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}