27 June 2010

Tuesday’s weather was probably about as fine as it is possible to be in the UK. It was pleasantly warm (probably in the low to mid 70s) with a light, gentle breeze. The sky was clear and deep blue with just some high level streaky clouds and the sunshine was golden and plentiful. We celebrated with a barbeque of the “World’s Greatest Hamburgers”, sweet corn, potato salad as well as a mixed green salad fresh from Penelope’s garden all washed down with a very pleasant Bordeaux (a smooth and delicate taste of strawberries and plums) and finished off with a selection of those amazing ice creams – liquorice, fennel, strawberry, coconut and sour cream on this occasion. Just about as nice as it is possible to be.

It would have been nice if the weather through the rest of the week had steadily improved. Fine as this week has been, it’s not the case that it has improved through the week – rather, it has deteriorated slightly but it’s still been grand. It’s been warm and sunny but not that bright, clear sunshine that we had on Tuesday. Still, it’s been good enough for a bike ride or two, the occasional barbeque washed down with a bottle of (generally) French red wine (a bottle of Chilean merlot did sneak in there but I won’t tell if you don’t) and ample opportunities to recline in the hammock and/or wander around the estate admiring the flowers.

Speaking of Ms Playchute’s garden, a couple of photos might raise the tone somewhat. In general, it’s looking in splendid form even if the borders do look to be somewhat on the “wild” side this year. The salad and vegetable garden is thriving and we have just a wee bit more than we can manage ourselves, you’ll be surprised to learn.

I was reading on the Time web site that Edith Shain, who is widely believed to be the nurse on the receiving end of a kiss from an amorous sailor in Times Square in that iconic photograph taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt on VJ Day in 1945, recently passed away at the age of 91. You can read about it here and it got me to thinking about other, similarly iconic photographs of kisses; does their story have the same depth as that one in Times Square, I wonder?

The Kiss - New York City

Certainly Robert Doisneau’s 1950 photograph, Le Baiser de l’Hotel de Ville, in which a young couple are locked in an embrace as all of Parisian life swirls around them, is similarly iconic. However, it was posed (which I think I had read somewhere but was confirmed on one web site I visited): “Among his most recognizable work is Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville), a photo of a couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris. The identity of the couple was a mystery until 1993, when Denise and Jean-Louis Lavergne took Doisneau to court for taking the picture without their knowledge. This action prompted Doisneau to reveal that he posed the shot in 1950 using actor/models Françoise Bornet and Jacques Carteaud. Françoise was given an original print as part of her payment. In April 2005 she sold the print for 155,000 € at an auction. Paris was one of the favorite photographic subjects of Doisneau.”

The Kiss - Paris

In short, it’s quite clear that kissing is a good thing and personally, I shall try to do more of it.

The Kiss

Finally, finally – a headline from the Minneapolis Star Tribune which should give our weather forecasters a bit of a hint as to how to be more accurate with their weather predictions:

“Our Summer Will Be Cooler . . . Unless It’s Not”

I tell you, you couldn’t make it up.

Love to you all,