Last mango in Venice

Well, we did go to the market and although I cannot swear to it we may have seen the last mango. Our day started at 5.30 with a yomp to the Accademia Bridge. I wanted to test blue hour there and here are pre and post dawn:Salute predawn

SalutedawnThen it was back to the hotel for a balcony scene. Shirley, Shirley, wherefore art thou, Shirley?LondrabalconymonoThree random shots to close out the trip as we fly back to HK tomorrow.

An archway at the market:ArchwayA Charlie Chaplin performer – we saw him many times and I enjoyed his little turns.CharlieChaplin And to close on, the elegance of Venezia. Madam, I could not resist this. I am sorry. Bellissima.PortraitLadyThis has been best month ever for stats. Thank you all for the support as I have been a receiver more than a giver this month. There is a lot more to share but tomorrow afternoon we head for Doha then on to Hong Kong and chaos.



Venice Resartus

We are back! And not in Carlyle. Somewhat tired and jaded I admit but upon checking in I met a chap from the club in HK. What a small world. It seems rather poor to blog on in my normal vein when HK’s government fiddles (with tear gas, pepper spray and possibly rubber bullets) whilst the colony burns. Students armed with cling film and umbrellas are not likely to frighten the horses let alone the politicians. The events are being carried everywhere in the media and I offer my usual blather as some light relief.

Venice of course was always ahead of the times and 2014 is no exception. Santa is here already.Xmas

Scary! We had a good transfer from airport to hotel and then checked in to the splendid Londra Palace. Our room has the Italian flag flying on the balcony. A satisfying lunch was followed by a vaporetto across to St. Giorgio and a visit to the top of the bell tower. The Church itself was impressive. Here are some images from our short outing:AcrosstoStMarco BarChart The choir stalls were magnificent. I had very little light and no tripod so this was just resting on whatever happened to be convenient.Choirstalls I liked the way this gent was lit by the late afternoon sun. Quiet contemplation.Highlighted manOtherwise Venice offered its usual miscellany. Bottles are mandatory.Bottles

CampoSZaninovo Here is a dodgy tavern.Dodgy Tavern Taken from our water taxi en route to the hotel…..Salviati And come rain or shine who would wander around Venice without an umbrella?VenetianumbrellaMrs. Ha did like Madrid but said Venice excites her. These folks were less excited by Madrid than she I suspect. Or maybe they had heard we were leaving. And a quick word for Iberia – on time, friendly crew and good service. Who could ask for more.Madrid Group



Appreciating art – guest article

I would like to thank Andrew for allowing me to guest post here. I hope you will enjoy it.

Phyllis Stein.

This morning I accompanied Mr. & Mrs. Ha to the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum so they could continue their education in art appreciation. I was surprised to see how much time they spent searching for canine elements in paintings. The old masters were quite rewarding. I had never looked at it quite from their perspective before but I am sure it has a lot of validity. Here I share some examples. Firstly 2 dogs examining a human skull (which Mrs. Ha thinks is just a canvas bag – but if it is then it contains a human skull). Sadly the artist has docked the dog’s tail on the right, a practice we frown upon today. Also the Canine Association of America no longer has human skulls on its recommended food list. Beware.Dogsskull

Next a clear error on the part of the artist. Dogs are not allowed in wet markets and if they were they would surely chase away a stork. Andrew also told me he had to work this picture hard in Lightroom to bring out the detail. A good artist would have done this himself. DogwetmarketSelf-explanatory. Dog with blanket. Gets a tick.DognblanketThe artist has made a grave error here as this dog is sneaking under a car park barrier. Everyone knows that car parks did not have barriers in the 17th century. It was all free parking.DogbarrierThis artist should have known better – clearly signed by a chap called Gauguin. The caption says these are dogs but Andrew thinks the lower one is a cat. Artists should always be very clear if they are trying to be realistic. Dogs and cats don’t look alike.This just gives a bad impression. GaugindogsA ghastly thing next – a lapdog. Unrecognisable. Should never have been given gallery space. Andrew & Shirley agreed.LapdogHere is a real dog. He’s on the left.GSdog

There were quite a few modern works on show. I tried to convince Mrs. Ha that PP could really paint. She said it was a load of old cock and bull. And here they are to prove it. Bull first.Bull

CockWe did find one picture by PP that suggested he had been quite good once.PablonaturalIts principal failing is the absence of a dog so it doesn’t really cut the mustard but not bad for a beginner. Andrew suggested adding a dog now. I’ll discuss this with the curator.

There is so much more to come but I have to draw a line under things here. Tomorrow we may go for advanced critiques including some Kandinsky and maybe even a Roy Luxembourg. We’ll see whether their flight to Venice lands in time.