Monday, November 30, 2009

Clock and Christmas Fair

I did not have much free time this trip due to a tight schedule, and also more transit time due to traveling eastwards. So I did not get as many photos as I ordinarily might. But I did have a free Saturday in Prague and got to look at a few things, courtesy of an colleague from the local office who took me out (Linda, thanks for showing me around !). And I enjoyed also a night time tour of the city all lit up from another colleague (Jaroslav, thanks for showing me and Jonathan the castle and city !). All in all this was a great opportunity, because the work I was there to do was done and so it was possible to enjoy the sights and relax a bit.

I saw a few things on Saturday out...the famous Astronomical Clock, which has a bit of a mysterious lore to it. It is built in the late 1400s from accounts and has had enhancements and repairs made between then and now. It has been restored and some animated figures are added, which move about when it chimes...the skeleton on the right of the main clock dial is very cute, pulling a bell ringer and there is a small gold metallic rooster that crows at top of the hour. To read more about it, check out

The face and dial of the clock is beautiful, with gorgeous blue and golden yellow coloration and shadings on it, depicting night and daylight hours. The link above gives more info also about the symbols shown on the dial.

While in Prague I also saw a Christmas Market. This one was one of the few open the day I was there, many others opened the following weekend. It was in Peace Square, outside a large cathedral. It was lovely to see the traditional wares sold in these markets and also some nice local snacks. We found a glass bead maker whose handmade murano style glass beads were very beautiful. I got a few of those and also some small holiday decorations depicting carp, which is traditionally eaten on Christmas.

The air was crisp at the end of the day, with a fall-like feel to it. As the light of the day got darker, the lights of a large Christmas Tree in Peace Square were lit up, making it feel like the holidays are truly around the corner !

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Gargoyle Lion

Returned from a brutal bit of jetlag after more than 24 hours of journey (plus transit) from China--I am relieved to be home. And way behind on posting to the blog and also painting ! First I have had to hit a couple walks of exhaustion, which really puts me out of commission, but is good in that I do rest. I think it is necessary for recovery.

As promised, here is the gargoyle lion. He is dark and a bit scary looking, with a great roaring shout emitting from his mouth ! But that is just his gargoyle style ! Check out his ribs (you may have to look carefully to see them) and also the bony joints of his feet and claws ! And nice curly mane, with dark of many years atmosphere he has taken in.

I think he is a bit moody a subject, given his environment and also his nature. Being the lone lion gargoyle in his area on St Vitus Cathedral of Prague (not sure if the other part of the cathedral had more ?), he has an important protector reputation and mission to uphold !

For a lighter bit of trivia, here I am on one of many bridges overlooking Prague and the lovely river running through the city.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Found on the Cathedral in Prague

I spent a nice better part of a week here in Prague. Work had me really hopping, but we were all very happy to have gotten past a big audit, and after the closing meeting on Friday we finished up loose ends and finally relaxed for the first time in several weeks. I have been running in a crazy mode for about 3 weeks, so the whole trip and week leading up to it. Wow !

Thursday night we had a nice night tour of Prague and went up to see the famous Prague Castle. It is very pretty at night and from the grounds is a wonderful overlook of the city at night. Because the castle is on high ground, it allows a nice view of the river, the city scape. All lit up prettily at night.

We also saw a Cathedral on the Castle grounds. St Vitus Cathedral. I was delighted to find gargoyloes leaping out from corners of the main entrance of the cathedral. One (and only one that I could tell !) of the gargoyles was a lion ! Sitting tall, but mounted with seat and paws on side of cathedral and with a big open mouth roar, in good gargoyle style ! No pics of this to post yet, as I left the camera cable home this trip ! But here is a pic of the cathedral, courtesy, found via Google. The gargoyles are shown here in this pic as dark shapes at corners of the arches around the door and what not. Rather hard to discern here, but they are there ! Here in this pic you can see the gorgeous decorative detail of the main entrance of this excellent example of gothic cathedral. To see the detail of the gargoyles, they have to be photographed standing under them. Most are bird like creatures, but I did find the one lion.

I will post the lion gargoyle pic on my return. Tomorrow I head to China. Now at end of the trip. More soon.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pink Socks

Hi There and sorry for the slowness of posting. This trip has been a very interesting one, not least because I am traveling eastwards (always more difficult than the alternative) and also because it has been a very jampacked agenda in each location. Jetlag has had me waking up every few hours. I have have been pulling longer hours than usual. That is saying something, because I work long hours on trips as a matter of course. Audits have kept me busy and Iconfess to a few wrong time wake ups that have had me in a cold sweat or panic think I missed a flight or an appointment or something else important. This is unusual for me, so... Very Big Yikes !

Here is a small vignette I wrote in one of my small notebooks I carry around, while almost falling asleep into the soup I had for dinner in an old carriage house pub at the hotel I stayed at, one night earlier this week (I was so tired and this was true !). Perhaps this was observed, or did I imagine it in my half sleep state ?

He was wearing a black suit that was very smart.
And his socks were a bright pink. Don't ask me why I noticed
this, but I did. When standing up, one couldn't tell. After his dinner was done, he got up and was standing there gazing
at the antique musket that was hanging on an old ceiling beam in the dark pub. He looked up at to admire it,
holding his hands clasped behind his back, perhaps he also enjoyed the warmth of the fire in the fireplace of the pub. When he sat down, his trousers revealed such bright socks, of a vivid coral pink hue. What a surprise and so completely unexpected, the man wearing the pink socks.

More next post, when I hope to bring you some other tale or half dream from the road of my travels !

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Go Fishing

I am now on business travel and have weathered and de-jetlagged over the weekend in Reno, and move onward tomorrow. I realised on arriving that I had forgotten a number of things. Very annoying, some of these are things I need. Like another set of contact lenses ! And also--the cable to download photos from my camera. How silly was it to forget those things ?!

So after today and until I return to Sydney on 27th November, my posts will have links and images from inspirations other than my photographs. Today though, my father kindly offered to take a few snaps and upload them to his computer, which I am using for composing this post. So a few photos today.

Reno is big for outdoors sports and also skiing, being very close to lovely area of Lake Tahoe. Fishing is popular here, on the Truckee River, which travels from Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake. I hear that Pyramid Lake is a big trout haven, home of "Big Cutthroat Trout" ! And today we had shopping errands and saw some new sculptures installed in a large outdoor shopping and outlet area called Legends. It was nice to see sculptures there. There were some very nice silver fish sculptures.., some of them were jumping over a long arrangement of steppes of rocks, as if swimming "upstream." Then at the top/end we came upon a giant fish sculpture, shown above, in fact this is a huge silvery fish made up of small fish. See the closer up below on right to see the thousands of smaller silver metal fish in this sculpture. Really imaginative, a nice installation.

Then we saw another set of sculptures, bright red orange ram and big horn sheep. They looked redder than they photographed (which is really a full on orange hue) I am in the background, beyond them, to the right and waving hello !

Tomorrow I continue eastwards. As it always is traveling in eastward direction, jetlag is hitting hard. I have an early up tomorrow, a wake up call at 4AM. So bye for now !

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Crossed off To Do List

I have been a bit slow on painting this week, because I have had other big item chores to get done, and before I go away on work travel. One was the painting of the bathroom and toilet room walls. And other was the baby quilt.

The walls were just needing painting above the resurfaced and bright white tiles. It took the weekend. Plus a few cameo bits of work by Ian, doing the tip top edges I could not reach. And I had to redo the window trims too, to be a freshened up bright white. A fiddly un-fun job, but happy to say it is all done and looking very nice.

And the baby quilt, which was pieced and assembled and simply needed machine quilting. Now done, and looking very nice.

I depart on a biz trip travel tomorrow...and next post will be from Reno or South Carolina, connectivity and other factors permitting. Work have me traveling the "wrong" direction round the world (that is eastwards) this trip...So much more lost time to transit, and worse cases of jetlag, that will be compounded as I move eastwards I am sure. Itinerary is US, London, Prague Beijing.

So nice to have sense of accomplishment from the big chores knocked off the list. By the time I return from this trip, there will be little time before the "silly" season sets in here !

More from the road !