Saturday, 7 February 2009

"V" Day today.


Willow did an interesting post last week investigating things beginning with E. I really enjoyed it and suggested she gave me a letter to explore - she gave me V. At first, when this alphabet thing began to circulate around blogs I thought it was a bit of a cop out and I wasn't interested. But I can tell you that looking into all the things I like beginning with V and doing a bit of reading around them, has been a very interesting exercise and I have enjoyed it very much - so thanks to Willow for suggestion that I think about the letter V.

The first three things which spring to mind are Venice, Vivaldi and Vienna.

Vivaldi is one of my favourite composers. In the seventies and eighties I played in an Early Music Group - mainly playing virginals. I can tell you there is some wonderful Vivaldi stuff for keyboard and I spent many happy hours playing it. Vivaldi was born in Venice in 1678. He was a contemporary of Bach and a brilliant violinist, as well as being capelmeister at a Girls' Conservatoire on the waterfront in Venice. He wrote over four hundred concertos and also The Four Seasons, which is one of my favourite pieces.

Venice - maybe the most beautiful city in the world, and unique in so many ways. I once had the good fortune to have to wait for landing for forty minutes over Venice, during which time we circled and got a fantastic view of Venice from the air - the layout is amazing. If I had to choose my favourite building it would have to be Santa Maria della Salute - as much for its position at the head of The Grand Canal as for its simple beauty.

And where, conveniently for this blog, did Vivaldi die? He died in probably the next most beautiful city in the world, Vienna. A city so full of Renaissance and Baroque buildings that it is impossible to choose a favourite. A city so closely associated with the music of Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart and Schubert and also the home of Sigmund Freud (where would we be without him?)

Moving on to painters; one of my favourites is Vermeer. I have a print on my wall of what used to be called Girl in a Yellow Turban but now seems to be called Girl with a Pearl Earring. It was bought for me on my twenty-first birthday and I never tire of looking at it. Then Van Gogh springs to mind with all those wonderful sunflowers and views of the countryside which are full of movement.

Rather than make this a long read, I am now going to list some other favourite things beginning with V:

One of my favourite instruments is the cello, conveniently really called the violincello - particularly Elgar's Cello Concerto - particularly the du Pre version.

A favourite novel is Charlotte Bronte's Villette - a bit Gothic but also a bit of an antidote to the rather "over the top" Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre (sorry to J E lovers)

Vindalanda - one of the forts on Hadrian's wall, which is easily visited for the day from here.

Names: I can't think of a single boy's name I like, but I do like Valerie, Virginia and Veronica - and I had a sister called Vera.

Flowers - well that would have to be the violet. They grow in profusion in the hedge bottoms of our fields in May - the simple, wild dog violet with its deep purple colour and its heady scent. As a child I knew a railway embankment in our village where they grew in their thousands. Each year we used to pick small bunches of flowers, surround each bunch with a few violet leaves, tie them with cotton and take them to any old house-bound ladies in the village. It was a custom which had gone on for many years.

Is that the end of my V list? Well almost, but I must say that I am very partial to vowels. Where would our written language be without a,e,i,o and u? Have you noticed how we have to open our mouths wide to say them? They open up our words and make our language intelligible.

And last, but not least, there are all those wonderful vegetables. I am already sitting by the fire with the seed catalogue on my knee and a pad and pencil in my hand. In February I have such hopes - that's before white fly, slugs, clay soil, drought, too much water, mildew, rust and all the other pests kick in.

So willow and all other fellow bloggers, that is my list of V loves. If I could have an orchestra playing it could be the Vienna Philharmonic and they could play out my post with The Ride of the Valkyries!

If anyone feels like investigating a letter - tell me and I'll choose one for you.

25 comments:

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Great post, Weaver!

I love Vivaldi's music too. I didn't know anything about his life, but for some reason thought he had been a monk.

Violets are beautiful - I love the way they self-seed around the garden too.

And vegetables - Yummy!

Willow's given me a letter too, which I will post during the next week. Guess which letter I've got?!

EB said...

Yes please, I'd love a letter :)

V sounds so exotic though...

Cathy said...

The second I read V all I could do was panic and you made it seem effortless. I love violets too. I make violet jelly every year from the beauties that bloom in our yard. I won't let the yard be treated for weeds as I love my violets!
Check out my blog today! There is something there for you.

Reader Wil said...

Good post Weaver of Grass! It's fun to find items beginning with a certain letter. Next Wednesday we have to find D words for ABC Wednesday. It's great fun.
There's one thing I'd like to say:
van Gogh starts with G, for "van" means "of". In telephone directories names are written in alphabetical order. Like Gogh van,Goot van de, Graaf de,etc

Reader Wil said...

And I forget to ask: could you please correct me, when I make a mistake?

Elizabeth said...

You have excellent taste in places and music!
For really super pictures of Vienna go to Merisi's Vienna for beginners. ( on my 'sites of interest' side bar. She is super - an Italian who has lived in America. Loves music too and takes fabulous photos.
This is a fun game.

Heather said...

What a lovely idea - I would like a letter please. I love Vivaldi's music but know little about his life. Violets and vegetables can't be lived without, but I can only wonder about Venice and Vienna as I have never been to either and have only seen them in pictures. Thankyou once more for another fascinating post - you never disappoint us.

jinksy said...

I do believe you failed to mention on of the most important'V's - variety! Where would we be without it? Loved your selection of all the other ones. x

Annie Wicking said...

A wonderful list, Weaver. Vivaldi's music. Who wouldn't love The Four Season.

Best wishes,

Annie

Pam said...

I am yet to do my 'h' letter that I was give a while back. Should be fun. I liked your 'V' posting Weaver.Actually I quite liked Mr. Rochester and didn't think he was over the top, but then, we were a class of young high school girls when we studied Jane Eyre and I loved it.As for boys names, when, in our early twenties, a fellow Australian and I worked at a summer camp,in the U.S., there was a delightful young man there with a name pronounced. ViCENTay. My workmate swore that when she went back to Australia and had a family, if she had a boy she would name him that.We reminded her that he would always get "Vince,mate".Bought her back to reality somewhat.

Dave King said...

Excellently well done, but thought you might have included Valentine!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Raph - Vita Sackville West - a wonderful writer about gardens - once asked why it was that violets always self-seeded in beautiful places where we would never have thought of planting them - such as in the cracks of paving stones. Good luck with your letter, I am sure you will enjoy it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

EB Try M. Thanks for visiting.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Cathy

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for that reader wil - I shall try and remember in future. Ididn't realise that van merely meant "of" - am always pleased to learn something like that.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks elizabeth - those photographs are really lovely.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Heather - try L.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Hi Jinksy - there were so many I had to leave out - another one I wanted to add was Views

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks annie - hope I am still getting to your site - whenever I leave a comment I get an e mail to say it has not been possible to deliver it. Hope this is not true.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Hi Pam. Enjoyed reading your comment - sometimes reality is best not taken any notice of - but in that case I think it was probably right.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh Dave - i see you are a romantic at heart. Farmers and Saint Valentine don't really go together in the same sentence I'm afraid. But I did enjoy doing it and would probably have included St Val, had I thought of it.

Janice Thomson said...

This was a most enjoyable read Weaver. Nice to find out a wee bit more about your tastes in life. :)

BT said...

What a wonderful list weaver. I hate the letter V when I pick it up in a game of Scrabble, but you have made me re-consider its virtues!

Vivaldi's Four Seasons, bliss. There was a television play about how the 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' came about. A bit fanciful I suspect but most enjoyable.

Interesting post.

BT said...

Oh and I'd love to have a letter!

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

Just catching up on my reading! I enjoyed your list but was a bit upset that you didn't give us a boy's name! And, since you like van Gough, you could have chosen Vincent. Unless, of course, you really don't like that name either.

Fortunately, I have been to both Venice and Vienna and probably like the latter more. But I love their history, treasures and music equally!