When I was a graduate student, I was friends with a wonderful bookbinder named Polly Lada-Mocarski. At that time she was in her mid-80s, but walking down the street behind her you would have thought she was 40. One of the things she said that has remained with me was: “The older I get, the more I’ve come to appreciate vellum.” She explained that this fine leather used in medieval manuscripts was one of the most hard-wearing materials you could make a book out of, and will last far longer than paper.
Well, to paraphrase Polly, the more I live in Aberdeen, the more I’ve come to appreciate granite. It will probably outlast even vellum! Much of the architecture here shows how varied and interesting this stone can be. But what I’d like to show you today is how builders in Aberdeen also recycled granite in walls. It’s not uncommon to pass a wall, like this one, that has pieces of polished granite incorporated into it:
I presume that such pieces of polished granite – sometimes they are much less regularly shaped than these squares – were spoiled by a monument-maker. I had wondered whether the carving of Christ on the Spital might have been one such “rescue”. It’s great that they’ve continued to have a life. And some of them are very beautiful indeed. The three in this wall are all a special kind of granite, perhaps Norway Blue? (My neighbour, Mary MacDonald Morrison, would have been able to tell me.) Look at the depth and the colours in it:
The colours and the light shift as you move past – it’s really beautiful.
I hope you are finding beauty in everyday things this weekend!