Well, it's Salute plus one week and I have a long weekend to get some painting done. One of the things I am aiming to achieve this week is to assemble my Renedra Mud Brick house and look at the colour scheme I might need for it, so I have been looking at lots of pictures of these buildings in Egypt and Afghanistan. They will also work for the Arab settled parts of Africa too. As far as my Salute purchases go I have filed and based my Iron Duke Indian Mutiny British Command, my ACW Confederates in Frock coats and some Perry Afghans. I haven't touched the Victrix Romans yet as if I open those I know I will get completely distracted. Rather annoyingly, I bought a set of Little Big Men shield transfers for these at Salute and only a few days afterwards they brought out transfers for Legio II Augusta. This was the unit Cato and Macro, from Simon Scarrow's books, served in in Britain and a few years ago LBM kindly made me some Legio II shield transfers for the Warlord plastics as they didn't have them. I will have to order some now!
This weekend I want to finish my first company of Confederate infantry which will be this company of Virginians. It's the black bits next, though, so I went to Kingston this week and bought three more Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes at £35! Although you can get them cheaper online I like to check the tips of each before I buy them.
I've been reading lots of post Salute blogs and enjoying all the pictures of games which I completely missed as I walked around ExCel. However, without wanting to sound like the didactic Henry Hyde (wargaming's own Gwyneth Paltrow) I wish some people would expand the width of their blogs so old people like me could read them and appreciate their pictures. This one, for example, could do with expanding and bigger text. As you can see there is lots of expansion room on the page. It's not hard to do. Even I managed to do it and I am completely computer illiterate, although you do have to re-format your title picture, if you have one.
I had quite a quiet day the Sunday after Salute and had a nice chat with my friend over breakfast in Sainsbury's. She has taken up yoga and, like all converts, is now urging me to do the same (my doctor has suggested it too). Having seen the ladies doing yoga in the Village Centre, however, I would need to go on a six month fitness regime before even joining. One of Guy's schoolfriend''s mother was a typical Oxshott yummy mummy and spent around four hours a day in the gym. She does triathlons; ironman ones, not those silly little ones like I did once on the Isle of Wight. In fact, she did the round the Isle of Wight cycle route (62 miles) before lunch a year or so ago. I used to do the London to Brighton bike ride (60 miles) ad it used to take me six hours. The Isle of Wight route is much hillier, too. Talking of fit, while I was undercoating some Confederate infantry on Sunday, the Old Bat was chatting to Louise Redknapp and Daisy Lowe, annoyingly. Oh, how I enjoyed Miss Lowe's Playboy pictures a few years ago. She does yoga, I believe. Seems to work.
One of my ex-girlfriends from College is very into yoga, to the extent that she used to go and study in India once a year and had a yoga book importing business. She wasn't that flexible when I knew her, though, sadly. Unlike another girlfriend of mine, K, who unexpectedly got in touch with me this week after not communicating for ten years (we had lost each other's e-mail addresses and she had moved house). K, who I was at College with too, was always doing dance classes at Pineapple after university. She was always very skinny and very, very flexible. I dug out a sketch of her I did at university, when she weighed about six stone ten (94 lbs for Americans). I haven't seen her for 20 years (she lives in Cambridgeshire) but we were very close and we are going to meet up again in London soon. As a result (and the college Gaudy in two months) I am trying to eat less (no more cooked breakfasts, sniff) and went running again yesterday morning (37 minutes!). I suspect K will not have been subject to middle age spread; she was always taut and trim.
Today's music is the Ashkenazy/Ghindin recording of the original versions of Rachmaninov's Piano concertos number one and four, which are very much the less performed of his four concertos.. The first was written when he was only seventeen and owes a lot to both the Grieg and the Tchaikovsky. This early version is not nearly as successful as his later revision, which is what is performed today, With the Fourth, however, the original version is actually superior (especially in the last movement) and contains about three minutes of extra material. Ashkenazy, as might be expected from a pianist, is a sympathetic conductor although the Helsinki Orchestra are not a patch on the LSO, who accompanied him when he played these pieces under Andre Previn. Forty year old Ghindin, who I haven't heard before, is excellent. Fascinating recording.
Today's wallpaper is The Victory of Faith (1889) by the Irish painter St George Hare. This gently sensual picture actually has a religious theme and depicts two Christian women imprisoned in a Roman amphitheatre, while barely visible lions glower through the bars in the background. The white girl is tied to a stone pillar on which a cross has been scratched. The dark skinned woman is supposed to be her Ethiopian maid, with them both being due to be thrown to the lions the next day. Their tender touching of each other may be intended to depict their shared faith but now it seems likely that Hare copied the pose from a French erotic postcard!
Hare (1857-1933) produced a number of pictures of chained women for supposedly religious, uplifting paintings. This picture was well received at the time, however, and is now on display in the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, to which it was donated in 1905.