Monday, 11 July 2016

Isola del Garda

I've been missing from blogging as I've been on my travels again. Starting with the Inner Hebrides early May, Rhodes mid May & then Venice, Milan, Verona & Lake Garda in June. It's taken me ages to catch up with work & housework but hopefully things are getting back to normal. Well as near as it ever gets to normal in our house. I'm not the tidiest of people!

The photo above is one I took on a boat as we were leaving one of the the islands in Lake Garda, Isola del Garda so that's why it's a bit skew whiff. I do love that house and it's wonderful Italian & English gardens. It's so peaceful there.

The current house isn't that old really, but it's history goes a long way back. Cutting it short Gallic Roman tombstones were found on the island & around 1220 St Francis of Assisi built a simple hermitage there as he believed it was an ideal place for his monks. By 1797 Napoleon suppressed the monastery and later it became a state owned property.

By 1860 it had been given to the army and then it was sold to private owners. I won't go into the detail but the villa was built in Neo Gothic Venetian style and is currently owned by the Cavazza family who live there. They open the house to the public and rent it for occasions such as weddings in order to restore and maintain it. 

My favourite bit is the terrace. This is where we ended up having some nibbles. There were bits of bread to dip in the olive oil produced from the family's olive groves, local cheeses, olives, water, orange juice and a glass of delicious white wine. 

Just imagine having your breakfast or any meal up here. This is the terrace (I think they called it the loggia) looking up from the ground level.

The design is lovely.

The ceiling is wonderful too. However the guide explained that it wasn't painted in situ, it was taken from a building and placed there!

The views are fantastic.

Unfortunately the day we were visiting was a little hazy for taking photos of the lake, it was really hot too but up on the terrace it was shady and a little cooler.

These are some shots from the gardens. I had to keep on the move with the group and keep an eye on some elderly passengers so the photos were taken really quickly and are not the best! 

Sadly the tour came to an end so quickly and we returned by boat to Desenzano, our base for the week there.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Farewell Victoria!

Sometimes you just can't believe someone has gone. I can't believe we've lost Victoria Wood. She was my favourite female comedy actor, writer, song writer, basically she was a comic genius. Luckily we'll be able to watch her amazing performances over & over.

Hard to pick just one piece from her vast repertoire of TV comedy but I love this song. This isn't my favourite version I prefer the earlier ones which were longer but it's still great. What a lady.

Thank you for the laughter!

Monday, 18 April 2016

Dementia Awareness Week, 15 – 21 May

My first Twiddlemuff!

Dementia is something that scares us all whether it's the fear of developing it or coping with a family member who has this awful illness. 

You feel so helpless at times when you see a member of your family slipping away from you. This year 15 - 21 May is Dementia Awareness Week when The Alzheimer's Society will encourage people who are afraid of dementia to contact them for advice and support.

Last week I joined a knitting group who meet at a local church to knit things for local charities. One of the things we are making is a Twiddlemuff.  They are designed to sooth restless hands & reduce agitation by providing stimulation for active hands, while promoting increased flexibility and brain stimulation.  So they are ideal for people with dementia or other mental health problems.

You can find out more on the NHS website here and the pattern is there too. It's a very simple one and knits up quickly using up spare wool and other bits and bobs.

The picture at the top is my first attempt.  Have to say it is quite addictive holding it, I used really soft wool for the interior and put satin ribbons inside and outside. I will be loathe to part with it next week so might just have to make one for myself! 

Thursday, 3 March 2016

World Book Day!

Well just got back from dropping Lauren off at school today. They were letting the children dress up as a character from books. Have seen lots of princesses, Spidermen (& women) Darth Vaders, elves, knights etc. (Not all of these were characters from books methinks! There was one boy who was inside a cardboard box which was painted like a wall. It looked great but we couldn't think which book it was meant to be. Lauren suggested Humpty Dumpty more a nursery rhyme character but maybe it was a book we didn't know.

We laughed as we were driving to school listening to the wireless, it was reported that an Umpa Lumpa had been seen on the M6. Probably caused a major traffic incident.

Lauren was dressed up as Black Beauty. Well not exactly as the horse. She had her riding gear on hat, jumper, joddies & riding boots. She also had a crop which I warned to to be careful with! She was in one of those strange step into toy horses similar to the one below & it was brown not black. Reminded me of Bernie Clifton & that ostrich he used to have. 

She had wanted to go as Belle as she has a beautiful gold costume she got for going to Disneyworld about 18 months ago however she decided it was too cold to wear it. 

I think it's great that they encourage the children to focus on books & give them vouchers for books. It's hard to believe but some children just don't have any books in the house at all so the vouchers give them an opportunity to have one of their own. Also sometimes there's just too much emphasis on telly, films and computers which may stunt their imagination. 

As for me I'm ashamed to say I haven't read for a while, got out of the habit & into watching too much telly whilst I crochet. So last week whilst I was clearing out the little bedroom I found a bag of the Camilla Lackberg series of crime books which I had forgotten about. I decided to read them again. BIG mistake! It's a couple of years since I read them & I discovered she has written a couple more so I thought I'd go back to the beginning again. I really enjoy her style contrasting the normal lives of Patrick & Erica Hedstrom (police officer & writer) with the horrendous criminal characters form the past & present in that lovely little Swedish coastal town of FjÀllbacka. I'd love to visit it sometime. I'm now up to the fourth book, The Stranger and I can't put the books down which means I'm getting very little work of any kind done & she keeps me guessing right to the end. What an imagination! I'll never get that bedroom cleared and decorated at this rate & I only have a few weeks left before I start the rail tours. Better read faster & for longer!!!!!!