Venetian Perfection

Sitting in the Venetian sun, one blissfully warm afternoon, drinking Prosecco – as you do, I looked up and saw this beautiful shuttered window with balcony.  We’d wandered away from the crowded touristy areas towards a part of Venice we’d never visited.  I’d always known there was a public park at one end, we’d just never wandered down that way before, the allure of the narrow streets, the tiny bridges and the feeling of being deliciously lost without a care in the world being one of the delights of Venice.  

This particular afternoon found us in a wide, quiet street, full of small cafes selling delicious food at far more reasonable prices than the usual touristy areas.  From where we were sitting we could still people watch to our hearts content without being jostled – it was incredibly peaceful.  

I love looking up at windows, especially those with partially opened shutters.  I wonder who lives behind them, what they do for a living, what the room is used for, what conversations are held in that room, what tales the walls could tell, the shape of the many pairs of hands which have opened those shutters in the past, what secrets have been hidden in the fabric of the walls.

Behind these particular shutters I know lives a dog.  He (or she), stepped out and looked down onto the street towards where we were sitting, decided we posed no threat, and slowly walked back into the cooling shade inside.  Sensible dog.

We on the other hand, our Prosecco finished, decided to carry on with our walk  – leaving behind this little piece of perfection.

Autumn colours 

Dawn was just breaking when I set off for work this morning.   It was cold and damp and I just wanted to be tucked up in bed where it was so cosy and warm. Unfortunately, being an adult, it wasn’t an option. 

It’s a  twenty minute drive to work – plenty of time to think and mull over things.  This morning I was feeling rather nostalgic and remembering someone who is no longer here.  By the time I parked up there was a tear running down my cheek.  I got out of the car, gave myself a good telling off, and looked up.  That’s when I  saw the tree in all its autumn glory – slightly denuded after the heavy winds yesterday, but still beautiful.  You can see the moon to the left of it.  

It’s cheered me up no end.  I walked to work with a smile on my face 🤗

Captivating sculpture in Trajan’s Forum, Rome

Last month we spent a fabulous eight days in Italy.  We walked our socks off wandering round Venice, Florence and Rome.  Because it was late in the season the temperature was very comfortable, which meant we could walk for miles – and we did. The photograph above was taken in Trajan’s Forum where there are a number of sculptures of horses – each of them different – all of them breathtaking in their execution.  The backdrop is an arcade of ancient roman shops (the market), built on a number of levels.

We spent a good three hours trying to take in the vastness of the complex which last time we visited (over a decade ago), had not been excavated.


The above image was also taken whilst we were in Rome.  This is a very small part of a vast complex which the Emperor Nero had built and which was known as his Golden Palace.   It’s only open at weekends so we were very lucky to be able to see the excavations as they stand at the moment.  The paintings you can see are close to 2,000 years old and would, originally, have covered the walls.

It makes me wonder what else is lying hidden away under the streets of Rome.  The city is one massive museum.

View from the top

Last weekend my dog and I went exploring further than usual.  It was a glorious day, warm with a lovely breeze to keep us cool.

We’d taken a route which leads through a steeply rising wood, following a path which leads either to a wider path back out of the woods, or across a stile and up a fairly steep incline through open land to the summit of a hill which overlooks the bay.

I hadn’t been up to the top in, probably, 20 years – so it was high time I revisited. I’d forgotten how steep it is but it’s not too far.  The scenery is beautiful to behold.  Wild, craggy, windswept and open.  

There are often cows or sheep grazing up there and down near the woods but, on this day, there was no livestock within sight.  This meant that Mischa could run round to her heart’s content – and she loved it.

We saw about a dozen people in all, dressed in hiking boots, sensible waterproof jackets, walking poles and rucksacks.  Obviously taking their walk seriously!

I, on the other hand, was seriously underdressed in linen trousers, light cotton blouse and Birkenstocks.  I had poop bags for the dog and my phone, with which I took these images on the way back down from the top.

It was a great walk and next time we go I’ll approach it from a different path. Might even take a backpack and have my lunch up there – and some water would be good too.

I’m still here – honest I am

Oh my, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last posted on my blog.  Why has it been so long?  Well for a start I’m working on Part Three of my series Dead and Talking.  It’s strange but whilst I know what has to happen in this book, and the whys and wherefors, I’ve been finding it difficult to sit down and just write.  I guess this has been reflected on my blog too.

There are a few reasons for this.  The first, and probably most important, is that we’re thinking of moving house at some point in the foreseeable future.  We’ve been discussing the advantages and the disadvantages of a move (costs for one), and the costs involved if we stay where we are (central heating system – no we don’t have central heating; re-decorating throughout; possibly re-wiring …).  Then we’d still have the problem of too many stairs and only one bathroom.  So, a move looks very likely.

Where to move to:  That’s the BIG question, though we’re homing in – so to speak.

Another reason I’ve not been writing is because I found I couldn’t approach it in the usual way.  You know, sit at the pc, press the ‘on’ button and let everything load up – then get on with it.  Oh no, the muse refused to say a word.  Maddening woman!   Instead I’ve been making do with snatching time during my lunch break and writing scenes and part scenes as they come to me.  Believe me, it’s a tedious way to work – but at least I’ve been able to get something down

Then, wonder of wonders, those amazing people at Scrivener let it be known that a beta version of Scrivener for IOS was being tested and would be available for ALL IOS devices within a very short time.  Well, that  blessed day arrived today – at some point when I was at work and unable to download it!  

I hurried home tonight and immediately opened up my iPad and downloaded the app.  Oh very happy me.  It’s even compatible with Windows when I update my pc version of Scrivener to the latest iPad syncing version.  Yay – I am one happy bunny right now.  I’ll have no excuse not to work on my novel – or the next one …

#everydayinspiration Day 13: The House

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Lisa stared up, yet again, at the sad and decrepit house she passed every day.  She’d wondered for years why anyone would allow a house to die like that.
Inside the house, looking out of the attic window, he watched, yet again, the sad looking woman who stopped, every day, and gazed up at the house.
He’d wondered for years why she hadn’t come in.  The house was alive with dead souls just like her, partying, laughing, enjoying themselves.
He decided he’d introduce himself and ask her if she’d like to join their party.

#everydayinspiration Day 12: Critique

Mariana by John Everett Millais, 1851

I first saw this painting in a local art gallery – up close and very person.  Indeed I was a hair’s breadth away from the painting at one point, staring at the fine brushwork used to paint the eyebrows and hair.  The silk velvet of her midnight blue gown is so exquisitely painted it’s as though real fabric has been used instead of paint.

Of course, everything in this painting is full of allegory, full of meaning, as was typical of pre-Raphaelite painters.  The stained glass in the windows depicts a knight who has left for the Holy land on crusade – a soldier fighting for God’s cause – as is shown by the Madonna and the Angel in the other two windows.  Mariana has waited and waited for her lord to return, her body aches with the ceaseless waiting and the endless work on her tapestry.

On the floor are fallen leaves – green, gold and copper, reflecting the tapestry she’s working on – but the leaves on the floor seem to signify fading hope, perhaps fading love with passing time.  Her tapestry is nowhere near finished, yet the rolled up end is testament to the many hours she has spent working away on it – dutifully and practically employing her time until her love returns.

The wait seems endless, the seasons pass, the candle in the corner of the room burns lower, the light barely reaching into the darkest recesses.  Yet still she stands by the window, hope not yet extinguished, the embers of love still burning somewhere in her heart, as fading light warms her soul before it turns towards dusk.

#everydayinspiration Day11: A virtual pot of coffee

If we were sharing a pot of coffee right now you’d be sitting on my balcony overlooking the park opposite my house, and the bay with the hills on the opposite shore which are covered in colours of hazy blue, deepening to dark purple in the distance.

You’d see how the water is slowly meandering into the bay, following the channels which cut into the sand, leaving patterns of ice blue criss-crossing the red-brown earth.  It looks so inviting – but it’s deadly.  You’d also see one area already filled with water, the sun reflected in the small wavelets as the light breeze brushes over the surface – creating glints of silver and sparkling as though made of  precious diamonds.

We’d probably not talk very much -the birds are twittering away and their chatter is magical and relaxing.  It’s pleasant to listen and allow their music to soothe the soul.

Help yourself to another cup of coffee and a croissant, they’re lovely and warm, then I’d love to hear about your place – where you live and what you love about your home.