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York – Exploring the Ramparts

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Tuscan Roadtrip – 20 Photographs To Make You Want To Drive Around Tuscany

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The car we used for this road trip around Tuscany was our MINI JCW Coupé. He performed in sterling fashion and the Italians loved him. The owner of the castle where we stayed loved him and when we pulled up in roadside lay-bys for a drink at a roadside café they would admire him too. It added to the fun.


Holiday Diary – Port Cogolin Friday Sat 1/2 May

 We wanted to write up our holiday diary and have decided to put it on PhotoBeast, though in some ways it belongs on the LifeBlog. Nine days in the south of France and we were excited.

Peanut takes Friday off and is a complete wonder doing all the packing and loading of PaceBeast while I go to work and wait to be collected there at quarter past four.

Finally the moment came. I stepped out of work into PaceBeast and kissed Mrs P. The holiday begins!

As always traffic to Dover is awful and most of the motorways are being repaired. Frankly the drive to Dover is a battle. However, we got there on time and crossed without trouble. Also I had been worrying about coping with the trip, as I get some back ache these days and my eyes and nose run constantly. In truth I was fine but Peanut did drive all the way to Dover. I took the first stint at the wheel in France. It was dark by then and my watery eyes were a nuisance but manageable. The roads though we’re very quiet, we set the cruise to 80 mph and cracked on. We had three stops. One for a midnight cake, one for a small snooze and then breakfast.

The upshot was that we arrived at a Sunny Port Cogolin at about half eleven. PaceBeast as always was superb and we realised that he has already got an impressive number of European trips under his belt. We decided then to award him a GT badge for his sterling work as he really has been a cracking European Tourer.

First thing we do on arrival then, is a quick brush of the patio, set up the furniture and then unpack. This time we had a shock. The maiden was left out with four towels and a sheet on it. The maiden had rusted to bits ruining the towels and sheets with rust. The chair pads had all but dissolved due to the sun and were ruined. The bbq was all rusty. Inside someone had left food in the salad cleaner. Not salad just food in a bag. This stunk and ruined the salad cleaner. I’m not going to lie Mrs P cried her eyes out and that made me very angry.

Anyway, we had a cuddle and got on with cleaning up. By the time we were done, we were too tired to unpack our clothes, so we left them and went to the supermarket for a bite to eat and to do our big shop. Peanut was getting her smile back and bought herself some sexy shorts in one of the shops.

Back at the flat and Peanut was pooped. However, I was ok so brought the cases up and finished the unpacking. Finally we were settled in and in truth the most important thing really was that we were still a team and I could help Mrs P, because sometimes this chemotherapy is very tiring and I can’t always do what needs to be done. This time though no problem.

Peanut put one of her pretty faces on and we went down to Bou Bou’s below us for dinner and a spot of well deserved wine.

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Venice For The Carnevale February 2015

Carnival MaskOk so Wikipedia is my friend but it does explain the Carnevale in Venice:

The Carnival of Venice (Italian: Carnevale di Venezia) is an annual festival, held in Venice, Italy. The Carnival ends with the Christian celebration of Lent, forty days before Easter on Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Tuesday or Mardi Gras), the day before Ash Wednesday. The festival is famed for its elaborate masks.

It is said that the Carnival of Venice was started from a victory of the “Serenissima Repubblica” against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico di Treven in the year 1162. In the honor of this victory, the people started to dance and make reunions in San Marco Square. Apparently, this festival started on that period and became official in the Renaissance. In the seventeenth century, the baroque carnival was a way to save the prestigious image of Venice in the world. It was very famous during the eighteenth century. It encouraged licence and pleasure, but it was also used to protect Venetians against the anguish for present time and future. However, under the rule of the King of Austria, the festival was outlawed entirely in 1797 and the use of masks became strictly forbidden. It reappeared gradually in the nineteenth century, but only for short periods and above all for private feasts, where it became an occasion for artistic creations.

After a long absence, the Carnival returned to operate in 1979.The Italian government decided to bring back the history and culture of Venice, and sought to use the traditional Carnival as the centerpiece of its efforts. The redevelopment of the masks began as the pursuit of some Venetian college students for the tourist trade. Today, approximately 3 million visitors come to Venice every year for the Carnival. One of the most important events is the contest for la maschera più bella (“the most beautiful mask”) placed at the last weekend of the Carnival and judged by a panel of international costume and fashion designers. Continue reading

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Venice In February – The Photography Mission


We had a recent holiday break in Venice for the Carnevale and to enjoy St Valentine’s day together and you can see our holiday photographs for this here. We also took a collection of photographs of people celebrating the Carnevale and these can be seen here. We were sold on going to Venice in February by our good friend and keen photographer Andy Williams, who explained how the people dressing up for the Carnevale would happily pose for photographs etc. He suggested we get up before breakfast as the models are around then and you can photograph them without all the tourist being around. Continue reading