The days are often very long, yet the weeks seem to fly by. Such odd distortions of time as we are knocked out of our usual patterns of life.
We have been walking out on Midsummer Common most days, in wonderful weather, with almost no-one else around, just the occasional runner or dog-walker whom you can easily dodge. But gone for now are our old regular habits of dropping into one or another of a couple of coffee shops on the far side of the Common. It is such little things that you miss. We took a decision years ago not to have a serious coffee machine at home, partly because there’s little space on the kitchen worktops, but mainly to encourage us to leave the house and have a decent walk in order to have proper espressos and to get some friendly human contact too. Who knows when that can all begin again?
It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. Once upon a time in olden days, BC, we’d thought of going up to London to visit the Artemisia exhibition at the National Gallery. Well, that didn’t happen, either the exhibition or the visit. But as a present I did get the catalogue which has been published and is terrific. In fact, aren’t many art exhibition catalogues these days just wonderful? Quite beautifully produced, with often very readable and illuminating essays (which, judging by the characteristic pages of endnotes, are grounded in a huge amount of scholarship lightly worn), and all for the price of a couple of exhibition entry tickets. This book is no exception. We saw the Artemisia exhibition in Rome a few years ago; and yes of course it is a great pity not to experience again the visual impact of some of those dramatic canvasses face to face (and that seems the appropriate description). But this catalogue is much more than a small consolation: it’s an art-work in itself and very enjoyable. So that’s this week’s lockdown book recommendation!