Thursday, July 31, 2008

looking up, mnemonic, road map

Posted by PicasaNo reason for showing this chimney on the roof of the house opposite ours, except as a change. As a change from taking photographs of flower petals and insects, I raise the new camera, look upwards apply the zoom, and, hey presto, I have soared three storeys high. Also I like the 18th century, pineapple finial, which is one of several which rise from the cornice of the house.

As I have a poor memory, I rely more than most people on mnemonics. Some I enjoy more than others. My favourite, at the moment, is the one I use to distinguish between the french words pécher, to sin, and pêcher, to fish. The circumflex accent over the "e" in pêcher, I tell myself, is a hat worn by a fisherman, leaving no doubt about which word is which.

In Mount Pleasant, they are carefully removing the bricks round the boles of the plane trees which line the street. The roots have been pushing up the bricks making mounds, which may be considered dangerous. With the bricks gone, and the sand and soil, where they rested, open to the sky, there remains a delicate map composed of roots, which spread out like arterial roads from each of the trees, mimicking the spread of its branches.

5 comments:

marja-leena said...

Great photo with the contrasts in shapes! A new camera, eh? I'd enjoy a photo of your beautifully described tree roots.

Barrett Bonden said...

The next trick is to challenge a Frenchman to distinguish between the pronunciation.

Plutarch said...

Thanks, Marja-Leena. The roots are difficult to see at first. The new camera, which complements my Sony Cybershot, always in my pocket. An Olympia SP570UZ I wanted something which would allow me to come in really close and zoom from a distance without changing lenses. Much as I like taking photographs I would not claim to be a photographer.

Barrett, in my Collins Robert, the pronounciation is shown as being the same. It is even more difficult to distinguish between the word for peach and the word for fish, because in both cases the "e" wears a hat, making it a true homograph.

Lucy said...

Going through a chart of Sennelier watercolours to translate the names for Tom, there is a Noir de Peche (with the circumflex). This is puzzling, though I haven't done any research to resolve it. Made from charred peach stones, perhaps?

The sin/fishing confusion apparently never gives rise to any puns, which seems surprising - it was once suggested that the fisherman in the Seurat painting of the island in the Seine (sorry, forget it's title), was a punning reference to the sinful and debauched activities of the place, but this was rebutted, because that is simply not a pun that happens. I'd have thought the tendency of menfolk to abandon their wives and families in their lust for fishing would offer possibilites in terms of fishing as original sin, but no.

Clare said...

I love those chimney pots and finials. The one with the holes in -- If I'm at my desk at the right time of day and the right time of year, I can see the setting sun shining through it.

There are some things I'm really going to miss about this flat.