Posted by: okathleen | January 26, 2009


I was feeling melancholy and rather sorry for myself.

A combination of a hideous cold/flu attack rendering me ancient and slothful, and the death of two women close to me, the likes of whom will never surface again in my lifetime or yours, or ever, being the main contributors to this maudlin bolshiness.

Olga died aged 100. She was Swiss, and refined, like Valhrona, but that’s French, and in a way I wanted to be her.  A cross between Truly Scrumptious and Grace Kelly, she might have been the leading lady in a black and white blockbuster. Her husband died 30 years ago, after they had been married for 30 years. Phew, it’s a sentence, not a word. He was a Captain in the Buffs. I know this because  I am incredibly nosy, and I have an old copy of Burke’s Peerage. His family could be traced back to 15oo and something.

My family – the Nagles also go back quite a way. I know this because I have been tracking Great Uncle Vincent from Youghal, and applying for Irish Citizenship at the same time. A fire in 1922 in Dublin means most of the records perished, but there are enough of the bogtrotters scattered around to assimilate a fairly decent thread back to the 1850’s at least.

Eli watched me flicking through the Hello of the Nobility. He asked me to look for his family. We both knew without saying, this was going to be a thankless/pointless exercise. Eli’s surname is the end of the line, change trains here. Only him and his son carry this nomenclature. In the world.

Only two of them left, out of 6.7 billion and counting.

And it certainly wouldn’t be in Burke’s.

That’s quite a lonely place to be, it wasn’t quite as lonely pre 1944, but Judenrein in Holland tapped a nail in the coffin of his surname. Maybe he should have been more fecund since. Maybe not.

What’s in a name?

What’s in an object?

“Several studies have linked extraversion and introversion to aesthetic preferences. Thus Eysenck found that extroverts tend to prefer simple, vivid, strong art, introverts art that is complex, refined and subtle.” (Psycho Aspects of Art Collecting)….

I’m a little bewildered about what I am supposed to be doing. It has been difficult getting a meeting to see my Supervisor. I am treading water, not making any headway. I’ve nibbled at a few canapes, now I feel it’s time to get my steak knife out. I don’t want to skirt anymore. A word count looms. Time fugits fast.

I can hear a barn owl outside, it’s whoooing, not twittting. Today a woodpecker drilled into a beech tree. I think it’s a lesser spotted. Snow drops are pushing through pebbly damp soil. I think the rats are now deceased, although I’m too pathetic to venture into the garage to check.

Konkretisation and Leerstellen – Roman Ingarden:

“The meaning of the object lies not wholly in the piece itself, nor wholly in its realisation, but somewhere between the two”… hence the need for Leerstellen – blanks, or ambiguity, the reader makes up his own mind…

See Antiques Road Show, the two clipped sisters thought it was a Renoir, the expert thought otherwise, all those years living with Leerstellen – dashed, it was just a print – expectations capped.

“The object provokes certain reactions and expectations which we project back onto it in such a way that the polysemantic possibilities are greatly reduced in order to be in keeping with the expectations that have been aroused.” (IOAC, p27)

Ie, multi meanings of object in opposition to the interpretation of viewer.

“The need to decipher gives us the chance to bring out both what is in the object and what is in ourselves; it is a dynamic, complex movement which unfolds as time passes, and in the act of interpretative imagination, we give form to ourselves.” (Ibid)

I’ll try to be more chipper tomorrow.

Unlikely, first stop at 8am Auf Wiedersehen in Altrincham. Can’t wait.

In the meantime, what surname would I choose, if I could….



  1. I see you found the clustr maps. Nice blog. Thanks for stopping at mine.

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