despite appearances to the contrary…

…the jovial chap in the photo below, who looks a bit like Santa Claus on his summer holidays, is in fact supposed to be Hércules en la nave de los argonautas – Hercules in (on?) the Argonauts’ ship.

I had forgotten that Hercules accompanied Jason and his merry men on the Argo, although I must have watched the 1963 film a score of times.
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a horse of a different colour

After I published yesterday’s post, I remembered that I do have other poems with horses in, including the very summery Before breakfast, which begins:

When the dew lies cool in the day’s eyes, beyond
the umbelliferous lace of napkin fields
morning horses toss and fret, and rooks stalk
among the stubble.

Those “morning horses” were not as quiet as the ones in the Ted Hughes poem, where the narrator “[…] climbed through woods in the hour-before-dawn dark” before coming across the horses: “Grey silent fragments/ Of a grey silent world.”
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poetry & plasterwork

Yesterday, I went to a breakfast meeting at Stoneleigh Abbey.

Stoneleigh Abbey
We ate in the saloon, whose ceiling features this magnificent plaster relief depicting Hercules being welcomed by the gods after his death:
Stoneleigh Abbey Blue Saloon
I visited the Abbey a couple of years ago and went on a tour of the house; sadly, the photos I took then are currently on a computer that won’t boot, so I only have a couple of pictures I took on my phone as discreetly as possible during the meeting.
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sunday afternoon

Looking through some old photos, I came across this:**

Tomb sculpture: Reclining lady and baby.
It seems a fairly appropriate picture to post on a Sunday afternoon, especially with some accompanying quotations. First from Susan Ertz:

Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

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yet more mythical beasts

golden lion's head

It’s half a lifetime ago that I first left the UK to live abroad, but barely a day goes by when I’m not in touch with someone there, and I still read the British news when I have time.

Usually, my friends and family keep me up to date when there are stories they think I’ll find interesting, so I was disappointed to realise that no one had told me that the hunt was on in Essex for a lion until it was practically all over.

I’ve always been fond of cats of all sizes, so, since the Essex lion has (probably) turned out to be a mythical beast, I thought I’d post some of the lions I have among my photos.
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more mythical beasts

After the apparent popularity of the two splendid beasts in my previous post, I looked through my files to see if I had any more.

unicorn statue

Not only is this an impressive animal, but I’ve even found a poem that mentions unicorns to post with it. I am shocked, though, to realise that I wrote it nine years ago and I have done nothing with it.
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diy

As I have nothing written and ready for posting, I offer these two splendid beasts from the storytelling bench at St Mary de Crypt in Gloucester and ask you to use your imagination to supply a suitable text:

lion (relief carving)
wyvern (relief carving)