“Somehow the statue escaped” – the title of a post by Mac at Light on Dark Water, about a 14th century statue of the Virgin and Child made in the English Midlands, which avoided destruction in the Puritan iconoclasm:


The title of Mac’s post summoned up the mental image of a fugitive statue, sneaking around while malicious Puritan wrecking mobs prowl the area, seeking anything they can smash. So…


I respect the Puritans of old, it must be said – their hard-headed, practical mysticism, immense conviction and bravery; even if their attitude towards art and beauty was lacking. Chesterton, commenting on John Bunyan, said:

The word “savage” used here may, perhaps be misunderstood as indicating an animadversion against Puritanism; I use the word as a compliment. … Religion was indeed preached by the Cavaliers, both before and after the great war: before it, as a very noble scheme of national civilization; after it, as a very ingenious cog-wheel in the political constitution. Between the two rises Puritanism, a naked and roaring giant, announcing that religion is a wheel in no policy, a part of no civilization; a thing as old as fear, and as rapacious as love; that religion is what it really is, a terror, a splendor, a necessity, and a nuisance.

Amen to that. And on the subject of that saved from the wreck – an apropos song for the new year:


More monsters. The young student was upset at failing to get enough smiley faces on her homework so I drew her a smile monster with five smiling faces to colour. Alas, although she liked it, this did not assuage her distress.


Coloured version – alas, my skills at cleaning up coloured images are not very advanced, I usually work in black and white:


you got us singing

Plato has told you a truth; but Plato is dead. Shakespeare has startled you with an image; but Shakespeare will not startle you with any more. But imagine what it would be to live with such men still living, to know that Plato might break out with an original lecture to-morrow, or that at any moment Shakespeare might shatter everything with a single song.

Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton

When I first read this about 15 years ago, my first thought was that you could have said the same of Chesterton when he was writing. My second thought was that, actually, you could say the same of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and to live with such men still living was worth being thankful for. Hearing there was a new Cohen album out was like God giving you a present.

Cohen died yesterday, so: to have lived when such a man was still living is worth being thankful for.

Eternal rest grant him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him. Rest in peace, Leonard.

More Monsters

Developed in conjunction with my 8-year-old student. This creature is Leo the Limoildurrich. She drew an alternate version of the creature; I will scan it in, as well as her coloured version of this one, next week if I can.


This was drawn by her and coloured by me (though she insisted on choosing the colours).


UPDATE: My version was never coloured, and now never will be – when I asked her if she’d coloured it a week later, she said that the cleaning lady had thrown it out. Her family is quite well-off, so their having a cleaning lady is conceivable. However, later questioning about their cleaning lady revealed that the student cleaned her own room, and “the cleaning lady” was herself, in a fit of indiscriminate clutter-disposal.


I’ve spent a certain amount of time in Slovak pubs. This is a lamp from a place called Pulitzer.


An oil bottle from the same place.


Some glasses, pub unknown.


A candle, Pulitzer again.


Two interior views of the pub called Čierny Pes (Black Dog). Just as I was typing this, a friend showed us a picture of his dog (sadly, not black) on his phone.



And one of the big barrel-thingies that pubs store and transport beer in, seen end-on. (This is, I believe, Zlatý Bažant beer.)