Dread Lies Behind the Beauty

I love the paintings from the Romantic period. "Our" Caspar David Friedrich, of course, but the English school as well, above all John Constable and William Turner (William Blake is too "mystical", vulgo: eerie, for my taste). I love the English Pre-Raphaelites as well, even though they are, although influenced by it, not really part of the Romantic period anymore.


Now I came by chance across Ivan Aivazovski (1817-1900). He, was a Russian Romantic painter who is considered one of the greatest masters of marine art. He was born into an Armenian family in the Black Sea port of Feodosia in Crimea and was mostly based there. His genius becomes obvious in his masterly compositions of light and shadow, of light effects on water, moonlight or fire, often softened by mist or sea spray.

A primarily Romantic painter, Aivazovsky used some Realistic elements as well.

Aivazovskis paintings don't correspond, similar to those of Friedrich and different from the English Romantic landscapists, to the familiar image of Romantic painting as (merely) aesthetic expressionism. The nightmare is lurking everywhere.

Moonlit Seascape with Shipwreck

The Ninth Wave
(Probably Aivazovski's best known painting.)

Battle of Sinop

Battle of Navarino

Downpour in Sudak

Exploding Ship

Jesus Walks over Water

Lunar Night

Lunar Night at Spring

Misty Morning in Italy

Moonlit Night Near Yalta

Sailing off the Coast of Crimea in a Moonlit Night


Stormy Sea



Sunrise at Feodosia

Wrath of the Seas

View of the Lagoon of Venice

My Only Weakness

You know about my proclivity for puppies. Let me tell you another story.

Long ago, when Pretty Boy* was still with us, we visited his breeder AND I WAS ALLOWED TO RUN WITH THE PUPPIES! I am the only nonDK**, no - make that the only nondog from that kennel, who was ever allowed to do that. Uncle R. (the breeder) said I was wesensfest*** enough.

No idea what that is, but because it's about me it's bound to be something complimentary. One little girl looked at me in horror and screeched: "WHO or WHAT is THAT?"


Pretty Boy got his ear clipped because he was too rough-and-tumble with one of the little things. It screeched. I enjoyed that. The clipping I mean, not the screeching. Hehe...

I really don't know, why I like puppies. Basically, they are an uncouth bunch who pee and crap when- and whereever they feel like it.

Like Bitchboss**** and T&S***** really.

* I hated him. He always thought he was something better just because he had a title to his name. I eventually mobbed him out.

Making plans to get him already.

**DK = Deutsch Kurzhaar - German Shorthaired Pointer.

***Bitchboss told me to explain that for my non-Germanophone readers. A dog is "wesensfest" if his character and temperament are impeccable.

****My boss, the bitch.

*****My Trouble and Strife, who Bitchboss foisted on me. Makes my life hell.

See what I mean?

The Duchess of Delicacies

The Duchess of Sussex invited a friend, namely her "makeup artist", to afternoon tea at Kensington Palace.

That's he, so you know.

As a close and trusted and therefore per definitionem classy friend, he lost no time informing the world about what goes on behind the walls of Kensington Palace, so we know now, too, what treats had been waiting there for him.

I let William Hanson, here in the Daily Mail, take over. He fights with a foil, I with a sledge hammer.
'However, I am a great believer in the "your house, your rules" school of thought so if HRH The Duchess of Sussex wishes to serve it at her teas then good luck to her.

'I’m sure it was followed up with a delicious granola and hemp vegan scone.'

Fittingly, the chocolates are Fortnum and Mason's £13.95 Sandringham Coffee Truffles, which were served directly from the royal retailer's distinctive blue box.

The crockery was elegantly mismatched, with a brushed blue ceramic tea pot and cup sitting in contrast with the formal scalloped edged silver saucer and side plates.
What was it about?


And because William Hanson is much too polite to utter what he REALLY thinks - no let me rephrase that: because he is a master of voicing his opinion with subtle irony, let me translate:
'Do what you like in your own house, but don't be amazed about the reactions from the polite part of society.

'And I'm sure what followed was bound to be even worse' or rather "...even worse New Age crap'.

It is, and we are not amazed, the bottom of bad manners to serve expensive chocolates (or anything else, really) from the box. What will be next? Tupperware?

To match cheap and ugly ceramic tableware with formal looking pieces [Translator's note: I think it's pewter, not silver] is tasteless beyond belief.
I may be wrong, after all, I'm no mind reader.

But let's talk about the tables at Kensington Palace as well. Have they switched to raw timber lately? And to fringed floor cloth napkins?

But whatever, at least some of the reactions from the usual suspects had been quite favourable.

No it doesn't. It looks disgusting.

Well, it says they are from F&M. Can't be too difficult to find them, dumbo!

And no, this is NOT "down to earth" and "charming" either. Let me tell you why from a general etiquette point of view:
  • A table arrangement like that may be alright in undergraduates' digs. In other circumstances, not just in Kensington Palace, for guests, one brings out one's best china, silver, tablecloth and napkins according to one's means and apropos to the occasion. It is only polite.
  • One serves whatever food there will be in the most appealing and appetising form, not carelessly splashed about. It's, I repeat, only polite. (I wonder whether the Duchess made those sandwiches herself or whether she told the Kensington Palace staff: "Throw together some avocadoes and whole grain toast. Make it look home-made, healthy, charmingly down to earth and spontaneously combustible... errr... improvised.")
  • Traditional English afternoon tea is one of the most charming (yes, in this case "charming" IS applicable) ways to entertain a guest. So she deprived a visitor from abroad of such a unique treat. Why? BECAUSE IT FITTED HER AGENDA TO COME ACROSS AS "DOWN  TO EARTH" AND "CHARMING" TO THE UNDISCERNING MASSES.
    And no, I don't "know" that, but I bet the last remnants of my Royal Copenhagen and Royal Berlin china, as well as those of my family silver, that it HAD BEEN so.
From a royal etiquette point of view I'd say that one doesn't invite somebody of whom one can't be 100% sure of not spilling the beans. But that was exactly what she intended, wasn't it? (Again, I wager my tableware.) And to hell with hospitality, good manners and the reputation of the eminent family into which she married and of which she has made laughing stock already only too often.

And the Best-Comment-Award goes to:
What sort of guest gets invited into someone’s home, photographs a meal served to them in kind, and as if that wasn’t non-u, goes blabbing about it to the media? Right! The kind who deserved whatever this is. I hope she spat in it too. 😂
To be honest, it wouldn't amaze me.