Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Cleaning . . .

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Hello... My name is Owen, and I'm a recovering blogaholic. :-)
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I've been taking a break from blogging as Spring Cleaning is in progress, and it has been occupying whole days of going through all the various rats nests that have been accumulating in and around the house, to clear out the dead brush to help let the living things breathe and grow. Today it took me all afternoon to clean out the eight large, deep drawers in my big old wood desk. Large piles of stuff went to the recycling bins. I've lightened my load, and am smiling for it.
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All this cleaning has been giving me considerable food for thought. Putting me in touch with certain things again which had been laying forgotten, or fallow if you will. I'm realizing I need to make some adjustments in my life. The blogging for one thing. This blog now has over 1100 postings in it. It has become my War & Peace. My life story can be found in it. My heart has been poured out in it. Massive amounts of time have been spent composing it, and then following through answering comments, and getting out to visit as often and as many as possible of other wonderful blogs encountered along the blogging highways and byways.
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It's time for me to slow down a little bit in regard to all that. The Magic Lantern Show will continue, but perhaps at a slower pace than previously. The house cleaning of late has shown me that there are numerous books around me that I haven't read yet. And I love to read. Have been doing a lot more reading recently than I have since blogging monopolized large amounts of my life over three years ago. My guitar has been languishing in the living room corner, neglected. It is time to change that. I need to spend more time out with the camera, and less time in front of the PC. My writing, other than composing paragraphs for the blog, has gone to the dogs. There are a poem or three rattling their bones in the back of my head, I need to start sitting down again and scribbling on paper, tinkering with bits of the loose verses I've written so much of in years past, and from which I, if no one else, derive some considerable pleasure. Time to take care of myself perhaps a little better. Time to spend more time with la Grenouille. Less burning the midnight oil leaving just one more comment in a comment box, and more time sleeping. I've had some health issues over the winter which I won't bore you with, but they have served as a wake up call. I need to adjust certain perspectives and priorities, spend more time more in touch with the real, the immediate, and less time in the virtual realms of cyberspace.
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So, I shan't disappear from the blogosphere, which is a vibrant community I've come to love and respect and admire, but I shall be a bit less present than previously. The Spring Cleaning has a ways to go still. The vegetable garden will be wanting to be planted soon. La Grenouille wants new flower beds prepared along parts of the yard. There's a bird house that needs mending.
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Now, it's time for what I set out to blog about today, which was not the above series of reflections which simply happened spontaneously, but about a wonderful exposition at the Grand Palais in Paris which ended in February, of large works of map-making sculptures from the 17th and 18th centuries. Applied architectural modelling of entire cities and the landscapes around them done by artisans of the highest artistic levels, producing dumbfounding results with the raw materials they had available at the time, which we might consider rather crude and basic today.

Some of these works can be seen all year round in the rather unknown Museum of Plans and Reliefs which is housed in Paris in les Invalides, on an upper floor, which is one of the greatest hidden treasures in Paris, imho. They were made for military purposes, to help strategists better understand the defensive requirements of key areas. I stumbled on the Museum in les Invalides by chance many years ago, and still have the guide book from my first visit there, which was  published in 1981, the cover of which is scanned for the first image here. After seeing some of the "plans" in the museum, I was inspired to go see some of the places in situ, like the beautiful city of Briancon in the French Alps. Some of the displays that were on exhibit at the Grand Palais cannot be seen in the permanent museum, because they are simply too big for the rooms there. The model of the city of Brest takes up over 60 square meters of floor space, or roughly 645 square feet.
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I'd like to thank Peter, of the excellent blog Peter's Paris , who clued me in to the exposition at the Grand Palais with the piece linked to here at the end of January. I had just enough time to slip down there and see it before it was over.
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The second image here is also scanned from the guidebook, and gives a more precise idea of the extraordinary level of detail used in making these models. Each window, each chimney, each roof, each door is exquisitely visible with startling realism. I hope no one will mind me borrowing the cover image and this one picture, in the intention of encouraging you to go visit the museum in les Invalides the next time you are in Paris, and where you pick up your own copy of a book.
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The following images I took on my visit to the expo in February, just a few weeks back now. Enjoy. And do go see the Museum of Plans and Reliefs the next time you have an hour or two to kill in Paris, it is well worth a visit.
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These were samples of some of the materials used to make the models.
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Now I'm off to clean out the attic. :-) See you soon.
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24 comments:

English Rider said...

Hi Owen,The thing about blogging is that you should only do it when you want to. When it becomes a commitment and obligation it stops being a pleasant pass-time.
As one who enjoyed the deeper writings, opinions and poems that you used to share more often, I say: "Be true to yourself and your creativity. I'm sure we'll still get the odd glimpse of you scurrying about. We'll appreciate it more for it's rarity."

Laurie said...

I agree, Owen. It is very easy to wear yourself out and forget about the simple things in life. Hey, I can hear the vegetable patch calling out to me, now! I look forward to seeing your posts from time to time!
Best wishes
Laurie

Virginia said...

Do you know that I have never set foot inside the GP? It's a crime isn't it. I almost got in once, when Peter talked some artist into letting us in the side door but that didn't work out. :( Now this exhibit has me written all over it. I'd love it in my home so I could put all my Eiffel Towers around and play! :)
V

PS Now you've read my comment, get back to work Buster.

Robert Geiss said...

Thank you for voicing what many do think. Guess after two decades it might be time to re-visit Paris again.
Please have a good Tuesday ahead.

James said...

So you want to spend more time living in the real world and less in the virtual? That's perfectly understandable and something that I've had to come to terms with myself.
You have a really good blog and your older posts are always worth a visit.
I hope the new ones keep coming even if they are at a slower pace.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention how much I like the reflection photo just above the bottom photo.

À la prochaine.

louciao said...

Well, it was fun while it lasted.
xo

Maud said...

You have just given almost every reason (apart from the garden on account of a distinct lack of) for my decision to deactivate my facebook account. The Internet was simply taking up far too much of my life, it’s an insidious little blighter, and before I knew it…
The amount of ‘other stuff’ I have achieved since I waved goodbye to fb little over a month ago is astonishing! I’ve only been here a very short time, but don’t think I could ever become quite so addicted to blogging, because as cathartic as I don’t doubt it can be, it quite simply takes up far too much time…and I too have an attic long overdue a clearout!

Enjoy your gardening!

Stickup Artist said...

I hear ya. I'm feeling a slowdown coming on too. I'm down to posting twice a month myself. I sure do hope you don't disappear altogether. That would really be tragic. I'd really miss you, your unique vision and gorgeous artistry, the off the beaten path France, and your always intelligent, thought provoking writing. I've been looking at a lot of self-hosted blogs and those suckers get one image at a time like every 2 weeks. Food for thought. Enjoy your outdoor work in the garden, always a grounding experience. And come back! I'll keep my eyes open for the glow of the Magic Lantern...

English Rider said...

I just revisited a post from two years ago in which I cried about the emptiness of my creative bucket. You commented "go quietly amidst the noise and haste..."

Plum' said...

La vie est tellement importante, chaque instant est précieux...tu comprendras ce que je veux te dire.
Je t'embrasse Cher Owen, take care of yourself and of your family.

French Girl in Seattle said...

Well, Mr Toad, I can totally relate to this post, as you very well know since you read this morning's story chez French Girl. 1100 posts, eh? Well, I'd say you have certainly earned a break. Enjoy, Owen, enjoy. Thank you for your visit, today. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

Steve said...

Totaly know where you are coming from, Owen. Sometimes we lose touch with all that we are and need to take time to re-tune ourselves. It is a very enjoyable process - glad you won't be disappearing altogether!

sell my house said...

I saw some nice image in this site.these image one kind of well map.I am so please to see that image.site admin described about magic lantern, spring cleaning etc.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Exquisite display, Owen... There is so much to see of the past in your country.. we are so young here in Canada... everything is still forming. we are still a raw canvas.

Take care.... now lift that shovel and man that wheelbarrow.

the fly in the web said...

It will always be a pleasure to see your blog coming up when I switch on, even if the pleasure becomes less frequent.

The plans and reliefs musueum has been a favourite of mine since I was in my twenties.
I was spending a day in Paris before setting off on my two week 'freedom of France' rail ticket, visited the Invalides, spent ages there and one of the museum attendants suggested I visit it.
I was hooked.
I visited it several times, delighted not only by the details of the construction but by the comparison to the modern towns.

clo said...

Je t'embrasse mon cher Owen...Prend tout le temps qu'il te faudra...je respecte et je comprend tes point de vue et tes besoins...
Le monde blog est intemporel ,et ephemere aussi..l'espace temps n'y signifie plus grand chose..
L'essentiel c'est que l'on sache de temps en temps que tout va bien pour toi..
Pour le reste ,je t'attend sagement en feuilletant ton blog ,si riche et unique...:)je suis sure que je vais y decouvrir des merveilles que je n'ai pas encore vu...
au prochain Howdy mon cher Owen..
A + tard..:)

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Glad to hear that you are listening to your inner voice. Yep clearing clutter really needs application doesn't it. So does looking after yourself and your family and the garden and the house... So many of your Followers (that Sell My House looks a bit spam-like though) have learnt the rules of Good Blogging and now we have to remind ourselves to return to Good Living. All the best - especially with your health Owen. Love Jeneane

Alistair said...

Glad to hear that you are trimming back the blogging for other pleasures Owen. Blogging should be a pleasure and not a chore so enjoy rediscovering old pleasures and perhaps these will only make the eye keener and the hand steadier for your excellent photoblog which I have come to thoroughly enjoy.

In between absences I will catch up on the extensive back catalogue which I've missed and continue to marvel slightly jealously at your technique and your eye.

Don't work too hard in the house or garden.

Enjoy!

Kind regards.

Owen said...

Ah, you good, kind, wonderful people... you warm my heart...

Pastelle said...

Tu as bien raison, prends soin de toi dans la vraie vie.
Je crois que je vais faire pareil d'ailleurs, j'ai aussi un jardin qui m'attend et des tonnes de livres à lire !
A bientôt quand même, ici ou ailleurs.

Peter Olson said...

All that you say sounds so reasonable! There are so many priorities in life, and blogging may not be number one, despite the many good things it offers, including and perhaps especially, the number of nice friends one can make!

I'm glad you made it to exposition in time! Hope to see you soon, when you have taken care of your health and your other priorities! :-)

TheChieftess said...

Congratulations on cleaning out those darned big 8 drawers!!! You are steps ahead of me...that's for sure!!! With or without blogging it takes a move for me to whittle away at the stuff...love how it gets more organized though!!! I've got a few plastic bins of files to go through now...nah...I'd rather blog today!!!

Good luck!!!

Nathalie said...

Congratulations on your spring cleaning AND for managing a time off from blogger. SO you successfully weaned yourself off blogging, well done !

But thanks for coming back and for this post about the exhibition. I'd heard about it but hadn't seen any images. YOurs are both realistic and inspiring. What amazing works you saw - hey for once I'll throw in the over-used "thanks for sharing" LOL !!!!

Marken said...

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