Friday, 15 December 2017

The crown (2016-)

Queen Elizabeth giving her husband a new title.
He is now Prince Philip
Last Summer I finally got Netflix and I immediately watched the first season of The Crown, the series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II of England.

I loved this series more than I ever thought I would. I loved the attention to detail and the slow pace it took. This was not a rushed series, but a careful and beautiful showing of a very interesting part of 20th century history.

Of course, they made some mistakes, but on the whole I think it is very well done.

On december 8th, the second season was released and I watched every episode in one weekend. And I also loved this new season.

I also like how this show gives you a little bit more insight on why certain things were done in certain ways. I now have more sympathy for prince Philip for example, now I know more about his background.

I also began to like Lord Mountbatten very much when I saw how much he supported a very young prince Charles who miserably failed to please his father.

And the background story of princess Margaret is also very interesting, I did not know much about her, and although she is not a nice or very kind woman, I do feel for her.

The episode about the past of abdicated king Edward VIII was very interesting, and also a little bit heartbreaking. You can fully understand how empty his life is and how much he wanted to play another important role. Or at least have something useful to do. And of course, when his past became known, this could never happen.
Abdicated king Edward VIII and Queen Elizabeth. 
Very well done is how they show how Britain changed and how the royal family also had to change.

Where there bad things? Yes, the episode with the Kennedys was in itself a good episode, I just hated the actors who played John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy. They were terrible.

I understand that in season three the role of Queen Elizabeth will be taken over from Claire Foy by Olivia Coleman. It is not certain yet who will take on the role of and older prince Philip. I am curious to see who will take on the role!

The only problem is with a series like this is that I want biographies about almost all the characters. Last series left me with the biographies of Edward VIII, Wallis Simpson and Princess Margaret, right now I have books about Anthony Armstrong-Jones and Lord Mountbatten in my shopping basket. A series like this is bad for my wallet!
Queen Elizabeth often finds refuge in the country. 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Winter

These past few days it has been Winter in The Netherlands. On Sunday, the first snow fell, and that already caused some problems, but the real trouble began on Monday.

Many schools skipped classes, my school also closed at 12.30pm, so students and teachers had a chance of getting home safely. I was very happy with that, since I had classes until 16.10 pm and was actually wondering if I would make it home that evening.

Somehow when it begins to snow, the trains and busses do not function properly anymore and the whole country comes to a standstill.

Today not much new snow is expected (I hope so, since we have parent-teachers night tonight and I do want to get home!), and on Wednesday we probably only have a few patches of snow left.
But yesterday, my balcony looked like this.
And later that evening

Friday, 8 December 2017

Exhibition: Dutch modernists

Anton Mauve, winterlandscape 1885-1887
Everybody knows the painings from the Dutch 17th century, the Golden Age. But it is safe to say Dutch art had a second golden age in between 1870-1940. In these days the Dutch painters were inspired by Impressionism and Fauvism, but also came up with their own styles.

Last week I saw an exhibition which showed the best Dutch modernist painters and it was very beautiful and divers. There was a little overlap sometimes with the other exhibition I just saw about the Dutch painters in Paris, but the focus was of course different.

This exhibition began with painters like Anton Mauve, who went outside to paint nature, just like the French painters from Barbizon.

The Dutch painters went to Paris and were inspired by Impressionism. Painters like George Breitner and Isaac Israels were knows as the Amsterdam Impressionists, since they painted scenes from the big city.
Willem Witsen, Oosterpark in Amsterdam 1900

Georges Breitner, Dam in Amsterdam 1891
Dutch painters put their own spin on Fauvism and expressionism, and I loved seeing how a painter could begin in a certain kind of style, but could end up painting in a different style.
Jan Sluijters, Spanish dancer, 1906
In the years between the two world wars, there were groups of painters all around The Netherlands who helped eachother and who inspired eachother. I loved seeing a couple of paintings from my favorite Dutch school, The ploeg (the plough) from Groningen (where I was born). I love their work and I am glad these paintings were also shown as an example of amazing Dutch art.
Jan Altink, Rooster at Blauwborgje , 1927-1928

Hendrik Werkman, A walk during an autumnmorning 1922
The Dutch modernists can be seen at the Singer Museum in Laren until January 7th, 2018.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Notes from an exhibition, Patrick Gale

Families can have a lot of influence on people, the traits you inherit from your parents, the way you and your siblings interact, all have an impact on the rest of your life.

This is also the case for the children of Rachel and Anthony. Rachel was a  painter and she and Anthony lived in Cornwall.

Rachel was also bipolar, and often the household centrered around her moodswings. But the quiet religous beliefs of Anthony's quakerism also had its impact on the family, it was not an easy thing to live up to.

When Rachel dies, all remaining familymembers must come to terms with their memories and their grief. And slowly we learn about Rachel's past and the things that happened during these past years.

I discovered Patrick Gale a couple of months ago and read A place called Winter, which I loved, and I am glad to say this second book I read did not dissapoint. I really admore how Patrick Gale manages to write different people at different ages, each with their own voice. He is especially spot-on when he writes from the perspective of a child.

I also like how things are never black and white with him. It would be easy to condemn Rachel as a bad mother, but she was also a great mum, and although her being bipolar has a profound impact, it is never used as an excuse for her behaviour.

Families can be complicated, but Patrick Gale has a wunderful insight in them and this makes Notes from an exhibition a beautiful book.

Published in 2008

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Impressions from Nice (part I)

I loved spending a few days in Nice in the last week of October and now the weather is so cold and nasty over here, I am glad I have the photographs so I can enjoy the memories. Sitting at the seadise at the Promenade des Anglais and looking at the Mediterranean Sea, which is as blue as they always say.

So here a few sea-side impressions.
At sunrise

Characteristic blue chairs

A view from the top

Luxury at the sea-side

Yes, there are people swiming, even if it is almost November

The harbour of Nice. 

The most amazing shades of blue

Friday, 24 November 2017

New books

Last week I had a couple of hours to spare at school and I decided to go into the centre of Amsterdam. This is just 20 minutes by tram, so it is not far from my school. I ended up with the two English bookstores in the Kalverstraat, The English bookstore which has many books for discountprices and Waterstones, one of my favorites.

I finally went home with these books:

For just five euro's per book I bought these two books at The English bookstore. It is a biography about the Queen-Mother, very interesting I think. The other book, The temptress by Paul Spicer is a book about a notorious murder case in 1941 in Kenya.

At Waterstones I bought these fours books. First two non-fiction books. I love the books by Evelyn Waugh and I think he must have had an interesting life. I want to know more about him and I am very happy I saw this biography.

The other book is The riviera set by Mary S. Lovell (who also wrote a biography about the Mitford-sisters). It is about the French south-coast during the years 1920-1960. Very interesting and fun, I think!

And also two books with a Russian theme! One is the novel A gentleman in Moskow which I heard about and it is very high on my list to read.

The last book I picked up is written by Nobel prize winner Svetlana Alexievich and it is about the Russian war in Afghanistan.

A great pile of books and I am very happy with it. Although I must not go too often into town and visit these bookshops, I do not think my wallet would enjoy that!

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Autumn


The weather has changed very quikcly to cold and rainy with a lot of wind. The mornings are dark and cold and the evenings are dark and cold as well. I am just so grateful I have a warm house to come home to every day.

But I do enjoy the amazing autumn colours like I do every year. These are two trees near my house. I love these gorgeous reds and golds and oranges. It would have been a better photograph with a little sun, but you cannot have it all!
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