Home from the Holiday

We have been back from Italy for about a month now. Back to fall settling in, leaves scarlet and yellow and orange, the grass still vivid green, the sky that vibrant, impossible blue, to a garden that needs to be put to bed, and a dog that had given us up as lost.

We spent a week in Venice, staying in an apartment in Castello, one of the sestiere or districts of the city. Castello is off in the east of the city, a workday world for Venetians and a few tourists, but not many since the Biennale ended.

Via Giuseppe Garibaldi was a canal until Napoleon conquered the city and thought it would be more efficient as a street, and so it was filled in and is now one of the few wide streets in the city. But no cars. The only noise at night comes from the bar down below and it ends early as the locals have to get up for bed next day.

There is a Canadian connection on the street. The house on the corner, where the street meets the Riva, was owned by John Cabot. A plaque placed there by the Province of Newfoundland, marks the event. Another by the city of Venice recognizes further explorations to Paraguay by Sebastian Cabot.

Summer, cont.


Gardening: Our hot, very hot and mostly dry summer continues. The garden, all except the roses is loving it, since we are able to water it from the river that flows past our home. The roses fear they have been transplanted to the deep South and have shut down production until more reasonable conditions return. Daylilies, hostas, echinacea, clematis and blue mallow are the stars of the moment.

I planted delphinums and staked them moments before a battering thunderstorm went through, so they are standing and about to bloom. I understand they are short-lived, so I will buy more next year to ensure a good clump.

Writing: Finally the last revisions are done, and the Facepainter has gone off to be set for paper production. Meanwhile, I’m at work on the sequel. A new character has stepped forward and I have to find something for her to do.

Do you know the organization called Great Courses. They finally have released a dedicated Canadian catalogue and some of the professors will be Canadian as well. Find them at http://www.thegreatcourses.com/ I followed one of their courses called Building Great Sentences, and now I’m doing a 30 lecture series on Analysis and Critique, How to engage and write about anything. The lecturer is excellent, my only quibble being that the lecture ends too soon.

Italy: We’re talking with our travelling companions about a trip in the fall of 2012 that would see us spending a few days in Venice, while they celebrate their fortieth anniversary, and then a road trip to Vienna, where we spend a few days to a week.

I’ve been studying Italian, through Rosetta Stone for several years now, with a year’s break to learn some rudimentary Spanish. I began again at the beginning with Italian and now approach the end of the third dvd. I received four and five at Christmas so I will press on. Learning a language, besides good for travelling, is supposed to be good for brain health.

Politics: Very sad news about Jack Layton. To be struck down like that in his moment of achievement is truly tragic.

What is going on with the Americans? They are just recovering from an economic disaster and now want to plunge into another one. Where are the adults?

That’s about it: writing, gardening, learning. Retirement is great!