Thursday, 30 June 2011

Still no internet in Volterra!

Greetings from both of us - buona sera! We've come to the end of our Italian mini-odyssey. Tomorrow we say goodbye to lovely Tuscany, and look forward to sharing more of our holiday stories with you when we get an Internet connection!

Sent from Marcus Lynch's iPhone

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

No Internet in Volterra

Hot from a great day in Siena, but the WiFi out here in the Tuscan hills not yet fixed - so we can't show you pictures yet. Tomorrow we have a day hanging out here...
Sent from Marcus Lynch's iPhone

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Tuscan Summer's Day

Su has gone off visiting little Tuscan towns while I have taken a different option - namely sitting by the infinity swimming pool with views over the Tuscan hills. It's starting to get really busy after lunch with five of us here now... It is a lovely day - just a few clouds and a heat haze.

Tomorrow we are going to Siena, where we hope to see the selection of horses for Saturday's race round the Campo - there will be 110 horses in the square tomorrow!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Last day in Florence......

.....and it's hot. We had to be packed and out of our room by 10 a.m. so had plenty of time to kill before 4.30 coach to Volterra...which is somewhere south west of here.
We headed downhill towards the river but didn't get there as decided we really ought to take in some religious culture. Paid to get into massive church which was very gloomy and stuffy but had lovely cloisters. Managed an hour or so and had to escape. Meandered our way back via the pizza shop - extremely yum - and took refuge in hotel lobby which is glorously cool.

This is the mummified remains of St. Zita who did good works and has thus been sanctified and preserved at St. Frediano's church in Lucca. (apparently St. Fred was Irish and nobody knows how he managed to rise to sainthood with his own establisment in Italy!)
We have in fact arrived at Volterra and it was quite an adventure but I'l let Marcus tell you all about it tomorrow...

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Lucca and Pisa

Today we have visited the Tuscan towns of Lucca and Pisa in unbroken hot sunshine. A picture from Lucca shows the view over the Plaza Pfanner where we had our alfresco scampanatia (picnic to us Brits). A view from Pisa shows we've been to see it!

We seem to only be able to include two pictures per blog post with the work around we are using, so look forward to bumper photo postings after our return to UK wireless router (which BT seems to have taken offline as well - the joys of technology. Time for me to investigate Dynamic DNS - any tec heads reading, please feel free to advise!)

Tomorrow we have a day in Florence before driving off to Volterra, the base for the rest of our time here. Weather forecast continues set fair for days...

Saturday, 25 June 2011

We were herded out of the hotel by our tour manager after breakfast but not before we'd managed to break our room safe (mercifully fixed very quickly by the doorman!) and explained to the manager why the floor by the fridge was covered in newspaper.....Marcus opened fridge door last night and was attacked by a bottle of orange juice which he fielded to the floor. It smashed into many pieces so he was on his hands and knees at midnight after an evening involving wine and lemoncello liqueur!
As we are having to do this blog differently ..... something to do with hotel's wifi .... I'm not able to label these pics but hopefully they'll be self-explanatory.

Test photo posting

Here is a view of the river Arno in Florence from the top floor of the Uffizi museum. More from Su later.

Friday, 24 June 2011

We've arrived in Florence!

We've managed to escape from the U.K. and made it to Florence via Pisa airport. We are in a pretty centrally located hotel, which has a slightly old-fashioned air, but modern electrics and WiFi at 1 euro per hour.

Su's asked me to be blogmeister today, as she is snoozing and resting her back. It's a bit tender - she put it out when swinging a case into the car boot first thing this morning. There seems to be an issue posting photos on the blog at the moment, so will try to sort out by tomorrow's blog after our walking tour of Florence and visit to the Uffizi gallery.

Ta ta!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Off to Tuscany tomorrow...

A lovely start to the day - looking out from our back decking
I drove Su over to her yoga session this morning. I did some last-minute computer-based work while she stretched and twisted .  A cup of coffee and a toasted teacake later, and we set off back Bath-wards, on the way popping down memory lane to Maynard Terrace in Clutton - where we used to live.
After that past this field of flax (lovely blue hazy colour) 
and then a quick visit to look at Kelston Mill, a small hamlet nearby.
After lunch, it was time to get the weed suppressant down on the allotment so the little varmints can't pop up while we're away, and Su planted out the broccoli.
I'm just off down to the station to pick up our house sitters, and then time to pack before a not too early flight from Bristol to Pisa in the morning.  Phew! This time tomorrow, we'll be in Florence, immersed in culture!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Busy Wednesday...and the sun's shining!

Took this pic in Bath sitting in a traffic jam after picking Marcus up from the station.  He's been in Bristol all day and I volunteered to shorten his travelling time by going the 2 miles to fetch him at 5.30 in the afternoon. It took me three quarters of an hour to get there and another half hour to get home! The bus would have been quicker as they get priority.

I'd already taken him in to work this morning so I could whizz over John Lewis for a cup of coffee......and to buy some t-shirts.....that was another couple of hours behind the wheel. So decided Bella and I needed to reconnect with nature and have a long walk in the afternoon sunshine.

.....which was lovely.

Met this "creation" on the way home .... pigs really do fly!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Out and about on MidSummer's Day

I've taken Bella out three times today - once to the allotment patch nearby where we saw loads of these moths,
our nicely swelling up beetroot
our established leeks starting to grow...
The enemy!
A neighbouring plot's lavender
The day was one of contrasts - looking South
vs looking North

Monday, 20 June 2011

Italy here we come.....

....did we mention we're on our way to Florence in a few days time?  Our usual housesitters will be here by Thursday as we have an early flight on Friday....
        Meanwhile there's still plenty going on here. I put in a few hours with J, teaching her some more computer skills...while Marcus took Bella out for a long walk in the rain....

Here he is "resting" after some serious shopping in M&S!

Some totally unrelated pics taken recently -

- from the other night at the salsa gig mentioned in earlier blog - - - -

Our back garden after the rain had stopped!

Some veg I've been growing for J in her raised beds.....spinach, beetroot, carrots and peas.

- - - -and our neighbour's socks!!??

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Today It's Summer!

And that might be it!:-) After staying up late last night for no better reason than we could, we were awake relatively early (and a bit bleary eyed!).  After breakfast and a skim of the paper we went down to our allotment to take advantage of the combination of dry weather and time to work on it.  We went off for lunch after a couple of hours then back home to let Bella out in the garden before all trooping off back down to the allotment again.

We managed to get rid of an elder tree stump and do quite a bit of weeding and digging, so we now have a large part of the site ready to put down weed suppressant with raised beds on top.  This probably won't happen until July - after our next short holiday, of which more later this week...)

Note Su's legs making a guest appearance! It has been a nearly work-free weekend, and all the better for that.  Home about 7, full of righteous glow:-).

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Guess what? It's raining!

....actually it's stopped now and hopefully there'll be some respite for 24 hours so we can get into the allotment to do some serious sorting....but that's tomorrow.
Today started off with a phone call from friend who's hurt her back so can't walk her dog.....well two dogs as she'd got her cousin's mutt staying with her for a couple of days. Persuaded Marcus that he'd love to get up and help me walk 3 dogs (Bella would have to come too). Bribed him with promise of lunch at favourite eatery...that worked!

Today's pics have a botanical theme.....                                                                                                              

Found this at the end of our garden...

.....and these grow merrily in Charlcombe Valley..

Our tiny shed covered in clematis (winter-flowering) and hops.

Next year's sprouting broccoli
seedlings growing in our greenhouse.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Trial Run

Su showed me how to be retired today!  We went down into town this morning via the doctors' and I bought a pair of sandals to wear in warmer climes than current UK temperatures and a jacket that wasn't anything like I have been wearing to work. We had a cup of coffee and then went and looked at the exhibition at the Victoria Gallery - some excellent stuff (not pictured as I wasn't supposed to take photographs) and some strange, as well as more pedestrian entries.

After a bit of gentle web browsing, I took Bella out - just as it started to rain.  We met the bullocks who are newly installed in one of our usual fields, so we took a different route for the walk, which got Bella very excited.

This evening we went back into town to see To'Mezclao, a Cuban band who got lots of Bathonians gyrating.  We stayed until the start of the second set, which did not live up to the standard of the first set, unfortunately...

I wasn't supposed to take pictures there, either... And I barely did any work all day - just a few emails to failing students confirming that they would have to do resit exams (cruel heartless monster that I am!).

Thursday, 16 June 2011

This is Bella's new friend Wilfred. I think Marcus mentioned him yesterday as we all went to the beach.  It's not often she'll spend time with other dogs as she's not that sociable with them. She seems to prefer the company of humans and cats! Anyway, she and Wilfred get on very well.........


And guess who this is? the age of 12 or 13. I had a headache and fell asleep in the chair. My brother sketched and then painted me. I think it was for his art degree (which he got).

As I'm obviously in an "artistic" mood I thought you might like to see this campanula which is currently growing in our front garden.  I say "currently" as plants do get moved around at regular intervals and this could easily find itself living elsewhere by the end of the year........

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

More Endings and Beginnings...

Yesterday started off beautifully with the mist in the valley as the sun came out
Things went downhill from there.  A four and a half hour Field Board had me tweeting with the hashtag #deathbyfieldboard as well as Facebooking another colleague just across the room.  How so many supposedly intelligent people can collectively come up with such a stultifying event is astonishing.  In the back row, we Music Tech types tried to survive as best we could (before we went and had another hour and a half meeting!).
Today saw me give up the little blue Skoda which has gone off to auction (in Camberley if anybody is interested), so Su and I are now sharing a vehicle.
We went off to the seaside this afternoon with Bella and took Wilfred along for a walk too.  As you can see he was a little dog on a big beach.

We got rained on at first so repaired to the cafe for egg and chips before going out for a longer stomp up the beach when te rain cleared and the sun came out, with more talk about where to go for our next holiday or two (or was it three?). Su even let me take her photograph - shows up her neo-punk hairstyle pretty well.
From the readership stats, I guess that our reader in Denmark today is the wandering Guy Greaves...