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Showing posts from September, 2013

Oh. Venice.

In Venice there's a People Mover, a half mile long funicular-type overhead railway, that connects the cruise terminal to Piazzale Roma, at the western edge of the intricate web of islands, canals and bridges that make up the city of our imaginations. 
My flights of fancy about Venice were first fuelled, in the early 80s, by Pizza Express's Pizza Veneziana (a snippet of the cost of each pizza was given to the Venice in Peril fund) and, in the early 90s, by reading Thomas Mann's Death in Venice as part of my Diploma in Comparative Literature, a novella which is a fetid hothouse of decay and destructive eroticism. Hey, what's not to like?

But Venice has the reputation of being the most romantic city on earth and my first reaction, after stepping off the People Mover and wandering along the minor canals, is satisfyingly predictable. Every bend, every building, every wooden boat dock elicits a sigh. I don't even mind paying 12 Euros for a bottle of coke and an orange juic…

Livorno, ti amo

Livorno, I love you. I love your piazzas and statues, your brickwork and pavements, your streets and canals. I love the sound of water lapping against old stone and the musical rise and fall of your language. I love your one legged pigeons. I love your graffiti and your church’s trompe l’oeil murals that convince me I could walk through paint and plaster into light and shadow. And I love your mercato centrale, your fishmongers and butchers, stalls that sell candies and knitting wool, herbed mozzarella and ripe black figs. Livorno, I love your ordinariness, your honesty. The faces of your people. Your grazies and your pregos. And Livorno, perhaps you love me too.
And here are the rest of my Livorno photos, the city that captured my heart.






Hungry Writing Prompt Write, and keep writing, about what and who you love. 

Excess

I’ve worked out that there are only 30 minutes of each day when I cannot be sitting at a table and chowing down. That’s between 11am when the Waves Grill closes after breakfast and 11.30am when it re-opens for lunch.  And I wouldn’t have to restrict myself to breakfast in Waves; there’s also the Grand Dining Room, until 9.30am, or the Terrace CafĂ©, until 10am.  And I’ve just realised that if I’m really and truly, dangerously even, in need of sustenance during those barren 30 minutes I could always take a trip up to the 12th deck and snack on the miniature rolls and cakes tucked away, with fresh fruit juice, in the corner of Barista’s coffee bar.
Yep I’m cruising. I embarked as a passenger in Venice on 7th September and I’m likely to leave as cargo in Lisbon on 29th.
I’m wondering if people on an Oceania cruise reach an immunity level to the availability, quantity and astonishing choice of high quality, freshly prepared food. A little like  people who start work in chocolate factories an…

Like hunger

How to describe this feeling, this physical sensation, that has settled below my solar plexus. It is like hunger in its hollowness, in my desire to feed it. Because what has been feeding me for the last five days has left, travelling away from me, going west along the motorway, crossing the bridge over the River Severn from England into Wales, past the old port cities along the coast towards the smoky clatter of plant and towers of the steelworks that announces Port Talbot, then turning south towards the sea. They're home. And what remains of them here are bright memories, like illuminated shadows stretching across the grass.

My mam and dad, my niece, her husband and their two little kids have been staying with me. There has been pancake flipping, barbecuing and roasting, baking, jam making and wine pouring. There have been darts and frisbees, footballs and bingo games. There have been walks and runs and falling over. Rabbits and deer. Sunrises and sunsets. There has been laughter.…