Installations - exploded sheds, unmade beds, bags of garbage and the like - presented as works of art, are now so common as to be almost out of fashion and tedious. The reason for their existence rests on the idea of presenting them as art, rather than what they are when they are not art. Hence the term conceptual art. In this instance the burnt-out rubbish bin against a wall opposite the Victoria Place shopping arcade, seems ambiguous. Is it an installation or a burnt out rubbish bin? As I examine it, a woman who seems to share my interest, says with a laugh: "Is it art"?
I confess to a weakness for dictionaries. There are too many of them on my shelves. So when I spot the handsome Oxford University Press binding - gold letters on dark blue board - of the Oxford Concise French Dictionary, I deliberately ignore it, despite the fact that it is only £3. But days later, it is still there, and I succumb. And I'm glad that I have. First it provides the etymology of the 40,000 French words, which it lists - something, which Collins Robert doesn't do. Second, a delightful introduction composed with a passion, rare in such works, makes amusing reading. For example: What is wanted is an equiv-valent, not an equi-distant English rendering. Now the value of an English translation lies in the similarity of its impact on the English mind with the impact of the original on the French mind. What is only intellectual, logical, not affective, has no momentum. It misses both colour and warmth. This is what makes so many translations, although scrupulously faithful to the sense of the text, so unbearably nauseous to the reader's senses.Thirdly, it has a special symbol for false friends- those words, (deception, for example, which means disappointment and not deception in English), which have been mistranslated over the year even by established dictionaries. This dictionary is a new and true friend.
In the Grove, there is just a little snow left in hollows, and in scattered, uneven heaps, where melting snowmen lived out their brief lives.