blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Back in Firenze ...

My friends H1 and H2 were leaving separately on the Monday, H1 allegedly on an early morning flight. Being experienced travellers, I promised to sleep with my phone beside my bed in case she locked the front door to the apartment building a moment before remembering that her laptop was on the table, and she promised not to leave her laptop behind. She did not, but nor did her plane happen. At an early but slightly reasonable hour, my phone chirruped with a plea that I pop some clothes on as she was headed back form the airport and would need to be let in.

I did a quick mental calculation and managed to be washed, brushed and dressed in exactly the right amount of time to dash down the stairs and throw the door open just as she stepped out of the taxi with phone in hand, about to call. This is in fact one of my secret superpowers of late, as I did it to H1 the first time she arrived at the flat, too, and last year managed to find [livejournal.com profile] raitala  among hundreds of thousands of art fiends seconds before we were about to call each other in the Louvre lobby. This new finding friends power is one I like and it can stay -- in fact, it ran rampant this trip, but more of that in subsequent posts.

H1's unexpected return could mean only one thing: Ghirlandaio at Santa Maria Novella! We trotted up the road to be among the first visitors into the basilica for the day. There is a strict no photography rule, which is a shame, because I would love to share the lunacy that is the decoration with you. Most of the interior is dignified and fairly Gothic in taste, and then you get to the Tornabuoni chapel. Domenico Ghirlandaio, one of the most famous artists of the period (end of the 15th century) was commissioned to paint the frescoes, and from what I can read in the paintings, the brief appears to have been: 'I want it to be staggeringly obvious that we are gobsmackingly rich. I want people to look at this in 520 years and think "Holy fuck, those bastards were loaded!" Use as many apprentices as you want, and no stinting on the gold leaf!' They are very beautiful, and a wonderful document of late 15th century life among the wealthy, but not what the standard interior decorator would call at one with the spirit of the building's fabric.

We had a wonderful time pottering about, and even found the book and postcard shop, which is no easy feat -- it's hidden off to one side disguised as another chapel. On leaving, we dithered over whether we should go and have a look at the museum attached to the basilica. 'We could go and put our feet up,' said H1, 'But we're here now, and it seems as though we ought to go in ...'

'Oh look,' I said 'It's 2 euros and a bit, if it's crap, we'll just leave, and feel virtuous for donating funds to the cause.'

Feeling like good cultural tourists, we paid our money and went in. Best Decision Of The Day.
Pix! Tales! Rampling! Oops -- *rambling*, no topless Charlottes! )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Back in Firenze ...

My friends H1 and H2 were leaving separately on the Monday, H1 allegedly on an early morning flight. Being experienced travellers, I promised to sleep with my phone beside my bed in case she locked the front door to the apartment building a moment before remembering that her laptop was on the table, and she promised not to leave her laptop behind. She did not, but nor did her plane happen. At an early but slightly reasonable hour, my phone chirruped with a plea that I pop some clothes on as she was headed back form the airport and would need to be let in.

I did a quick mental calculation and managed to be washed, brushed and dressed in exactly the right amount of time to dash down the stairs and throw the door open just as she stepped out of the taxi with phone in hand, about to call. This is in fact one of my secret superpowers of late, as I did it to H1 the first time she arrived at the flat, too, and last year managed to find [livejournal.com profile] raitala  among hundreds of thousands of art fiends seconds before we were about to call each other in the Louvre lobby. This new finding friends power is one I like and it can stay -- in fact, it ran rampant this trip, but more of that in subsequent posts.

H1's unexpected return could mean only one thing: Ghirlandaio at Santa Maria Novella! We trotted up the road to be among the first visitors into the basilica for the day. There is a strict no photography rule, which is a shame, because I would love to share the lunacy that is the decoration with you. Most of the interior is dignified and fairly Gothic in taste, and then you get to the Tornabuoni chapel. Domenico Ghirlandaio, one of the most famous artists of the period (end of the 15th century) was commissioned to paint the frescoes, and from what I can read in the paintings, the brief appears to have been: 'I want it to be staggeringly obvious that we are gobsmackingly rich. I want people to look at this in 520 years and think "Holy fuck, those bastards were loaded!" Use as many apprentices as you want, and no stinting on the gold leaf!' They are very beautiful, and a wonderful document of late 15th century life among the wealthy, but not what the standard interior decorator would call at one with the spirit of the building's fabric.

We had a wonderful time pottering about, and even found the book and postcard shop, which is no easy feat -- it's hidden off to one side disguised as another chapel. On leaving, we dithered over whether we should go and have a look at the museum attached to the basilica. 'We could go and put our feet up,' said H1, 'But we're here now, and it seems as though we ought to go in ...'

'Oh look,' I said 'It's 2 euros and a bit, if it's crap, we'll just leave, and feel virtuous for donating funds to the cause.'

Feeling like good cultural tourists, we paid our money and went in. Best Decision Of The Day.
Pix! Tales! Rampling! Oops -- *rambling*, no topless Charlottes! )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
You can see why I failed to write these up as I was going ... quite aside from the horror of typing on the netbook, I had to get some sleep in at some point!

We ended part 7 with a large group of textile nuts about to board a bus for Siena. Forty-five minutes, and with a good view along the way, we arrived and trundled up from one of the city gates towards Il Campo. Siena is a very well preserved mediaeval city, mostly thanks to the plague having wiped out so many people in the Middle Ages that it was never again wealthy enough for a big period of rebuilding (and after the plague, there were Medici, who had a similar effect but through war and taxation rather than horrible pus-filled death.) This is a typical street:



More Siena! Daft tales! )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
You can see why I failed to write these up as I was going ... quite aside from the horror of typing on the netbook, I had to get some sleep in at some point!

We ended part 7 with a large group of textile nuts about to board a bus for Siena. Forty-five minutes, and with a good view along the way, we arrived and trundled up from one of the city gates towards Il Campo. Siena is a very well preserved mediaeval city, mostly thanks to the plague having wiped out so many people in the Middle Ages that it was never again wealthy enough for a big period of rebuilding (and after the plague, there were Medici, who had a similar effect but through war and taxation rather than horrible pus-filled death.) This is a typical street:



More Siena! Daft tales! )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Palazzo Strozzi is one of the places in Florence that you should have on your list if you plan to visit the city. Located near the centre of town, it is a late-Renaissance great house built around a beautiful open courtyard, with benches all around its perimeter. On the ground level are several shops and offices, including a very good book/gift shop and cafe. There is genuinely free wireless internet in the courtyard, and students and young people checking their Facebook and email on most benches. But the most exciting thing is that upstairs is a huge temporary gallery space.

You would think that in an art-focussed city like Firenze there would be a lot of spaces where you can mount exhibitions, but in fact, there are very few. So the Strozzi is where all the best temporary exhibitions are mounted, and this time was no exception. A massive Bronzino retrospective is showing there at the moment, until January 23. And if you have any way to get there that does not involve penury or illegal kidney sale, DO IT!

Wall after wall of Medici portraits were the main feature, most of which are only ever seen in the dim darkness of the Uffizi, where you trot into a twilit room, are pushed past by the queue behind you, and trot out again in short order. This time they were clear and bright and you could, if patient, spend as much time in front of each one as you like. Most of the major portraits were here, and many of his early religious works, too. My old mate Cosimo, who I regularly visit in the Art Gallery of NSW was making a guest appearance. We caught up, he was looking well -- a great deal of very good cleaning and restoration has been done on the works, some of which I felt as though I was seeing for the very first time without their patina of grime.

But this was not my very best art moment, oh no ...

Travel is a much better use of my funds than drink! )

And very quickly, THANK YOU to [livejournal.com profile] cinnatart  and [livejournal.com profile] absynthedrinker  for such lovely early Chrissy presents! You're so kind! 
Also a HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY to the brilliant [livejournal.com profile] red_rahl  and HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAYS to [livejournal.com profile] lisztful  and [livejournal.com profile] drgaellon , may the present fairy be generous, your friends fabulous and your faces perfectly untroubled by the passage of time. Or at least so busy smiling that no one notices the character lines ;-)
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Palazzo Strozzi is one of the places in Florence that you should have on your list if you plan to visit the city. Located near the centre of town, it is a late-Renaissance great house built around a beautiful open courtyard, with benches all around its perimeter. On the ground level are several shops and offices, including a very good book/gift shop and cafe. There is genuinely free wireless internet in the courtyard, and students and young people checking their Facebook and email on most benches. But the most exciting thing is that upstairs is a huge temporary gallery space.

You would think that in an art-focussed city like Firenze there would be a lot of spaces where you can mount exhibitions, but in fact, there are very few. So the Strozzi is where all the best temporary exhibitions are mounted, and this time was no exception. A massive Bronzino retrospective is showing there at the moment, until January 23. And if you have any way to get there that does not involve penury or illegal kidney sale, DO IT!

Wall after wall of Medici portraits were the main feature, most of which are only ever seen in the dim darkness of the Uffizi, where you trot into a twilit room, are pushed past by the queue behind you, and trot out again in short order. This time they were clear and bright and you could, if patient, spend as much time in front of each one as you like. Most of the major portraits were here, and many of his early religious works, too. My old mate Cosimo, who I regularly visit in the Art Gallery of NSW was making a guest appearance. We caught up, he was looking well -- a great deal of very good cleaning and restoration has been done on the works, some of which I felt as though I was seeing for the very first time without their patina of grime.

But this was not my very best art moment, oh no ...

Travel is a much better use of my funds than drink! )

And very quickly, THANK YOU to [livejournal.com profile] cinnatart  and [livejournal.com profile] absynthedrinker  for such lovely early Chrissy presents! You're so kind! 
Also a HAPPY LATE BIRTHDAY to the brilliant [livejournal.com profile] red_rahl  and HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAYS to [livejournal.com profile] lisztful  and [livejournal.com profile] drgaellon , may the present fairy be generous, your friends fabulous and your faces perfectly untroubled by the passage of time. Or at least so busy smiling that no one notices the character lines ;-)
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Shorter catch-up tonight, as I am happily knackered after dinner, blather and delicious but enormous ice-cream with the gorgeous, brilliant and hugely personable [livejournal.com profile] pushdragon . The only  thing that could have improved it was absent friends -- you all know who you are! [livejournal.com profile] raitala  art has being delivered, she has a teeny gift for [livejournal.com profile] meredyth_13 , and we can both heartily recommend both Encasa Spanish restaurant on Pitt St in Sydney and Passionflower ice-cream in the food thingy near the Capitol Theatre. That rose-lychee was amazing. I may not be quite as useful in the writing and spelling departments as I usually am ...

But back to Italy! Friends of mine were coming to town for the textiles conference we were attending, and we had decided to take an apartment for most of the next week. This is always a good idea if you are going to be anywhere for any length of time, especially if you are travelling in a group and know the area already (tip: check the cleaning costs are included in the rates to avoid a late shock). Ours was on via delle Belle Donne, which is right near via della Spada -- home of the wonderful art book shop and most delicious bread shop I know. I believe this is where my plan to lose a few pounds through increased fitness fell down, as no matter how much walking and lugging of heavy books I managed in a day, there was always the magnificent olive-oil drenched tomato bread or tomato pizza to stuff my face with partake of genteelly at the end of the day (and maybe for brunch and just a quick bit before they close up for the afternoon, too ...)

Pic spam, pic spam, so much pic spam )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Shorter catch-up tonight, as I am happily knackered after dinner, blather and delicious but enormous ice-cream with the gorgeous, brilliant and hugely personable [livejournal.com profile] pushdragon . The only  thing that could have improved it was absent friends -- you all know who you are! [livejournal.com profile] raitala  art has being delivered, she has a teeny gift for [livejournal.com profile] meredyth_13 , and we can both heartily recommend both Encasa Spanish restaurant on Pitt St in Sydney and Passionflower ice-cream in the food thingy near the Capitol Theatre. That rose-lychee was amazing. I may not be quite as useful in the writing and spelling departments as I usually am ...

But back to Italy! Friends of mine were coming to town for the textiles conference we were attending, and we had decided to take an apartment for most of the next week. This is always a good idea if you are going to be anywhere for any length of time, especially if you are travelling in a group and know the area already (tip: check the cleaning costs are included in the rates to avoid a late shock). Ours was on via delle Belle Donne, which is right near via della Spada -- home of the wonderful art book shop and most delicious bread shop I know. I believe this is where my plan to lose a few pounds through increased fitness fell down, as no matter how much walking and lugging of heavy books I managed in a day, there was always the magnificent olive-oil drenched tomato bread or tomato pizza to stuff my face with partake of genteelly at the end of the day (and maybe for brunch and just a quick bit before they close up for the afternoon, too ...)

Pic spam, pic spam, so much pic spam )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I love Firenze. It will always be one of the handful of cities I could live in (aside from in the very hot months), and no matter how many times I visit it, I always find new things and new ways of looking at the old things. My train (cf yesterday's post) arrived at 11, and I dragged my case down to my hotel on Porto Rosso, expecting to have to leave my bags for a few hours and come back to check in. The excellent folk of Hotel Davanzati had my room ready, though, so I was able to dump everything and then head out for a good walk.

Walking is always the best way to take in a city. You can experience it with all your senses, smelling where you might like to eat, seeing places you hadn't known about, and hearing snatches of music and conversation. I headed off towards the main library, because I wanted to take some photographs of the architecture, which is a bit bonkers in a cool way.

More blather and pix below! )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I love Firenze. It will always be one of the handful of cities I could live in (aside from in the very hot months), and no matter how many times I visit it, I always find new things and new ways of looking at the old things. My train (cf yesterday's post) arrived at 11, and I dragged my case down to my hotel on Porto Rosso, expecting to have to leave my bags for a few hours and come back to check in. The excellent folk of Hotel Davanzati had my room ready, though, so I was able to dump everything and then head out for a good walk.

Walking is always the best way to take in a city. You can experience it with all your senses, smelling where you might like to eat, seeing places you hadn't known about, and hearing snatches of music and conversation. I headed off towards the main library, because I wanted to take some photographs of the architecture, which is a bit bonkers in a cool way.

More blather and pix below! )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
HOW can it be December already?

OOH! Advent calendar chocolate! Right, now that's sorted ...

Belated travel tales! )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
HOW can it be December already?

OOH! Advent calendar chocolate! Right, now that's sorted ...

Belated travel tales! )
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Whenever my ego is feeling a little bruised around the edges, I shall, in future, hie me hence to somewhere frequented by Italian men, so that I can enjoy the twin joys of basking in their admiration and seething with righteous feminist indignation at the objectification. While doing a bit of 'Phwoar, that one's a bit fit!' myself.

Italy is all about beauty. Towns are preserved to highlight aesthetic merit (now ... previously it was because there was little money left after the plague, and the wars that followed). Fashion is eclectic but omnipresent -- nowhere else could a woman make a kid-skin top to her coat work with a cable-knitted bottom, especially when matched with purple heels, but here, she looked divine, and was at least 60.

It is enormously acceptable to tell someone they look good, or are a beautiful woman (slightly less so to tell a man he is a hottie, but the appreciative glance is met with a knowing smile and half-bow), and there is a certain niceness to that. Particularly because there is a broad range of what is considered lovely. One of the young girls I met at the conference was concerned about her size and bewailing on the street the fact she would find no fashion to fit, a passing man in his mid-thirties paused to tell her she was divinely lovely as she was and that fashion houses were too cheap to make clothes with appropriate amounts of material. My Chinese-Australian and African-American friends were both regularly chatted up, too, so it is not solely a matter of colour, either. I believe breasts are the only real requirement.

Which is all a preamble to why I was accidentally appallingly rude this evening after stealing out for un piccolo coppette of straciatella*, when, as I fiddled with my slightly broken umbrella, a passing chap paused, smiled, and said, 'Come stai?'

If you have ever watched Friends, this is the exact Italian equivalent of Joey saying, 'How you doing?'

Bless his heart, he was not discouraged, and even persisted after I mentioned both my advanced age and the fact that I am married (or as good as). 'Is he here?' was his only response. I ran out of Italian and told him he would have to go to confession for that, and looked not enough like either Mr Brammers or David Tennant to stand a chance. He cheerfully went on his way to find someone less fussy, and I suspect he will not confess his sins, which are doubtless many.

Up until then I had been having such a well-mannered day! At lunch I helped the Nicest Parisian Family Ever who sat next to me in the trattoria and had Italian even worse than mine -- they had two lovely kids and were kind enough to take the large amount of spinach and beans I had left over -- trattoria Marione on via della Spada has sides the size of your head for half the price of most other places in town.

ARGH! I have just lost 1000 words of this post! Right, it is a sign. Off to bed. London tomorrow night, and I need to get to Pisa and the plane between now and then. Adventures with the delightful [livejournal.com profile] kareina in Siena will have to wait, plus the Tale of the Weirdest Coincidence Ever and A Short List of My Fave Shops and Food Places. Oh, and Viterbo, where I will one day run a cat's home. I was going to add a few pics, but my connection keeps shutting down, so next time!


* The Greatest Gelato In The World, available at Crom on the corner of via del Campanile -- thick creamy vanilla with huge chunks of dark chocolate. I know it is hot chocolate weather, but I had to have one!
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
Whenever my ego is feeling a little bruised around the edges, I shall, in future, hie me hence to somewhere frequented by Italian men, so that I can enjoy the twin joys of basking in their admiration and seething with righteous feminist indignation at the objectification. While doing a bit of 'Phwoar, that one's a bit fit!' myself.

Italy is all about beauty. Towns are preserved to highlight aesthetic merit (now ... previously it was because there was little money left after the plague, and the wars that followed). Fashion is eclectic but omnipresent -- nowhere else could a woman make a kid-skin top to her coat work with a cable-knitted bottom, especially when matched with purple heels, but here, she looked divine, and was at least 60.

It is enormously acceptable to tell someone they look good, or are a beautiful woman (slightly less so to tell a man he is a hottie, but the appreciative glance is met with a knowing smile and half-bow), and there is a certain niceness to that. Particularly because there is a broad range of what is considered lovely. One of the young girls I met at the conference was concerned about her size and bewailing on the street the fact she would find no fashion to fit, a passing man in his mid-thirties paused to tell her she was divinely lovely as she was and that fashion houses were too cheap to make clothes with appropriate amounts of material. My Chinese-Australian and African-American friends were both regularly chatted up, too, so it is not solely a matter of colour, either. I believe breasts are the only real requirement.

Which is all a preamble to why I was accidentally appallingly rude this evening after stealing out for un piccolo coppette of straciatella*, when, as I fiddled with my slightly broken umbrella, a passing chap paused, smiled, and said, 'Come stai?'

If you have ever watched Friends, this is the exact Italian equivalent of Joey saying, 'How you doing?'

Bless his heart, he was not discouraged, and even persisted after I mentioned both my advanced age and the fact that I am married (or as good as). 'Is he here?' was his only response. I ran out of Italian and told him he would have to go to confession for that, and looked not enough like either Mr Brammers or David Tennant to stand a chance. He cheerfully went on his way to find someone less fussy, and I suspect he will not confess his sins, which are doubtless many.

Up until then I had been having such a well-mannered day! At lunch I helped the Nicest Parisian Family Ever who sat next to me in the trattoria and had Italian even worse than mine -- they had two lovely kids and were kind enough to take the large amount of spinach and beans I had left over -- trattoria Marione on via della Spada has sides the size of your head for half the price of most other places in town.

ARGH! I have just lost 1000 words of this post! Right, it is a sign. Off to bed. London tomorrow night, and I need to get to Pisa and the plane between now and then. Adventures with the delightful [livejournal.com profile] kareina in Siena will have to wait, plus the Tale of the Weirdest Coincidence Ever and A Short List of My Fave Shops and Food Places. Oh, and Viterbo, where I will one day run a cat's home. I was going to add a few pics, but my connection keeps shutting down, so next time!


* The Greatest Gelato In The World, available at Crom on the corner of via del Campanile -- thick creamy vanilla with huge chunks of dark chocolate. I know it is hot chocolate weather, but I had to have one!
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I note that the most popular choice in my poll of the other day was that I was doomed to wander airports eternally, like the Flying Dutchman, unable to reach my destination. This reflects either an impressively accurate assesment of travel with me, or else a disturbingly keen tendency to angst in my flist. It was 38 hours for anyone still wondering.

At least I missed the terrorist alert!

Of course, the angst is not misplaced -- gypsies stole my Violet Crumble!

But the rest of the news is good. )
In final news, it occurs to me that if one wishes to pass beneath the notice of Italian men while walking great distances on a gorgeous autumn day in Lazio, it is best not to wear a fitted red T-shirt with a big white heart decoration on one's breasts. It was lovely meeting you, Andrea, Claudio, and Mr I Did Not Catch Your Name. Thank you all for understanding my apologies for my bad Italian and chatting cheerfully about Australian beaches. Yes, they are beautiful, and I love the fact that is the only thing Italian men of a certain age know about the country (the women -- also of a certain age, because I am not as young as I once was -- all have a friend who has a sister there, she is down in number 67, perhaps I will have time for us to go and chat with her and see if I know her sister?)

OH! One last anecdote: when inquiring as to which bus would bring me on the last leg back to my hotel, I interrupted the bus men chatting. The lead one turned to me and asked me if I thought Berlusconi was beautiful. Convinced I had misunderstood, I replied, 'Il Presidente? Berlusconi? Bello?' They nodded enthusiastically. 'No!' I said without thinking, and pulled a face. Apparently this was the correct answer -- they laughingly described to me the size of the viagra pill the man requires, hands spread apart - 'Cosi! -- Like this!' Ah Italians, I do love you, even if half your bus drivers are surly bastards and Rome is filled with smog and ill-tempered pickpockets.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
I note that the most popular choice in my poll of the other day was that I was doomed to wander airports eternally, like the Flying Dutchman, unable to reach my destination. This reflects either an impressively accurate assesment of travel with me, or else a disturbingly keen tendency to angst in my flist. It was 38 hours for anyone still wondering.

At least I missed the terrorist alert!

Of course, the angst is not misplaced -- gypsies stole my Violet Crumble!

But the rest of the news is good. )
In final news, it occurs to me that if one wishes to pass beneath the notice of Italian men while walking great distances on a gorgeous autumn day in Lazio, it is best not to wear a fitted red T-shirt with a big white heart decoration on one's breasts. It was lovely meeting you, Andrea, Claudio, and Mr I Did Not Catch Your Name. Thank you all for understanding my apologies for my bad Italian and chatting cheerfully about Australian beaches. Yes, they are beautiful, and I love the fact that is the only thing Italian men of a certain age know about the country (the women -- also of a certain age, because I am not as young as I once was -- all have a friend who has a sister there, she is down in number 67, perhaps I will have time for us to go and chat with her and see if I know her sister?)

OH! One last anecdote: when inquiring as to which bus would bring me on the last leg back to my hotel, I interrupted the bus men chatting. The lead one turned to me and asked me if I thought Berlusconi was beautiful. Convinced I had misunderstood, I replied, 'Il Presidente? Berlusconi? Bello?' They nodded enthusiastically. 'No!' I said without thinking, and pulled a face. Apparently this was the correct answer -- they laughingly described to me the size of the viagra pill the man requires, hands spread apart - 'Cosi! -- Like this!' Ah Italians, I do love you, even if half your bus drivers are surly bastards and Rome is filled with smog and ill-tempered pickpockets.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to [livejournal.com profile] aldehyde ! May you and your fabulous new hair have a spectacular 2010, filled with fandom glee and decent weather!

And a slightly late but very happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] jadzialove ! May this year be smooth and highly entertaining for you! And may all the people you beta for be as organised as [livejournal.com profile] joanwilder  ... I had a brilliant idea for a pressie, but failed miserably. So instead, here is a shot of where Draco could have ended it all if things had turned out differently in your present from the other year.
Poor bugger, he must have been very cold! I choose to believe the weather was better that year than this!

Which leads me to a brief picspam! There were many signs of the credit crunch around London, but also some of the boom period that had come before. I like to call this short photo essay from Belgravia: 'Old Money: New Money'
Old Money )
New Money )

One of the silliest thrills of the trip for me, for the first ten minutes at least, was waking up one chill morning in Paris to look out the window and find that it had snowed. It gave a veneer of beauty to everything, here one of the Jardins (I think des Tulleries, but have the memory of a fish today) beside the Louvre was made marvellous with a few inches of snow dusting the sculptures.
snowy sculpture )

It also brought out the humour of the city. While walking down the left bank, we encountered this little fellow: 
street art! )

and were thoroughly charmed. [livejournal.com profile] pingrid , [livejournal.com profile] raitala  and I decided he needed a companion. 'He is Harry!' declared Pin, 'we must build him a Draco!' Alas, our intentions were not quite matched by the quality of the snow (this is our story, to which we are sticking) and after cries of 'Oh no! His head fell off!' and 'Pin, did you mean to make a snow cock?' this is what we ended up with:
street 'art' ) So he was downgraded from Draco to Goyle.

One of my most hilarious adventures was visiting Versailles with Rai and Pin. Sadly, they are both reasonably tall and long legged, so I was trailling along stumpily, but here they are (excuse the coat bulkiness, it was a very cold day): 


Being us, we found the gayest painting in all of the palace, Pin howled down our suggestions that it could be depicting a father and son's re-union after battle, pointing to the onlookers and stating that they were obviously keen, no matter what the two main characters were thinking.
men snogging! )
Back at the hotel, we were greeted enthusiastically by Isis the Hotel Cat, who thought we were demented to go out in that weather. Generously, she allowed us to warm our hands by patting her. SO GIVING!
You may pat me now. )

Though much as I enjoyed Paris, and I did!, I regretted taking the time out from London. I fell back in love with London, before I was trapped in Paris. Walking about London so much, even if mostly on the way to one museum or another, brought me many reminders of its joys, not all of which were fabulous shops or artefacts. About five people will laugh as much as I did at this final photo, but for me, this Kensington family's Christmas decorations were absolutely, utterly perfect. Bugger lights and reindeer, tie a ribbon on the fo lions!
tasteful, yet festive! )

blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)
A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to [livejournal.com profile] aldehyde ! May you and your fabulous new hair have a spectacular 2010, filled with fandom glee and decent weather!

And a slightly late but very happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] jadzialove ! May this year be smooth and highly entertaining for you! And may all the people you beta for be as organised as [livejournal.com profile] joanwilder  ... I had a brilliant idea for a pressie, but failed miserably. So instead, here is a shot of where Draco could have ended it all if things had turned out differently in your present from the other year.
Poor bugger, he must have been very cold! I choose to believe the weather was better that year than this!

Which leads me to a brief picspam! There were many signs of the credit crunch around London, but also some of the boom period that had come before. I like to call this short photo essay from Belgravia: 'Old Money: New Money'
Old Money )
New Money )

One of the silliest thrills of the trip for me, for the first ten minutes at least, was waking up one chill morning in Paris to look out the window and find that it had snowed. It gave a veneer of beauty to everything, here one of the Jardins (I think des Tulleries, but have the memory of a fish today) beside the Louvre was made marvellous with a few inches of snow dusting the sculptures.
snowy sculpture )

It also brought out the humour of the city. While walking down the left bank, we encountered this little fellow: 
street art! )

and were thoroughly charmed. [livejournal.com profile] pingrid , [livejournal.com profile] raitala  and I decided he needed a companion. 'He is Harry!' declared Pin, 'we must build him a Draco!' Alas, our intentions were not quite matched by the quality of the snow (this is our story, to which we are sticking) and after cries of 'Oh no! His head fell off!' and 'Pin, did you mean to make a snow cock?' this is what we ended up with:
street 'art' ) So he was downgraded from Draco to Goyle.

One of my most hilarious adventures was visiting Versailles with Rai and Pin. Sadly, they are both reasonably tall and long legged, so I was trailling along stumpily, but here they are (excuse the coat bulkiness, it was a very cold day): 


Being us, we found the gayest painting in all of the palace, Pin howled down our suggestions that it could be depicting a father and son's re-union after battle, pointing to the onlookers and stating that they were obviously keen, no matter what the two main characters were thinking.
men snogging! )
Back at the hotel, we were greeted enthusiastically by Isis the Hotel Cat, who thought we were demented to go out in that weather. Generously, she allowed us to warm our hands by patting her. SO GIVING!
You may pat me now. )

Though much as I enjoyed Paris, and I did!, I regretted taking the time out from London. I fell back in love with London, before I was trapped in Paris. Walking about London so much, even if mostly on the way to one museum or another, brought me many reminders of its joys, not all of which were fabulous shops or artefacts. About five people will laugh as much as I did at this final photo, but for me, this Kensington family's Christmas decorations were absolutely, utterly perfect. Bugger lights and reindeer, tie a ribbon on the fo lions!
tasteful, yet festive! )

blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)

In the land of successes, I posted two boxes this morning, which should hopefully deal with my overweight baggage issues, and caught up with the gorgeous [livejournal.com profile] tommybarbarella for morning tea. Also, my flight is allegedly on time. In the land of argh, I have failed to do at least five things I really wanted to do in London, including seeing [livejournal.com profile] vashtan , so I will have to be back soon. Actual soon, not usual me soon. I am tired, deranged, and have such bags under my eyes that Louis Vuitton is considering using my face as a model for next season. Worse, Qantas say they feel I should not leave my gate in Germany, as things are dodgier there and they would like to have me around to leave asap if the weather closes in and the plane is there. I fear we are doomed, [livejournal.com profile] catsintheattic !  Will try to message or call you! But the Rembrandt is a genuinely lovely hotel at a very good price for what and where it is, and I have V&A-ed almost to my heart's content. I have the best friends and flist known to humankind, and London has actually been lovely, even with all the madness of the last nearly two days. All in all, I declare this day a possible success, and will upgrade it is I find myself in Sydney within the next 35 hours. Hell, 40, it's Christmas, I can be generous.

Right, off to grab a cab and escape Bing bloody Crosby.
blamebrampton: 15th century woodcut of a hound (Default)

In the land of successes, I posted two boxes this morning, which should hopefully deal with my overweight baggage issues, and caught up with the gorgeous [livejournal.com profile] tommybarbarella for morning tea. Also, my flight is allegedly on time. In the land of argh, I have failed to do at least five things I really wanted to do in London, including seeing [livejournal.com profile] vashtan , so I will have to be back soon. Actual soon, not usual me soon. I am tired, deranged, and have such bags under my eyes that Louis Vuitton is considering using my face as a model for next season. Worse, Qantas say they feel I should not leave my gate in Germany, as things are dodgier there and they would like to have me around to leave asap if the weather closes in and the plane is there. I fear we are doomed, [livejournal.com profile] catsintheattic !  Will try to message or call you! But the Rembrandt is a genuinely lovely hotel at a very good price for what and where it is, and I have V&A-ed almost to my heart's content. I have the best friends and flist known to humankind, and London has actually been lovely, even with all the madness of the last nearly two days. All in all, I declare this day a possible success, and will upgrade it is I find myself in Sydney within the next 35 hours. Hell, 40, it's Christmas, I can be generous.

Right, off to grab a cab and escape Bing bloody Crosby.

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