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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.
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.
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
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
It has long been a wish of Mrs P to see the sun rise on the Malvern Hills on the longest day but she is a sleepy head and the actual deed had eluded her. But of late our mission is to turn dreams into realities and this was one of those wishes that needed to be addressed. The Sumer Solstice this year was on a Saturday morning and the weather forecast was perfect, so the plan was hatched. We would take a selection of French breakfast pastries and a flask of Bellini to see in the day, and a blanket to sit on
Having discovered that Sunrise was in fact 4.48 and dawn was about 45 minutes before that, we decided to get up at 3.45, drive to Black Hill car park on the other side of the hill and make our way to the crest of the hills in time for sunrise.
We had panned to sit at our regular picnic place but once there, we were not sure quite where the sun would rise and if we were in the wrong place we would not have had time to move, and to miss the sunrise having got up so early would have been dreadful. So we walked a little further up the hill and sat and waited. It was quite light and the horizon was tinted orange with no real idea of where the sun would rise. But as the minutes passed it soon became obvious, and a shaft of light lit the sky upwards from where the sun would later emerge. Then followed a pool of orange light stretching along the ground in the far distance, where the sun had already risen. Then finally we saw the tip of the sun peep over the horizon. It was quite exhilarating and it seems quite reasonable to worship the sun as the giver of life when you sit and watch it rise.
Despite the beautiful weather it was very cold and windy on the hills so by this time we were both wrapped in the blanket, snuggled together toasting the sun on its new day with our Bellini cocktail. It took a very short time for the sun to be fully above the horizon, it moves quite fast when you have something to measure it by.
We bade farewell to the sun and walked back down the hill to the car, for a quick blast home on an empty road. Once home we made a cup of tea and took it back to bed. Job done and we were both very pleased that we had made the effort to see this wonderful sight. We were quite pleased with these photos as we feel we have captured some of the sun’s awe and the epic qualities of a truly wonderful sunrise.
We have been fortunate enough to be able to watch the famous Mille Miglia Road race in Italy back in May of this year. You can see more of this adventure by looking back through the blogs from our Mille Miglia and Dolomites Adventure category. You can also see more of our photos from the event on our sister website AutoBeast. This event from a photographic viewpoint though, is a street event and a wonderful opportunity to get some great street photography and to capture some of the characters that make up this wonderful and somewhat surreal event.
The Drivers were real characters, ranging from the wonderful Gallic caricature driving a Bugatti, through the suave Goodwood drivers in their well tested overalls, to the glorious goggle attired lady we see below.
It is not just the drivers though that make this event the occasion it is. There are people there promoting cars and goods or making a living having their photo taken with you, such as this pretty girl with her wooden car cut out.
And finally it is the characters in the crowd that also make the event so wonderful, such as the chap here keenly watching the rally cars drive by, or the young budding photographer here, who is almost as cute as the car she is leaning on.
There is no better weekend to be out on the streets of Brescia!