Sunday, July 11, 2010

Celebrating a Failure

TDIJ day 6: run 4km 24min
TDIJ day 7: clapping 1hr (approx)
TDIJ day 8: hiding from sun, all day

Ah well Thirty days in July did not last a full week. Already there has been two fails, even though there are extenuating circumstances, a fail is a fail.

Day 7 was the day of my daughter’s degree ceremony at Manchester and that, of course took precedence over everything. I had hoped to be able to fit in a little run between the ceremony and the celebration meal but we all decided that we should take the chance to visit the John Rylands library, which was reopened after a brilliant renovation, two years ago.

It was by a long, long way the right decision. There are plenty of chances to exercise but not many to go to Manchester to visit the John Rylands. If anyone is interested in either books, libraries, printing, or Victorian Gothic there are few more fascinating places.

When walking round a building built in imitation of an ancient cathedral (all beautifully faced sandstone, with decorative carvings in both stone and wood) I marvel at how much I enjoy the atmosphere. Earlier in my life this would have been unthinkable. My aesthetic outlook was pretty much old fashioned Modernism. I had bought the line that decoration was decadent and that we should aspire to functional formalism (with plenty of light).

I still enjoy good examples of that style and I am a fully paid-up admirer of Bexhill Pavilion but my outlook is now much more catholic. I appreciate the workmanship and desire for beauty that informs the best artists and designers of any age. I have learnt to try appreciate buildings according to values of the period it was built and not impose any retrospective ideology.

Now I look at these buildings and marvel at the quality. I also marvel at the impulse of the widow of John Rylands who wanted to assemble and bequeath such a library collection, purely for the good of the people of Manchester.

The permanent display has some wonderful examples from the collection. Not only books that are finely bound and printed but also examples from the beginning of printing (Guttenburg and Caxton) as well as incunabula, manuscripts, and as one of the highlights a tiny fragment of St John’s Gospel

The following day was also an exercise blank. We had to drive back early to prepare for visitors. There would have been time for a run in the afternoon but the weather crept up and wrapped me up in a big hot blanket so I was incapable of movement. As someone who does not cope well with the heat there was no way I was going out. All I could do was spend the time in the shade.

So two blank days and Thirty Days in July has crumbled. Never mind I will continue to see how well I can manage the other days.

Thirty Days In July 6/8
run 5/8
distance: 35.57km
time: 3hr 30min
cycle 1/10
distance: 17 miles
time: 1hr 17min

(Photos on this blog are my own. In this case however I had to steal a photo taken for the University of Manchester, which I found here.)

1 comment:

spyder said...

I like your view...I mean the way you look at the failure. Your post is very inspirational.