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May 13, 2020


Fabulously atmospheric photos, Beth. The top one would make a marvellous stage set. Somebody (why not you?) should write a play which perfectly suits it.

Re the lockdown: it's rather embarassing to admit but I don't find it difficult and in some ways am quite enjoying it. Maybe that's because my usual life is quite hermitic anyway and there's only myself to look after. So shopping for food and cooking it don't usually take much effort and I have plenty of creative work to do which the sense of time having stopped (indeed it does feel like that) is quite helpful. However I certainly am aware that the situation is not at all like this for others and wholly understand the need to get back to some semblance of normal life.

You go to these places armed with knowledge; your posts are a rich effusion of past and personal present. I go there to find something, anything, a lazy adherent of Christopher Isherwood's postponement: "Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.” If it happens I'm grateful and slightly surprised. More often light gets on to the film and the image is diffused. The eternal journalist, now retired, still seeking "the bubble reputation" which WS ascribed to the soldier but which is commoner than he suggests. Transience. Is it the enemy of value or does it have its own worthwhile rewards?

Dear Natalie, I'm glad you enjoyed the Thessaloniki photos. I won't be writing a play anytime soon, in fact I find it difficult to write much at all these days, but like you, the lockdown doesn't feel as oppressive as I'm sure it does to many. If anything it's reminding me of how much I *don't* get done in a day, but I don't mind being mostly at home.

Robbie, you ascribe more planning and preparation to me than is actually the case. I do read up on the history of places, but there's a lot that I miss -- like that spring where Paul supposedly drank -- I was standing right above it (it's below the low stone wall at the end of the paved courtyard in the top picture) and had no idea what was below! So that's history...but I think transience definitely has its own rewards, and serendipity too -- some of the loveliest and most memorable experiences we've had while traveling have been complete surprises that we just stumbled upon.

Thank you, Beth. You're so right that time is behaving in very different and unexpected ways.

Beautiful. Thank you for taking me on this journey, and for reminding me that building community is holy work too.

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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.