Monday 28 April 2014

The Venetian Bellini

When it is raining cats and dogs here, I get to thinking about Venice again. Here I am in the sunshine with my morning coffee and a Bellini - one of the absolute must-haves on a visit there.

Actually I only had a sip of that one, because it was ordered for one of my companions. But I liked it so much I had my own the next afternoon.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Front Garden Project

I've been planting pots today, courtesy of the Homebase Easter sale.

These sit under the window of my lounge at the front of the house which is south facing. I put the rather unusual ranunculus in the centre with a couple each of pansies and lobellia. Looking forward to seeing them develop.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

My Life by Jade: Grooming

My mummy is having more and more senior moments. She forgot to ask me to write this for her to post it yesterday, so it’s a day late. Sorry about that. The other day she forgot our grooming routine and I had to go and get her out of the office to do it half way through the morning. It meant I didn’t get my treat for being a good girl until nearly lunchtime!

Ever since I had my teeth scaled at the vets, we’ve had this new grooming routine after breakfast.  It’s good because everything gets done at once and there’s no chance of forgetting to do any of it. At least, that’s what mummy says.

Mummy collects what she needs on a tray and when I see her get the tray out I go and lie on my bed, and daddy puts a chair in front of it for mummy to sit on. First she cleans my eyes with a wet tea bag – she was told to do this by the vet because my eyes weep a lot. Daddy teases me about this, saying I’m a cry baby, but I’m not crying really. If it’s not done regularly the hair under my eyes gets all stuck together and hard.

Then mummy has to clean my teeth, which she says is easier said than done because I’m not that keen on her fingers in my mouth, but I do like the taste of the toothpaste. She uses her fingers to make sure it gets where it should. After that she puts a little bit on a baby toothbrush and sticks that in my mouth as well. After that she has to bathe around my mouth with salt water on cotton wool and dry it with a paper towel.

Finally she has to brush all the tangles out of my ear hair, and give me a brush all over – at least the bits she can reach when I’m lying down. I have to admit that one side gets more brushing than the other.

After I’ve put up with all that, I think I deserve a treat, don’t you?

Friday 18 April 2014

More Garden News

The violets in the picture in my last post are in the pot that my hosta has been living in for the past several years, dying off and disappearing each winter and returning in spring. There was no sign of it last year when the violets first appeared so I guess they have ousted it.

The plot outside my kitchen window needs weeding, tidying and more filling. The tulip bulbs I planted really late because of the extended wet weather haven't come to anything. Hopefully, some of them will grow next year if I can avoid disturbing them too much. But the primroses planted last year have been doing really well.

The camellia is budding and has had one rather shy flower.

The miniature daffodils have died off but the rhubarb next to them will soon be ready for cutting and cooking. Strawberries have migrated beyond the edge of my herb garden, so I'm hoping to have an even better crop this year. Bean stakes are in and seeds planted straight into the ground instead of being brought on first. Fingers crossed.

Monday 14 April 2014

Another Birthday Present

My trip to Venice was a birthday present from my daughter and her friend, and, although I contributed the Avios miles for the flights, it wouldn't have happened otherwise. I didn't expect to get another birthday present from my girl, but one arrived with the postman on Saturday.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you may remember the photo above. My lovely daughter had it blown up and reproduced on canvas on a frame.  Now it sits on the wall above my VDU in the office and when I'm sitting in front of it, as I am now, I only have to lift my eyes to see it.

Friday 11 April 2014

Sunday Morning in St Mark’s Square

We walked through the square on our way to the vaporetto stop for San Giorgio Maggiore. The square was buzzing. Full of people, and we could hear music. When we drew near to a large group we realised this was where the music was coming from. It was accompanying young girls folk dancing and surrounded by a mesmerised audience. I was enthralled but it wasn’t really my companions’ thing so we didn’t stay long.

Moving on we could hear drumming coming from around the corner past the tower. This was more like it – a group of young men performing with flags.

Monday 7 April 2014

A Magical Town

One of my commenters coined the perfect adjective for Venice: it was magical indeed. On our second morning we crossed to San Giorgio Maggiore, the island shown in one of the pics in my last post. We went into the church and took the lift to the belfry for yet another magical experience. The various openings at the top afforded us a 360 degree view over the city and its closest islands. Photos don't really do it justice but they'll give you some idea.

Friday 4 April 2014

Ciao Venezia

Monday – our  third and final morning in Venice.  We’d had the best long weekend since we three girls were in New York together. We had packed and tidied up our rented apartment, put our two sets of keys on the table and left before the appointed time.  Looking for breakfast and dragging our wheeled luggage behind us, we checked out the cafes in Mark’s Square, without much hope I have to say. 

Sure enough, €10 for an orange juice seemed a bit too much for us. Changing £20 for a meagre €17 was a good idea though. The helpful Italian behind the counter of the currency exchange told us where we could exchange that for a good breakfast by walking behind the square for a few minutes. Soon we were tucking into wholemeal croissants with cheese and ham washed down by delicious cafĂ© latte, while admiring the little white dog that was accompanying its family at the next table.

Brekkers over, we headed back past the famous square to the jetty where we were to meet our water taxi for the airport. (We’d got a €10 discount on that by booking it through the company we had rented our apartment from). We were half an hour early so we leant on the boardwalk railings and watched the world go by. This jetty was located at the entrance to the Grand Canal from the lagoon of Venice.  In the distance we could see the church of San Giorgio Maggiore  on the nearest island in the lagoon. Beyond the parked gondolas the sunlight glinted on the tops of the gently rolling wavelets on the water, perfecting the picture.

On the other side of our jetty we could see people at work. The boat moored there was full of cardboard boxes and smaller parcels being unloaded onto trailers that would be pulled or pushed around the narrow streets of vehicle free Venice. The boat had the DHL logo on the side.

Several water taxis sped past, plus a couple of the water buses they call vaporetti. Then we heard music drifting towards us from higher up the canal. Looking in that direction, we saw three gondolas coming towards us side by side. Each contained a party of oriental tourists, as well as the gondolier in his navy and white jumper, of course. On one of them sat an accordionist accompanying a really good baritone. So we were treated to this harmonious serenade as well as the trippers on board. As they passed us another similar group came up behind, and then another. As each song ended, the audience politely clapped to applaud the bowing singer.

One of the songs repeated over and over, “Ciao Venezia”, which now runs through my head. This can apparently mean either hello or goodbye Venice, but I prefer to think for us it should be arriverderci Venice - meaning: until we meet again. 

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