The 5 Fallacies about Art


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Here we have Marc Mayer, Director of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa presenting his arguments to debunk fallacies about art. I find it very helpful in my conversations with the public at the Art Gallery.



Love this book


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I am just finishing The Pigeon tunnel; stories from my life by John LeCarré, published in 2016.

The Pigeon tunnel is LeCarré’s autobiography, he was being interviewed on the CBC, Writers and Company by Eleanor Wachtel last week and spoke about it. She reminded him that in 2013 he had said this was is last interview and here he was giving another one to her.

LeCarré is his nom de plume, his real name is David John Moore Cornwell, he was born in 1931 in Poole, Dorset, UK. He served in the Security Service MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 between 1958-1964. He has published numerous books, many have been made into movies, etc. In 1964 LeCarré left the service to work full-time as a novelist, his intelligence-officer career at an end as the result of the betrayal of British agents’ covers to the KGB by Kim Philby, the infamous British double agent (one of the Cambridge Five).

Kim Philby, now that was a name I heard repeatedly during my time in the Canadian Foreign Service. We were made aware of the deviousness of the USSR during the Cold War and how we always had to be on our guard. Philby died some years ago, he did a lot of harm to the intelligence community and is seen in Russia today as a National Hero for his service to the USSR.

I come late to the books of LeCarré during my career everyone was reading them. I only read one book of his some 15 years ago and nothing since, not because his books are not good, no they are very good read. I was just reading other authors and not in the intelligence novel genre.

I love The Pigeon tunnel, a real page turner of an autobiography about his life from childhood to adulthood, about his father Ronnie who was quite the charmer and con artist always one step ahead of the Law, his mother Olive and his brother Tony. LeCarré also has step-siblings. He was married twice and has four sons all did very well for themselves.

I think I love this book, because for me it brought back a lot of memories of events and people, some of whom I met and knew. It was a fascinating world. His novels on the other hand are works of fiction, his characters are modelled on real people but the rest is all made up, of course his previous career in MI6 helped with the inspiration, though it is fiction sometimes it is close to the truth. LeCarré in his autobiography does explain that in his novels he is to this day bound by his Oath of Secrecy, as we all are not to reveal what we saw or know, let the politicians blab.

I now want to read his latest novel A legacy of Spies published recently. It tells the story of retired spies who 30 years after the events are called back by a new generation to explain why they did this or that, the young generation does not understand nor know what happened then. We do live in the PC age, Canada is a good example not a month goes by now that the Trudeau government thinks it has to apologize for the past, sometime very distant.




A Bear of Very Little Brain

Without comments a wonderful blog entry by Will.

Willy Or Won't He

He first appeared in one of the forty-five poems in A. A. Milne’s When We Were Very Young in 1924, but on October 13, 1926 one of the most beloved bears of childhood – and for some of us adulthood – came into his own when Winnie-the-Pooh was published.  The Bear of Little Brain was to appear again two years later in The House at Pooh Corner (1928)  and in eleven of the poems in Now We Are Six (1927).

The_original_Winnie_the_Pooh_toys2 Christopher Robin’s toys that were eventually to become Tigger, Kanga, Winnie, Eeyore, and Piglet.  Roo has been lost and the characters of Owl and Rabbit were created by Milne and the Disney Studios added another when they gained control of the stories.  They currently reside at the New York Public Library.

Much has been written about the origins of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends – how he got his name, the…

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Staatsoper Berlin


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The State Opera House, Unter den Linden in Berlin re-opened last week after many years of reconstruction.


Since autumn 2010, the most lavish renovation measures in the history of the Berliner Staatsoper – the Berlin State Opera – have been taking place at a cost of roughly € 296 million (gross). Contributing to the general renovation are the German federal government with about € 200 million as well as friends and patrons of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden with € 3 million.

Following public debates about the redesign of the auditorium, the architect HG Merz was commissioned to renovate the historic monument. The ensemble of buildings comprising the Staatsoper was very much in need of a general overhaul. While complying with listed building requirements, structural defects are therefore being remedied and the antiquated building equipment updated in line with modern safety requirements. The accessibility, air-conditioning and fire protection have been improved. The outer appearance of the opera house will, however, remain the same when viewed from a pedestrian perspective. The volume of the auditorium is being enlarged so as to improve the acoustics. To achieve this, the hall is being expanded upwards within the existing building structure by raising the historic ceiling some 16 feet or 5 meters.


The opera house was opened in 1742 as a court opera house, and experienced its first premiere in the still uncompleted building. This thus saw the start of the more than 250-year successful collaboration between the Berliner Staatsoper and the current Berliner Staatskapelle.

The architect Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff was commissioned to design the building. He conceived the opera in the Palladian style. The King Frederick II selected a fortress site near the Kronprinzenpalais where he lived. By placing it on the city’s main axis – the Unter den Linden boulevard – and not as would be usual within the palace complex, this created Europe’s first independent theatre building as a cultural expression of the Enlightenment.

The building, which was conceived as a nave, comprises the Apollo Hall (banqueting hall, foyer), the Theatre Hall (auditorium, ballroom) and the Corinthian Hall (stage and concert hall). Together with the Kronprinzenpalais, the Prinzessinnenpalais and the Zeughaus, the court opera house was the fourth prestigious building on Unter den Linden.


Just a few steps away on the Museum Island the re-construction of the City Palace is nearing completion and will open in 2019. Thus the ensemble of all the buildings built by Frederick II the Great will be complete once more on Unter den Linden reflecting the Age of Enlightenment. Berlin once again is an elegant capital full of history and culture a pleasure to visit.

Because JP and Guido asked


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I mentioned in a previous post that Will made Buttermilk pie and JP from  itsmyhusbandandme on WordPress asked if they could have the recipe.

Buttermilk pie is a custard-like pie. Originally from the United Kingdom. It is similar to, and sometimes confused with, cheese pie but it does not include cornmeal.

JP promised me in writing in front of a Notary that he would not eat the pie in bed, let’s see if he is as good as his word. I am sure he is a gentleman in the old Etonian tradition.

So here is the recipe:


8 servings

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). (GAS MARK 4 in UK)
  2. Beat eggs until frothy; add butter, sugar and flour. Beat until smooth.
  3. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice and nutmeg; pour into pie shell.
  4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until centre is firm.



A few events


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Life in Charlottetown is never dull, small town like Mayberry but lots to do. This week we had invitations from every night of the week and people to meet in the day time.

First there was pumpkins to be bought at 0.99 cents to $5.00 for a giant one requiring two strong men to lift into the car trunk, a bargain. It comes from a Farm just minutes away from our home across the Hillsborough river.




We also had Farm  Day on Queen Street which is the main street of Charlottetown running from the river’s edge up North to the far suburbs some 5 Km  away. The Farm Day was held in the old town core between Water street and Grafton Street.

Lots of farmers present most of whom can be found at the Farmers Market on the weekend. I bought some fresh flowers.


We were invited by the owners of Dunes at Brackley Beach to their annual Fall party which takes place at their home, a very modern construction which blends in perfectly with the surrounding area by the sea. Here is a photo looking out unto the gardens towards the sea. The garden is part of their Art Gallery and restaurant and features Asian sculptures most from Indonesia. A very beautiful and unique place.


While we were on the rooftop a full moon appeared, at first as it was rising it was orange and then turned yellow.


We also went to a housewarming party in Saint Catherines PEI our neighbour Kendra made the cake, it was so good, Kendra is an excellent pastry chef. The cake had real flakes of gold on it.


Leaving the house, because it is in the country side the only light was a half moon, I made a left turn instead of a right turn on the road to lead me back to the highway and suddenly I was on his red dirt road in a dense forest, I thought am I lost, I could not recognize anything. However as is often the case in PEI rural roads they lead you back to the main road, suddenly I was on the highway near Bonshaw.

We are still having cruise ships visiting Charlottetown until 28 October. Today we had 2 one docked at the pier and the other out on the river.

I am so glad we did not buy a Palazzo on the Gran Canal in Venice, living here is the same feeling, look at this one turning around in front of my window. They are closer than they look.




They turn around a lot faster than you might think. This is a Princess cruise ship. All cruise companies visit us.

Finally today was Thanksgiving Sunday so here is our table, do notice the open window, it was quite warm around 22C which for the 8 October is not seasonal at all. But I am not complaining.


The turkey was perfect and so good, Just enough left over for a casserole or a few sandwiches. We also had 2 pies, one Buttermilk pie and the other a Gala apple and PEI Cranberry mix.


Bonne Action de Grâce


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Well another year has past and Thanksgiving in upon us, time to look back not just at the year but life in general and take stock of what we have. So many have so little, I have been fortunate in so many ways, with my family, friends and life in general, living here on this beautiful Island of PEI.

May you all have blessings in your life, best wishes for Thanksgiving.



We Gather Together

Yes this weekend is L’Action de Grâce / Thanksgiving all over the Dominion of Canada.

Willy Or Won't He

Thanksgiving 2017 L’action de Grâce


We truly have so much to be thankful for! Not just this weekend as we join with friends old and new to eat, drink and enjoy fellowship but for every day that we enjoy the blessings of our home, our friends, and our families.

On this day in 1763: King George III  issues the Royal Proclamation of 1763, closing aboriginal lands in North America north and west of the Alleghenies to white settlements.

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ROMA ARCHEOLOGICA & RESTAURO ARCHITETTURA: Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Why Are So Many Fascist Monuments Still Standing in Italy? THE NEW YORKER (5 October 2017).

This is a very good post on a topic few really understand. I remember when I lived in Rome many Canadians would ask the questions raised here in this article not understanding the historical background of it all. Italy is a complex society with 3000 years of history.

Rome - The Imperial Fora: Archaeological News & Related Studies 2010-17.


ROMA ARCHEOLOGICA & RESTAURO ARCHITETTURA: Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Why Are So Many Fascist Monuments Still Standing in Italy? THE NEW YORKER (5 October 2017).

Note: the comments by the Italian scholars cited directly here below were not part of the original NEW YORKER article. I am added them for the benefit of the American reader. But based on my experience in the study of the architecture and urbanism 1930s years Fascist era; too many American scholars have not studied or are not familiar with the history of modern urban planning in Rome (1800-1923). Because many of the Fascist era urban planning projects in Rome where planned and designed long before the Fascist era. Likewise, Mussolini’s Rome would have never came into being had it not been for the funding he received from American financial firms from the USA in the late 1920s. Furthermore, contemporary American scholars lack and understanding…

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Fall colours


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PEI is a very scenic place, here are some images of the Island and what you see.











This is the scene in early morning as the cruise ships come by my window to dock at the end of our street. The last cruise coming into port is on 28 October. A little like living on the grand Canal in Venice, here it’s the Hillsborough River.


What would PEI be without the big black crows imperiously watching over us, noisy brats that they are.