Thursday, April 28, 2016


Conversazione a vacazione:
Zenga: Are you guys hungry?
Michael: I haven't been hungry since 1987.
JB: I haven't been hungry since 2.30pm.
Michael and JB chortle merrily, delighted by their wit.
Zenga: What should we do next? Walk some more? Shop? Or back to the hotel for a siesta?
Chorus: Hotel!
... And so it goes. My friends, not a single one of my brain cells has fired since I landed, but my tastebuds, I realise, have been flat-lining for a long while. Now, here in Roma, they are dancing the fandango, twirling, cavorting, gavotting and frolicking with great abandon. How does spaghetti vongole taste so good? Or a pizza con mozzarella,  proscuitto e pomadore? Pescatore? Insalata verde?  The simplest things taste sublime....
Colosseum, Pantheon, St. Peter's. St Paul's. Marcus Agrippa, Emperor Augustus. Mussolini. Michelangelo. Verdi. The antiquities and stories go by in a blur. The last time I visited Rome I was electrified, shrieking with delight at this original,  exciting city. This time I am calmer, content. After all, I am here with three of my favourite people. There is nothing better than being surrounded by beauty, imbibing it through each of your senses, and not having to say terribly much, nor feel compelled to make decisions. Each of your group know you inside out. It is so terribly relaxing. And if you get lost, who cares?
Weatherwise, we have been lucky... the temperature is around 19 degrees C with occasional drizzles which is perfect for lots of walking, and neither too hot or too cold, provided you have layers and a soft, snuggly scarf.
Last night, instead of dining, we visited a nearby church for a recital of romantic arias by soprano and two tenors accompanied by four violins and the piano.  Rossetti, Puccini, Verdi, Donazetti, we were regaled with well-known arias and let the beautiful sounds fill the church to its high vaulted roof.  When in Rome... do as the Romans do, and the church, despite the school night, was comfortably full, gracious couples and even families with children there for a glass of friscati and 90 minutes of recital. Bliss.
Today we leave our gracious, elegant Hotel Quirinale for our luxury cruiser and I will be sorry to leave this gorgeous suite with its brilliant chandelier and high, high ceilings. We enjoyed our G&Ts at the end of the day,  a duo of palely handsome Italians crooners singing Ed Sheeran.
Alas, I must sign off: Steve can view CNN for only so long. The news focused today on Trump's foreign policy - an oxymoron, I suggest - so for now, dear friends, arrivederci.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a jaded woman in possession of good fortune must be in want of a vacation abroad."
The photograph that accompanies this first epistle of my Italy 2016 blog is of my view today as I pack my suitcase to the refrains of Duffy singing "Stepping Stone". It is a melodious, cheerful song, in harmony with the autumnal sunshine pouring into the chambers of our near-empty apartment after several days of 'curing' following a buff and polish.

Of one thing I am sure: that when our 26-day foray to Italy is over, I will be longing once more to gaze my eyes upon this view. Because however jaded one is - and believe me, I am '100% proof' jaded - there is still nothing better than home sweet Lincoln Crescent. I know how fortunate I am, but my word, how to retain one's sense of good humour without the occasional get-away-from-it-all?

I am tired of watching my words, my bank accounts, my data usage, my weight, my back. I am weary of being nanny to my pooch. I am tired of searching for my spectacles because I find it difficult to locate anything without them on my face. I am sick of commuting by train to Olympic Park, Pandora app notwithstanding. Even another episode of my drip-feed drug, Justified, cannot sustain me in good temper for long.

No, it's time for me to visit not-so-foreign climes and escape the hot air circulating about impending elections, local and international - frankly my dear, I so don't give a damn - and drink in different views, both visual, intellectual and esoteric.

I will try to keep tabs on everything that we experience, but as the point of the exercise is TO LET GO, don't hold your breath. Rather, book YOUR next holiday - and start looking forward.

For me, the anticipation of Italy 2016 has been life-affirming and now my only remaining angst is that the holiday will not live up to expectations. We will see! For now, adieu dear friends as I wing my way in train of la dolce vita....