Sunday, April 03, 2005

France and Italy

Hey everyone, my France and Italy photos are now online! It didn't take long at all with Hello and Picasa, compared to the usual lumbering uploads.

*sigh* It is that time of year when my thoughts wander to Italy. This morning I wanted so much to go there, it was tugging at my heart.

By now we have all heard of the Pope's passing. He has "serenely abandoned himself to God" and of him I will say no more. I was flipping through photo albums at my grandmother's house last night - lots of pics of Iceland, Denmark, London, ancestors, friends, family. I turned the page, looked up at the TV to note the news of the Pope's death, looked back down at the page, and lo and behold! There he was! Helga's grandkids were standing in front of his waxwork at Madame Tussaud's. Needless to say, Amma and I freaked out for a minute.

Amma gave me some awesome old books with embossed hardcovers.
--A 1960 publication of some O. Henry short stories
--Her own childhood copy of "The Children of the New Forest" by Capt. Marryat, apparently a 19th century print bought at a boksali in Reykjavik
--A version of Dumas' Three Musketeers, so old the pages are brown, and apparently once belonging to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps.
--A copy of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, inscription page torn out but the impression on the next page looks like it was a gift from my grandfather to Amma and my uncles John, Lawrence and Andre in 1943.
--The Old Curiosity Shop by Dickens, inscribed with the wonderful name Octavia Grace
--and finally the oldest one - so old the canvas on the cover is unravelling, a 1903 version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, inscribed by my great-grandmother Ethel Roe at East Park College in 1903.

My g-grandmother Ethel Roe was apparently up in Southampton society circles, and was engaged to the son of the consul in Rio de Janeiro. She didn't hear from him for many months so she wrote to break off the engagement and tell him she would marry the first man who asked her. Well, that was the Icelandic captain Einarsson whom she met at a party. Soon the ex-fiance came looking for her, with the explanation he'd been deathly ill. There must have been countless similar misunderstandings in those days with slow or no communication.

Now for a funny story, my uncle Lawrie was studying art at the Regent's Street Polytechnic (now part of the U of Westminster). One day Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh visited the art students there, and when he asked my uncle what he was studying there, he quipped, "Agriculture" to which the prince replied, "I asked for that, didn't I?" Common occurrence when it comes to Prince Philip.

I am again watching The Queen's Castle about Windsor. It's about the annual Gartering, when the current Knights of the Garter join Her Majesty to garter the new appointees, of which there are never more than (12 or 23) at one time. Also about the races at Royal Ascot, and how intimately the Queen knows her horses and their bloodlines.


Jia Li said...

The books sound lovely liv! Really like to look at them all.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you got yourself a nice little old collection. 1903, that's over a 100yrs old!!!

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