Sunday, 11 April 2010

Wall paintings in Arbanassi

Here in the Church of SS Michael and Gabriel in Arbanassi a couple of miles from Veliko Tarnovo which in turn is 2 hours 20 minutes by car from the centre of Bucharest some say the body of Constantin Brancoveanu is buried (not the head which is buried in St George's Church near km 0 Bucharest). Geo surmised that it was beginning to smell badly on the ride back from Constantinople. The man who looks after the church only knew the story that Brancoveanu's son is buried there but this too is not certain. In any case the church has sublime wall-paintings which I preferred to the ones at the more famous Church of the Nativity and which are reminiscent of the monasteries of the Bucovina.


"It is very strange, and very melancholy, that the paucity of human pleasures should persuade us ever to call hunting one of them." Dr. Johnson. This applies to Farmville too

writing as therapy

Saying what we do not mean is like being who you are not, so to say what you mean, to commit your words to paper, is a way of becoming who you are. Philip Larkin

Men among boys, boys among men

Craig Turp argues the teachers should be paid their 50% wage increase offered as an electoral bribe by the Liberal party at the onset of the crisis and since reduced to 17%. Teachers receive terrible wages perhaps but EUR 200 in a village for a newly qualified teacher in their early 20s is not THAT bad and how can even a 17% pay rise be justified in this crisis? The important thing is to improve curricula and then improve the quality of teachers by in the first place good training. 

And what about improving the quality of the teachers and teaching? One wonders whether the whole system would not be better if all the schools were to be privatised lock stock and barrel. But somehow that wouldn't work either one knows. And yet...


Craig Turp who wants to make Bucharest a better place discusses in his magazine how foriegn visitors can be better treated and my heart sinks. The tests for really interesting respectable museums are: charming dinginess; no notices in English; no curators who speak English; above all being child-unfriendly. Bucharest's museums still thank God pass these tests as does the National Archaeological Museum in Naples and the Egyptian Museum Cairo but in Bucharest's case not I fear for long. They are doomed to become, probably courtesy of EU funding part of that most depressing thing, the entertainment industry.