Saturday, May 26, 2012

Compton Acres, a Beautiful Garden

In our visit to UK my daughter Mel, took us to Compton Acres, a very beautiful garden which was built in 1924 and is a wonderful example of a historic garden in Poole, Dorset. I was marvelled by its pine trees bonsais on sale at very reasonable prices, the mixed style design with seven distinct gardens to wander around and enjoy and most specially the famous Italian and Japanese gardens. Compton Acres has over 1,000 different new plants over 10 acres of display.

Here are some of our photos but more to be seen on Compton Acres web site:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Travel to UK

After buying some food to cook for dinner which consisted of oven roasted chicken and lamb, hake in escabeche (which I brought from home specially for Mel), starters of fresh anchovies (which I also made from home), jamon serrano, lomo (pork loin), cheese, all from Madrid and some canned roasted vegetables, we gathered around the table with Andy's family.  His brother Duncan with wife Penny and son Sam brought a rhubarb pudding with custard on top.  It was delicious.  We had a good time chatting and eating.

The next day we headed to Chippenham, where Mel's Pinay friend Sara lives with her husband Mark.  They invited Mel and Andy to sleep over while Mel paid for our lodging in a B&B hotel.  It was a very nice and clean hotel close to where Mel and Andy stayed.  We dropped our luggages in the hotel before we went to a city called Bath.
Bath is surrounded by lovely rolling countryside. Founded by the Romans as a thermal spa, Bath is the UK's only World Heritage City. It also has Britain's only natural thermal spa.  Too bad we were not able to see it inside since it was already closed when we arrived.

We also saw these:

Pulteney Bridge, together with the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, is one of the world's most beautiful bridges. Like the Ponte Vecchio it is one of a handful of historic bridges in the world with shops built into it.  In spite of its practical origins it is surely the most romantic bridge in the world

The Royal Crescent is a residential road of 30 houses laid out in a crescent in the city of Bath, England. Designed by the architect John Wood the Younger and built between 1767 and 1774, it is among the greatest examples of Georgian architecture to be found in the United Kingdom. The buildings have been used as a location for several films and television programs.

The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Bath, commonly known as Bath Abbey, is an Anglican parish church and a former Benedictine monastery in Bath, Somerset, England. Founded in the 7th century, Bath Abbey was reorganised in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 12th and 16th centuries; major restoration work was carried out by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the 1860s. It is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the West Country.  We were not able to see the interior as it was already closed when we arrived.

We ended up the day with dinner in one of the pubs.  Great day!

Source:  Wikipedia

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Life is a Dance

Life is a game where nobody can leave with his gains.  André Maurois

You ask me why I buy rice and flowers?  I buy rice in order to live and flowers to have something to live by.  Confucius

There are two ways to live: One is as if nothing were a miracle, and the other is as if everything were a miracle.  Albert Einstein

The best is to abandon  life as if you were to leave a feast,  neither thirsty nor drunk.  Aristotle

Life consists not in having good cards but in having the cards that you have played well.  Josh Billings

Life is like a legend, it does not matter how long it is but how well you relate it. Lucio Anne Séneca

All men are made from the same clay, but not from the same mold.  Mexican proverb

While great minds discuss  ideas, the mediocre talk on things; and the small minds focus on persons.  Chinese proverb

I wish you live all the days of your life.  Jonathan Swift 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Melencolia I Albrecht Dürer

Melancolia I
Melencolia I is a 1514 engraving by the German Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer. It is an allegorical composition which has been the subject of many interpretations. One of the most famous old master prints, it has sometimes been regarded as forming one of a conscious group of Meisterstiche ("master prints") with his Knight, Death and the Devil (1513) and Saint Jerome in his Study (1514).

It is ironic that this image of the artist, paralyzed and powerless, should exemplify Dürer's own artistic power at its superlative height.

One interpretation suggests the image references the depressive or melancholy state and accordingly explains various elements of the picture. Among the most conspicuous are:

-The tools of geometry and architecture surround the figure, unused
-The 4 × 4 magic square, with the two middle cells of the bottom row giving the
       date of the engraving: 1514. This 4x4 magic square, as well as having
       traditional   magic square rules, its four quadrants, corners and centers equal
       the same  number, 34.

-The truncated rhombohedron with a faint human skull on it. This shape is now
       known as Dürer's solid; over the years, there have been numerous articles
       disputing the precise shape of this polyhedron
-The hourglass showing time running out
-The empty scale (balance)
-The despondent winged figure of genius
-The purse and keys
-The beacon and rainbow in the sky
-Mathematical knowledge is referenced by the use of the symbols: compass,
       geometrical solid, magic square, scale, hourglass.  Source:  Wikipedia
       Durer's icon of Melancholy portrays the dangers of obsessive study.
       Note the many symbols of mathematics and alchemy.

Source:  Biografías y Vidas

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mother's Day in Spain, May 2012 Isabela Market

Mother's day, what an important event!  Unlike in USA and the Philippines, Mother's Day is celebrated in Spain  on the first Sunday of May.

Mel called me up early to greet me from Bournemouth in UK. And today was quite a cloudy day with the sun  trying to shine through and hardly could,  being held by the dark clouds, but the temperature was pleasant inspite of a faint wisp of the wind, every now and then.

Ron came in time to join me to hear mass in our church in town, mass was officiated by a bishop from the nearby town of Alcala de Henares, and the bishop came particularly to bless our baptismal font and our church bells in the parish church. It felt good to get a special blessing from a bishop and a special message on the importance of Christ in our lives.

After mass, Ron and me decided to go and eat in the newly inaugurated Isabela Gourmet Market, in Madrid.  Even if finding a parking space in Madrid is oftentimes difficult, we were lucky that Ron found one that was close to where we wanted to go.

Here are some of our pictures taken from the Isabela Gourmet Market and what we chose to eat:  crepes of shrimp and mushrooms, and Serrano ham, mini hot dogs on buns, tempura shrimps, (small fried squids, not shown), grilled tuna, salmon and  ice cream for dessert.  Tapas were a little bit expensive, ranging from 3 Euros above, but for a place that is in the plush area of Madrid, prices were still relatively cheap.  It was a different way to celebrate a special event like Mother's Day.  Just missed Mel, but we will soon be seeing each other anyway. Another more day to be thankful for.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Takanori Aiba's Tree Castles

The Japanese art of raising bonsai trees is a beautiful way to infuse greenery into indoor spaces. But artist Takanori Aiba takes the art to a new level with his incredibly intricate series of bonsai castles. The Japanese artist carves miniature masterpieces that weave in and out of the miniature trees, creating cohesive architectural marvels that burst forth with life!

Treating each tiny Bonsai as if it were a deep-rooted full-sized tree, Aiba creates incredible buildings that wind around the boughs and branches. Using copper line, epoxy putty, plastic, resin and stone clay, he fashions detailed buildings, bridges, balconies and towers. Using the bonsai trees as the foundation, the dioramas are inspired by the unique shape of each tree, creating both vertical and horizontal landscapes and buildings.

Aiba’s first few creations relied heavily on the function of the bonsai as a tree. The plants hold tree houses, and the leafy branches of the bonsai poke out of the tops and cascade to the floor. Each branch is adorned with patios, umbrellas, and tiny strings of lights, creating an incredible dwelling for a miniature Swiss Family Robinson.  Source:  Inhabitat  by Lori Zimmer, 02/19/12.  Source of images:  Cúanta Risa.

For nearly a decade since the late 1970s artist Takanori Aiba worked as a maze illustrator for Japanese fashion magazine POPYE. The following decade he worked as an architect and finally in 2003 decided to merge the two crafts—the design of physical space and the drawing of labyrinths—into these incredibly detailed tiny worlds. Using craft paper, plastic, plaster, acrylic resin, paint and other materials Aiba constructs sprawling miniature communities that wrap around bonsai trees, lighthouses, and amongst the cliffs of nearly vertical islands.

Source of photos: Google Takanori Aiba





Truly amazing bonsai tree castles in a magical creation of a miniature living world.