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The month 12

Scrapbook 12

Road to nowhere

Backup hell

Beyond analysis

Winter solstice

Judge Judy

Betjeman Christmas

Veiled Modesty

Energy made easy

Nobel Ceremony 2016

Schober? [9]

The month 11

Scrapbook 11

Word Of The Year

Man and machine

Cognitive dissonance

Schubert trajectory

No change

The month 10

Scrapbook 10

That man again

Freedom of speech

A victim remembers

The conquering hero


The Man in Black

Cox and Box

Bees pulling strings

Those formative years

John Dalton

The grape harvest

Babi Yar

Bible studies

Jacobin Conspiracy [6]

The month 09

Scrapbook 09

Wrong again

That Sappho thing

Rustling inspiration

Channelled speech

The houseman's friend

Wishful thinking

Churchill in Zurich

Franz's belljar

The other Spaun

Walking with Walser

Stephen McIntyre

The month 08

Scrapbook 08

Arthur Szyk

Climate alarmism

Citroen DS23

Artificial Intelligence

Portrait of the age

Shipwreck [7]

The month 07

Scrapbook 07

The Bastille Spirit

Classic books


Devaluing the family

Andrea Leadsom


Habsburg cradle

UK politics

The month 06

Scrapbook 06

The Chosen Ones

Referendum mop up



Last words

Gretchen am Spinnrade

The alien hatches

Carbon dioxide


Electoral Commission

Sahra Wagenknecht

The green tick

The month 05

Scrapbook 05

The Sun Queen

Before Schubert [5]

European wars


Saving time

EU referendum

Protestant Ethic [9]

The month 04

Scrapbook 04

Cherry blossom

Dark chocolate

Out of the swamp

Richard North

Do not sleep

Imperial chemistry

Lili Marleen

The Habsburg lip

The month 03

Scrapbook 03

Bedsheet, spreadsheet

French dodo

Lenten thoughts

Heinrich Heine

The great survivor

The Swiss muddle

Hans Erni

Switzerland defused

Tristram's bad start

Montségur [5]

The month 02

Scrapbook 02

Frosty wreck

Language lab

Referendum reloaded

Graven images

Die Forelle [5]

The grass on the weirs

The month 01

Rabid lexicography

Not like us

Language lab

IKEA's loose screw

Nathan's rings

Brief Encounter II

Mohammed, not my prophet

Lunatic calendars

Hidden Hemingway

Sharing the risk

Bathtime for St. Kevin

The dismal science

The below above

Sanitised swearing


Rockers do it better


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Home | 2016

Quote and image of the month 09.2016

Quote of the month

Door and threshold are deep metaphors in almost all sedentary cultures and languages of the world. The near-universal metaphorical significance of the door, while impossible to date, probably developed early in human history, because of the door's vital role as a border between the inside and outside of inhabited space.

Crossing the threshold means abandoning one space and entering the next, a practice recognized both in ritual and in language as a transition from one social role to another. Doors and thresholds are thus closely linked with rites of passage.

The door creates a connection between spaces that channels movement and draws the gaze of the beholder. It is also a manifestation of opposition. Doors literally create insiders and outsiders. Door and threshold also create a space between. Standing in a doorway one is neither here nor there, but between spaces, or outside space.

Doors are capable of both allowing and denying access to the spaces they guard – creating linkages and oppositions – and it seems that the Viking Age populations used ritualized doors to do both – arguably because of their ambivalent attitudes toward the dead. There are several archaeological variations upon the theme of doors to the dead.

Very freely adapted from Marianne Hem Eriksen (2013). 'Doors to the dead. The power of doorways and thresholds in Viking Age Scandinavia'. Archaeological Dialogues, 20, pp 187-214 doi:10.1017/S1380203813000238
Prof. Eriksen's paper is freely available for download from her page.

Poetic doors

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.

Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;

T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets, excerpts from a) 'Burnt Norton' (1935), I and b) 'Little Gidding' (1942), V.

Image of the month

Martinus Rørbye (1803-1848), Entrance to an Inn in the Praestegarden at Hillested, 1844.

Martinus Rørbye (1803-1848), Entrance to an Inn in the Praestegarden at Hillested, 1844. Image: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).
Rørbye's painting captures not just the architectural and metaphorical aspects of doorways described in the quotations but also presents the emotional tension that the doorway generates in the viewer. The not quite fully open door in this remarkable painting holds our attention and demands a response: pass by, look in or enter – or is that just my OCD personality speaking?