Tag Archives: adventure

A Day in the Country

IMG_5565

Town meets country

Several months ago there was a rash of comment in the media about Biddy a cheesemaker who produced farmhouse cheeses in what was considered to be not the correct environment.  In fact, MPI (the Ministry of Primary Industries) threatened to close her down.  She is only one of three farmhouse cheesemakers in New Zealand and with the help of friends, customers and cheese lovers, they all fought back and now with many restrictions they are all back in business with many added regulations that impose a financial burden on these small artisans.

Anyway, while visiting a friend who owns and runs a small lifestyle block, 4.48 hectares on which she raises cows and sheep and has a magnificent vegetable garden, we watched a TV programme on Biddy the Cheesemaker and there and then decided to visit her.

Well, eventually this week, we made the journey.  A bright sunny winter’s day saw us leave reasonably early (9 am) to travel the 120 kms to Cwmglyn, Biddy’s farm.

Well, we started with coffee and shopping in Greytown a delightful small town in the Wairarapa full of delightful shops – antiques, coffee, and many clothes retailers but no large retail outlets.  What a joy.

So, after perusing the shops and each making a purchase, and enjoying lunch we set off to the wide blue yonder – Eketahuna.

eketahuna a

It really is a long way from civilisation as I know it.  Fields, followed by fields, followed by fields.

eketahuna2

After twisting and turning through the countryside we came across a sign for CWMGLYN, the farm.  As we had prearranged our visit for 2 pm, we arrived on time and after wandering around the farm for a bit found our hosts.  Biddy and her husband Colin initially meant to grow trees on their small block but when Biddy was given a cow several years ago, she decided to milk her and the whole cheesemaking story was begun.

She has only four cows and the one in the photo with this townie is called Nellie.  Nellie decided that I was a friend and she was particularly interested in my iPad.

All cheese produced is named for the cow from whom the milk came and we tasted Nellie’s cheese.  Delicious.

middleton-model-railway

We then went on to look at the husband’s joy – The Middleton Model Railway.  Apparently, ths is one of the largest model railways in the country, and what a joy it was.  We spent some time making the trains go but as Colin was otherwise engaged at the time, we didn’t see all of the clever things he can do with his ‘toys’.

So after saying goodbye to Nellie and her friends, and buying some farmhouse cheese we made the way back home.  For me, it was a totally different day and one I enjoyed tremendously.  We are now going to see if there are any other artisan businesses we can visit.

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Where Did The Years Go?

Sunday, June 11, 1967.  7.40am NZ1 landed at Auckland International Airport. Among the passengers were my 2 children and me.  We had a very nice flight from Los Angeles where we had visited with my sister before heading  further south to meet up with my DYS (Dashing Young Scotsman)

My DYS had been transferred to New Zealand for two years.  We knew little or nothing about this country.  We didn’t learn about the far-flung corner of the British Commonwealth although I now know that New Zealand children were taught about England at school.  I imagined that some of the 3million plus sheep would be wandering down the main street of Auckland to meet us, and in all, in spite of the literature given to us by New Zealand House in London, my impression was that we were going to a wild west type of life.

All those years ago not many people were travelling and certainly not with two small children in tow.  The staff on board and most of the passengers were great with the children.  One elderly couple (well they seemed elderly to me although in retrospect they probably were in their late 50s early 60s) offered to keep an eye on them while I slept. And the children had the run of the plane;  they could go anywhere and were even taken into the cockpit.  My 4-year-old son,  there and then, decided he wanted to be a pilot when he grew up.

It was winter and raining when we landed in this far off land.  The DYS had been here for a few weeks and had made a couple of friends or rather at that time they were acquaintances who later became friends.  But I knew nobody.

DYS had arranged our accommodation in one of the only reasonable hotels available at the time.  Oh, New Zealand was a very different place then.

On arriving here we found it was not as wild as we had imagined.  No sheep wandering down Queen Street (the main thoroughfare in Auckland), the natives were friendly and what’s more, they spoke our language

We did find some of the customs strange.  Late night shopping on Friday until 10 pm and then absolutely everything shut down until Monday morning.  Bread could be purchased at the local store but no clothes or shoe shops, hairdressers or other shops were open.  All very strange to this newcomer.

I do remember that gas was 33 cents a litre and cigarettes 33 cents for a pack of 20.

Another thing that was very odd was that the licensing laws had every pub closing at 6 pm.  Apparently, most men would leave their offices at 5 pm to dash to the nearest pub to get a drink or two or three, before closing time.  This changed shortly after we arrived but it was apparently well established.

The proximity of the beaches, easy, laid back way of living and all being together made up for any strange things we had to deal with and we all thrived in this new land.

And today June 11 is the 50th  anniversary of the day the children and I first arrived in New Zealand.  We have left it for a time, as a family and the children separately and me for a time after Robert died, but we have all returned and claim New Zealand as home.

NZ flag

“If I should die think only this of me:
that there’s some corner of a foreign field
that is forever England.
There shall be in that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped,
made aware; gave once her flowers to love, her ways to roam.
A body of England’s, breathing English air, washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home” Rupert Brooke.  1887-1915

PS     Rupert Brooks was known for his boyish good looks,
which were said to have prompted the Irish poet  W B Yeats
to describe him as “the handsomest young man in England”

I  wrote about arriving here in a post early in my blogging days –   Leaving on a Jet Plane.

Freedom

 

“I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful
and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”
~ Mary Oliver

In October three years ago I was in Florence, knowing nobody and not speaking the language.  But what an adventure that was.

Have you ever thought of doing something like that?  To know nobody; to walk through the streets and not see a familiar face; to hear people speaking without understanding a single word they are saying and to not know where you are or where you are going; no familiar sights to guide you.  It’s total freedom.

For once, you can just be you.  There’s nobody who knows you and can comment on your behaviour.  We all like to think that we are independent and not moved by others’ comments on our actions, but here I was, totally alone like a ship that had been untied and left to float.

Oh, how i loved Florence and the feeling of just being me for the time I was there. Never before have I been in such circumstances and I suppose I never will be again.

When I returned to NZ many people commented on how brave I was to do that on my own.  But it didn’t seem like bravery to me.  At the time it was something I wanted to do and so I did it.  I wonder if I would have done that had I been younger or was it just the right time for me to stretch my wings and fly?

I’m very pleased that I had that adventure.  That I made the decision to go on my own and see that part of the world through different eyes.  I had not spent time in Florence before and like a child in a candy store, I delighted in all that I saw.  And I delighted in the people I met in the suburb where my apartment was.  Nobody spoke English and my Italian is almost non-existent but we managed to communicate and enjoy each others company.  And when I returned a couple  of years later with my late partner, those neighbours remembered me and were happy to see me.

So much has happened in the three years since that adventure.  Life has changed as it will and must.  Plans made that cannot be carried through; promises made that cannot be kept; other and different adventures to enjoy or just get through.  But that’s what this life of ours is all about.

So as Mary Oliver asks:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your
one wild and precious life?”
~ Mary Oliver

An Inferno

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Photo – J A Craig

She had loved Dante’s Inferno since first being presented a copy to read for English Literature classes so many years ago.  And now she wondered was this the closest she would get to Dante’s Inferno in this life?

She stood there, totally surrounded by mist, mesmerised by the sight of great gusts of steam emanating from the ground accompanied by the roar of a fast approaching steam locomotive.

As she walked slowly past a pool that resembled a boiling cauldron she remembered reading that the indigenous people, the Maoris, still used the heat from this activity for cooking and heating their houses as they had done for centuries.

On her return home on the other side of the world, she needed to have these photos as evidence that this was in fact real and not a figment of her very active imagination.

This week’s word is STEAM.  I thought as few people might have seen the
Geo thermal activity producing clouds of steam, I
would use this as the setting for my Five Sentence story this week.
Click here to play along

Lillie McFerrin Writes

Day 19 – Farewell Florence

“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go,
we take a little of each other everywhere.”
Tim McGraw, American singer, songwriter and actor 1967 –

Yesterday I was up quite early to finish packing and tidying up the apartment before I left.    I did allow enough time to go for a final macchiato and brioche at my favourite pasticerria.  As I was leaving I said goodbye and in halting Italian I said that I was going back to London.  This caused a flurry of ciaos, and what I took to be good wishes as I left promising to return.  What a lucky find that little place was and how friendly all the staff were – the owner spoke not a word of English and two of the staff knew enough to understand what I what I was asking for but I did feel a genuine rapport with these people.

Packed ready to leave

Packed and ready to leave

Then back to the apartment to await the taxi.  At 10.25 the neighbour knocked on the door to tell me the cab was due any time.  We took out my bags (note here what started as one bag morphed into two because of all the Italian leather goods I bought as gifts) and waited on the pavement for the cab.  We had a pleasant conversation and then he left having kissed me on both cheeks, shaken my hand and telling me that if the cab didn’t arrive to come and knock on his door so that he could sort it out.  I marvel at how two people who don’t speak each others language manage to communicate.

It reminded me of one time when we were in Hong Kong staying at a friend’s apartment the air conditioning didn’t work.  My friend’s Amah and my late husband managed to communicate and we were told that the maintenance man  would come that afternoon to fix the problem.  I would think that understanding Chinese is rather more difficult that understanding Italian.

Taxis waiting at The Duomo

All roads do lead to The Duomo.

Anyway back to Florence. The cab duly arrived and the cheerful driver made some comment about ladies not travelling light and humped my suitcases into the back of his cab.

When we arrived at the airport he went off and got me a trolley.  I would never have found one if left to my own devices.

It was quite warm 24 degrees Celsius and the airport was awash with people.  I had to purchase an extra bag because my ticket only allowed for one.  So 70 Euros($NZ116/$US96) later I joined the long queue for bag drop off for Air France.  I am glad that I arrived at the airport early because this took a loooong time.

And my partner says my bag is too large

And my partner says my bag is too large

There are no air-bridges at least for these short hop flights and so we were taken out to the plane in a bus – standing room only.  We then had to climb a flight of stairs.  A really beautiful young French steward took my in flight bag and then asked if I was travelling alone.  When I answered in the affirmative he gave me a seat in the Business Class section.  He had the most beautiful smile and a wonderful accent.  I think I am in love.

So I had s very pleasant flight to London.

On arrival the customs hall was empty and so even though I had nothing to declare we went straight through.  Simple, easy arrival.

London taxis

Next job find a cab.  This was easy as there were many Black London cabs lined up.  I got into one with a garrulous Cockney driver.  Unfortunately, he didn’t know where my sister’s address was and his satnav was no help.  Eventually after driving around for a time, I saw an intersection I recognised and directed him from there.  His satnav was still telling him to turn left when we turned right.  My advice to him was to throw the thing out of the window.

After a reviving coffee accompanied by laughs and catching up what we had each been doing for the past few weeks, we had dinner – fish and chips as only the British can make them.  Great.

Then it was time to visit Marianne’s family who were all at the local hall enjoying a children’s Halloween party.  Noisy, rambunctious, over excited children and their mothers, but what fun these people were all having.  I have never been involved with a group of like-minded but very different people.  Some travellers (read gypsies) live locally and they apparently join in with all the activities.  The party was supposed to finish at 8pm but the mothers decided they wanted to dance and dance they did.  Then some of the fathers arrived and some of the boxers (the party was held in the Pedro Youth Club which supports local youth and promotes and encourages boxing).  Please click on the link – my two nieces are involved in the club, one does all the administration on a volunteer basis and the other is also a volunteer.  It is a worthy cause in a deprived area and James Cook who heads the club is a well-respected person in the area.  The party finished around 10.30pm after all the mothers helped to tidy and vacuum the place ready for another party today, Saturday.

So another busy day ended. My sister’s “recycled” but shy cat has decided that I am alright and is sitting watching me as I type.

“Women and cats will do as they please,
and men and dogs should relax and
get used to the idea.”
Robert A. Heinlein, American novelist and
science fiction writer.  1907 – 1988

 

Florence Day 17

“Life is like that I thought, as I turned the corner to my building.
Freedom has its danger as well as its joys.
And the sooner we learn to get up after a fall, the better off will be.”
Alice Steinbach

This is the notice I found stuck on the front door of the apartment building yesterday when I returned.  Have absolutely no idea what it says, but whatever it is happened on 22/23 October.

Notice on apartment building door

Notice on apartment building door

I decided on another day wandering around this city I have come to love.

Carabinere at statiom

Carabiniere at the station. There was a lot of them – what’s going on.  Notice the ever-present Golden Arches

Percy Byshe Shelly placque

The plaque showing Percy Byshe Shelley lived in the building

City market

Original city market opened 1874

Entry to City market

Here’s the entry showing the date

The market was a chef’s dream come true.  Everything imaginable as on sale for the chef.  Fresh meats, fish, vegetables and fruit,  as well as many dried items.

Inside the market

Inside the market

Flower stall inside the market

Flower stall inside the market

Great display of cheeses, salami etc

Great display of cheeses, salami etc

More goodies on display

More goodies on display

And more

And more

Pasta making on site

Pasta making on site

An endless variety of goodies

An endless variety of goodies

Fish

Almost sold out

Very large fish

Very large unknown fish

Display of fruit

Having feasted my eyes on all these goodies and great displays I wandered outside again.  The first thing I saw was this dog in a food shop.  We, well most of us like dogs in New Zealand but they are not allowed in shops of any kind, on public transport or in the centre of town.  Very different to Florence where dogs are everywhere.

Florence Day 17 030Owner’s dog in shop doorway

Opera in the piazzaOpera in  the piazza

Carousel in squareCarousel in same piazza

Busy cornerAnother busy corner with an interesting building

LunchLunch at Trattoria San Lorenzo
Tagliatelle AlfredoHouses on the River ArnoI ended up at the Ponte Vecchio again and took this photo
of the houses on the River Arno

GelattoGelato selection – Yes I succumbed and had a small one

Back where it all beganBack to where it started when I first arrived in Florence.
Church of Santa Maria Novella

Coming home I got on the wrong bus and ended up in a different part of town.  A leafy suburb but I had no idea of where I was.  If one (me) gets lost in a city there are always points of reference  – here the dome of the Duomo, the stazione, etc – but in the suburbs there is nothing.  Fortunately I met a woman and her adult son both of whom spoke a little English.  The bus I had taken was a 17 and they told me to get a 17 going in the opposite direction.  To pick the bus up in the centro via not at the side of the road.  So I duly boarded another bus but again I recognised nothing and so seeing a Taxi stand I jumped off the bus and got a cab.

This was a very exciting ride.  A garrulous, highly temperamental, yelling woman driver who I am sure called all other drivers on the road imbeciles and possibly worse.  But she deposited me at the door, even though once again I saw nothing I recognised.  Just another incident  to record on this adventure.

I am getting ready to leave Florence at present and am going back to London to meet with my sister  and plan the next stage of this adventure.

But I shall return to Florence and to make doubly sure I went and stroked the pig’s snout again.

Pig 1

And thanks to Nancy at Spirit Lights the Way  for the following Mark Twain quote
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry,
and narrow-mindedness.”

The internet is a trifle temperamental, rather like my taxi driver yesterday and it comes and goes as it pleases which is why this post is late.

Florence Days 14 and 15

“it is a serious thing just to be alive
on this fresh morning in this broken world.”
Mary Oliver American poet 1935 –

Day 14

Today was the day for Sienna (note the Italians spell this place Siena).  The train duly arrived and left on time.  Quite a change from the last abortive effort of going to Sienna.

On the train I met a delightful American couple from Stockton, California.  Talking with them made what could have been an uninteresting train ride through uninteresting countryside, interesting.  They were both retired, he a statistician and she a school teacher.  It’s great to talk and share with people  you meet while on vacation.  They had been the victims of a pick pocket on the railway station at Rome and so he had lost his wallet and his phone..We joked that now she had him in her power; she had the money and the access to the rest of the world.  At the end of the journey we went our separate ways having exchanged names addresses and phone numbers in case we ever found ourselves near to each others homes in the future.  Stranger things have happened in  my life.View from the stationThe train from Firenze arrives at the station in Siena on a level well down the hillside and to get to the exit we had to climb about ten sets of escalators and travelators.  I thought we would never get there.

Then my guide book had told me which buses I could get into the centre of the town but not which direction.  So I approached a woman getting out of her car.  “Scusi Senora.  Parla Inglesa?” to which she replied “Yes I do”.  So she pointed me to the nearest bus stop and told me which bus to get on.

At the bus stop I met a couple from Sydney, Australia ho were at the end of an 8 week holiday.  The bus duly arrived and we got on it and were taken to the centre.  After a few more scusis to different people I found my way to the square.

The Square

Il Campi 1

Il Campo, the square, spreads out in front of the Gothic Town Hall with a fountain at its tip. As it was Sunday the crowds were everywhere, talking in a variety of languages, laughing, eating and having fun.  A group of young people were playing a game the rules of which seemed to be known only to them, shrieking and laughing and really enjoying themselves.  All around Il Campo are restaurants with outside seating, souvenir shops and also specialty shops.

Diners around the square

Panforte shop

One of the delicacies particular to Siena is Panforte* and I discovered a little shop selling this sweet among other Tuscan delights.  I asked for a piccolo piece and the kind lady sliced me off a sliver and refused payment;  I walked out with my foil wrapped sweet which I ate as I wandered the streets of this quaint town.  Of course, I went back and bought this larger piece.

Panforte

I decided that I didn’t want to visit any museums and so just strolled around people watching and enjoying myself.

Pizza for lunch

Pizza for lunch and

Lunch finished!

Lunch finished!

Another late lunch found me having a huge pizza at one of the outdoor cafes ringing the square –Quatro Stagioni (Four Seaons) Pomodoro formaggio, jambon cuit, champignons, artichaut e olives (or cheese, ham, tomatoes mushrooms, artichokes and olives).  I am really no great lover of pizza but when in Rome etc.  It was enormous and I managed to eat only half.  My grandsons would have been sorely tried with a pizza this size.

Harvest Festival

I saw a display of locally grown vegetables and fruits – I think it was a group of local growers.  This display attracted a lot of interest.

Museo Civico

Museo Civico

Apparently this building is considered one of the most beautiful in Tuscany.

Then it was time to head back to the station but on the way I passed the Post Office.

Post Offce Siena

This time at the bus stop I encountered a man with his wife and her friend and husband.   The man was German and they all live in Canada but he and his wife have a house in the hills locally.  As they spend a considerable amount of time here he was able to tell me which bus to get to the station , having first shown me how to purchase the bus ticket from the machine. He then kept us entertained with his laughter and story telling not only until the bus came but also all te way to the station.

I arrived back with plenty of time to catch the train back to Florence.  And what a surprise when my American friends came into the carriage.  So we spent the return journey learning more about each others lives.

And at last, the train pulled into the station in Florence, we said our goodbyes again and went off they to their hotel in Florence and me to the apartment.  Another long (10 hours) day and so once I arrived home I had a shower, a banana and a cup of tea and after a short Skype call to New Zealand I called it a day and took myself off to bed..

Notes:
*Panforte is a traditional Italian dessert containing fruits and nuts, and resembles fruitcake It may date back to 13th century in Siena.

2. According to my guide book and my friend in New Zealand Siena is famous for its horse race.  This takes place twice a year and lasts just 90 seconds,  This race around the square has been held since the 13th century.  Originally it took the form of a bareback race the length of the city but from the 17th century it has been run around the square.

Day 15

Rain on leaves

I awoke this morning to the sound of heavy rain and thunder and lightning, so it made the decision of what to do today very simple.  I would stay inside.  This is one of the benefits of being in an apartment rather than a hotel.  One can lounge around all day if one wants.

The downside of the bad weather was that the internet, never the most reliable here in Florence, was down for a part of the day.  So the Skype call was not very successful and writing my blog had to be put off in favour of reading.  Oh dear – how sad is that.

Lunch today was made of things already in the apartment, served and eaten on the coffee table as I was reading.

French brie, cracker, banana and apple,

French Brie, cracker, banana and apple

The rain did let up in the middle of the afternoon and I thought I should take myself out for a breath of fresh air and a wander around the neighbourhood.

Local Pet Supermarket

I just had to go to take some photos -I’ve never seen such a large pet shop

Pets accessories

This is about one-third of the wall with toys for pets

Florence Day 15 008

A large cage with bright colourful birds

Sexy shop

Wasn’t game to go and see what they sold in this shop

Dinner - salad, eggs, and smoked salmon

Dinner – salad, eggs, and smoked salmon

And I just love the Brie made in France.  It is so much better than the Brie made in NZ.  I have been eating it all day, with crackers for breakfast, with fruit for lunch and with coffee after dinner.

Brie Made in France

And as Marcel Proust said:
“My destination is no longer a place,
rather a new way of seeing.”

I am most definitely discovering a new way of seeing – beautiful objects, buildings and art, and lovely interesting people.

 

Florence Days 6 and 7

Apologies, after another long day I as too tired to write my blog yesterday so am combining the two days here.

Day 6 – Saturday

After the usual call from New Zealand I decided to have an easy day here and so didn’t leave the apartment until after 12 noon.  I got my usual greetings from the girls in the  passticerria “Ciao.  Come sta?” And “macchiato e brioche” I settled down for breakfast.

There was a different group of people there yesterday.  Locals obviously enjoying an easy start to the weekend.  A few acknowledged me with a smile and an occasional “Ciao” to which I bravely responded “Ciao”.

Then the bus, but horrors I was on the wrong bus.  The driver assured me he was going to the stazione but when the bus took a different turn, I was sure he was going to some other stazione.  But it turned out well because it stopped at the other side of the main station so I knew where I was after all.Queues at the DuomoA wander around the now familiar streets and I came to the Duomo.  The crowds here today were unbelievable; even the Cathedral itself (not the Dome or the Campanile) had a very long queue so I was glad that I had already visited it earlier in the week.

The plan had been to go to the Ponte Vecchio but what do we know about the best laid plans.  I ended up in a warren of little streets, each one holding a treasure for me.

Door decration

Door handlesDoors with fascinating door handles

School Leonardo da Vincithe School of Leonardo da Vinci

Floremce Day 6 005a Salumi (charcuterie)

Floremce Day 6 007and the same shop inside

Floremce Day 6 020

Shop InteriorA beautiful little shop full of magical smells and beautiful things

Panelled doorrA screen that I think was of beaten gold leaf

All these wonders were laid out for my edification.

Restaurant

I found a pizzeria in a back street, Gusto Leo where I had the most enormous calzone – prosciutto e funghi e mozzarella (ham, mushrooms and mozzarella) and acqua frizzante (sparkling water).  How the vocabulary is improving if only so that I can order food!

Lunch

Then refreshed and replete, I wandered on to the Mercato Nuovo (New Market).  A market has existed here since the 11th century, and the “new” current arcade was built in the mid 16th century for the sale of silk and gold.  Now it is mostly sales of leather goods, and I was agog at what was on offer.  Beautiful Italian leather goods, purses, wallets and bags that would make one want to throw out everything they had and start again.  It is possible to buy good leather articles from the market vendors but the products in these shops are beautifully displayed and demand one goes in if even only to touch and look.

Then having bought a few things for gits to take home to family and friends, I got the usual bus back.  But this time, because of the crush of people on the bus the doors closed before I could get off and I was taken to the next stop.  Cries of Basta! Basta! brought no reaction from the driver.

Fortunately, it was a straight and short step back to the area I know.  But there is an upside to this – I found a very large pet shop – large as the local supermarket here – where I found a new red collar for the Beautiful Miss Bella adorned with bling.  Italians seem to be overly fond of their animals.  The entry floor to this shop was filled with rows of different animal food and down below there was all manner of accessories for your pet, aquaria with and without inhabitants, and anything you could want for four-legged or swimming and slithering beings.

So to Day 7 – Sunday

An even later start to this day.  I awoke around 8 am.  The building was quiet; no voices from other apartments and no road works outside.  But it looks as if the serious work is about to begin with these road rollers sitting waiting to be used.

Road rollers

I decided to have an easy day so after a Skype call from home and another tepid shower I started the day with my usual call into the  passticerria but as it was now well after breakfast time instead of a brioche I had a lovely apple turnover.  The pastry was so light it almost melted in one’s mouth.  What a good way to start the day – an apple pastry and a macchiato.

Breakfast

I wandered aimlessly today, people watching and window shopping.  The crowds had increased yet again and so there was a panoply of languages to assail the ears.  I heard a few words of English but not many,  And the lyrical Italian was all around me – definitely music to the ears.

I found the Leonardo da Vinci Museum in a little unimposing building in a side street.  Here were replicas of da Vinci’s working models.  Unfortunately WordPress is now having a hissy fit and I can’t upload any more photos at present.  So I am sorry words will have to do.

Amongst the models was one of a printing press, an armored tank, an olive press, an air screw, a paddle boat and a study of a flying machine.  Incredible when one remembers that this was in the 15th Century.

I discovered more interesting door handles, peeps of church spires at the end of small streets, lovely buildings that bear no notification of what they are and of course, more statues.  And street art is everywhere, a few beggars and people trailing small dogs with them.

Another walk through the market and then the bus ride back to the apartment and another busy day in this magical city came to an end.

 

 

 

Stalking Charlie Fox

“If you stay involved with Sean Meyer you will end up killing again,” my father said. “and next time, Charlotte, you might not get away with it.”
Charlie Fox’s father in Road Kill.

Yes, I am still reading and following the adventures of my favourite heroine Charlie Fox.  I have somehow got them out of order, but as I have already said, each novel stands alone and one doesn’t have to have read any of the others in the series.

In Road Kill we find Charlie involved with a group of bikers who are really so innocent that they get themselves involved with an unscrupulous gang of thieves.

Charlie is taking time out to sort out her life and her feelings for her boss, Sean Meyer..  She is refurbishing her parents’ cottage and instead of overseeing the refurbishment is doing much of the hard work herself.    Into this scene comes a friend to advise that a really close friend has been seriously injured in a motor cycle accident and a second person has died.

Leaving the demolition  work unfinished she rushes  to Clare her friend’s side and is relieved to find that the dead man is not Clare’s partner  but some other  man.  Jacob, Clare’s partner is away in Ireland on a buying tour for his business.  Stories about the accident flow around; there is bad feeling towards Charlie from the biking group and when Charlie is brutally attacked  by Jacob’s ex-wife and her strongman thug things begin to get out of hand.

Clare is very vague and secretive about what she was doing with this other man and how she came to be riding with him on his motorbike instead of riding her own beloved bike.   Gossip has Jacob’s son involved with Clare (surprising  to Charlie given how close Clare and Jacob are) and Charlie decides to investigate further.  She learns that there is to be a trip to Ireland for the motorcycle group and is determined to become part of the trip, partly because Clare and Jacob have asked her to look after Jacob’s son, but also because nobody will or can give them a straight answer as to why the trip has to go ahead even after the tragedy.   After proving herself capable of riding and keeping up with them, she is allowed to join them.  Sean is also allowed to go along after he proves to the group that he would be a good person to have along.

I won’t go into more detail as it would spoil the story for any one else but it is well written (of course) and has a good plot, with our heroine (is there a better word for this) coming up trumps once again.

Needless to say, this novel is full of motorcycles (both Zoe and Charlie’s favoured form of transport), guns, shooting, good guys and plenty of bad guys; innocents abroad who really should not be allowed out on their own, murder, mayhem and some good love scenes between Charlie and Sean.  I wonder where this relationship is going.

So as you can see a jolly good read and again, one that I recommend.

Road Kill

Click on the image to go to Zoe Sharp;s home page

And I still have the next two books in the series sitting patiently waiting for me to get to them.  So look out for more on this feisty woman, her lover and her exploits.

Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience:
this is the ideal life.
Mark Twain

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