Piacevole is my new favourite Italian word. It means enjoyable or pleasant and is pronounced pee-ah-chay-voh-lay. It's even enjoyable to tumble that morsel around in the mouth for a minute. It's so nice to say that I even find myself saying it aloud when I'm cleaning the toilet or sweltering at the bus stop - things which are decidedly un-piacevole. It sounds like that feeling of not having to carry a bag of any description anywhere. Picture that. Ahhhh, it's so piacevole.
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.
Oven. Check. Long-handled utensil for adding items to, and removing items from the oven. Check. Lovely discs, topped with various ingredients in need of baking. Check. I'm not actually making pizza, but enamelling does feel a bit like I'm cooking up a miniature storm in the kitchen! The fact that il forno means both oven and kiln helps to reinforce the association. My toppings, however, are pure silver wire and ground glass powders of various hues, and my base is copper rather than dough.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
I got a truly amazing surprise in the post all the way from Ireland this week! My friend Clare Barman said she had a few gemstones that she wanted to give to me, as I might have some use for them. She bought them in India over twenty years ago