Apr. 1st, 2012

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For those who may be interested....  'Twas not Diva I encountered yesterday afternoon...  'Twas the noble Molly! 

I haven't ridden that pony for months.  In fact, I think I've only been paired up with her once or twice in the last eighteen months or so.  I was warned not to expect too much from her, as being firmly ensconsced in the world of the riding school, she receives next to no schooling. 

But she still bends properly, once she gets warmed up.  And her canter transitions are as quick and lively as ever.  We did a lot of cantering yesterday.  I was trying to refine my 20m circles in canter in particular, and I think all the hard work is finally paying off.  I'm much more secure in canter, and able to make adjustments to my position as required.

No doubt it'll be back to Square One in April, however, as I'm not going to be able to go horse-riding for the next couple of weeks. 

Today would have been a lovely day for cycling (again!!) but this time J was ill.  Yes, it's that damned lurgy!  He's got it now, just in time for a plane flight.  I made sure we bought some chewy sweets for the flight, to help with earache, as I'm sure a congested snout and cruising at 38,000 feet do not go together.  I've also been incredibly lucky on the lottery this weekend.  No, I haven't won any big jackpots, but when I bought my usual three scratchcards yesterday, I got a £25 and a £1.00 win.  I bought another three cards when I retrieved my cash (which treated us to lunch) and promptly won another £10.00, so I bought ANOTHER three and managed to get a £10.00 and a £1.00.  I shall now quit while I'm ahead, and revel in the joy of all the Heritage Lottery Funded projects that I stumble across in the next six months for good measure.

Anyway, graveyard time.  The early modern funerary monuments in Saint Andrews are impressive things: the surviving examples are probably the most monumental ones, and they all make good use of the precinct wall as a medium for display and ostentation. In some, the inspiration is clearly classical - they have the standard three-tier form, with a pointed pediment on the top.  They're Renaissance, as opposed to medieval in outlook:-

Others aren't quite so grandiose, though they're still impressive pieces of craftsmanship:-

Unfortunately, the ravages of time and environmental pollution/wind erosion are not doing these magnificent monuments any favours, and the inscriptions are deteriorating badly.  A lot of the time, we're now reliant on the labours of those who made the effort to record them at an earlier date - in the late twentieth, or sometimes even in the nineteenth century - if we want to learn more about the incumbents of the lairs. 

Though I suppose the decay of burial monuments and their accompanying epitaphs is extremely symbolic, as a lot of the early modern motifs are all about the fleeting, transient nature of time and human frailty, etc.  Though it's a real shame to see these monuments degrading, and know that future generations won't be granted the benefit of their presence...

Not everything's all doom and gloom, however, and Saint Andrews is unique in that a number of its more spectacular modern (i.e. eighteenth century) burial memorials have been removed from the graveyard and placed indoors.  The reasons for this may be quite mundane - as the graveyard was ever-more intensively used, older headstones were displaced and instead of being chucked aside or broken up and re-used, they were instead curated.  They're now appreciated for their own sake, because they are Monumental with a capital 'M'.

There'll be more about these tomorrow or Tuesday, depending on how the time goes.  But in the meantime, here's a little watchtower in the precinct wall, a nice little medieval structure which is supposedly haunted, and which has an obligatory sixteenth century memorial added onto the wall.  [You will also recall that the monument featuring the skeleton in a hammock is executed in this same wall-mounted style, even though it's about two hundred years later in date!]

And now I'm off to make some salad!  Have a nice evening, everyone!


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