All Over the Place

A week or so after our return from Venice we travelled to Hackney to visit Rooney in his new establishment. We found a contented cat who eventually deigned to come and sit on my lap in the evening. Initially he was reserved – perhaps he thought we had come to take him away in the car. It makes me very happy to know that the addition of Rooney to the Light household has been successful for all five parties.

A few days later saw us crossing the Channel to spend half term in St Vaast. The Perrymans had booked themselves in for a 5 day trip. We spent one day touring some of the Sites de Debarquement including the museum at St Mere Eglise where we also viewed the parachutist who still hangs from the church roof there.

Ted, Charlotte and I spent an interval of rockpooling at Le Dranguet when the tide went out. This spot is perfect for delivering on some of the strange marine invertebrate body forms that populate the intertidal. With no difficulty I found sea urchins, sea anemones, cushionstars, crabs, fish, squat lobsters, snails, clams……… Most fun was had from a demonstration of sea squirt behaviour. One small, cautiously placed finger could press gently and produce a fine jet of water from the exhalant siphon ūüôā

Two weeks later Lola and Ruby came to stay for a long weekend. Their parents had booked the cliff-top bolt hole at Prussia Cove. On Friday the girls were joined by Cerys, Chris and Mum and much craft-work was done around the kitchen table. On Saturday Nick and I led the village walk centred around Moonfleet Manor, whilst the Dukes played host to the girls. They were entertained painting scenery for the Maiden Newton pantomime, Alice in Wonderland, and making cakes. On Sunday Nick rang the bells for Remembrance Sunday and I walked the girls to the village memorial. Their parents returned in the evening and they all departed at 5 the next morning.

A week later …………. we drove to Godalming and viewed the Perrymans’ new kitchen and in the evening, dressed for a party, we drove to Heyshott to celebrate Eileen’s birthday. This was a wondrous dinner party for 14 with the most delicious array of canapes fashioned by the Hunter team. Lobster, crab, quail’s eggs, potted shrimp………. all served in fine crispy pastry cases, bite-size. We ate rib of beef and for dessert we had a choice of Guinness steamed pudding with Whiskey Sauce or a rich Chocolate torte. After dinner there was a round or two of bottle-walking, a demonstration of Irish dancing from Eileen, and some general dancing to the Travelling Wilburys at which point Anthea decided, it being 2.30a.m., that it was time to ferry us to our B&B.

The following morning Nick and I drove to Godalming; Nick helped Charlotte replace furniture and I scrabbled around the floor playing Dinosaurs with Ted. We ate roast chicken and then drove home.

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Notes from Venice and Pictures from an Exhibition, and others………

In October we went to Venice to celebrate our wedding anniversary.¬† We had a pleasant flight with Easy Jet then had to wait a long time for a water taxi to take across from the airport to the Vaporetto stop for our rented apartment.¬† This we found easily although we had something of a pantomime with the keys to the main and apartment doors.¬† Just before the alley leading to our building we had found that a restaurant along the Fondamento beneath our building would serve us some dinner at 11 p.m.¬†¬† So I waited for the appointed table and we¬†decided to offload the large bag before eating.¬† After several minutes Nick returned with the bag to say the key would not work in the main door so, I nipped back and found that it would.¬† He then went back only to return and say that there were two flats on the top floor and the key would match neither door.¬† I nipped back and returned to say that indeed there was only one flat on the top floor and the keyhole looked good.¬† He returned and discovered he had been trying to access no.2533A instead of no. 2533………..¬† That first meal we ate in Venice was a treat of a mixed fish platter washed down with Prosecco.¬† We repeated the experience later in the week.

Most days we just walked.  We planned a route before leaving the apartment, taking in various galleries, museums and buildings of note such as the Campanile.  When the bells were tolled just above our heads in the tower it was such an alarming noise that I only just managed to hang onto my iPad which I was holding outside the large-meshed safety grill in order to take pictures.  During the week we crossed and recrossed the Rialto Bridge and the bridge adjacent to the Railway Station as we explored different quarters of the city.  We loved the Natural History Museum with its artistic and highly visually appealing displays in traditional cabinets.  There were no electronic interactive exhibits or gadgets of any kind.

One day we took a Vaporetto to the Lido which was something of a damp squib as we had hoped to walk to the beach, which in the event we never did find.  Another day we went to Murano, the island in the Venice lagoon which is renowned for its Glassmaking.  So many shops offer a range of glass products ranging from the miniature glass animals to huge and gorgeous chandeliers, and from the gaudy and tacky to the stylish and exquisitely tasteful.  We looked in many shops and were finally tempted by a very pretty glass cuttlefish which now resides in St Vaast.  This was to be our anniversary present in place of a gondolier ride down the Grande Canale for which Nick had no appetite.

We ate some wonderful meals, the most memorable of which was Taglioni con scampi et fragole.  This I must recreate back home.  The combination of scampi and strawberries is amazingly good because it is such an unlikely combination.

Each day we returned to the apartment at the end of the afternoon to download emails by hijacking a local broadband connection.  Such intervals were sporadic and short-lived.  We spent time on the sofa and I read my way through Wolf Hall then started another title on my Kindle.  We ate out each evening except the last when we picked up some delicious savouries to share before packing for an early start.

I think there is nothing I could say about the magic of Venice that has not been said before.  We enjoyed our week utterly and took photos galore.  Here are some of them:

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