Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snow’s here

Hope it doesn’t last though, gotta get over those mountains and snow chains are dangerous.

This is a new painting inspired by a visit to the Tate a few weeks back. Turner struggled with his paintings and so I thought I’d do the same. This one was a fight

Il rosso delle stelle

Not much different form what’s going on outside. Minus 3 and the stuff is settling ominously.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Bewitched I am

winter light

Bessie comes up and nuzzles me for her walk just before sunset.

She gets cross when I start to take photos..and barks her head off.

She always gets her way but I manage to sneak a few shots in.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Temperature

Drops from 35C to 23C.. and which do I prefer having cool English blood?

in riferimento a: Pagina iniziale di Mozilla Firefox (visualizza su Google Sidewiki)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sibillini Nights

Castelluccio2

I bought the T shirt, I did! I never do that, ever.

But this was my friend Giorgio's organised weekend of Sibillini Nights.

Now the Sibillia (as you all know children) is the seer, the Sybil, the Goddess, prophetess who abides in these parts.

So, we attended the film 'Il Cecco' on Saturday night. He being the medieval intellectual and free thinker who was declared an heretic and executed by the Church. Then this was followed by a very late ending dinner half way up mount Sibillini.

Then up at the crack of dawn Sunday morning for the great trek up to the Sibilla's cave. It was hot, some 30C climbing up but the wind switched to the NE as we began out descent and dropped to 21C.

Being understandably knackered, we zoomed back home for a snooze then zoomed back to look at the colours of Casteluccio (these pics)

Castelluccio 1

and delightful they were too. then back for a meal in Monte Monaco, then a gorgeous short film by Giorgio; his look at Il Cecco's life in poetry and image. Then music in the park where I sank a Beck's and then got drowsy. So we slunk away about 11.30. Still knackered I am ...and thank God it's rained for twenty minutes today. Delicious!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Montefiore Workshop ‘Falling in love with ourselves’

Everything has a beginning, a middle and an end, except of course if you are a butterfly or a salamander.

I must tell you from the outset that the middle bit, the workshop itself, was fantastic…and I’ll come back to that later, just to keep you in suspense.

The beginning

A disaster on wheels

This was the plan. To pick up the English girls (or should I say our UK workshop lady participants) from Falconara Airport. Now, I must tell you that just writing those two words sends waves of hatred through my entire nervous system because whenever I approach it, it is waiting for me with a pre-planned disaster in store.

And this day was no exception. OK, I was late; the whole day so far had stacked up against me. But the plane was late too and I had to get the girls to Falconara station within twenty mins or never…ever. So I packed their luggage into my van, stacked them in a taxi with instructions to the driver to go go to the station with me racing behind. Except that I wasn’t… Any way, this is dragging on. So to cut it short, this is what happened. I lost my parking ticket and couldn’t get out of hated airport. Lost the girls, they weren’t where I thought I’d sent them (they were fiddled by taxi driver and taken to Ancona station) Found them there.

Had five mins to get them tickets so Mags parked my car (what? at Ancona station? That’s madness!) Got to ticket booth, didn't have enough cash but ticket man said go go. pay me later (phew! an angel)…Rushed to see girls on right train (they were all as cool as cucumbers), zoomed on to Autostrada to get to meet them at Pedaso station, only to find myself at pay booth at Pedaso at a new automated exit. Cash only! Robot tells me I’m short of 25 cents. I say look robot, I’ve had a rough morning. He booms out’ Don’t leave the car, Don’t leave the car’ in a high metallic voice. Oh, now why would I leave the car for heavens sake? Voice says put in credit card. I do but robot refuses it. I bash help button and a human comes on speaker; tells me to put cash in box, I say I have but I’m 25 c short. Meanwhile 20 cars hooting up behind me as the robot spews out a fine to be paid he booms within 15 days. I zoom off.

Now wasn’t that great?

Now for the end bit

No no, this is expecting too much of your patience. Enough to say that my 0830 am departure from Montefiore ended up being midday and it involved TrenItalia timetables and a lady in the bar opposite the station who only had 2 tickets left for 5 people. (and of course you get fined 50 euros if you’re on board without a ticket) Don’t ask, don’t ask!

BUT…The middle bit: the workshop (which it was worth suffering either end for)

Loved it, every bit of it. The place, the hospitality, the food, the sea, the dancing, the laughter and most importantly, the passion and heart that folks put in to the workshop program. Maria and I were each of us profoundly touched by being and working together and the experience still resonates.

Here are some photographs

workshop_montefiore_dance

I think this was a triple Tango

 

workshop_montefiore_M Jo

 

Lunch time

 

workshop_montefiore_table

 

Dinner time

 

workshop_montefiore_beach 2

 

A poetic moment

 

MF 3

 

I Cigni, Montefiore

Next workshop Oct 14 weekend at Montefiore

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Montefiore Workshop ‘Falling in love with ourselves’

Everything has a beginning, a middle and an end, except of course if you are a butterfly or a salamander.

I must tell you from the outset that the middle bit, the workshop itself, was fantastic…and I’ll come back to that later, just to keep you in suspense.

The beginning

A disaster on wheels

This was the plan. To pick up the English girls (or should I say our UK workshop lady participants) from Falconara Airport. Now, I must tell you that just writing those two words sends waves of hatred through my entire nervous system because whenever I approach it, it is waiting for me with a pre-planned disaster in store.

And this day was no exception. OK, I was late; the whole day so far had stacked up against me. But the plane was late too and I had to get the girls to Falconara station within twenty mins or never…ever. So I packed their luggage into my van, stacked them in a taxi with instructions to the driver to go go to the station with me racing behind. Except that I wasn’t… Any way, this is dragging on. So to cut it short, this is what happened. I lost my parking ticket and couldn’t get out of hated airport. Lost the girls, they weren’t where I thought I’d sent them (they were fiddled by taxi driver and taken to Ancona station) Found them there.

Had five mins to get them tickets so Mags parked my car (what? at Ancona station? That’s madness!) Got to ticket booth, didn't have enough cash but ticket man said go go. pay me later (phew! an angel)…Rushed to see girls on right train (they were all as cool as cucumbers), zoomed on to Autostrada to get to meet them at Pedaso station, only to find myself at pay booth at Pedaso at a new automated exit. Cash only! Robot tells me I’m short of 25 cents. I say look robot, I’ve had a rough morning. He booms out’ Don’t leave the car, Don’t leave the car’ in a high metallic voice. Oh, now why would I leave the car for heavens sake? Voice says put in credit card. I do but robot refuses it. I bash help button and a human comes on speaker; tells me to put cash in box, I say I have but I’m 25 c short. Meanwhile 20 cars hooting up behind me as the robot spews out a fine to be paid he booms within 15 days. I zoom off.

Now wasn’t that great?

Now for the end bit

No no, this is expecting too much of your patience. Enough to say that my 0830 am departure from Montefiore ended up being midday and it involved TrenItalia timetables and a lady in the bar opposite the station who only had 2 tickets left for 5 people. (and of course you get fined 50 euros if you’re on board without a ticket) Don’t ask, don’t ask!

BUT…The middle bit: the workshop (which it was worth suffering either end for)

Loved it, every bit of it. The place, the hospitality, the food, the sea, the dancing, the laughter and most importantly, the passion and heart that folks put in to the workshop programme. We were each of us profoundly touched by being and working together and the experience still resonates.

Here are some photographs

workshop_montefiore_dance

I think this was a triple Tango

 

workshop_montefiore_M Jo

 

Lunch time

 

workshop_montefiore_table

 

Dinner time

 

workshop_montefiore_beach 2

 

A poetic moment

 

MF 3

 

I Cigni, Montefiore

Next workshop Oct 14 weekend at Montefiore

Monday, May 03, 2010

Marche in Maggio

Read this morning on BBC site that according to medical experts, a walk in the countryside, in the fresh air, is good for us psychologically; makes us feel happy and healthy
So now we know. fresh air and countryside walks are good for you? get this..

'Just five minutes of exercise in a "green space" such as a park can boost mental health, researchers claim.

There is growing evidence that combining activities such as walking or cycling with nature boosts well-being.

In the latest analysis, UK researchers looked at evidence from 1,250 people in 10 studies and found fast improvements in mood and self-esteem.

The study in the Environmental Science and Technology journal suggested the strongest impact was on young people.

The research looked at many different outdoor activities including walking, gardening, cycling, fishing, boating, horse-riding and farming in locations such as a park, garden or nature trail'

What? Do we really have to be told that? Tragic state we’re in if that’s the case.

CAI May

This is a photo from yesterday, our CAI trek up to Garula.

I love it! Being part of this great group has opened my eyes to things I would never see alone.

We were 15 in number, including three kids. The entire trek took four hours because we stop every ten mins or so to be educated by our guides.

CAI ditch

And what’s this?

Looks like a hole in the ground eh? Yes, t’is!

But according to our Archeological guide it was a communication point. A thousand year old Facebook, one of thousands spread across Le Marche which allowed messages to be sent ; bit like NA Indian smoke signals. Kids weren’t too impressed on this one.

Le Marche, mountains and sea, that’s what it is

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Creativity workshop in Appignano

Though I’d thought of everything; catering, leaders, materials, wine, biscuits. But a volcano! a volcano! Would you ever have imagined it?

It meant we lost five wondrous people from UK whose flight was cancelled at the last moment. It made for a sad start but we held a wine and biscuit ritual to mourn their absence and we soon recovered. A near thing though. So there we were, a bunch of 13 of us.

Appig_workshop_3

The general theme was ‘This moment of NOW’ where we learned that being present in the NOW is a gateway to creativity and life adventuring; where creativity awaits us and where the voyage towards its very heart begins

Appig_workshop_1

The above image is from the story writing part of the weekend, although you would never guess it would you? 

Appig_workshop_2

And this part is called ’Painting attack’

So this was a voyage into the NOW, the present.

And now you are itching to know what our next workshop is about, aren’t you? Well, it’s a journey into past, present and future; how the one fuses with the other to form what we are, how we pattern our lives.

Maria collects treasures from the past; Italian customs, culture, cuisine and saves them in her Magic Box to share with you. Mice takes you into the NOW of creativity on a wondrous voyage of self discovery and Ant into the Future where you design a Planet worth living in for yourself and your love ones.

It’s June 11 to 14 in the beautiful agritourism of I Cigni in Le Marche, Italy, on the edge of the sparkling Adriatic Sea.

Info on our site www.starstone.me or call Mice on +39 3535358 if you want to chat about the workshop in English or Italian. Or you can email him on micermice@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Meteorite

OK, what’s this?

CAI%2028%20Marzo meteor

A truffle!

No!

Look, you’re not gonna guess, so I’ll tell you. It’s a meteorite, found on the mountain this Sunday when we trekked up Mt Amandola with our CAI group (Club Alpini Italia) and were rewarded with a the most spectacular views across the hilltop towns of Le Marche to the sea, as well as a meteorite. Isn’t that marvellous though? To find a meteorite? We climbed to about 2000m,

 

CAI%2028%20Marzo snow 

 

CAI%2028%20Marzo 2

 

……….ate a banana and a packet of crisps (classic) and rested awhile on one of the peaks before climbing down slowly to the trattoria where we’d left our cars. Then a long and dozy lunch. And the day before I was at the sea spending the morning costing our June workshop with Patrizia the owner of I Cigni, . It was almost tropical in comparison.

 

DSC_ mf 1

 

This part of Le Marche is where the mountains pushed towards the sea millions of years ago. In fact a great part of the sea was itself thrust up trapping a species of red shrimp in what is now a glacial lake (Lago di Pilato) in the process. Red shrimps and meteorites.

So, lucky we are, to have the mountains and the sea within a short driving distance of each other.

So, here’s an idea. Spend a fantastic weekend on our workshop and spend the rest of the week touring this beautiful area; even go meteorite hunting up in the Sibillini mountains. You’ll find one, you will, with a bit of guidance.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Invisible Mice























I know what you're thinking; that it's me , invisibilised!
Naar, it's not.
It's my jeans that I put out on the line to dry and they froze! Laugh you may, but they almost snapped in half when I tied to fold them over a chair.
Life does have its little adventures doesn't it?
Cabin fever? Could be with half a metre of snow forecast, wife away and chips running out fast. Got some beer in though

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Alba

6.30 am 3rd of March 2010.
A delicious sunrise

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas pudding

Just blown up the microwave with a Christmas Pudding!
My fault entirely which I share with the microwave and the Christmas Pudding.In my defence though, what do I know about Christmas Pudding?; haven't eaten one for years (they're banned in house) and what do I know about microwaves?..we have one but never use it. OK, you guessed, Lili's away in Bari and it as my usual egg and chips wkd and there was this Christmas Pudding on the shelf given by an English friend and somehow overlooked (otherwise ir would have beem binned). So, I'd peeled off the cooking instructions, in pieces and mistread the instructions; thought it said 50 mins.
Was on SKYPE with mate Jack from SF and there was this smell, and then smoke and then billowing smoke.
I'd often wondered what the meltdown at Chernobyl actually looked like. Now I know.
When I woke up to what was happening I rushed to the kitchen I found the inside of the microwave was a molten white crucible of fire. Switched power off of course and then rushed to open all windows and doors to clear acrid smoke.
And retreated.
An hour later I ventured back in and oh my Gawd what a mess.
The microwave? Just burning bits.
The Christmas Pudding? not a trace.
I think the ex-microwave might still be radioactive.
I re-read instructions. It was 50 secs!
The wife's gonna kill me