Tiddley-Bits tea

Tiddley-Bits tea

Thursday, 15 December 2016

{quotable thursdays}

Are you frantically worrying about Christmas shopping? Getting the house in order for guests? Are you battling crowds on Oxford Street? Sometimes Christmas feels nothing like the Christmas we imagine: calm and peace, sitting beside a fire, instead we're yelling at loved ones, battling through crowds, and being all together grinchy.
More than ever, the world seems turned upside down. Messages of hope and love and peace and light seem trite almost ridiculous in the chaos that is modern life, on top of atrocities in Syria, messages of racism and hate supported by presidents elect and world leaders. But we can't give up hope. Indeed, it was in the midst of war, chaos, injustices that a baby was born in a simple stable to bring to the world a message of light, and peace, and love.

So today, 10 days before Christmas, I offer you a poem from Laurence Housman:

O perfect Love, outpassing sight, 
O Light beyond our ken, 
Come down through all the world tonight, 
And heal the hearts of men.

Tonight I fly out to Mexico to be reunited with most of my family. so looking forward to seeing them and to soak up a little sun and some relaxation.

Wishing you and your families peace and love and a wonderful, restful break!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

{quotable thursdays-ciao d'Italia!}

{view from the duchess' terrazzo, Castelvecchio, Ferrara}
Hello from Modena, Italy, home of balsamic vinegar and Pavarotti!
Last week I was in Ferrara presenting a paper at a conference. It was amazing--lots of well-known Ferrarese scholars, and we got a private tour of the Palazzo dei Diamanti--a palace once owned by the ruling family of Ferrara, the Este, but now is a museum/gallery. The museum was closed so we had the place to ourselves and we even climbed up into the rafters of the old palazzo. Fantastic!
{views of Ferrara}
{Palazzo dei Diamanti}
{private tour of the collections in the Palazzo dei Diamanti, Ferrara}
{fabulous medieval city, by night!}
{Ferrara is a bicycle city!}
{Vecchia Ferrara}
{old medieval merchant street, Via delle volte, Ferrara}
Then this week I moved on to Modena, where I lived for 6 months as a doctoral student. It feels a bit like coming home. The city is decked out in Christmas lights and it is absolutely lovely.
I'm staying in a hotel, not far from my old flat, which has an interesting history--it was a monastery in the sixteenth century, then converted into a grand palazzo in the eighteenth century, home to a famous singer, and now is a fab hotel, with slightly faded grandeur, but still something grand about it. lovely!

{lovely faded interiors at the Hotel Canalgrande}
So in the town of Pavarotti, I take today's quote from the man himself:

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
Luciano Pavarotti

You can follow all of my trip through my pics on instagram but I've posted a few of my fave here too!

{stunning Christmas decorations in the arcades in Modena}

Thursday, 24 November 2016

{quotable thursday-ciao d'Italia}

Hello blog land! That's right! I'm back in Italy!!
I arrived last night in Ferrara. So a quote from the 19th century from William Hazlitt's Notes of a Journey through France and Italy (1826):
You are in a dream, in the heart of a romance; you enjoy the most perfect solitude, that of a city which was once filled with the 'busy hum of men', and of which the tremulous fragments at every step strike the sense, and call up reflection. In short, nothing is to be seen as a Ferarra but the remains, graceful and romantic of what it was.

I'm here for a conference & today we were in this glorious room in a Renaissance palace (Palazzo Tassoni). Well blogger doesn't  seem to be working for me at all on my iPhone. I can't upload any images and it keeps reloading and causing problems. For pics see my Instagram
 So I will say ciao for now L 

Friday, 18 November 2016

{quotable thursdays}

Apologies, this is a little late--it's Friday here in the UK, but I know somewhere in the world it's still Thursday!

Last weekend I celebrated my birthday in great company of my dear family! We went to the beautiful National Trust property, Standen--adorned with gorgeous Arts & Crafts Morris wallpaper etc.... We also went on lovely autumnal walks. my dad wrote the following poem, which is today's quote:

Now friends and family gather round
To celebrate the passing year.
The house at Chelmsford will resound
With merry birthday cheer.

With glasses filled and heaping plates
The guests now make a toast.
While birthday tales Great Charles relates,
Dear cousin and genial host.

“To Leaps, Tinza and Doctor too
“Please raise your glasses all.
“Welcome, every one of you
“To Leah’s birthday ball!”

Then Charley escorts his lovely wife
And dances around the hall
Marian tells of country life
Which keeps them all in thrall.

Melissa does a highland fling,
A jig so neat and trim,
While the Weatherups a duet sing
Until the others all join in.

We too shout across the miles
From distant shores and seas
“May your day be filled with birthday smiles

“And joy that never cease!”

I posted pics over on Instagram, , but here are a few!
{the barn at Standen}


& then it was party time!

{fancy masks!}

xo, L

Thursday, 10 November 2016

{quotable thursdays}

{Domenico di Michelino, Dante holding the Divine Comedy, Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, 1465}

« Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita. »

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

So begins Dante's Divine Comedy. It is fitting for a number of reasons this week--for one, this weekend, I turn 35. In the time Dante was writing, 35 was considered midlife, and thus his journey begins at 35, in the middle of his life's journey. It reminds us that in life we often have to take arduous journeys to reach our final destination. 
The world seems like a rather dark place right now; with so many unknowns. We must journey through the storms, and here's hoping that light appears soon through this dark tunnel.
I for one, will try to leave the troubles of the world behind me this weekend, and instead, celebrate life.
I read Dante's Divine Comedy in an undergraduate course in my early 20s. Then, I had dreams of being an Art Historian and travelling to and living in Italy regularly. In someways, I fulfilled that dream. But our 30s are often about fulfilliing the dreams we had in our 20s or realising that our paths have taken a different route. I think most importantly, our 30s are realising that 'happily ever after' doesn't really exist. I often hear people telling me that I must be so lucky working in a profession that I love. It's as if somehow, if you do what you love, it's not work. This is a bubble worth popping. First of all, we don't live in a world where we actually do what we love; we live in a world where administration and bureaucracy often takes up most of our time. My job is a lot of hard work. It took a ridiculous amount of years with uncertainty, making very little money, and very little rewards to finally get to this place... and even my dream job is full of stress, moments where I feel like giving up, and too many times when I feel like I'm just not good enough. Whatever dreams we had in our 20s--being a mum, finding a perfect husband, getting that envious successful job, buying a house--our 30s are about coming face to face to reality with those dreams--kids screaming, husband's smelly socks that need washing, the stress and work of being successful, paying a mortgage...
That's just to say, that the next time you look over at someone and think 'hey that person is so lucky' because of their job, their shoes, their house, or their partner, it might be worth thinking about the arduous journey that person probably took to get there.

I am grateful for the lovely people who have accompanied me on my journey-it has not been easy, and it still isn't-but it has been worth it.


Thursday, 3 November 2016

{quotable thursdays}

Hello blogland!
Thursday again already? Hope you all had a fab Hallowe'en and All Saints!
I met a number of deadlines on Monday, but for the last six months I have been feeling like I've just been going from one deadline to another with no break in between. You may have seen lovely pictures of Southern Italy, but I was there for work, and haven't taken a proper vacation in ages--I worked like a crazy person through the summer to try to meet two book deadlines...
and now I've got another 3 publication deadlines to get through before December.
So...in a year or two's time, when my publications start actually getting published, and I brag about my accomplishments, I will remind you and myself that I only got there because of all this hard work.
I think it's often easy to see others' successes as unfair--but we often don't see the toils behind the scenes. So with that:
We can all achieve great things...it just requires a lot of work;)

We must thank the people around us who enable it, but also ourselves, for pursuing things when we sometimes just feel like we want to give up!


Sunday, 30 October 2016

{postcards from italy--picture perfect procida}

Well it has been just over a month since I got back from my three weeks in Naples, and I've only just found a little window today to start posting pictures from my trip!
I thought I'd start with picture perfect Procida. An island not too far from Naples, but I would say one of the best kept secrets (shhhhh....) It's delightfully colourful; you can walk around the island in one day, making it a perfect day trip from Naples. In contrast to well-known and tourist-filled Capri, it has less glitz and more real, everyday charm.
A quick walk from the main marina where the hydrofoils come in, you'll find Marina Corricella. Climb down windy staircases leading to the charming harbour, where fishermen mend their nets, while cats sleep dreaming of the catch of the day, local boys fish with rods, and the odd rowboat manned by a single soul, scours the sea floor for his dinner....
the place is simply magical.
{arrival into marina grande, Procida}

{the stunning streets}

{a lovely little chapel behind those curtains, revealing a stunning interior dedicated to the lives of fishermen lost to the sea}

 and then down tiny, winding steps to Marina Corricella:


{mending the nets}

{dreaming of the day's catch}

{boys fishing}

{searching for fish}

{steps that feel like you're walking through people's homes}

{stunning view of the island}

 A short walk from the marina, pass the old prison:

& on to the stunning monastery of Saint Michael Archangel:

{with amazing views from the monastery}

{the monastery from the other side of the island}

Simply a lovely place to spend the day, with such magnificent colours, chapels and shrines around every corner and a few beaches to go for a swim, if the heat gets too much!