24 May 2011

and today... doubling up posts!

From the Legato blog:

Images from Legato, 23 May 2011.
One of the 28th Maori Battalion "Penny Divers," Aubrey Balzer shares his memories of Italy and his message of peace with family and visitors to Legato.

Today I am grateful for loyal friends.

19 May 2011

philosophy and art and other things

A bonus this year is the university students studying in the library next to Legato. They wander in and study the paintings intently, then ask interesting questions. It's good for my Italian! They are all very surprised to learn the significance of the poppy to us. It was well worth putting the essay about this on the wall.

The paintings are hanging well. I changed a couple of smaller ones over this morning because one was not shown to advantage, and put the posters up where I could. Only the notices around the hotels to go. Plans are well in hand for Monday, so all is going as it should for now.

A lovely mid-day pranzo with friends reminded me how much I enjoy the group in Cassino. Conversations cross languages and subjects. This ex-pat mix of people discuss the most interesting things and have been to wonderful places. I learn so much from them.

Pickle continues to progress, and has shown no adverse reaction to her insect repellent collar. I am hoping that by wearing the collar she wont pass the horrible disease on to any other dog. I believe that she may still be infectious even though she is better in herself. The Piccolina Foundation thanks the donors of the collars most profusely!

It is late, I am tired, tomorrow more guests arrive and I have much to do before then! Buonanotte a tutti!

Today I am grateful for a reliable car.

18 May 2011

message from outside

Really Mum, you had better get your act together! You forgot my antibiotic this morning, you haven't lathered me with that smelly stuff this week, and tonight you had to be reminded to take us walking. As if that wasn't enough, you were slow coming up the stairs, we had to wait while you dithered about with leads and keys, and then you couldn't keep up with us when we went up to the piazza.

Honestly, you are old enough to know that fireflies are for barking and snapping at, and you didn't need to yank so hard on my lead when I nearly caught one. And as for when we got to Vincenza's cats, well, you were a fair old spoil-sport!

I suppose it was OK though, and I tried to be good and patient when we got home again. A short walk is better than no walk at all.

Did you notice that when Zacchi barked I was even louder tonight? My voice is good again.

Now about that little sausage treat with the anti-bug pill you hide in it...

Love from Piccolina

all on the wall

Legato is up; all paintings have found their places. I am tempted to bring in a few more for the foyer, but will probably photocopy photographs from the war to bring attention to the bigger display of artworks.

The only decisions to be made now are the fun ones! It is looking good. This year the works have room to breathe, there are distinctive bodies of works by selected artists, and the range is still interesting. It is a mixture of new work and works back by popular demand, as well as the three from the permanent collection.

It feels good.

So will my feet soon, they have been well used lately!

I enjoyed hanging the works with Regan, her quiet calm manner being just what I needed while making decisions.

Today I am grateful for a gentle helping hand.

14 May 2011

yes it is...

Yes, it is Legato time again. Tomorrow, though, is Cassino day.

Bye folks, I'll blog when I need to procrastinate; the bigger the list, the more important the tasks ahead of me, the more likely I am to blog!

Today I am grateful for stolen moments of rest.

no prizes

No prizes for guessing why I have been a slack blogger lately.

The first photo is especially for my son-in-law in Melbourne... Murky water, anyone?And this is merely a glimpse... maybe I will sort out better photos later. Or maybe not!
This day, however, affirmed for me absolutely that I am not a tourist. I was far, far happier in my convent digs at the beautiful San Miniato than I was in the middle of the crowd in Firenze, no matter how beautiful the buildings and artworks are. The thought of staying in Florence fills me with horror, not awe!

Today I am also grateful for clear boundaries.

piccolina seems well

While reluctant to come out of her kennel into the fog this morning, Piccolina made up for this by being bright and happy later in the day. Her ears seem so much better and she is enjoying flicking them up and down as she listens to me... just in case I use the magic W word. (Actually, it is picking up a bag of rubbish, the leads, or saying "andiamo" that really gets them going).

Zacchi has already given me the message than I am a slack walking partner... the dog minders always do a better job than I do! (And so I feel less guilty when I am away!)

Today I am grateful for my cheerful picture framer.

9 May 2011

touching base

Home to give Piccolina her bath and her lotion. She would have loved to escape but when I followed her and said that it was bath time she dutifully followed me back to the bathtub. Perhaps she knows it is all to help her. She is looking good, perhaps a little slimmer but that isn't necessarily a problem, and she has energy. If you ignore the fact that she has lost a lot of hair and isn't the beauty she once was, then she is pretty good really.

For me, 1100 kilometres later, I am happy to be able to sleep in my own bed tonight. I am very glad that I have my own space away from other guests, lovely as they are. Once I close the door behind me my thoughts are my own, my space is mine, and I can get on with all I need to do for Legato.

It has been a very interesting time, and I have enjoyed it. However, being navigator, driver, hostess and tour guide all in one is a lot to fit in. My students are missing me, and I need to contact friends who I am neglecting.

I need to paint, and will do so soon. But until I can, there are other things to look forward to.

I am really looking forward to next week when Regan Balzer, the guest exhibitor for Legato, arrives with her work. It is powerful, exciting, challenging work. I can't wait! In the meantime, check out some of her other work here on YouTube or Google her and learn more about this talented and motivated woman.

Today I am grateful for safe arrival home.

8 May 2011

along the way

I made a short visit to the Palomba Scupture Park at Matera on the way to take better pictures of the sassi (see previous post), where the sun was going down when I got to the viewpoint the day before. A short detour the following morning remedied that; I have now more sassi photos than anyone could ever need!

That day I had only a tantalising glimpse of the sculpture park, while my passengers exclaimed over one quirky sculpture in particular. I had to keep my eyes on the traffic, while driving and navigating at the same time. This time I pulled in, and saw a tiny corner of the park.

The quirky squashed car was a delight, but the other scuptures, against a glorious sky, held me for longer.

This blogger, Ephi, on the free travel blog www.everlater.com has an excellent history and some great photos of Matera. The blog also has a close-up of the squashed car sculpture, but if you read on then ignore the section on Ravello; my experience of Ravello was so very different! Here (if you can visit outside peak tourist season) you can really experience a different way of life! Oh to be wealthy, living in a different time!

I wore out my poor travellers walking them up and down steps and stairs, so they are having a quiet time in Amalfi today while I catch up on some work.

Here is a taste of Ravello for you:

(Ummm... actually, these selected photos make it look far more peaceful than it really was! I am a patient photographer and good at waiting for the tourists to move away).

Today I am grateful for peaceful places.

6 May 2011

town and around...

Trulli houses at Alberobello
and the sassi at Matera just before we lost the light.
Three happy kiwi travellers, 600m kilometres, two days, a tired driver/tour guide ...and now it is time to sleep.

Today I am grateful for good weather.

2 May 2011

artful dodger

When I spent Saturday evening cooling my heels at Fiumicino I was in the dog box back at home. I was supposed to be curating an exhibition as I did last year. I had phoned, texted and Face Booked my apologies, but not one of my messages got through to the president of the Association. Eventually, when I didn't appear, they phoned me. I was not popular. However, as I was not popular the year before for creating waves and putting the event and exhibition ahead of the egos of the artists I was secretly quite pleased to be out of it this year.

I went down to the show to put in my apologies in person, and see how things were. I was severely told off again, for not at the very least having sent someone along with my paintings.

The funny thing was, they had produced a great show... patterned almost exactly on the layout I had come up with the previous year, but this time it was done cooperatively and all egos were intact! Perhaps I was absent for a different reason :-)

I have got the message though, loud and clear. Even if I can't make the one in another town in two weeks time, my paintings had better be there, no excuses permitted!

I hadn't realised that, like last year, they had the posters printed with my name on it as both exhibitor and curator. No wonder I was in the dog box well and truly. It took some fast talking in very apologetic Italian to escape that one. Luckily the show was a success. Whew! I live for another day...

Today I am grateful for friends behind the scenes.

time flies

I didn't realise that time was passing so quickly until I had an email from NZ, checking up on me because I hadn't posted for a while. I have been away from the computer, I had plenty practical things to do!

Anzac day in Rome (see Legato blog)
Visitor from Rome with her NZ teens
Trip to Abbey on Monte Cassino with Kiwi trio
Two trips to Cassino for Legato planning
Trips to vet wtih Piccolina then excursions to locate medicine
Many baths for Piccolina
Corresponding with Legato artists for Cassino, May 16
Trip to Fiumicino to collect visitors (see below)
Being a guide/hostess
Buying herbs (basilico heralds summer for me!)
Teaching the children twice a week
Shopping for teaching resources in Rome
Trip to Valmontone shopping centre for elusive household items
Dinner with good friends from down in the valley
Visit to local exhibition (another story!)

and on it goes!

Now images are arriving for Legato, (very exciting!) and soon the work will be here. The first artist to arrive is asleep downstairs, and I must get moving again, there's work to be done!

In the meantime, a warning for travellers. Your handbag is not safe under the seat in the plane when you sleep. Friends due at the airport at 11am didn't get there until 11.30pm, after their long trip from NZ, thanks to the problems caused when the wallet containing credit cards and tiny camera was stolen while they slept on the plane. They didn't notice at London customs as the passports were with another member of the party. The upshot of all of this was many backwards and forwards trips around Heathrow airport, going through security each time they were sent to another place, and a delay of over 12 hours getting to Rome. For me, already on my way to meet them when they finally got a confirmed flight to Rome, it was better to stay up there rather than make another trip. I am now an expert at avoiding parking fees at the airport! It was a long long day for all of us.

Today I am grateful for helpful bankers in NZ.