Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Tag Archives: Venice

Hey! from LA!

Here I am in Venice, California, the sun is shining (as it has done for my entire stay) and I am having a ball. I have played tennis, eaten great food, been given incredible hospitality by some generous friends, been on a bike ride along the beach from Marina del Rey to Santa Monica, listened to wonderful live music, shopped, played with adorable children, hosted a party, watched tennis (Yay! for Andy Murray!) and seen a great movie (which incidentally also introduced me to my newest crush – of whom more later!) It’s surprising how energized and well, happy, I am, just being in the sunshine. It’s no wonder people are generally so friendly and sociable – how can you be anything else when the weather is so cheerful!

The film I went to see with my friend, Claire, was Woody Allen’s new film ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ starring Scarlett Johannson, Rebecca Hall, Penelope Cruz and my new crush, Javier Bardem.

Having only ever seen him in ‘No Country for Old Men’ where he played a murderous psychopath with a very strange haircut, I was unprepared for the sex-on-a-stick, all round gorgeousness that is Javier Bardem. I am in love. If George Clooney doesn’t hurry up and come and find me while I am still in LA, I may just have to switch my allegiance…

Claire, who you may remember I have mentioned before in this blog, has written a very funny book called ‘Plus One – A Year in the Life of a Hollywood Nobody’ (she also has a great blog) and the exciting news is that it is being made into a movie as we speak! Called ‘The Making of Plus One’ (check it out in the Internet Movie Data Base here) it is a movie about the making of the movie of the book (still with me?) and the brilliant news is that Claire and her sister Julia Fordham, get to make a cameo appearance in the movie, playing themselves. They are flying out to the South of France to film their bit next month.

Gosh! I actually know a movie star! Two even! That’s even better than meeting (well, gazing across the room at) the great Harry Shearer (of Spinal Tap and Simpsons fame), Victoria Tennant (who starred in one of my favourite movies ‘LA Story’ with her ex-husband, Steve Martin. And, Kim, incidentally, she is your favourite ballet dancer, Irina Baranova’s daughter!) and meeting Robert Shaw’s daughter and Tess Harper, who played Tommy Lee Jones’ wife in ‘No Country for Old Men’. It just occurs to me that means she has met Javier Bardem. I have sat next to someone who knows Javier Bardem!! Here she is with luscious Javier at the end on the right.

Star struck? Moi? Well, this is LA…

PS Just been reminded by Claire that on my first night in LA, we were in Hal’s restaurant in Venice and John Voigt and his son (Angelina Jolie’s brother) were at the next table to us. And I didn’t pick up on it – until everyone mentioned it on the way home. My biggest star spot and I missed it. Well, I was jet lagged…

La Bella Italia

I was watching TV yesterday evening. There was a news summary at 8pm with breaking news – earthquake in Los Angeles. Now you may not know this but #2 son is in LA at the moment, staying with his dad – cue moment of panic. Yes, I know that they said there were no casualties but HOW DO THEY KNOW?!!!! I spent a few anxious moments trying to get through on the phone and finally spoke to precious son, who was mightily cross that he hadn’t even noticed the earthquake….panic over.

I was watching another of my favourite films “Tea with Mussolini’ a fabulous film starring those wonderful ‘grande dames’ of cinema, Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench and not to mention the fabulous Cher. It is set in Florence and one of my favouritest bits of Tuscany, gorgeous San Gimigniano.

Before I start off on (yet) another rhapsody about Italy, I’m going to do a bit of a left turn at the lights (so to speak) and tell you about another of my all time favourite films, which stars Cher – and Nicholas Cage (in probably the least irritating film role he has ever played) ‘Moonstruck’ which although set in New York is about a wonderful Italian family.

As we seem to have (yet another) nice Italian theme going, let me mention a few more films I love which show Italy off beautifully

  • Room with a View with gorgeous Helena Bonham Carter
  • Roman Holiday with my all time favourites Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck
  • The Talented Mr Ripley starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. (incidentally, the music in this clip is by Chris Botti who is an immensely talented trumpet player and gorgeous hunk, who I met once in Los Angeles, having tea at my friends Claire and Julia’s house. I have just been adding a link to his web site and guess what his new album is called……Italia! Just too spooky.)
  • La Dolce Vita a masterpiece by Federico Fellini starring Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg.
  • Don’t Look Now – a very spooky movie set in Venice, starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland
  • Death in Venice Visconti’s wonderful film starring Dirk Bogarde set on the Lido in Venice
  • Il Postino – a film set in Sicily about the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda and his postman – gorgeous poetry, as this clip shows. A very sweet romantic movie.

I know there are lots more but these are my favourites. I found this gorgeous clip of the aria “O mio babbino caro’ by Puccini, (which was used as the theme tune for the movie “Room with a View’) accompanied by wonderful images of Pisa. How gorgeous is this…

and a little Italian flavoured joke for you geeky folk!

Of course, it has not escaped my notice that Italy is also one of the homes of a certain Mr George Clooney – he has a villa overlooking Lake Como. I told you, we are meant to be together. I can see myself living here…

Well, I think I have just about done with my appreciation of Italy. Surprisingly, I’m not going there on holiday this year unfortunately. I can’t complain though as I am going to Los Angeles for a couple of weeks at the end of August (earthquakes permitting). Maybe I’ll bump into George….

Fore!

I’ve been tagged by Dunn over at Simply Dunn. The picture above gives you a clue to the theme of the tag (or the theme of the meme, I suppose) Can you guess what it is yet? (My best Rolf Harris impression).

It’s ‘Four’. I have to answer each of the following questions with four answers. So here we go.

Four jobs I have had

  1. Manageress of a fashion ’boutique’
  2. Civil servant
  3. Maths teacher
  4. Worked in an art gallery

Four movies I could watch over and over

  1. Singin’ in the Rain
  2. Cinema Paradiso
  3. You’ve Got Mail
  4. Amelie

And here’s a clip from one of these, Cinema Paradiso – Italy, cute children, dishy Italian men, gorgeous scenery, it has it all.

Four TV shows I love

  1. Heroes
  2. Doctor Who
  3. Torchwood
  4. Francesco da Mosto in anything

And for those of you who don’t know about this last one here is a clip from his new TV series. It has everything, Venice, dishy Italian men, gorgeous boats what more could you want?

Four places I’ve vacationed

  1. Thailand
  2. Barbados
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Italy

Hmmm, I see a theme emerging….

Four of my favourite dishes

  1. Pad thai
  2. Liver and bacon, mashed potatoes and onion gravy
  3. Lobster tails with lime butter
  4. Anything Italian

Oh dear, here we go again…

Four blogs I visit every day

  1. Fuel my Blog
  2. Daddy Papersurfer
  3. Diary of a 70’s teen
  4. The Struggling Writer

No Italian blogs I notice…I must remedy that :-)

The last time I was in Italy was with my good friends Claire and Julia, we did a wonderful tour, starting in Rome moving on to Siena, Florence and ending in Venice. It was a fantastic road trip, although I am very grateful that I was the navigator/tour guide and didn’t have to do any of the driving (which was hairy to say the least!) The soundtrack of our trip was Julia’s own song from her album ‘Concrete Love’.

https://dianea.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/02-italy.mp3

This is us in St Peter’s Square in Rome after watching Pope John Paul II give his weekly audience to the huge crowd. We could really only saw the Pope on a large TV screen as the crowds were pretty large, but we did get chatting to a very friendly chap called Brother Clay – a priest/monk (can’t remember quite what he was) from the USA. One of the things the Pope does at these weekly audiences is bless newly married couples. They put on their wedding togs and line up to be blessed. I took this photograph after the ceremony, I have always loved it.

Here are some more images of my favourite country.

Now four people I am passing this on to

  1. Astrid
  2. Teresa
  3. Kylee
  4. Jenny

Before I go, I just wanted to show you this photgraph. I was sitting in my garden, enjoying the sunshine, when a movement in the trees caught my eye and I saw a bizarre sight. I rushed to get my camera and took this.

Can you see it? The world’s first flying tractor!

The Italian Job

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This paper is an Italian design – a traditional pattern called a Florentine pattern (although the inner paper has a design of ‘Fleur du Lys’ which are French). Whenever I have visited Italy, (which is often, as it is my favourite country in the world) I have visited a chain of shops called ‘Il Papiro‘. They sell the most marvellous marbled paper made using traditional Tuscan methods, Murano glass pens, inks, notebooks, decorative papers, sealing wax, leather goods, stationery and cards. The shops themselves are small, dark old fashioned places but full to bursting with gorgeousness. There are branches all over Italy – in Florence, Rome, Venice, Siena, Orvieto, Pisa and I notice from their web site they now have branches in the USA and Australia!

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Over the years, I have spent many happy times in these treasure troves and this is a photograph of the goodies I have bought. You will notice that they are all mostly in pristine condition. I can’t bear to use them so they sit in my workroom amongst my other treasures – I did try to use the seal and sealing wax once but it was very messy so the experiment was not repeated.

ilpapiro.jpg

And to finish, I have modestly left this to last ;-) I was contacted by Justin at Pushapixel (a lovely blog which highlights artists’ web sites from around the world) and he told me that he has featured me! He has written a very kind review so I suggest you all dash over there immediately to check his blog out (well, when you have finished here!)

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