Thursday, August 28, 2008

Today we start with art.

The Duke of Sutherland is selling his Titians. They are part of the Bridgewater Collection which has hung in the National Gallery of Scotland for as long as anyone (=me) can remember.

I haven’t walked across the square yet to get the papers: I can only report from radio (which jolted both of us into full consciousness at 6:18) and internet. I deduce that if money isn’t found for the first Titian, there will be some doubt about the future of the whole collection. A measure of the depth and astonishment of that can be had from the fact that this BBC link doesn’t even mention Poussin’s Seven Sacraments.

My husband was for many years a trustee of the National Galleries of Scotland. When he retired, he wrote to Downing Street – Mrs Thatcher, at that time – suggesting that this day might eventually dawn, and hoping that a national plan would be in place to save these incomparable pictures for the nation.

He got a cool reply from a lowish-grade subordinate.


When I lived in America, nominating conventions actually nominated candidates. Literally. At the beginning, you didn’t know who the candidate would be, and at the end you did. I haven’t been paying enough attention in the years in between to know how and when things changed. I don’t like what’s been happening in Denver; it seems to me an unhealthy way to run a democracy. But I have to admit, it’s great theatre. My sister and her husband are there – don’t miss the blog.


I’ve put a new “Various Grandchildren” picture in my sidebar, taken on the Games field last Saturday. We seem to have moved ahead a whole generation.


The swallowtail coat progresses, and I continue satisfied with it. I can see why people might decide to devote their whole lives to miniature knitting – it goes so gratifyingly fast, and missteps can be so easily seen and corrected.


  1. I hope the funds can be found to keep the Titians - it is sad to lose great works to the private market. I have been reading a bio of Theo. Roosevelt, and the descriptions of the nominating conventions of the 19th century are quite entertaining - more pomp, circumstance and outright battle.

  2. Anonymous2:51 PM

    My husband pointed out that by suspending the roll call vote, many delegates were deprived of their moment in the sun to say things like "the beautiful Marianas Islands proudly casts its vote for..."

  3. Oh my goodness, how the grandkids have grown!

    NPR described the venue as looking like the set up for a rock concert for 70,000 fans. They also said that the Republican platform document was half of what it was last time around.

  4. I miss the old American political conventions with the roll calls of states whereby the delegates cast their votes. That process carried with it both drama and suspense and did the job of determining the party's nominees. Those conventions were more watchable and more fun than this year's has been.

    Donna Wingfield

  5. NPR's All Things Considered did a story on how political conventions got to be the way they are today last week. Here's the link:Convention Media Coverage.

  6. Your husband's experience - how sadly typical of a government response to those "crying in the wilderness."

    Can you explain more fully about why you don't think the current way the convention is run is good for democracy? As someone who has only been voting since 1984, I'm interested in how would you change it. I don't remember big battles in the '80s or the '90s, but I could be wrong.

    I would have liked to have witnesses the battling nominations conventions, but did they have superdelegates then? I think they are the most undemocratic part of the nominating process.

  7. Thursday's (29 August) Wall Street Journal has another review of Whiteheat. If you can't access it, let me know and I'll try to get you a copy.
    BTW, a photo you posted of your knitting showed a background which looks like Egyptian khiyemeyeh (tent cloth), the applique work that funerary tents are made of. Might we see the whole peace? Is it calligraphy in the shape of a bird?