Shock. Disbelief. Dismay. Grief.
have to be added to my little New Zealand souvenir book.
Shock. Disbelief. Dismay. Grief.
..and some souvenirs.
The favourite sandals I took with me to New Zealand literally fell apart when I got there - they looked fine on top but great lumps of sole fell off around the flat and we wondered what all these bits were...I found a lovely pair of shoes in a sale in the nice (air conditioned) department store Ballantynes. I just know I'm going to love these.
I could have spent a lot in the beautiful Art Gallery shop but just bought this little bit of silly decoration because the colours are so lovely..
And I could not resist this tiny tiny notebook though I don't know what I am going to put in it.
to Abel Tasman National Park where we heard this.
Many of New Zealand's native birds are ground nesting (and some are flightless), and in this National Park they are increasing the numbers by getting rid of introduced predators like possums, rats and weasels.
There are no roads and you can only reach the eco lodge we stayed in by boat -a gorgeous trip dropping people off at several idyllic beaches, a somewhat rougher trip coming back! The boat drops you on the sand and you walk along the beach to a board walkway and some steps and as soon as we were among the trees we heard the bell bird and the tui. And the loudest cicadas I have ever heard. There were also eels and glow worms in the wetland below our balcony. We took ourselves out at night using the torches on our phones along little paths, listening to many strange noises in the bush (intrepid adventurers that we are!) to spot the glow worms. - I loved this place.
See more about the conservation projects here.
The road north ends at the small resort of Kaiteriteri and from here it is boat or helicopter or by foot on the huge network of hiking trails.
The wetlands from our balcony.
I liked the architecture
Tree ferns everywhere
..and agave, cordyline, eucalypts, hebes.
The outdoor part of the restaurant..
The kind of place where you dress for dinner by putting the laces back in your sandshoes!
When a dear friend who is living in Christchurch for six months in a beautiful flat with a spare toom invited me to stay in February, it took mere moments for me to change the New Windows label on the savings to New Zealand.
The fact that it is summer in New Zealand in February added to the thrill.
I'm not quite down to earth yet, but give me a few days and I'll sort out my photographs and my head (and my sleep patterns).
Have any of you been to New Zealand? Or followed the sun in February? It is sunny at home too and quite warm, and I have been grounding myself with some gentle gardening.
Thank you for the lovely welcome home messages.
Do you like a change of pace? Some city buzz, some country quiet?
A dynamic business set in the peaceful surroundings of the North York Moors, Gillies Jones have an international reputation. It is worth a call to see if the glassblowers will be working when you visit as it is fascinating to watch them in this small workshop.
One day I will buy one of these.
If I could just decide which colour....
Mannion in York and Helmsley make the best scones ever. I said to the guy who served me 'I wish I had the recipe for your scones' and he flashed back, with a big smile 'Not on your life!'
Time to wander fantastical shops (Harry Potter music) and magical Christmas decorations.
Browsing the bookshops..
Bought this one
Noted this one.
A seat in the sun outside Carluccio's in St Helen's Square, people watching and listening to a singer with a voice like an angel.
One of the best views of the Minster is from the cafe in Marks and Spencers store
Three buses, two trains and a ferry later to a very different, simpler, quieter and calmer environment.
Love them both.
Happy to be home.
I do like a change of pace and am lucky enough to enjoy both city life and country life at different times.
A few slightly faster paced days in York went down a treat and I'm going to log lots of photographs in this post....so visually stimulating
It still felt like summer just 200 miles south! We have gales, flooding and landslides here..now Weebly why are you printing these upside down? Ah, if you click on them they appear right way up. How odd.
I used to teach in this wonderful old building.
Friends' city gardens were looking beautiful.
The roadworkers' hieroglyphs amused me.
Especially this one.
More tomorrow all being well..
..both literal and metaphorical. I love the atmosphere in Edinburgh at festival time.
Music in the streets, lots of free performances by young hopefuls at the Fringe, top names and prestigious shows (Rembrandt at the National Gallery which I will go back and see) and the Dovecot has a good cafe and shop and a selling exhibition of contemporary jewellery which we didn't have time to see....
I think next year I should find somewhere to stay for a week.
Have you been? Or do you have a favourite festival?
I like the message on the Edinburgh Festival posters.
Grace and I had a happy day there yesterday.
We chanced upon Indigo Yatd Gin Garden for a coffee while we decided what to do (it was too early for gin!). We loved the decor..
When life gives you lemons make a gin and tonic was our favourite message. We've discovered we like a lot of the same things, so it was easy to agree that Dovecot Studios should be our destination.
This is the viewing gallery where you can watch the tapestry weavers at work.
The building was converted from a swimming pool.
The current exhibition is a history of Liberty Fabrics.
The gardens at Newby Hall were looking wonderful.
There are 25 acres to explore and the double border above is 172 meters long - I was really impressed at how very good it all looked in spite of the heatwave.
We were given a pot of this!
The most idyllic part was a boat trip on the River Ure - I loved how modest and un-commercial it was. Just a lazy half an hour on a simple boat with a relaxed guy who loved the quiet and the wildlife of the riverbank and enjoyed sharing it - he knew where all the nests were, was sweet with the children and never asked for the money. You just gave him the £5 as you got off and I had the impression he really wouldn't have cared much if you forgot...
It was also cooler on the river! 28/29 degrees is too hot for me.
Makes me idle.
An idle idyll is no bad thing now and then... thank you Lynne!
How has the heat affected you this summer?
Bear with me as they say, for I am still on about Venice!
I am passionate about Venice - it just happened. I did not need to try (I just needed to be there).
(Can I just add here that a friend who has been reading the comments recently said 'How did they all get to be so wise?')
I loved the cookery book Polpo as much for it's information about Venice as for the food and knew that I would want to eat cicheti at a bacaro (see the Polpo story here) - the kind of place Venetians will stop at on the way home from work, maybe with a colleague or meeting a friend, for a glass of local wine or a spritz and some delicious small snacks. I was delighted to find that one of Russell Norman's recommended bacari was on the street right below our apartment!
I had also read somewhere about a cafe in a greenhouse (Serra di Giardini) and found it quite easily (Vaporetto stop Giardini). We enjoyed a lunch and an aperol spritz there on a sunny warm day - so sunny they had to lower the wonderful blinds...
Neither place was expensive.
..but exquisite facsimiles of wonderful books dating from the 1400's.
In the Scuola Grande di San Marco is a display of very convincing facsimiles of famous and beautiful books which you are allowed to handle and leaf through.
The illuminated manuscripts made into books (codex) were owned by families such as the Medici, d'Este, Rothschild and Duca di Berry and handling them in their bejewelled and embroidered covers we got a sense of how precious books were, and how valued.
Any bibliophile would be thrilled by this exhibition (Barry would have loved it).
I think it is on until September but it will surely travel to other venues in Europe. I am so glad to have experienced it.
In the larger room with it's magnificent ceiling and paintings by Tintoretto, are printed books from the 1500's and the Museum of Medical History (the building is part of the hospital).
To see these originals, which were of course in glass cases, as the originals of the codices would also be, brought alive the concepts of the Renaissance for us.
Theophrastus is known as the father of botany and is a bit of a hero of mine.
The medical instruments on display were in Heather's words 'a chamber of horrors', especially those associated with childbirth, but we spent a couple of hours in this quiet museum and I would certainly visit it again.
..not only that it still exists, but that it works as well as it does.
Venice that is.
Deliveries, ambulances - yellow with blue flashing lights, rubbish collection - steep fines if you get it wrong! Repairs, sewage, I was aware of working vessels on the canals day and night. Washing hanging out to dry. One of the nicest sounds was the voices of children going to school in the mornings in the street below our apartment.
This issue is one of the most contentious of all..
We saw a swallow in Venice, and yesterday I spotted the first one here. I wonder if they will nest with us again...
We did not shop in Venice, except for food. until our last morning when I bought some Murano glass gifts and Heather bought a beautiful little bag, but do come window shopping with me - what windows! What style!
Do you have a favourite place to window shop?
There is a 'back story' (if I am using that term correctly) to my Venice trip which newer readers of Live Simply Simply Live may not know of..
My husband Barry and I had planned to spend a month in Venice in February 2016 and had done lots of research and planning and booked an apartment which was very Venetian. We wanted to know we were in Venice and didn't want to stay in a place which could have been anywhere. So the one we found had a canal, a bridge and a private terrace with a view of this 15C church! You can see the apartment here.
When Barry died unexpectedly the owners of the apartment said they regretted they could not refund the deposit but would hold it indefinitely to be used by me or anyone I cared to give it to, and it went to the back of my mind for many months.
As you can imagine it was with mixed feelings I went to Venice without Barry and to the apartment we had so carefully chosen. I know Barry would have been as thrilled as I was that our lovely Heather came along. She made it fun and a very healing and happy experience.
Last night I watched a production of Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth. In it, towards the end, Winifred tells Vera, who has suffered devastating losses at a very young age,
'All of us are surrounded by ghosts. Now we need to learn how to live with them. You must start at the beginning. Get up, get dressed, eat. Spring is out there, waiting...'
For me, Venice was out there, waiting, and I'm very glad I went to meet her.
..in Venice which is still a living city of some 57,000 people.
I had read of this tradition to announce the arrival and the sex (blue for a boy, pink for a girl) of a new baby by attaching a ribbon to the door.
Graffiti on the hoarding around the Accademia Bridge which is being restored.
I had planned to visit the church of SS Giovanni e Paolo on our last morning but a funeral was taking place.
I have been following this blog about Venice with interest for a few years. The writer Steven Varni, wrote a post about the very funeral I mention above.
as I post a few more memories of Venice!
I learned from Heather, who learned from Cinzia, who learned from her mother exactly now to make an espresso. I didn't know I liked it.
This came today. First try tomorrow morning.
How do you like your coffee?
This is quite fun.
I only read it after I came back :-)
..like no other!
In Libreria Acqua Alta they are prepared for high water and flooding
with books stacked in a gondola
and in kayaks.
You can sit and read looking onto the canal
This is also the fire escape. And there are chandeliers on the crumbling ceiling,
and several cats.
If you have been to Venice you will know that even in April it can be very crowded and we found it best to be out early, or late after the day trippers have left, and to go to some of the lesser known museums and galleries.
On our first full day Heather had us up before dawn to see the sunrise from in front of the Doge's Palace.
This is my favourite shot.
One of the many sweepers out at dawn to clean, with birch brooms, the Piazza and the surrounding areas.
There were only the sweepers and a few other photographers around and the light was beautiful.
The Bridge of Sighs Ponte del Sospiri built in the 1600's and so called because of the supposed sighs of those who passed from the courts of the Doge's Palace on the left to the prison building on the right.
It took us just 15 minutes with the help of Google to get from our apartment to Piazza San Marco, without it it took 40 fascinating minutes to get back!
There is something to astonish and delight at every turn.
Back for breakfast on the terrace in warm sunshine!
Heather and I were walking back through a quiet, almost empty Piazza San Marco to our apartment having just been to a superb performance of Madame Butterfly in La Fenice. It had rained while we were in the theatre. The cafes were almost empty and the chairs were being cleared away but the orchestra was still playing...I didn't really want anything other than Puccini in my head, but my feet were doing the listening and they could not help but move to Scott Joplin. Heather laughed and videod me (No, I am not showing it here!)
Almost exactly two years to the day since this post...
I am passionate about Venice.
A wedding today.
Venice by night is magical. Lighted windows became something of a theme....
'Our' bridge! The door to our apartment is just by the railings on the right.
..to avoid the snow! We must have been in one of the very few places in UK not to have snowstorms (my village was cut off while I was away). Ardfern was bitterly cold but dry and bright with barely a flurry of the white stuff, and we had a most relaxing time.
We were five (three good cooks - I am so lucky with my friends!). A walk around the frozen ponds in Arduaine Gardens looking at the strange hieroglyphs on the frosted paths, books, films, food and wine and lots of laughter. We watched in amazement the rest of the country on the nightly news and shared pictures and news from our stranded friends and families.
The roads had re-opened when it was time to come home.
This seemed to be the only hazard (and we didn't see it).
How did you fare?
I hope you are all safe and warm.
A nice wee Scottish town with great beaches,
and long-legged people
with interesting shoes
I wonder who designs the soles?
and if it's a fun job..
Nairn also has
this lovely old postbox
and the best flower shop in the area. (My sister's!)
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)