It is the final bank holiday weekend of the year (unless you count the season which shall remain nameless) and typically, the weather is set for plenty of rain.
This morning was dark, dull and wet. The wind has picked up this afternoon and blown away the clouds so some of the cats are now sitting out in brilliant sunshine, while the others are littering the windowsill.
This has been the strangest weather year I can remember. We had a cold winter and spring followed by a wet and warm “summer.” Usually, from about March, I have my bedroom window permanently open, but this year it was not warm enough until June. We have had some sunny days, but we have also had a great deal of rain, and no consecutive days of sunshine.
The British weather makes me think of trips abroad. My last, was to Jordan a country I had wanted to visit for a long time. Despite the recent Arab Spring, the ramifications of which are still being felt in Syria and which had been on our itinerary, we did not consider cancelling the much anticipated holiday. When people think about Jordan, the image which springs to mind is that of the Treasury in Petra. This is an architectural marvel. Can you imagine how difficult it was to cut into the rock face, especially considering they started at the top of the mountain?
You start your visit to the Petra early in the morning when it is cool, by mid afternoon the heat is oppressive. You walk down the Siq, along a Roman Road set between rock walls 300 and 600 feet high, water channels running low along the way. It is cool here out of the sun, footsteps echoing in the shadows. The occasional stripey ginger cat can be seen watching the visitors, but you have to look closely, for the colours of their coat is perfect camouflage against the rocks.
The treasury is a facade with a just small room behind it. Turn left at the end of the Siq and you will find other ruined buildings, but none so ornate unless you decide to climb to the Place of High Sacrifice and The Monestry another building with decorative facade a walk that can take about an hour.
As much as I enjoyed Petra, the highlight of the holiday was Wadi Rum, famed for its connection to T.E. Lawrence who was based here during the Arab Revolt of 1917-1918. This is a beautiful, timeless, moonscape of wind carved rock formations with Rose Finches darting back and forth. Bedouin Camps offer coffee, cold drinks and short camel rides, and apart from these small encampments and groups of tourists walking or riding through the desert there is little sign of human activity. We took a ride in a jeep driven by a young Bedouin, sailing over sand dunes and missing bushes by mere inches. It was only afterwards, the thought struck me that my holiday insurance would probably have considered it an extreme sport.
I have a climbing rose in the garden and this year it has been glorious, dripping with pale pink, fragrant blossoms. I wonder whether it is because it was cool late into the year and the plant rested longer, so when it did burst into life it had more energy which manifested in more flowers. Whatever the reason, it has been beautiful.
There is an exhibition at Tate Liverpool currently. Turner Monet Twombly Later Paintings focusses on the last 30 years of the life of each of the artists and looks at the similarities in the style, subject and artistic motivation of these artists. As a lover of Turner, and a fan of Monet this exhibition is a must see for me.
I am not a fan of modern art, so I do not visit Tate Liverpool often, unless there is a specific exhibition which arouses my interest. The last time I was there was for an exhibition of the works of Klimt in the Capital of Culture year, 2008. It was a wonderful exhibition of works by Klimt and the Viennese Secession with some Charles Rennie Macintosh thrown in. If this exhibition is as good it will be definitely worth a visit. All I have to do is actually get off my bum and go!
I think that it is traditional to undertake DIY on bank holiday weekends, and I have some to do. My mother bought my Christmas present last weekend, a new television. I want to put it on top of an unused cupboard built into an alcove at the side of the fireplace, with the boxes and CD player inside. All I have to do is take off the door and install a shelf. It sounds really simple, but the shelf needs cutting to fit around boxed in pipes and I am useless with a saw. I am going to have to find a kind soul who will cut it for me. For someone who know what they are doing it is probably a 30 minute job, for me it will probably take days. It will be worth it though, so that I can get rid of the horrible cheap and nasty tv unit that takes up the corner of my small lounge.