Wednesday, 27 January 2016

A time well spent

I have a confession to make. This morning was rainy and dull and with time on my hands I thought it best to finish organising the rest of our clothes. A chest of drawers in our bedroom is still empty after the move and there are still clothes in boxes. It all started well but then I longed for a cup of coffee and probably made the mistake of bringing it upstairs. Before I knew it I was sitting on the rug with books and magazines, and the film Out Of Africa (1985) running in player. I have no excuse. Most of the drawers are still empty but I believe my time was well spent. In my opinion it cannot be a waste of time if it leaves you inspired.

Lately I have been watching Out of Africa a lot. I don't sit with my eyes fixed on the screen, I just let it run in the player and watch it with one eye or listen while I'm doing something else. I often keep the director Sidney Pollack's commentary on because I never grow tired of what he has to say about Karen Blixen, Kenya and how they shot the film. He doesn't only talk about particular scenes, as most directors do, he goes deeper and I love his way of storytelling. Maybe this is just my way of holding on to his voice after his death. Anyway, it's a film I have watched so many times that I can no longer keep track, but each time I do I'm drawn to different scenes. This morning it was the relationship between Blixen [Meryl Streep] and her Somali servant Farah [Malick Bowens], who was with her the entire time she lived on the farm in Kenya. Their conversations aren't long but the scenes are delightful and often witty. In her book Shadows on the Grass she refers to him as her "servant by the grace of God" and I think Pollack's film captures the meaning of it beautifully.

About my rereading. Karen Blixen's Out of Africa is one of the books I have been reading again. I was thinking about it the other day that the more I see of the stuff people share on social media - selfies and pointless websites, dare I say stupidity? - the more I feel the need to take a step back and revisit either quality books or films. They help to cleanse the mind of rubbish articles and unwanted images out there.

A note on my photos: Top photo shows page 133 in the Dec. 2015 issue of The World of Interiors (taken by Andreas von Einsiedel). The article 'Window on the World' is about the late Julian Barrow, an artist and world traveller, who had a studio in Chelsea. The patterns are from V&A Pattern: Indian Florals. The bottom photo shows a page in the same issue of WoI. The article, 'Bauhaus Below the Border' which starts on page 66, is about Josef and Anni Albers. The exhibition 'A Beautiful Confluence: Anni and Josef Albers and the Latin American World' runs at the Museo delle Culture in Milan until 21 Feb.


  1. Your post made me smile! :-) I'm sort of dreading the coming weeks when I need to go through all my belongings to shed things I won't be taking with me when I move to the Luxembourgish countryside at the end of March... I really admire you for having moved places so often; it all seems like such an energy-consuming affair to me!

    By the way, I went to the Indian textiles exhibition at the V&A a few weeks ago and loved it!

    1. If I have learned anything from all this moving around it is to not collect stuff (except for books and kitchenware, of course). Be brutal when you go through your things! My motto is to give, throw away and sell as much as you can.

      I'm not going to tell you how much I wanted to see that exhibition. I had London plans in the beginning of December that had to be cancelled because of the move to Scotland and therefore I missed it. Instead I asked for the book at Christmas but it was temporarily out of stock so it's still on my list.

  2. Thank you for the tips, Lisa!

    Pity about the exhibition. However, to console you a bit, I can tell you that the patterns of the kind your are posting constituted a relatively small proportion of the exhibition. I mostly recall the fine-patterned brocades, various embroideries and simply stretches of naturally died materials!

    1. Thank you, I'm almost consoled!

      PS. Those empty drawers are looking better now; I'm almost done with all the clothes, but most of those were for spring and summer. Feeling quite happy with myself. Out of Africa was running in the player ;- )


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