Posts Tagged ‘London’

Hardwick Hall

Turning for a bit of dry British humor, in the writings of that famous wit Oscar Wilde. We are following professor Andy Smith, closely reading passages from The Canterville Ghost and walking stately rooms of Hardwick Hall, with its heavy draperies, faded tapestries, turned furniture and gothic-plastered ceilings.

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FutureLearn, week 2

This week’s installment is slightly improved – apart from spot of anecdotes regarding the word “spots” – which, apparently, meant “sins” in 17th century and habitually referred to Puritans as well as baby nappies – we are taken into the High Great Chamber at Hardwick Hall built by Bess of -you guessed!- Hardwick and told at length about traveling companies of actors. Some interesting information; I didn’t think, f.i., that when traveling troupe took the name of their aristocratic patron it was a form of advertizing for said patron as well as actors.

To appreciate the magnificence of the famous windows one must see them from the inside. Ceiling heights are enormous, and it is amazing how much uninterrupted glass it was possible to produce in Elizabethan England.

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Copying here the agenda I am going thru right now:
Week 1: Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire

Photograph of Bolsover Castle

This is a strange and quirky holiday home, the Little Castle was completed around 1619, after having been designed by the great English architects Robert and John Smythson. It is adorned with magnificent wall paintings and ornate chimneypieces. It was a favourite residence of William Cavendish, later duke of Newcastle, and his second wife, Margaret. Margaret was one of the most important women writers of 17th century England, and we will read a portion of a letter that she published in ‘Sociable Letters’ (1664). That letter describes a ‘hurly burly’, or commotion at a dinner party. We also will look at a significant piece of countryside, Churchdale, where local people rioted against enclosures, and we will connect those riots to Ben Jonson’s early 17th century poem, ‘To Penshurst’. Bolsover is an English Heritage property.

First several chapters of this week’s reading has been devoted to understanding what “close reading” is, using exerpts from Shakespeare’s 12th Night. As someone who lived through Soviet school with its mandated classroom analysis of classical literature I’ll tell you: the subject is all to familiar to me – and I really can do without. The reason I joined the course was to get closer to architecture of beautiful English manor houses and learn few historical anecdotes along the way, to exercise my failing memory. Not to get back to boring Q&As of the type “-What did the author wanted to say by…XYZ?” “Describe the character of female protagonist in your own words…”, “Was the last paragraph ironic, serious or comical?”, etc etc etc.

Half-way through the week’s lesson and still no mention of architecture…what am I doing wasting this valuable Saturday, on a beautiful day like this?

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Via casual mention by fellow courserian on Roman Architecture I came to another free online education site, this one based in UK, Future Learn.

Browsing through available courses I found one that I can’t resist:

Literature of the English Country House.


Say instructors, Jim and Susan Fitzmaurice @ University of Sheffield:


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New Flickr features

Thanks to esteemed C.G. Hill I just learned that Flickr had increased the amount of accessible storage for free users and that means all my photos years back are now accessible.

Yes, my famous in certain [tiny] circles  5yo reportage from UK  is now open for your delectation! Enjoy it as I do; that was the last carefree vacation I had, if only for a week. I say it almost as wistfully as my grandparents  used to say “before the War”…



If you, like me, are curious how much storage you have already used, even if you have a free account and not eligible for Stats, do what Flickr’ Customer Care advised me to do: “Just hover your mouse pointer over your small user icon on the top-right of the page. A pop-up window with links to Setting, Flickrmail and Help will appear, along with a status bar with a number indicating how much space you have used.”

Like so:



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Magic time

Evelyn the Winter Fairy

[via Vaca-Vaca]

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I have a baseball bat and a 6x D cell maglite…in black[...]
** don’t worry, enviroloons, I have fitted an LED bulb.

Tim Carpenter, Libertarian party UK, reacting to Brian M’ post re: riots in England

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