I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn’t fight.
He hadn’t fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
—the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badly—
I thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
—It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
—if you could call it a lip—
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels—until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.
Elizabeth Bishop, 1911 – 1979
This week in Liverpool saw the sale of the contents of the studio of Sean Rice who died in 1997.
Statues, maquettes, wax models, paintings.
A varied selection, from strident riot police with shields, a nod to the Toxteth troubles, to the mellifluous mythic, a reference perhaps to Maurice Lambert who taught Rice in the early 1950’s.
My own favourite pieces can be viewed every day in Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Archbishop Warlock commissioned Rice to produce a series of sculptures for the Stations of the Cross. Prior to this the Stations were represented by photographs of the Vietnam War. Rice did not disappoint.
Each part of Christ’s journey is depicted in metal. Hard, unforgiving, unyielding sculptures twisted and contorted to form brutal images which are quite harrowing and breathtaking. They are magnificent, evoking sorrow and suffering. Each one more and more haunting as Christ struggles on his journey to the Cross.
If you are in Liverpool put this on your list of ‘must sees’. In situ in the Cathedral this art is remarkable. To see it scattered over a trestle table in an industrial unit in the Baltic Triangle, seemed almost sacrilege. I managed to buy a very small piece, I salvaged a part of Liverpool’s history, made by one of its most talented sons. It was astonishing that the collection wasn’t bought for/by the city. Instead a life’s work will now be scattered and disseminated. Most never to be seen again.
Please read this very interesting obituary of Sean Rice, and get yourself down to Paddy’s Wigwam. It’s Easter. You can. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-sean-rice-1283255.html
As a special request – you know who you are! – I have included another post about Pedro the Spanish Wonder Dog.
I took a photo of him today, outside, with the sun on his back, wearing his rather tasteful Birthday Bandana. Pedro says Hola! and thanks ever so for the party and the fabulous prezzies. I think his favourite gift was a bumper size pack of Gravy Bones.
Mmmmmm. Ewwwwww. Quite revolting!
Welcoming Pedro has been a fabulous, rewarding, entertaining, lovely experience. Everyone tells us how lucky we are.
He is a rescue dog with no issues. He has lovely manners, is very sociable, with an excellent sense of humour. He isn’t demanding or needy, is ever so obedient, and most charming of all, Pedro is a demonstrative, loving hound. His favourite pastime is to hop up on the sofa (nawty!), and gently nudge you with his soft little snout until you stop reading, typing, chatting or snoozing. He will then put a paw on your shoulder whilst you rub under his chin or stroke his ginger ears. He loves that. If you stroke his ears long enough he goes into a little trance and eventually keels over and falls asleep sprawled over your knee.
I’m struggling to remember what life was like Pre Pedro. Mud free. Dog hair free. Smelly soggy toy free. A bit empty?
I’d love to hear your experiences, do you have a rescue puppy?
Does your dog have a wardrobe to match Pedro’s?
‘Oh, Paddy* dear, did you hear the news that’s going ’round?
The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground
Saint Patrick’s Day no more to keep, his colour can’t be seen
For there’s a bloody law again’ the Wearing of the Green.
I met with Napper Tandy and he took me by the hand
And he said “How’s poor old Ireland and how does she stand?”
“She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen
For they’re hanging men and women there for Wearing of the Green.”‘
Raise your pint of Gat to the wearing of the green today.
*And raise your next pint to my father Patrick, my grandfather Paddy, and my great grandfather Patsy.
Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.
Happy St Patrick’s Day.
Beautiful string of choker length pearls, vintage Ralph Lauren.
Pearls look better the longer you wear them.
Their lustre reacts with the warmth of your skin.
Wearing them makes your smile whiter and brighter.
Here’s my tip of the day, try cleaning your pearls in salt water. They came from the ocean, a watery splash of brine does wonders for their nacre, but not the thread. A quick dip in and out is all you need. Then buff with a chamois leather. Gently!
Here is a marvellous article about our love for pearl jewellery. And you can buy them at my marvellous shop!
Here we have a lush Art Deco Filigree Czech Brooch.
Very intricate. Very charming. And very reasonably priced.
If you are looking for a beautifully made antique, for the price of a bag of chips and a bottle of wine, then look no further.
Keep your eyes peeled. This weekend I am going to write a lot. An awful lot. About Chinese textiles, here is a little peek:
Do you know what it is yet?
Go on, have a guess….
Charles Stuart founded Sarah Coventry Jewelry in 1949, named after his granddaughter.
Stuart was very forward thinking for his time.
He had no in-house designers, but relied on out sourcing from freelancers. He then put these designs out to be made in various local factories, rather then having his own manufacturing base. He was also quite innovative in his selling techniques, replicating the Tupperware and Avon models, using house parties to get people talking about his affordable jewellery, using the strapline – ‘Dare to be Different’!
This word of mouth marketing strategy made Sarah Coventry one of the most popular jewellery brands of the 20th Century.
You can own an affordable – dare to be different – piece of history, and a signed antique of the future by clicking on these beautiful earrings.
This is Pedro. We think he is two years old today.
Or maybe yesterday.
Possibly last week. Anyway, he’s around two. We don’t know for sure because he’s a rescue dog. From Spain. He was dumped on a roadside in St Pedro when he was about 2 or 3 months old. And that’s why he’s called Pedro. Duh.
He’s the best dog I’ve ever had. Actually, he’s the only dog I’ve ever had.
In Spain his main activity was finding the shadiest spot and lying there. All day.
In England his main activity is wagging his tail incessantly and standing by the front door, which is a massive hint that he’d quite like to go to the park and chase the ducks.
He wasn’t at all impressed by the snow. Which is fair enough if you’re a Spanish dog.
And like lying down in the shade. All day.
He was taken to a rescue home in Estepona, which is where he found us. And trotted over to us. And sat on my feet. Curled up. And didn’t move until we’d agreed to take him. He’s cute like that. He’s cute full stop. If I could have a £ for every person who comes up to Pedro and Me and says – ‘what sort of dog is that?’ Pedro and Me would be living in Spain. Lying down in the shade. All day.
To celebrate. He has had a new bandana. Red with blue paisley. And cheese. He’s partial to Cheddar.
If you know what sort of dog he is please do tell?
We just say he is an Andalusian Sheep Dog. Feliz cumpleaños Pedro!
(Click on the top photo for information about Pedro’s brothers and sisters in the Rescue Home in Estepona)
They don’t make them any more like Emilio Pucci – born in 1914 to one of Florence’s most illustrious families, the Marquis Emilio Pucci di Barsento naturally embodied the jet set glamour of post-war Italy.
Multilingual, well-travelled, American-educated, air force pilot, Olympic skier and aristocrat – he was a Renaissance man in every sense of the term. Recovering in Switzerland after the war, and with the Italian economy in ruins, Pucci made ends meet by teaching Italian and giving ski lessons in Zermatt.
It was there that in 1947 a streamlined ski outfit he designed, initially for himself and then for his enthusiastic socialite friends was photographed by a fashion photographer and published in Harper’s Bazaar USA, giving rise to a fashion phenomenon that continues to reverberate to this day.
However, as an ex trolley dolly, I would like to thank Emilio for his fabulous contribution to the airline industry. In 1965, Pucci put an end to ‘The Plain Plane’ with his avant garde uniform and livery designs for Braniff International Airways:
I really think there is room in the market for a re-launch of the ‘bubble helmet’, especially if you live through the monsoons of Northern England. Genius!
Invest in an antique of the future. A signed Pucci scarf. And if you know where I can find a bubble helmet – do let me know!
Click on the scarf to be taken to my shop.
This gorgeous piece is known as a torque, possibly torc, and maybe even torq. The word is derived from the Latin torquis meaning ‘to twist’.
This form of jewellery can be traced back to the Bronze Age, some 4,000 years ago. My bracelet is probably not quite as Ancient, dating back some 30 years approximately. The torc was a sign of nobility and high status. Sometimes worn on the arm, sometimes adorning statues, and often worn around the neck, as these torcs were, which are on display in the British Museum:
To purchase your very own slice of vintage history click on the bracelet. Or torque.