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Monday, 5 September 2011

The Underworld

Lead Mine Adit 
     We take a journey down a disused lead mine. The sound world is extraordinary. Our boatman isn't exactly your silent Charon type and exuberantly fills the space with his voice. People get nervous in the quiet, so deep below the surface, he tells us.
     This level tunnel, a miner's adit, has been methodically blasted and carved away. The regularity of the passage is beautiful, and in its flooded state, quite magical.
     The lead mine joins a natural limestone cave fanged with stalactites, stalagmites and veined with fluorspar, yawning over a subterranean lake. The chamber is spacious, with fascinating vertical shafts, all formed by the passage of water.
      I only mention this because it seems writing is shaped in the same way. Having spent some time in this underworld, I can attest to the usefulness of explosives, sharp implements and relentless water. The natural formations are great, but the subterranean lake can be devalued if it is filled with the rubble from blasting out the lead mine.


  1. Have you been in the Cistern in Istanbul (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_Cistern)?
    It's a underground water reservoir built between the 3rd and 4th centuries....

  2. Hi Ewen. Thanks for that. I've wanted to visit Hagia Sophia for YEARS, so perhaps when I make that trip...It looks incredible. Have you painted there?

  3. I've sketched Aya Sophia and painted it a few times. It really is an awesome building. To think it was built in the sixth century, 536 I think and yet it is vast...check out http://watercolouristanbul.blogspot.com/2011/08/solomon-i-have-surpassed-thee.html