enlightening and entitling

Christmas lights

I mentioned a while back that my poetry is full of references to light, whether it’s fireworks, stars, moonshine or street lamps, so I suppose it’s unsurprising that, however little attention I pay to Christmas in other respects, I enjoy seeing the festive lights and decorations around the streets and in people’s windows.
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“the birdcage”

For reasons irrelevant, last night I stayed in a strange hotel in London. “Strange” in the sense that I had never stayed there before, and “strange” in the sense that it was not like any hotel I had ever stayed in previously.

chandelier and stained glass
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roaring drunk

I spent an interesting morning on a private visit to Stoneleigh Abbey in Warwickshire, where I found the beast in the photo.

white plaster lion

The young lady who showed us around told us that the word “plastered”, meaning “drunk”, derives from the habit of adding white wine to plaster to keep it malleable: the artisans who worked with the mix were exposed to the alcoholic fumes all day. What’s more, she said, they were allowed to keep and drink the wine that remained unused at the end of the day.

I’m really not convinced that a drunken artisan could produce the spectacular plasterwork of which the lordly lion was just a tiny motif. I note, though, that the decoration was in the room known as “the saloon”.