Machiavelli versus DJ iPhone

My train journeys from Bologna to Florence and back are normally peaceful enough. I usually get the slow treno regionale from Bologna Mazzini station, a short walk from where we live, to Firenze S.M.N. station. The slow train stops all along the way and you have to change at Prato Centrale. The only occasional excitement, apart from the odd fare dodger arguing with the inspector,

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A Bolognese feast

While the focus of this blog to date has been largely on jewellery making in Florence, I think it's high time I dedicated an entire post to our Bologna base. There is a saying in Ireland, 'It would be a great little country if you could roof it'. The town planners at home could do worse than take a leaf out of Bologna's book in this regard. The porticoes here mean you can get about in the rain without an umbrella!

An introduction to enamel

Anyone who has played with the wax dripping from a candle burning atop a wine bottle will know how incredibly satisfying it can be. I've completely lost track of conversations in pubs and cafés where candle wax is available for the peeling, melting and construction of miniature skyscrapers. The distraction has proved so difficult to resist that, on one occasion, the person I was with snatched the wax encrusted bottle away and plonked it on a neighbouring table.

Venice & Valeria

I've been wondering how to write a blog post after the Paris attacks. For the past week the internet has been awash with sympathy and outrage and, in almost equal measure, assertions that the sympathy is selective and the outrage misplaced. I can understand the outpouring of grief and simultaneously understand the frustration of those who wonder why the same grief isn't shown when the victims are from unfamiliar places.

Square shank and a roundish stone

Ollie is away for ten days, working in Belgrade and Prague, and I have been a bit lazy about writing the blog as a result. Whilst procrastinating in his absence, I read a disturbing article on the prevalence of pesticide-resistant bed bugs in Prague and have decided that Ollie will have to be hosed down outside upon his return and his clothes and luggage incinerated. I may also insist on him having a full body wax just to be safe.

Thoughts on learning the lingo

As mentioned in a previous post, I've noticed that when I am tired, the language centre of my brain seems to shut down. It's as if the old left hemisphere wants to hit the snooze button and get five more minutes in the sack. When I am travelling from Bologna to Florence by train in the mornings I am normally a bit foggy-headed