‘She would go to the piazza from where the doges had once set out to wed the sea with rings’.* Like Miss Garnet, we headed first for the piazza. It seemed the natural place to begin. A public space so grand that no other square in the city was thought fit to bear the name – all the others are campi or if they are … Continue reading The Piazza.
Byron swam home along it, George Elliot’s husband fell in it, Robert Browning lived in a palace along it, caught a cold and died by it. A hawker once towed a dolphin up and down it; and in the fourteenth century an earthquake drained it and left it dry for two weeks. The Grand Canal, at two miles long, and seventy-six yards wide at it’s … Continue reading The Grand Canal.
Ponte Ruga Vecchia, 1446, was our destination. Billed as ‘room apartment in Venice heart’. We wanted to live among the locals, away from tourist thoroughfares. Ten minutes walk from the railway station, down narrow calles and over hump-backed bridges. Shops, a beggar woman with outstretched hand, crumbling bricks, and pale rippling water – it passed by in a blur. But it’s beauty struck deep. I … Continue reading Our House In The Middle Of Our Street.
Memories are made of this. It was all very Brief Encounter. Clouds of steam on a quaint platform. A whistle. A chug of the wheels and a prolonged hiss, as train 31806 came to a halt. I should have been wearing gloves and a hat. I was transported back to a time when travel was slow, genteel and convivial; shared flasks of hot tea, pork pies … Continue reading The Age Of Steam.
Toiling up and down coastal cliffs from White Nothe to Durdle Door was breath-taking in more ways than one. But it was a piece of cake compared to what came next. Spectacular views come at a price – at least for us – up and down, up and down, ‘and when they were only half-way up they were neither up nor down’. I felt like … Continue reading More Summer On The South West Coast.
The English non summer didn’t stop us getting some walking in. Tully and Harley didn’t care about rain or grey skies and nor we decided should we. As Ruskin said there is no such thing as bad weather – just bad clothes. Besides the South West Coast path ran almost in front of the door, and it would have been a crime to miss it. … Continue reading Summer On The South West Coast.
We spent the British summer (grim, grey and shower after shower) in Weymouth, looking after the gorgeous Harley and Tully, and Batman the cat. (I cannot think of Batman without that soundtrack running through my head). The dogs were gorgeous cocker spaniels; so pretty with ruffled ears like flowing locks. Tully, small and nimble, golden like soft brown sugar. Harley, always with a lopsided cheeky … Continue reading Oh, I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside.
‘You’re like a different person here’. I am not good at doing nothing. I get so excited when I get someplace new and want to run about and discover, walk the streets, sit on terraces, eat the food; soak it all up. To Jim, I’m manic. I envy his ability to sit and stare into space, nap in the afternoons and hang over gates watching sun-sets. … Continue reading The Charente.
We’ve just finished our fourth housesit on a small-holding in the Charente region of France. Now we’re old hands at milking, and this time, for the first time, we didn’t have to milk Bella. She’s a grandma now, and resting. Here I look back to our first stay and encounter with the She-Devil! Day One: We meet Bella. She splayed her legs, put her hooves on the lower bars … Continue reading Diary Of A Milkmaid.