Of all the things you'd expect to see in an exhibition of 1920s and '30s Russian children's book illustrations , Winnie the Pooh
isn't the first that springs to mind . But there he was , along with this more likely candidate .
For some reason 2013 is Netherlands-Russia year and the Meermanno museum in Den Haag had a lovely collection to share . The museum is housed in a very fine town house , largely still as it was , including the more than 200 year old vibrantly coloured wallpaper in a couple of the rooms .This provided an unlikely backdrop to some of the books !
Post-Revolution children were to be nothing if not practical . The school books on display were determinedly technical .There was a great emphasis on perspective and metal work , production lines and combine harvesters . But among all the pictures of working mothers and legions of singing farm workers ,luckily there was room for balloons and circus ponies
Upstairs we wandered through the Library and the Drawing room
with cabinets full of ancient obscure religious tomes and curios , including a tiny Sumerian stone tablet , nearly four thousand years old , part of a miniature library of a thousand beautifully printed volumes . Reluctantly , we then braced ourselves and went out into the grey , cold outside . It really wasn't window-shopping weather but we did our best ,.
At one point , tired of being dripped on , we stood drinking a take-away coffee in a covered alley just off the main drag and were amused to see that it was , in fact , the back gate of the Palace , guarded by a parked tractor rather than sentries or a tank . It seemed very democratic .
In fact it was an interesting week all round , what with Spanish Masterchef ( Tuesday evenings on RTE es. ) and , of course , Eurovision , complete with spare ribs , popcorn and Y.D. , plus all her friends at Whatsapp distance . The general concensus seemed to be that we all must have a smoke machine , strobe lighting and a special trapdoor to make us tower above the crowd , when the neighbours drop in . I liked the French song but felt obliged to vote for the Greek entry ... there's something about men in kilts .
This week , on the other hand , promises to be rather long ,what with waiting in for Maintenance , waiting in for the carrier taking the last contents of Y.D's room , 14 years after she left home , and waiting in for the recycling shop's van , picking up the last (?) of our clutter .....and lots more cold rain .
( Sorry about the sideways photos ... this laptop is determined to put them up like that )