familiar habits, leaving only the desire to eat and spend money. Outside lines of red snowploughs lined up ready for action while the thick white flakes stubbornly continued to fall. When I finally made it, there was the train ride to London, beginning through a landscape thick with frost where the branches of the trees were woven into delicate lace patterns and the fields deeply lined with furrows where you feel your very presence destroys the magic of a fairytale. London never ceases to amaze me, especially at Christmas time the air filled with music and twinkling in the chilly evenings. I enjoyed the Regency elegance of Thomas Lawrence's portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, returning to familiar sights in Canaletto's Venice at the National Gallery and Gauguin's Pont Aven and exotic islands at Tate Modern. On my way to the National Theatre to see Alan Ayckborn's Christmas Greetings, I paused to watch the ice skating at Somerset House underneath a huge tree sparkling with green and white Tiffany decorations. To finish it off, there was the magic of Ernst Lubitsch's Shop Around the Corner with James Stewart at the National Film Theatre (tonight It's A Wonderful Life is lined up) which made me both smile and cry. This is perhaps my favourite moment with all the excitement still to come, the mince pies to bake and the presents to unwrap. My fingers are dyed red from decorating the cake, I'm listening continually to the Carpenters and Nat King Cole and outside, you can still see the snow in the frozen twilight. More is forecast for Boxing Day and secretly, I love the idea of being snowed in with plenty of good food and a pile of old films with Fred Astaire, Cary Grant and Mae West. I'll leave you with some photos from the past few days. Some of you will already be celebrating and exchanging presents but wherever you are and whatever you're doing, I wish you truly wonderful holidays.

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A last look at Berlin decorations

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Icy in London

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Oh, those Penguin notebooks!

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Ice skating at Somerset House

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The Capra season at the BFI

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Baked aubergine with feta and roast vegetables at the National Theatre

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Nice wrapping paper

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Carol singers on the South Bank

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Another visit to the British museum

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The Chinese collection at the British Museum. A crouching cat light.

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Tang figures

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A model doorway from the Ming Dynasty

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An old fashioned pillow - luckily, things have become more comfortable

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In need of refreshment with a blueberry and cheesecake muffin

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Pretty decorations at Covent Garden

30 commentaires:

  1. I'm up way too early this Christmas morning...Taking a peek through my reader. Merry Christmas to you too xxx

  2. I adore your snowy landscape photographs. I will not see snow this Christmas, but I am home, and that is a treat in itself. Merry Christmas!

  3. So nice Vanessa, love all your London pictures, hope you have a wonderful holiday in the snow. We have had a magical wonderland in Dublin with the snowy weather, here's to cosy fires, monopoly, hot ports and lots of chat. Off to Berlin on 27th until 07.11 which will be great. Merry Christmas

  4. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!
    New Year's 2011 Fireworks Celebrations Around the World
    Demo on YouTube

  5. I do love those fierce Chinese faces... you capture them well! The lights, well I'm a sucker for Christmas lights and really love the simple bulbs with snowflakes at Covent Garden. Have a very happy Christmas and a lovely holiday with good dusting of ENglish snow... magical stuff!

  6. Sorry if you happen to be here at London last week, everything was so chaotic and the planes did suffer a LOT! Hope your trip wasn't as bad. Your photos are great, as always, and I like the funny way of a muffin interfering between a Chinese antique and the XMas decorations in Covent Garden, have a lovely Christmas! Cheers from London

  7. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May 2011 bring you joy, happiness, fulfillment, success and harmony!

    Lovely shots, thanks!


    Rosa xxx

  8. @Sasa - By now you must have opened your presents and I hope you enjoy this special day back home. Take care,xx
    @Denise - Up to last year, I had never experienced a white Christmas and truly love it but what counts is spending time with those close to me and I'm sure the same is true for you. Happy holidays!
    @Elizabeth - Your time in Dublin sounds perfect for me and I can imagine how special it must be. I was lucky with the snow in London and had visions of me spending Christmas Day in a hotel but it all went well. Fingers crossed the travel chaos is sorted out and enjoy the return to Berlin.
    Jupiter Family - Merry Christmas to you too!
    @Deana - Oh those Christmas lights bring out the child in me every time and my days in London were so special. I had never seen the Chinese collection before so it was a real revelation. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas dear friend.
    @Pity - I was lucky to get to Britain just before the chaos started and didn't fly to Heathrow, what a nightmare! I had such a great time in London and was sorry when the trip ended. My photos reflect the kind of person I am, perhaps not a serious art lover because I always feel distracted by hunger. Hope you have a lovely Christmas in London.
    @Rosa - Dearest Rosa, I wish you all the same things and can't wait to see the things you rustle up for Christmas lunch and the views of the landscape around you. Happy Christmas and have a wonderful New Year.

  9. Thank you, Vanessa. I'm watching It's a Wonderful Life right now. Must log off but thank you for the wonderful pix, I'm so glad you got home before complete mess, & I do miss London. Logging off but will be in touch soon.

  10. Merry Christmas, Vanessa! Beautiful photos -- my favourite is the one of the snow resting on the bars of the iron fence.

  11. Joyeux Noël Vanessa !je te souhaite une merveilleuse journée
    Merci tes photos sont superbes !

  12. I cannot celebrate Christmas eve without It's a Wonderful Life. Merry Christmas, Vanessa.

  13. Un grand merci Vanessa pour ce superbe Billet aux couleurs de Noël accompagné de neige ;-)

  14. @Susan - So nice to hear we have the same habits! I hope you're having a wonderful Christmas and Julie too. 'Talk' to you soon.
    @Amber - Merry Christmas to you too dear Amber!
    @Sacha - Merci Sacha et je te souhaite de tres joyeuses fetes.
    @Tracy - Yes, that film is as much a part of Christmas as a tree or holly and I hope you have wonderful holidays.

  15. @Alice - De rien Alice et je te souhaite de tres bonnes fetes et une annee magique a venir.

  16. Oh, tu me donnes envie d'aller à Londres! Même si, d'habitude, je n'aime pas cette ville, il me semble que je pourrais l'apprécier à travers ton regard...
    Très jolies photos du musée...
    Je te souhaite de passer de merveilleuses fêtes! Je rentre à Berlin pour le Nouvel An, histoire de ne pas rater la batailles de boules de neige géante entre Kreuzberg et Neukölln. :)

  17. Perfect photographs for the holidays, Vanessa. Simple breathtaking.

    I know travel has been a pleased you got home safely. And enjoyed the rare snowfall. Happy New Year to you!

  18. merci pour la jolie promenade, joyeuses fêtes à toi !

  19. Wonderful photos, the skating, lights, and the dramatic figures in the museum. Happy Holiday!

  20. On ressent vraiment l'atmosphere des rues de Londres a Noel au travers de tes photos. On entendrait presque le tintement des clochettes. Tres joli billet.
    J'imagine que tu y es toujours. je te souhaite d'excellentes fetes de fin d'annee.

  21. Great pictures!
    Took my breath away :D
    Hope you had a Merry Christmas.

  22. Happy holidays, lovely pics


  23. @Manon - Merci beaucoup! Avant je croyais je ne n'aimais pas Londres et il y a toujours certaines choses que je trouve insupportables et je me plais tellement a decouvrir cette ville, surtout a Noel. Viel Spass am Sylvester et j'attends avec impatience le reportage de ces batailles ;-) Je crois que la neige m'attendra pour mon retour la semaine prochaine.
    @Barbara - I definitely escaped the travel misery and feel very lucky. This time, we didn't get much snow in Derbyshire and in London, the thaw arrived but still, we had a white Christmas which was nice. My holiday has been so lovely and I feel sad it's already the final week. Happy New Year to you too!
    @Trinidad - Oh merci et je te souhaite une tres bonne annee 2011.
    @P.K - Thanks so much for your wishes and I hope you have a wonderful New Year. Take care!
    @Gracienne - Merci beaucoup. J'etais bien triste de quitter Londres il y a une semaine deja car mon sejour y etait magique mais je suis toujours en Angleterre et je profite des journees tranquilles ce qui est vraiment agreable. Je te souhaite une merveilleuse annee 2011 Gracienne!
    @Sarah - Thanks so much, it's lovely to hear that. Enjoy the rest of the holidays and Happy New Year!
    @Bonnie - Happy holidays to you too.

  24. looks like you had a wonderful time and I'm so envious of your snow and cold - it was incredibly hot and humid on Christmas day in Australia.

    happy new year!

  25. Nice pics :)
    Meillures voeux pour 2011!

  26. awesome pictures! (and those notebooks.. I need to get my hands on them!)
    happy new year!!
    I PROMISE to write soon.

  27. Quel merveilleux billet ;. .Je pense que nous aimons les mêmes Noël ... Moi, c'est A Wonderful Life que je ne manque jamais de regarder à Noël ... Une tradition chaque année renouvelée ... IL y a deux ou trois ans, je ne sais plus, nous étions à Londres les jours juste avant Noël et je m'étais rempli les yeux de toutes les merveilles déployées par cette ville que j'adore ...
    Tes photos me rendent bien nostalgiques ... même si mon dernier séjour là-bas ne date que de six mois ... ;o) Londres est une ville magique, vraiment !
    Bisous et bonne reprise, en ce début d'année ... que j'en profite pour te souhaiter belle et douce ...

  28. thanks for your wonderful comment on proust for my art on the streets post - you've reminded me of something :)

  29. @Hila - I'm glad it isn't summer here and in spite of the snow, think I prefer it to a hot Christmas. I hope your New Year has started well and am pleased you liked my comment. Your post was so inspiring and made me long to re-read the first volume of Proust, although I should probably get around the last one too!
    @Enrico - Thanks a lot and Happy New Year!
    @Pia - I thought of you as I know you share my passion for all things Penguin. Everything they make is fantastic.
    @Hélène - Ton billet sur Londres était vraiment un de mes préférés et je suis complètement d'accord que c'est une ville magique, surtout avant Noel. J'espère y passer quelques jours en décembre 2011 aussi. Je te souhaite une très bonne année, pleine de choses délicieuses!

  30. I have really missed coming here, Vanessa. And I hope that you are doing well so far this new year. The past few months have been extraordinarily intense with work so I understand where you're coming from in this post. I'll be posting on a more regular basis now, and will definitely be back to see what is going on in your life. Take care.