Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painitng

Friends went with Dan and I to see this exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington on Thursday.  It's a must see exhibition if you are anywhere near DC.  Ends on January 21st.

Apparently in the Dutch Golden Age of genre painting (scenes from daily life) there was quite a bit of overlap among the artists of the time: Johannes Vermeer, Gerard ted Borch, Gerrit Dou, Frans van Mieris, and Gabriel Metsu.  They often featured the same pose and daily activity.

Look at these paintings. Three different artists, very similar poses and activity.

And again with these three.

Were they trying to out do each other?  Were they inspired by each other? Were they learning from each other?

There are almost seventy paintings in the exhibit from 1655 to 1680.  All of them are lovely glimpses into Dutch life.

The detail in these paintings is incredible.  Enjoy!

Did you notice all the dogs in the paintings?

Want to learn more?  Here's the link to National Gallery of Art.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Scotland - More Standing Stones

I first wrote about standing stones here.  I mentioned in that post how interested I was in seeing them.

Let me share some of the others we found.

This cross though not as ancient as other standing stones is a unique 18 ft high Runic Cross that stands in the apse in a Ruthwell Church about 10 miles from Dumfries, Scotland.  To enter the church the sign on the door said to go to the church manse.  There was a little box with a large skeleton key that opened the church.


The Lonely Planet guide said this writing in a Saxon runic alphabet is one of the earliest examples of English language literature.

The inscription was written by Caedmon in the seventh century AD.
That same afternoon we found the Torhouse Stone Circle outside of Wigtown.

This well preserved ruin dates from the 2nd millennium BC.

It's fenced off from farm fields.

Across the road were these 3 stones - totally out of place in the field but probably moved there in ancient times.


When we visited JM Barrie's home town of Kirriemuir and experiencing the camera obscura he donated to the town we were directed to this standing stone.

I had Dan stand next to it so you can see the height of it.

We learned about cup stones when we visited the Crannog Centre and were shown how these holes could have been made.

Why stones have them is not known.

If you were walking and came upon this stone you'd probably think like I did that its made by erosion.  These cups were made by humans 3000 to 5000 years ago.

I still have so much more to share.  I hope I can do that before we're off on another trip to Europe in 2018.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Scotland: Castle Campbell

I have been neglectful of my Scotland report.  I can blame it on having too many photos!

Quoting from the Lonely Planet Guide to Scotland that UnTours provided:
"One of Scotland's most dramatically situated castles, Castle Campbell sits on a spur between two deep, wooded ravines known as the Burn of Sorrow and the Burn of Care.  A former stronghold of the Dukes of Argyll, it was originally 'Castle Gloom'.  There are interesting rooms in the 15th-century tower house, but the main attraction is the spectacular view from the top.  The castle lies a mile north of charming Dollar village, about 11 miles east of Stirling."

We drove up a narrow lane to a car park and then had to walk the rest of the way.

Finally we caught a glimpse of the castle.

At the entry a sign said the castle was closed but their was a car parked there so we ventured in to find it open after all.

The view from the top.

And down over the side.

The burns behind the castle.


And the view from there.

Historic Scotland of which Castle Campbell is a property described the castle like this:
"This was the lowland residence of the powerful Campbell dynasty, where the Protestant reformer John Knox came to preach and Mary Queen of Scots came to feast."

If I remember right one or more of the rooms were labeled as one that Mary would have used.

From the gardens looking back at the castle.

An interesting stop over on one of the days we set out exploring not sure where we'd end up.

I have much more to share.  Be patient.

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