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November 18, 2019


Love following your and Jonathan’s adventures Beth! Your drawings let us see your travels through your eyes. Sounds like it was an epic trip!

Oh, Beth, these drawings and your words are glorious. Thank you.

I was in a frame shop yesterday (picking up four small prints that I bought in Cuba, which I had framed when I got home) and saw beautiful art supplies and they made me think of you.

That's a lovely drawing Beth, especially the monochrome one which, to me, is more atmospheric. Minkey and Philip were in Greece again quite recently and you might have met up there if I'd known you were going!Looking forward to more of your Greek sketches and verbal descriptions.

I hope Jonathan's show went well. Love to you both.

I've looked at the lines of latitude defining Montreal and Athens and I'm reminded I did this when I moved to Pittsburgh and found I was now on a par (roughly) with Madrid and Istanbul, a long way south of chilly, damp London which I'd recently left.

Ah, the temptation. To beat the seasons and move to somewhere warm for the winter months. I suspect this would be financially do-able given the property prices in Greece. A retired acquaintance of mine, a Brit, who is far from wealthy has done just this. But then you previously lived in Vermont and must have understood the seasons. Avoiding the Canadian winter would, I suppose, be avoiding an important part of what makes Canada Canada.

And there's Britain's stark example. Politically I'm supposed to revel in cutting myself off from the landmass that gave us Rembrandt, Schubert and Proust. But this act of populist insanity merely strengthens the emotional and intellectual ties. More particularly the immediate benefits of a quotidian mingling with people who not only speak differently but who think differently. Also I'm working on what Fischer-Dieskau regards as one of the greatest and most difficult songs ever written, Du bist die Ruh - my own hidey-hole, my own place in the sun.

Your drawing captures the crampedness of Athens, the cheek-by-jowl nature of what makes Greece Greece. Welcome back.

What a difference to see bigger pictures of your drawings on your blog. Now I can appreciate them better. Although Instagram is convenient and fun it does tend to cheapen things. I have to chuckle at your comparison of the contrasting seasons to Persephone's punishment.

Thanks, Kathy! Well, you know us and our style of traveling. Hope to catch up in person with you two sometime soon!

Rachel, thank you for thinking of me and for this lovely comment!

Robbie, Du bist die Ruh is indeed a great song, and I never sang it to any satisfaction, so I wish you better luck. The winter here is more of an aggravation as we get older -- I love the seasons, including winter and snow, and we used to downhill ski which was a big attraction in Vermont. But those days are over, I'm afraid (both because of knees and the ridiculously high cost of lift tickets, plus why do I want to ski in beautiful remote mountains with people who are talking on their cell phones?) in recent years, climate change has replaced beautiful fluffy snowfalls with episodic snow and ice storms that leave the city sidewalks covered with six inches of treacherous glare ice. Because we've committed to not using our car unless absolutely necessary, we always walk the half-hour to and from the studio, even in mid-winter, so this means crampons on boots, bundling into down coats, wooly hats, etc. When winter begins in November, as it has this year, by late February and March we've all really had it, knowing that the snow will last into April. So Persephone's six months in Hades really means something to us! I don't think we will ever buy another place in a warm climate, but getting out of here once or twice is something we are fortunate to be able to do. As long as I'm still singing, too, I don't want to be absent for great long periods of time, and there's something in one's soul that connects to the darkness of deep midwinter, and the candlelight and warmth of interiors, with friends.

Priya, yes, you're so right, that little IG window doesn't show much. As for Persephone, see my reply to Robbie, above!

Natalie, thanks. Your friend TC agrees with you about which of the three versions he prefers! I thought of Philip and Minkey but thought you told me their place was on one of the islands, which we weren't near. But perhaps one day we can meet there -- I think London is more likely though!

Thanks for that generous comment and, in particular, the reassurance that Du Bist die Ruh is difficult. After one session V observed I'd become so absorbed I was singing it as if in Morse code. More effortless legato, then. But oh the irony of "effortless".

Hope Jonathan's opening was splendid...

Lovely hierarchies of little houses and big clustering around the Acropolis... I look forward to more!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.