Santa Maria della Salute

I’m not sure why I didn’t look at these much in October but after gently fermenting on the hard drive they bubbled up this morning, risen perhaps with the yeast.Santa Maria della Salute2

Santa Maria della SaluteWe had visitors today. Warm, autumnal sunshine welcomed them and eventually we found ourselves working our way through a three hour lunch at Mike’s Chicken. Superb Portuguese food. The name of the restaurant belies its quality. I then waddled along the sea-front with Mrs. Ha and Cost Centre 2 and bumped into Holmes. J. He was making high quality images of the Black Kites as they cavorted exuberantly then hung in the breeze, just for the hell of it. Alongside him, another familiar face, Samson and his wife and child, accomplished naturalists and photographers all.

I dragged myself up the hill home, there being no taxis. I was having a better day today. Perhaps the sun was healing me. And now the scent of gingerbread wafts up the stairs to my study as Mrs. Ha and CC2 kick off a Christmas tradition. Lulu is poised to pick up any accidental spillages or dropped arms / legs. I am poised to pick up any stray Smarties that decorate the GB-men. One year they made a GB house. What a failure. It was so good nobody dared eat it.

I bet its not this much fun in Venice.

Blue Hour from Ponte dell’Accademia

I have a very long and busy day coming up so I shall post tomorrow today, so to speak. I felt this blue hour shot may merit processing. Let’s see what you think of the result. I looked very, very closely at the sky and concluded any patchy shading is actually cloud. That’s my story anyway. 70 seconds at iso 400.

Accademia LE

I have to attend a board meeting tomorrow and there is a directors dinner afterwards. Mrs. Ha is invited and can put her glad rags on. The old dog can get away with collar and tie. Lulu stays at home.

Venice – the last days

The hotel is full. The front desk people are very warm but the waiting staff look askance at us. We probably appear rather rough whereas every hotel staff in Venice has been specially trained in case Mr & Mrs Clooney drop by. I’m more George Burns than George Clooney.

We ask for afternoon tea. Our hotel sadly betrays it’s common roots by using tea bags. We hunt in vain for a strainer. The milk jug is chipped. The terrace adjoins the water front prom but is padlocked to keep hoi poloi at bay. Pigeons flutter expectantly onto empty tables, unaware of the bird flu risk. There is a Venetian in a dhoti to chase them off. The pigeon-wallah. The waitress spoils the aloof veneer by dropping Mrs. Ha’s order on the ground. Embarrassment kicks in and we don’t rub her pretty little nose in it. The pigeons think it is Christmas as they pounce. The replacement order is a high quality, over-generous portion.

It may not have the best china but Venice has been discovered by the mainland Chinese and every waiter can say ni hao and xie xie. And no more. That is enough as unfortunately Mrs. Ha is Cantonese and cold shoulders the gratuitous insult that assumes every Asian is from the PRC. The staff return to a less inflammatory language and address us in English. I consider being difficult and feigning a lack of comprehension. But I don’t.

Long trains follow the red flag with five stars. Always the stragglers dashing to keep up. Time for another selfie? I must buy that umbrella, the gondolier’s boater and the carnival mask. Can’t go home without a genuine slice of Venetian life. Their tour schedule includes a gondola trip. They pile in. Some get a song thrown in. Just one vaporetto. At the Ponte della Paglia a sad girl plays the accordion. In three days we only hear her play Que sera sera. The tourists hurry by to gaze on the Bridge of Sighs. I’m more Sospan Fach than Sospiri.

Soon it will be time to return home. So we must make the most of our last day. But the only thing I can hear in my mind is……….Que sera sera.