Murder By The Seaside*

Work hard at the gym this morning. Here is my shoulder press:

See also attached photo.  Also do leg press – am now lifting 140kg on that – pulley, Chest Press, arm extension, triceps and Pectoral.

Walk home from gym and then finally unpack suitcase.  Mum picks me up from flat.

Have a brief cuddle with the fluffy monster: he’s so soft and orange.

Do my Body Scan and sleep.

Work on my Memoir sitting up in bed with the panther curled up sleeping at the foot of my bed.  Am now up to 14,030 words.  Have been writing about when I was happy with Seb that summer by the seaside.  This has made me feel very sad.

Also, am still struggling with attaching and emailing documents.  Dad is going to clean up my computer and see if that helps.

The parentals are watching University Challenge in the lounge.  Am going to post this and then hopefully we have a nice supper as it’s Erev Rosh Hashanah.

Shana Tova and Happy Wednesday everyone!
*2013.  By Julie Anne Lindsey.  A Patience Price murder mystery novel.

Wilful Behaviour*

Dolly is so pleased to see me this morning that she rugby-tackles me from behind.  I have to cross my arms and say “No” loudly until she clambers down.

We have a lovely walk.  Here we are:

Her coat is growing back and looks better now.  Hopefully it will be long in time for winter: it’s getting cold already…

You can also see us in the attached photo.  We meet a Leonberger and a four month old cocker spaniel puppy who makes Dolly jump, which is quite a sight!

At last I have good news: New Chap is coming to visit from 3rd to 7th October.  Am so happy: can’t wait to see him.  Am going to take him to my Zoo and to the Natural History Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

It’s good that have something to look forward to as have reached the bit in my Memoir when I got together with Seb and went to visit him by the seaside.  Darling Seb.  It has made me sad writing about him and remembering how happy we were then.

Ah well, KBO!  The Memoir is now 12,000 words long so am going to have some supper and watch an episode of Natural World.  Have done a wash and put the clothes on the airer.  Am sitting up in bed writing this, drinking Diet Coke.  The panther lies next to me, resting his head on my tummy.  Scratching him behind his ears, I think about what to cook for supper.

Tomorrow will see my fluffy monster.  Can’t wait to see, kiss and cuddle him.  Miss that fluffy person when am separated from him.

Happy Tuesday everyone!
*2002.  By Donna Leon.  Book 11 in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series of detective fiction novels.

A Talent For Murder*

Work hard at training today.  Put leg press weights up and do weighted lunges and pull ups.  Show you:

Trainer is pleased with me.

See also attached photo.

Have lunch, watch a programme about prairie dogs, do Body Scan Meditation and sleep.

Wake up and write two thousand words of Memoir which takes the total up to ten thousand words.  So I ought to be pleased with self.  The problem is that am unable to email it to self: can’t attach the document to an email for some reason.  

Must not panic about this.  Will take computer back to Dad on Wednesday and he will help me figure this out. 

Am sitting up in bed writing this.  The panther lies next to me with his head on my shoulder.  Scratching under his chin, I’m grateful for his company.

Am going to crawl through to the living room and watch television for an hour and try not to worry about my computer.  The Memoir is saved on there after all.

Happy Monday everyone!
*2017.  By Andrew Wilson.  Novel exploring Agatha Christie’s disappearance in 1926.

Quietly In Their Sleep*

Sleep well in my bed at the parental home last night.  

Work hard at Spin this morning.  Here is graph:

Here are some photos taken by The Master today:

And also the attached one where am with The Boss.  It’s good to be back at class.
Cuddle my fluffy monster when return from Spin and put him outside.  Wash self and hair.

Mum drives me back to flat and I make a toasted sandwich for lunch, watch last week’s episode of Victoria, do my Body Scan but can’t sleep.

Write two thousand words of Memoir.  Was worried that would find it hard to return to my writing after my holiday, but it’s fine.

Wish was still in Venice, of course.  My writing muscles are tired from working on the Memoir.  Am scribbling this in bed.  The panther lies next to me, resting his heavy head on my shoulder.  Stroking the soft back of his neck, I think about what am going to cook for supper.

Wish was still in Venice.  It’s really cold here: have put on the heating in the flat.  Can’t believe that was walking around in a summer dress and fit flops on Wednesday!

Am going to watch the episode of Midsomer Murders that was on the other day, it’s one that have never seen.  Yay!  Then am going to have an early night.

Happy Sunday everyone!
*2003.  By Donna Leon.  Book Six in the Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series.

A Venetian Reckoning*

“I think we need a winged lion,” Mum says at breakfast.

“But we saw hundreds of them yesterday,” I say.  “Why didn’t we get one then or…”

“You know it doesn’t always work like that” Mum says.  “We’ll just have to find one now.”

You can see me sitting with one of many of the Lions of St Mark in the attached photo.

So, we set off for the Strada Nova in the rain and look in several gift shops.  Nowhere is there a lion as beautiful as some of the ones we saw yesterday around San Marco, where there were countless shops selling the lion in various poses and made from many materials.  Eventually we find this one:

“I’m going to write a blog about this,” I say to Mum as we trudge back to the hotel in the rain, umbrellas up.

“Don’t you dare criticise my lion,” Mum says.  “He has to live with us and…”

“He can’t read,” I say, as we cross a bridge.  Although he’s holding his book that he’s written so that probably isn’t true.

“This isn’t much of a story,” Mum says, as we approach the Grand Canal.

“Depends how I tell it,” I say.

Here is the Ca d’Oro:

Views from the bank of the Grand Canal:

Am sitting on my bed in the hotel, writing this.  Mum is packing.  The panther sits on the windowsill, looking out at the rain and the canal.  There are loud plopping noises as it rains into the canal, and a smell of damp.  His tail twitches.  Am drinking a cup of coffee.

Don’t want to go home.  Am happy in Venice.

“The boats are every half hour,” Mum says.

“I suppose we’d better get going,” I say.

Happy Saturday everyone!
*1995.  By Donna Leon.  Book four in the series of Commissario Guido Brunetti detective novels, set in Venice. 

Murder In The Cathedral*

So today we spend the day in San Marco.  Climb the Campanile (bell tower) alone as Mum suffers from vertigo and doesn’t want to be so high up.  It turns out we’re not allowed to climb the hundreds of steps and instead go up and down in a lift.  Ah well.

Here is the campanile:

Here is one of the bells:

And the views from the top:

Here, Galileo demonstrated his telescope to Doge Leonardo Dona in 1609 and there is a plaque to commemorate this:

Then we go to the Doge’s Palace.  Here it is:

The facade dates from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and is pink Verona marble on lace-like Istrian stone arcades, with a portico supported below by columns.

We enter via Sansovino’s lavish staircase, the Scala d’Oro built between 1554 and 1558.  The arched ceiling is embellished with gilded stucco by Alessandro Vittoria:

We see many rooms where the Council of Ten and other officials met, all lavishly decorated.  This is by Veronese:

This, by Veronese, celebrates the defeat of the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto on 7th October 1571:

This is The Rape Of Europa by Veronese:

We see some fantastic weapons in the Armoury: there’s a wonderful collection.  Swords:

Maces and swords:

A suit of armour for a child:

We seem to spend ages in the prison under the palace.  Here’s a prison cell:

Then on to lunch at Caffe Florian where Byron, Proust and Dickens used to hang out (not together).  Byron’s bear never made it here – have checked.  After Cambridge, the bear retired to Newstead Abbey where he lived with a wolf.

Here I am at the beautiful Caffe Florian:

After lunch we head to the Basilica which is quite extraordinary:

It was built 1063 -94 and remodelled over the following centuries.  It became the cathedral of Venice in 1807.

The Quadriga, the original bronze horses, were stolen from the Hippodrome in Constantinople in 1204.  They used to be on the facade but are now inside the Basilica in the museum.  Show you:

Now there are replica horses on the facade:

One last thing: the Torre dell’Orologio.  Built in the late fifteenth century, the central section is thought to have been designed by Mauro Coducci:

It displays the phases of the moon and zodiac.

After all this, have a sleep.  Now am sitting up in bed writing.  The panther lies next to me, on Mum’s bed, dozing, resting his head on his front paws.  Am drinking coffee and eating a grapefruit.

Tonight is our last night here so we are going out to dinner soon.

In the attached photo, am with a nineteenth century Lion of St Mark (the symbol of Imperial Venice) in Campo Manin.

Happy Friday everyone!
*1935.  Verse drama by T.S. Eliot about the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury cathedral in 1170.  Nothing to do with Venice am afraid…

Don’t Look Now*

So, today we go on a tour of the Jewish ghetto.  The word ghetto comes from the Venetian word geto – foundry – which formerly occupied the site.  The name was subsequently given to Jewish enclaves throughout the world.

By the mid-seventeenth century the Jewish population numbered over 5,000.  Now it is about 500 and only five families still live in the ghetto.  246 Jewish residents of Venice were deported to the death camps and just 8 survived.  Here is the Holocaust memorial:

The Ghetto contains several synagogues.  Here is the German Ashkenazy one:

The French Ashkenazy one:

And the Levantine one:

Now, the community uses the different synagogues at certain times of the year.

We have lunch at an Israeli restaurant by a canal and then visit the church of Madonna dell’Orto.  See attached photo.  Tintoretto was a parishioner of this church and we see his tomb and several of his paintings including The Adoration of the Golden Calf and The Last Judgement.  Effie Ruskin found this painting so terrifying that she fled the church.

Buy a lovely present for New Chap: two Murano glass dolphins, one a bit bigger than the other.  Let’s hope they survive the journey home and then their journey to Abroad.

Have been sleeping and now am writing this in bed whilst drinking coffee and eating a grapefruit from the breakfast room.  Mum is in the hotel foyer doing The Times crossword.  The panther lies next to me on the bed, resting his head in my lap.  Stroking the soft back of his neck, I sip my coffee.

Happy Thursday everyone!
*1971.  By Daphne du Maurier.  Short story set in Venice that appears in the 1971 collection Don’t Look Now and Other Stories.

Death In Venice*

So, we make it to Venice late yesterday afternoon.  All we achieve last night is going-out-for-dinner followed by sleep.

Here is the view out of our hotel window this morning:

Here is a view near the hotel this morning:

See also attached photo.

This morning we have breakfast at the hotel and then take the water bus (a boat) to Burrano – an island where they make lace.  Here it is:

We see this sign but not the terrifying-looking creature it warns us about:

We don’t buy lace or anything else in Burrano but we have a lovely lunch sitting outside.  Mum has a salad with tuna and mozzarella and I have an omelette with salad.

Then we catch the boat to Murano where we attend a glass-blowing demonstration.  We watch the glass master make a vase:

And sculpt a horse.  Look:

We want to buy one of the horses in the shop but decide that he looks too breakable so we purchase bracelets instead:

On the way back to the hotel we see a couple of Bracco Italiano dogs like this one:

Mum sees a cormorant flying over the lagoon yesterday and this morning we see some plovers like this one:

Have been sleeping but now am sitting up in bed writing this.  The panther lies on the floor next to my bed, sharpening his claws on the side of the bed.  There isn’t room for him in bed here as our hotel room is tiny.

We have to go out for dinner soon so had better post this and get dressed.

Happy Wednesday everyone!
*1912.  By Thomas Mann.  A novella originally published in German as Der Tod in Venedig and published in English in 1924.  

Murder By Plane*

In a restaurant at the worst airport in the country with Mum.  We’re two hours early, as usual, and the flight seems to be two hours late.  So we’re going to be at the crowded airport for Four Hours.

The airport wifi seems to be very slow, and lots of flights are delayed so there are a lot of people milling about.  We have Nothing To Worry About: it’s just Mum, and me, together, preparing to have a Nice Time.  Hope Dad will be able to look after the fluffy monster.  Just have to concentrate on being Pleasant Company for Mum for a few days…

We’ve dropped my case and achieved Security, so that’s something.  Am just scribbling this now as who knows how long it will be until we’re united with the hotel wifi.  Mum is doing The Times crossword.  The panther lies on the floor at our feet, sharpening his claws on the table leg.

Am drinking a cappuccino.  Soon – well, eventually – will be in Italy with real coffee!  Looking forward to being on the plane and then to being in Abroad.

The attached photo is travelling outfit: secret support top from Marks and Spencer; the Sweaty Betty trousers I wear all the time and my old Roxy handbag which looks too rubbish for anyone to want to steal it.  And my gold Reebok Classics.

Have just purchased these trousers and hope they’ll be waiting for me on my return:

Happy Tuesday everyone!
*2012.  By T.E. Avery.  Murder mystery romp set in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Into The Water*

At training today, work hard on my Low Roll, which haven’t done for ages.  Here it is:

You can see it in the attached photo too.  Also do leg press, arm extension, lat pull down, Chest Press and weighted lunges.  Trainer is pleased with me.

Return to the flat for lunch and then pack for Venice.  Dad tells me that it’s going to be raining there when he picks me up, so am going to have to take some clothes out of case and add some more suitable for wet weather.  Have packed wide leg trousers which will just flap about in the wet.  It seems unfortunate that it will be raining on our trip but can do nothing about this.

Continue writing Memoir after my sleep.  Am up to 6049 words.  Am ever so pleased with self about this.  So far the writing is flowing.  Fingers crossed this continues on my return from holiday…

Am sitting up in bed under my furry blanket.  The panther is curled up at the foot of my bed with his chin resting on his front paws.  His eyes are closed and every so often he twitches an ear.

Had better have bath and then fiddle about with packing.  Also need to cuddle my fluffy monster as will be away from him for a few days.

Happy Monday everyone!
*2017.  By Paula Hawkins.  Psychological suspense novel.