1 December 2022
30 November 2022
It has been a while since I mentioned my son Ian. As a number of visitors to this blog will remember, he is one half of the successful BOSH! duo who, in the last six years, have helped massively to put vegan cuisine and vegan cooking into mainstream consciousness.
Vegans are no longer tree-hugging pasty-faced hippies who dine on lentils and carrot soup. Besides, Ian and Henry have no big issue with the suggestion that it's okay to be a part-time vegan because veganism isn't a religion. If you can't go the whole way, maybe you can just go part of the way.
Personally, I am an omnivore but on days that happen to be meatless without dairy products or eggs, I am being vegan. Perhaps I used to but nowadays I never bristle about the term.
Today and tomorrow, BOSH! have a swanky trade stall in the Olympia exhibition hall in Kensington, London. It is hosting the Plant Based World Expo Europe! Ian sent us the photos that illustrate this blogpost.
By all accounts, everything at BOSH! continues to tick over nicely. This year's book was titled "BOSH! On A Budget" and next year yet another recipe book will be published but I am currently sworn to secrecy about its title and contents. It may cause some ripples in plant-based circles.
Meantime, I thought I would have another look at the BOSH! Wikipedia page. It is now much more informative than it was two or three years ago and if out of curiosity you would like to know more please go there
Exhibition in full swing earlier today - Ian on the left, Henry on the right
29 November 2022
Well - that was a nice way to spend two hours. England deservedly beat Wales by three goals to nil at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.in Qatar. It was our last game in the group stage of The World Cup and now we have qualified for the second stage along with fifteen other teams. One of them will be The USA who beat Iran by one goal to nil at the very same time that we were beating Wales.
Our lads looked really good tonight. After a patient first half, there was some zippy, creative football in the second half with two goals from Marcus Rashford and one from Phil Foden. They are both Manchester lads but there were also four Yorkshire-born players in the team - Walker, Stones, Maguire and Phillips.
Compared with England, Wales is a small country with a population of only 3.1 million whereas England has a population of 56 million if you don't count the boat loads of asylum seekers and economic migrants who have come to join us this year. In Wales, rugby is a very popular sport and in some schools it still takes precedence over football.
I feel no animosity whatsoever towards the Welsh. They have a proud history, an ancient language, great singers and writers and when it comes to sport they are very passionate about their nation. It is also a land of hard work and natural beauty - the homeland of three of my personal heroes - the poet Dylan Thomas and Aneurin Bevan - the architect of The National Health Service - plus the famous blogger and hospice nurse John Gray.
Trouble was that though Wales players may have the hearts of dragons, their skills generally fall far short of the talents that England's manager can call upon. Wales now bow out of the tournament but not in disgrace. They did their best and you cannot ask for more than that. Meanwhile, England go on to play Senegal in the Round of 16.
Finally, you may be wondering who the hell Ahmad bin Ali was. He was the fifth ruler of Qatar - between 1960 and 1972. "He was noted for his solemnity, wisdom and careful discretion in tackling issues". Oh yeah? That's him below:-
28 November 2022
Milton Jones is a well-known comedian here in England. His style is rather different from the rest. He specialises in silly one-liners that often include witty word play. Here's just a sample of his "work". By the way, a P.E. teacher teaches Physical Education - sports and suchlike. The job may have different labels in other countries. Loughborough is a town in Leicestershire, England - often associated with sports education.
27 November 2022
I remember reaching The Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry and though I don't recall my exact route, I left the town of Dingle, heading north for two or three miles. That's when, purely by chance, I came across the structure shown above - Gallarus Oratory.
This enigmatic building was more or less overlooked by scholars until the mid-eighteenth century. It is likely that it was once a simple church - exquisitely built perhaps as early as the tenth century. It may have been part of a monastic settlement.
I was alone but then I saw another figure tramping along the lane. He was a Canadian visitor - also a university student of a similar age to me. I don't recall his name but we shared our reactions to the oratory and I remember he became my intermittent travelling companion until we reached Cork City in the next county.
It was a balmy summer. I hardly felt any of the rain that gives The Emerald Isle its name. This was the first time I had ever visited Ireland and I loved it. Though it was just next door to the island of Britain, it seemed so different.
The people spoke English but they were different from the English. They appeared to have more time for strangers and were arguably more attuned to ancient notions. At least it seemed that way. One-upmanship was pointless and they enjoyed the "craic" - people getting on happily with each other.
I still have many memories of that tour. They endure after almost fifty years and one of them is of my unplanned visit to Gallarus Oratory - so perfectly constructed, like an overturned boat made with carefully placed stones - like a 3D jigsaw puzzle.
26 November 2022
The painting is on canvas which probably indicates that it was not intended for public display. Almost certainly it was commissioned by a member of the powerful and wealthy Medici family. They were great patrons of the arts.
Botticelli did not pluck his plans for this painting from thin air. It reflects many things about art in the Early Renaissance period and harks back to classical mythology from both the Greek and Roman eras. Botticelli was well-informed.
Venus is the Roman equivalent of Ancient Greece's Aphrodite. She was born out of the sea fully formed and appears upon the shore on a gilded clam shell where three figures await her. To the right there's one of the goddesses of the seasons or "horae". This goddess is clearly connected with springtime and she is holding out a cloak with which Venus may hide her modesty. To the left there's the Greek god Zephyr who has blown Venus to the shore. He is possibly accompanied by Aura - a goddess associated with breezes.
Venus's body is somehow elongated and she stands unnaturally in a pose we might associate with classical representations of the female form in Greek sculpture.
The left of the painting is lighter than the right and the sea stretches out far behind Venus giving the composition a strange depth.
Much has been written about "The Birth of Venus" and what I have said here is but the tip of an iceberg of investigation, speculation and appreciation. This priceless work of art is housed in The Uffizi Gallery in Florence where I stood before it in slack-jawed awe in February 2007.
25 November 2022
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