I haven't got much for you at the moment apart from the fact that Bordeaux was struck by storms and extremely high winds over the weekend — and in an unrelated but far more serious incident — our dishwasher broke down.
But rather than regale you with stories of my disrupted life, I'll tell you about a little group I created on Flickr — The Robert Louis Stevenson group. I was looking for photographs related to RLS for a paper I gave a couple of months ago and found a few on everyone's favourite photo-sharing site, Flickr. But they were scattered all over the place, some were tagged with the author's full name, some with just RLS and some with some wild misspellings such as Robert Lewis Stephenson. So I created the group, then started inviting people to contribute their photos and the pool has now grown to include 255 items. It's not a scholarly enterprise of course - the photographs are disparate to say the least. There are lots of quite ordinary images, snapshots really, of places that RLS once lived: Heriot Row in Edinburgh and Vailima in Samoa notably; scanned pages from his books; photographs of monuments to his memory; portraits and statues of his slender figure. But these photographs are often very personal - showing what it's really like to visit the house at Vailima and then slog up the hill in tropical heat to RLS's burial site or what the front door of the house in Heriot Row looks like from the open top of a tour bus. Some of the photographs too have wildly inaccurate descriptions eg. "Robert Louis Stevenson was born in California...." but that's interesting as well. And then there are the contemporary black-and-white photographs, most of which are held in public collections (eg. at the National Library of Scotland), bodies which more and more often are sharing their old photographs on Flickr. Then the worn old books and the often beautiful illustrations inside them, and the lurid covers and intriguing titles of some foreign editions.
Now, to keep the group going, all I have to do is carry out a quick search on Flickr about once a week for any photographs that might be related to Stevenson, then invite the owners to join the group using a handy little drop-down menu that appears automatically under photographs for group administrators, and it's a strangely addictive and satisfying exercise. I'd thoroughly recommend creating a group if there's anything photographic you're particularly interested in: orange sweaters, cracked teapots, characters from your home village, anything goes. I'm thinking of setting up another one devoted just to pictures of piles of unwashed dinner dishes.
Here are the most recent additions to the group pool: