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  • thewonderingway

Autumnal NanoBlog

Autumn for some brings dismay as the nights draw in, but for me, it is an awakening: the start of new ventures and a new season of events.

I love the time of harvest, the good fortune to have a freezer to store fruits a plenty, and the prettiness of autumn colour, whether that be the Michaelmas daisies or the glowing leaves on the trees.

And yet this is the time we chose to travel. First time overseas for several years, and interestingly back to Portugal where we took our last foreign holiday, back in February 2020. Such a stimulating week as we visited the Douro valley. I had chosen it as a wine lover but was awestruck by the engineering of the locks and the natural beauty and heritage of the area. Do you know it?


When I travel I really like to immerse myself in the culture by reading books set in the place– do you?


I chose a book written by the Portuguese author, Isabel Stilwell which told the story of Phillipa of Lancaster and intrigued me by introducing me to the beginning of the Anglo-Portuguese relationship in the 14th Century. Then, to my delight, discovered this English Princess was also recognised as important by the Portuguese, as she features in the history of Portugal around the tiled walls of Oporto station.


Another important character I have seen celebrated this autumn is the “Venerable” Bede, a Northumbrian scholar monk. I was intrigued to learn of his theory of everything some 1350 years after his birth. Check out the events or this podcast if you don’t know why we venerate him.

Not all those who have contributed to culture are admirable in character though. I was horrified to learn that Bernini, the creator of the most sensual of sculptures was such a flawed character. This was thanks to the brilliant Simon Schama. In his #PowerofArt he sets the context of the work of each artist and I find this allows me to see so much more in their work.


I have been fortunate to see several live shows recently, now the autumn season has started. Firstly, the perhaps unexpected #BlackSabbathBallet. As a teen head banger, I know their music well so was delighted that their searing strings and thunderous rhythm have been interpreted in this form.

Finally, this week I was fortunate to catch a very different theatre experience – a one man show Discovering Antarctica. This recounts the life of the Irish sailor Tom Crean, as he took part in three polar expeditions. For one and half hours Aidan Dooley enthralled us, as he took us back a century to endure the hardship of Antarctica, and wonder at the resilience of those men.


How does autumn affect you? Do you curl up ready to hibernate or feel rejuvenated as cultural events start up again after their summer break?

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