I have managed to secure a place on the intensive Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills & Design Course run by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCOI). Twelve of us will spend our days making jewellery on the upper floor of the curved, 18th-century former coach house and stables at the Castle Yard.
I’ve delayed writing my last post about Florence because I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye to the place. Having treated my Florence withdrawal symptoms with unnatural amounts of sleep and large doses of all the carbohydrate groups for the past while, I can finally reflect on it again without drifting into a thousand yard stare punctuated with wistful sighs.
A lot has happened since I've last posted something and I again have been too busy to write about most of it. I'm sure everyone, myself included, has had enough of Brexit talk so I won't go there. We have entered the final month of our stay in Florence. I'm determined to make the most of the time we have left and try to prevent negativity about our own Florexit permeating all of my thoughts! I would vote to remain here but it seems that leaving will be sadly inevitable. Despite all the clear advantages of staying, we will soon be packing our bags and heading for more unpredictable, chillier climes.
I've just realised it's been a bit too long since I last posted anything on the old blog! We have both been insanely busy and I simply haven't taken the time to write anything down. Must do better. Maybe a quick recap is in order. The Sunday before last, we took a day trip to Fiesole, a picturesque village escape, only twenty minutes by local bus up the hills from hot and busy central Florence. You can hike the whole way up there if you're feeling particularly energetic! We enjoyed a picnic in the market square, where traders were selling reproductions of vintage Italian posters, locally produced food, hand-carved kitchenware, jewellery, clothes and other curiosities.
It feels like an eternity since I was last in Italy and yet, on the other hand, it's almost like I never left. The emotional upheaval of leaving loved ones in Ireland, after settling into everyday life there for the first time in years, was soon replaced with frantic forward momentum. We flew from Dublin to Heathrow three weeks ago, and London was a full-throttle working week en route to Italy, gone in a blur of snatched reunions. We made our way to northern Italy, stayed in Bolzano for four days, where Ollie attended a conference, and I fell in love with the pristine Alpine air from the snow-dusted Dolomites surrounding the picturesque city.
I've just spent my birthday in my childhood home for the first time in a decade, maybe more. Originally I had planned on being back in Italy by now, but we've pushed it back a few weeks because of work that needs doing in Ireland before we return. The work we are doing here will secure the second leg of our Italy trip, but is inevitably punctuated with some down time. When I'm not filing and polishing silver at my improvised jeweller's bench, I have mostly been colouring in, playing dress up and dancing around my old bedroom to long forgotten CDs with my favourite pair of five year olds.
One of the really nice things about being home in Ireland for Christmas is hearing stories from years ago. I thought I had heard all of them a million times over, but today my mother told me a new story of something heroic my Nana Murphy once did, which will leave a lasting impression on me.