Not a Tea Tent in sight.

So there we are on an afternoon out in the Park for the Harvest Festival event, not a tea tent in sight but plenty of all American food and some poor bloke who’s been strong armed into volunteering to be a bear for the kids. It’s 26 degrees and he’s wearing some monster Levi’s and a bear suit. Visibility and health and safety dictate that he needs a carer I suspect. After all we don’t want any crushed kids if Mr Bear keels over in the heat. Imagine what the job description would be for this thankless task: “Suitable candidate … Continue reading Not a Tea Tent in sight.

Free Sunglasses with every vote

Ron Galperin is what’s called a ‘Controller’ here in LA. From what I can gather that means he and his team keep a watch on how the City spends their budgets. He has to get votes to become a ‘Controller’ so in an effort to glean votes here and there he hit on the idea of offering sunglasses. How do I know this? Well, we went with the family, to a small gathering at Griffith Park, which was billed as a Harvest Fesitival. Not in a religious way, but just a celebration for the time of year organised by someone … Continue reading Free Sunglasses with every vote

Back in the USA

So here we are back in the land of the free, home of the brave. It’s a family visit to see grandchildren and family here in California. Flying in from Heathrow was the usual torture where I brew up a headache on the steps going up to the plane and keep it brewing for the next 10 hours or so until we land. It does not appear to matter which airline you choose, if you fly economy, you get a cramped little seat and meals on wheels type food. At least New Zealand Air who brought us did not seek … Continue reading Back in the USA

Snail home

If you choose a walking holiday, then you could do worse than choose one where the guide takes you to the top of the hill and walks you back down again. Unlike the Grand Old Duke of York we were bussed to the top of the hill, and then marched down at our own speed. We walked from this pretty hilltop village back down across open countryside, this area being fields and hedges, rather than olive groves. It could have been almost an English landscape but for the dryness of the land and the slightly less green vegetation. I thought … Continue reading Snail home

What’s the story?

So, here I am writing of Italy and being told “ Why take pictures of an old car?” Well, first of all it’s not that often one finds a Trabant, and you’d be hard pressed to find one in Southern Italy let alone one planted in an olive grove. And second? I like to take pictures of wrecked old cars wherever they are. They tell an untold story. I like to imagine what that story would be: “Else had lived in East Germany since birth, she had never been near the Wall, she rarely thought about it. Her job as … Continue reading What’s the story?

Italy’s shame to Italy’s pride

Matera: City of Culture 2019. This is the view from outside our cave. Yes, we were indeed staying in a cave that have been converted into an air-conditioned hotel. Matera, now a popular destination with tourists was not always thus. In the50s it was described as the City of Shame by the Italians themselves. Grinding poverty and extremely poor if not non existent sanitation meant it had a high mortality rate for a so called civilised country. It had until Mussolini came along, no sewers, and the drains ran down the centre of the Main Street at the foot of … Continue reading Italy’s shame to Italy’s pride

Italian Washer Dryer: Zanussi?

Recent walking trip to Puglia and washday. No need for a washer dryer here, just hang it out on the balcony and when the bell strikes 5pm it will be as dry as a bone. This is Ostuni which was a very pleasant interlude on our trip. Was Zanussi the Italian who invented washer dryers? Also found this little music shop window which made for a reflective image. Continue reading Italian Washer Dryer: Zanussi?

Not a stroke wrong

Came across this painting in a small gallery in Puglia. Unlike in a lot of galleries this one was quite happy to allow me to take pictures. There is to me, not a stroke wrong in this lovely vocative painting of a beach scene. Just edited this as the predictive text or whatever it is that interferes with my text put in age instead of take. It’s like being constantly interrupted by a know-all. Moving on! Continue reading Not a stroke wrong

Olive Pickers of Puglia

    The guy in the foreground is a Moroccan who spoke near perfect English, his Italian boss is behind him. He spoke no English. This friendly worker was one of a team of men picking the olives with special ‘animated’ rakes and they drop onto the netting below for collection. He was quite happy to be photographed and was even happier to try out his English on me. There are as many Olive Trees in Puglia as there are people in Italy, or so we are told. That’s around 60 million. No wonder they can produce vast amounts of … Continue reading Olive Pickers of Puglia

Trulli. Which stone first?

These are Trulli and are houses in Alberobello in the South of Italy. There are many of these in the town, many given over to a brisk tourist trade and covered in gifts and souvenirs, but they have had the good sense to leave some of them to local inhabitants like these. They are in some cases centuries old and came about as a result of local taxes. They were originally built without any sort of cement between the stones, so a bit like a dry stone wall sort of construction type of thing. They were built like this so … Continue reading Trulli. Which stone first?