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Be careful in choosing your major research projects. My PhD dissertation dealt with windmills, sandglasses, and mechanical clocks, and friends and family have been giving me instances of all of them ever since. (It dealt with eyeglasses too; strangely, no one has given me any of those.) I realized long ago that - whether or not I even wanted to - I should never, ever publish a book on the history of garden gnomes. It would doom me to receive them as gifts for the rest of my life. If you had somehow missed the ubiquity of these objects in my life - not garden gnomes, the others - then it might not be clear what was part of the inspiration for what happened a week ago.

A week ago, easterbunny challenged nineteen of us volunteers to collect specific things over the course of one week. My assignment was this: "Tell me about every London (or Paris) windmill - old, new-fangled, pub name, streetname, unexpected presence in a painting or photo - that you see in the next week."

I've liberally applied my instructions to all kinds of mills, wind-powered or not.

While in London

  • A reference on LJ to the "Windmill Hill Place Golf and Tennis Academy" in a locked post.

  • A black-and-white box in our closet designed to hold a coffee mill.

  • Either this post used to have a mill reference in it and doesn't any more, or else I just misread it as being mill-related along the way. I can find nothing millish in it now, but I did bookmark it for this collection.

  • Today I received a renewal notice from SPAB Mills. I was so relieved to get it! I wanted to continue to receive my Mills Newsletter, but couldn't figure out how to renew. It didn't say how anywhere on the society website, or in the newsletter, or on any paperwork I had lying around. And the last time I sent them a check was a year-and-a-half ago.

  • From here, the only mills book I can decipher on my shelves is England's Vanishing Windmills.


While in Paris

There were pinwheels for sale in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Just beyond the left border of the frame, two children were buying ice cream from the pinwheel stand. Off in the distance, hundreds of people sit on the only grass on which sitting is permitted in the gardens.



double0hilly and I wandered through a maze of shopping streets. There were Mexican restaurants and a south Tunisian pastry shop. I took a photo of the name of this restaurant, just the name, L'Auberge du Moulin, and the man who worked there waved in excitement to get us to take a photo of him too.



I didn't go up to Montmartre and the Moulin Rouge, but the old signs and posters for it were reproduced everywhere.



Here are the garden gnomes on which I will never write a book, accompanied by other garden decorations, for sale over a plant shop. Full credit to double0hilly for noticing the windmill.



The piazza in front of the Hôtel de Ville was full of garden, a gorgeous environmental consciousness installation full of amusing, entertaining, and gorgeous temporary artwork and waterworks. These two photos - one with a windmill to power the raising of fountain water, the other with pinwheels - are of two small parts of the overall installation.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
my_tw0_cents
Jun. 9th, 2007 06:38 am (UTC)
Gnomes you say?? *rummage for a spare one to send over asap* hahahahaha!*ahem*

Just kidding, I wouldn't do that to you :D
sioneva
Jun. 9th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
Thankfully no one has ever volunteered to give me anything at all related to my undergraduate thesis, although I wouldn't mind a little erotic pilgrimage badge...

On the other hand, Roman basilica churches are hard to gift, so I've never gotten one of those either ;)
(Deleted comment)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )