The New Phone ...

I've finally done it.  I finally gave up on the phone I left Belgium with and, when replacing its little dead body, I inquired about phones with decent cameras ... not including iPhones.

And I think I've done well.  I'm entirely in love with this new machine so very necessary to my life, as people need to be able to contact me and that wasn't a given for a more than a year. But more than that, I have this lovely little machine that lets me take decent snapshots as I wander.

The series of photographs that begin this post ... Piazza De Ferrari's fountain lit up for the evening.  Then, Palazzo Ducale in yesterday's 7.30am sunrise light.  And the last, taken this morning around the same time, looking forward along Piazza Garibaldi. 

I love my morning walk and I'm rapt to be able to share a little of this city I love so well.

I share these photographs on Facebook.  Sometimes on my page, other times on my Genova page - Love Notes to Genoa.  

I had to smile ... the most feedback came for the leather shop photograph below.  People wanted to know the shop's location, and the price of the bags.  

They're exquisite, aren't they.

The church in the second set is surely my favourite church exterior here in the city.  I love seeing it in the morning ... the beautiful wash of colour, lit up by the sun, and so many of my favourite colours.

And last but not least, my current favourite cafe for aperitivo.  Il Fileo's is committed to both quality and quantity.  All that you see cost me, in total, the lovely wine included ... 8 euro.  It works as dinner :-)

Life goes on here.  I'm fighting a little anemia because I'm not mad-keen on the cure however the elevator in my building is under repair and I am hating the 8 flights of marble stairs.  'Porca miseria!' is about all I can say on reaching my door.  I will take the medicine ... as I love the home I have found here. 

Another of the things I really enjoy about Genova, is its vibrant music scene.  I've been fortunate and heard more than a few bands lately.  But that's probably a whole other post.

In other news, I'm just about ready to launch a series of behind-the-scenes photography workshops, now that I actually live here.  I'm really excited about them and know I'm offering a quality experience.  I will share as soon as it's up.

Just a small catch-up, with photographs.  I'm good and life is mostly beautiful.

Merci Marcie's Cafe ...

Merci Marcie, Surrey,.jpg

I never manage to photograph the mille feuille before I accidentally eat them, whenever I pop into Merci Marcie's lovely cafe, even when I take one home ... to photograph it. 

I keep trying ... really.  Once a week probably:-)  And so, I turned my camera elsewhere on today's visit.

And now that I have a Nespresso machine.  Finally. 

Now, for the first time in 6 months, I am enjoying the breakfast I best love ... an espresso, toast, butter and jam. 

Well ... now I can no longer have coffee while out and wandering because my mornings are all about 2 espresso before and with breakfast.

My new drink, for out there, is ginger and lemon tea, with honey.  I have it in the evenings too.  I had a wicked coughing cold for two weeks.  I was fairly sure my lungs were going pop out one night.  That night I didn't sleep one single wink ... but they didn't, and I am left with this big love for the tea that got me through.

I'm okay here in Surrey.  Meeting marvelous people, making a tiny new home beautiful, setting up to teach photography workshops again, to photograph pets, to photograph family homes, and portraits.   Maybe an event or two.

It's unfolding, and I have espresso in my mornings again.  Life is quite beautiful.

One Of Those Surrey Days ... (and a selfie).

Going out in England ... there's always the possibility of meeting some delightful folk, finding delicious food in the supermarket, and picking up something slightly divine in the charity shops... veryvery cheaply.

I have been losing weight, getting strong, and spending huge amounts, like 6 pounds, on new shirts.  I had almost no shirts when I arrived here.  This is me last night, in a colour, in a style, I couldn't imagine wearing ... before yesterday.

I feel like a child, delighting in new things ... new places, new people.

Today, for example, I was in one of the 3 charity shops I frequent, and Pam started talking to me.  I had never met Pam before but she had just found the 2 books that she buys whenever she sees them ... to gift to friends.  She convinced me that I should buy one of them.   And as 1 pound 50 was entirely doable, I did.  We talked a while.  I bought the book.  She bought the other one.  

The charity shops ... I keep meeting lovely women in them, who make me smile, and who chat to this stranger in a strange land.

I discovered Majestic Wine Warehouse and talked with Sian ... who told me I could do a wine course with them, or simply have a free tasting.  I'll go back, I'm so excited.  She recommended the Italian restaurant next door and I wandered in, after grocery shopping for the week.  Yes, they did espresso con panna.

Fego's was as good as she said.  And I filled in time there, waiting for the last bus back to my village, one of just 3 on a Saturday ... reading a book found while out wandering.

It's been a lovely day.  We're wind-storming here in Surrey.  And there was a bit of rain as I walked home but I loved the way the rain released the scent of the woods on either side of the road.

It's like that.  Excuse the selfie but yes ... everything is changing in my world.  I thought I'd share.

A Saturday in Surrey ...

Today I finally met up with Lynne ...

And the road to that meeting was surely a long and winding one.  We have a mutual friend called Christine, a much-loved mutual friend, who lives back in New Zealand and who has been telling us for years that we Must meet.

Christine was right, and I'm glad that we finally listened to her because I got to spend the loveliest few hours with a fellow wanderer, photographer & story-teller.  I enjoyed every moment of it. 

We had lunch at The Old Plough, in Cobham... a really lovely English pub.  It was full of good people, and a family of Australians too ... also good people I hasten to add, just in case my punctuation makes you think otherwise.  Everyone talks to everyone over here.  I do love that.  Most often, it seemed to be about the dogs they had with them although we started talking with our table-neighbours after he knocked a glass of beer over his companion.  We all doubted his innocence ... 3 women, one man.  He stood no show.

And I got to taste my first-ever Sticky Toffee Pudding, encouraged both by Lynne and the people at the table next to us.  We sat in the window seat in the photograph above. I was so busy talking and hanging out that I didn't take a good shot and so it has been artistically tampered with.

Tonight however, I'm home alone ... coughing.  I don't have the flu but I do have a cold.  And mostly I've been grateful that it is just a cold.  No aching, no fever, no physical devastation but this cough ... tonight ... it's challenging. 

My Invercargill Grandad used to say, 'Cough it up!  If it's a bone, it'll ease you.' And he'd chuckle because he found himself amusing.  And mostly we did too.

In other news, I have found my red wine of choice here in Surrey.  It's a Chianti called Poggiotondo, and I love it.  The bad news is that I found it while it was on special and it turns out it actually costs 9 pounds in 'real life' and therefore, it's an expensive little love.  I shall keep it for special occasions. 

I was awake between 3 and 4am last night.  Coughing.  But, in good news, I did enjoy the sound of the rain on the roof.  It's been a long time since I was able to hear it so easily.  Apparently there's a storm called Gertrude causing all sorts of problems up north.  Down here in the south, we've been luckier, with rain and blustery winds but not too much else.

In fabulous news, I'm allowed to timeshare the chocolate brown Labrador who lives on the property where I live.  Roscoe is 3 and he delights me.  Photographs will surely follow sooner or later.  I just need to stop with the coughing and organise myself a little more. 

Did you see how I snuck another mention of the coughing in?   This Man Flu thing ... that's what I get.  I was so surprised when men got stuck with that rap ... :-)  

Enough from me.  I wrote a post between this and last one but I didn't like it.  Deleted it.  Sorry ... I do that sometimes.

A Rainy Day in Southsea, at Drift, in England

I was searching through photographs taken just before I left Belgium.  This caught my eye, taken in our end-of-summer Belgian garden.

Today, it's raining.  It's 4.32pm as I write this and already it's dark.  Winter is coming, at speed.

The good thing ... I found a bar/restaurant/night club/diner ... a true social hub.  Everyone comes to Drift.  All ages, all walks of life.  It seems that if I sit here by the entrance, I will surely see a cross-section of the Southsea community.

It's warm and I'm glad to be here, quietly eavesdropping on the people around me. 

Meanwhile, a little bit of summer ...

Yesterday ... in Southsea, Portsmouth.

My desire to photograph all that I'm curious about is back.  Yesterday I wandered into the Drift Bar, here in Portsmouth, just needing to be around folk for a while but I ended up racing out for my camera. 

Simon, the handyman, was hanging an unusual set of lights.  Using ropes, pulleys, and fashioning a wire cage for the light bulb ... I wanted to hotograph them.

Unfortunately my packets (and packets) of AA batteries are back in London, waiting for me to return, and so I ended up grabbing my tripod and seeing what was possible.

Hopefully you get a sense of these rather extraordinary light fittings below.