Another cute dog shot

Let me start with an apology. Sorry, it’s yet another cute dog shot. Yesterday Bella the puppy discovered a green Cicada in the back yard. Every time she went to sniff it, the Cicada flew a few inches away, which for Bella was captivating.

A footnote for the animal lovers among you – both Bella and the Cicada survived the encounter unscathed.

 

Last of the autumn sun

Kids in the Autumn sunI’ve mentioned a few times that our place loses the sun for a couple of months every winter. This means we all make the most of any chance to enjoy a sunny day in autumn.

So when Rosie the 19 year old cat, Poppie the 8 year old Bichon and Bella the nutcase puppy had a chance to lie in the sun last weekend, they took it.

It always pays to look the other way

Just north of Pienza in Tuscany is a stand of Cypress trees that have been photographed more often than most others. The reason is they seem to represent Tuscany to tourists and they are visible from the main road. In each season they summarise the beauty of the region.

It’s not unusual to see half a dozen cars stopped at the side of the road with the occupants out shooting the grove of trees.

Interestingly very few people turn around and look the other way to a view that, in my humble opinion, is even more Tuscan. Captured here in late Autumn.

The year that was

Gallery

This gallery contains 41 photos.

Everywhere I look the last 12 months are being reviewed – news, sports, politics – the best of, the worst of – clearly this is the time of year for reflection. Never being one to miss a trend, here’s our … Continue reading

A year ago today – triumph and tragedy

It began as a day like all others as the sun climbed over the Crete hills to the east – except that we were up early enough to enjoy the sunrise and completely confuse our girls when we gave them each a pat on the head and departed for Siena. We were cutting it fine and the mood in the car was sombre. There was none of the usual banter as we headed along the SR2 into Siena.

Thankfully we didn’t get stuck behind any of the local autobuses on the way and as we drove through the Porta Tufi and into the old city to park we had 10 minutes left for the walk to the Campo.

It was Rugby World Cup final day. Half a world away two teams were about to go head to head to determine who were world champions – our might All Blacks or the unpredictable and dynamic French.

We arrived at the bar in time to find a seat amongst the small but growing number of New Zealand fans and the far more numerous French fans. We ordered our usual RWC colazione (breakfast) – cappuccino and tea, followed by white wine and birra. The discipline required to start drinking at 8am was something we had mastered over the preceding 6 weeks as we had watched the pool games, the quarter finals and the semi finals. In fact we were well known in the bar and our order arrived at the table the same time we did.

The game was engrossing. What everyone expected to be an easy All Black victory became an arm wrestle with the French doing what they do best – being unpredictable and playing ten times better than they did in the early rounds of the tournament – and with 15 minutes to go the score was 8-7 to the All Blacks. The remained of the match was agonising with neither team able to get in the killing blow.

The tension in that little bar in Siena was palpable. The Kiwis had gone quiet while the French supporters were vocal as the underdogs refused to roll over.

Victory for the All Blacks, when it came, was more relief than triumph.

After congratulations all round we left the bar and stepped out into the sunlight of the Campo. We headed to our usual bar – Al Mangia – to celebrate with a glass or two of Prosecco.

At Al Mangia the talk was not of rugby but of motorcycling. Motorcycle ace and local hero Marco Simoncelli had died after falling off his bike in the Malaysian MotoGP earlier that morning and the bar patrons were noticeably affected. Simoncelli was just 24 years old.

It was, it turned out, a day of triumph overshadowed by tragedy.

What a beautiful day

To mark the last day of autumn Wellington produced one of those magic mornings that, sadly, we see too infrequently. Crisp, with no wind to speak of and just starting to warm up as the sun rose over the eastern hills.

At 8:15am the view from our front verandah looking south over Evans Bay to Cook Strait (and beyond to Antarctica as there’s not much in the way) was worth a photo.