a personal website of life in umbria

Mid June 2017


It is now almost two month since my last update - and a lot has happened. I have been to Canada via the UK to see my son and grandson in Toronto, to Fenelon Falls to visit my sister, to Ottawa to visit some friends and my former collegues, then back to the UK and Glasgow to visit my daughter, London for a few nights and some photo workshops and then Wales for a school reunion. It was a relief to get back to MCdV, home, even though I enjoyed my time away. But summer is upon us here the my fellow expats who were scarce during the winter months are reappearing.


Spring arrives here in Umbria with the wild poppies in bloom - here a few on the wall of the town.



And work proceeds on the exterior of Santa Illuminata - located in Piazza Garibaldi, the location of our apartment when we first bought here in MCdV. This church is getting a lot more use this year as the main church is still closed and may be for awhile due to some structural damage caused by one of the recent earthquakes


We regularly have clubs arrive to visit our town. Sometime particular marques or vintages of cars and sometime bikes - at the end of April a collection of wonderful BMW biked appeared for a few hours. Beautiful machines!


Canada - from whence I came - Toronto, provincial capital of Ontario.  I chose to fly British Airways via London and arrived in Toronto in the evening at Pearson International - some advice - if you travel cattle class with BA - you need to be very thin! I had paid extra to get an exit row as the usual seat to seat pitch is laughable but I was not expecting the armrest to armrest spacing to be such an issue! It was a new 787 - one of the plastic jobs, very nice indeed, but really! When an average person can't get into their seat on a new plane it is a bit much. Think I'll pay the premium economy next time - then there are only 7 seats across and not 9! At least they let me on the flight - before I got back to Italy I got caught in the BA computer crash mess and arrived home 30 hours late via another airline. That is two for two that BA has messed up - I am starting to think BA stands for Bloody Awful!



MCdV is never going to be known for it selection of shops! Here in Toronto's Eatons Centre, that was not a problem. You could probably fit all of MCdV inside it. I was there to buy my son a gift, from the Apple store - where else. A word of warning - be very careful with the wonderful bags apple gives you.

Having just bought what I wanted I was strolling up Young St., one of Toronto's major shopping areas and well known territory for me (I used to live and work in TO) and I saw a picture I want to take. I put the bag between my feet, on the ground, to hold the iPhone with two hands and some young Bast_rd

does a snatch and run. Yep - welcome to Canada - come home and get robbed! Just my luck that I had the strings of the bag around my foot so I went 'ass over tea kettle' and had to pick myself up before I could give chase. I got it, the bag, back and I let him escape.


One of the highlights of my time in Toronto was to see the places that my son is in charge of - quite the establishments - and he is involved in all aspects of them. Snakes and Lattes - a board gaming establishment with multiple locations.


College Street location, early in the morning - they do breakfast.


And of course the other highlight was to see my grandson. Here he is returning from school, a Monttesorri school where his mother teaches. Now 4, it has been a couple of years since I have last seen him. Boy they grow up fast.



I was left to look after him while his parents went to a parent teacher interview - hey, what are grandparents for! And boy , has he got a collection of Lego! So what does grandpa build given his past history in RNLI inshore life boats....



Canada is big open spaces, and living in Europe one tends to forget how big and how open. Below the view from my sisters back deck in the Karwartha's , north of Toronto. And the image on the right a wild deer grazing on a residents property near the Ottawa River, Dunrobin, Ontario.



I flew from Toronto back to London, UK and then onto Glasgow, Scotland to spend a few days with my daughter and her partner. The day I got there I was lucky enough to attend a performance of the movie Amadeus,  Peter Shaffer screenplay directed by Miloš Forman of Mozart - but with a difference - the NSO was playing the music live! If you are a film buff and love music this is the way to do it. No popcorn but they will let you take your drink into the hall!



Also while in Glasgow we went to the Finch and Ox a very nice place where you a meant to share the courses. I heartily recommend it but warn you that you may need reservations. Here are some images from there. not only does it taste great - great place for food porn images!




From Glasgow to London. While in London I always try to rent a furnished apartment and prefer one I know. I use Acorn Accommodation who specialize in student housing by the term and are located in the Bloomsbury area of the city - very convenient. I was in London to attended some photo workshops put on by Light and Land, two on the use of the iPhone and another that focused on double exposure and in camera movement with normal digital cameras. They were thinking Canon and Nikon DSLR's but I used it as an occasion to play with my new Sony RX100V.  Below a couple of images from outside the Tate Modern on the SouthBank and then below that a more traditional pano taken from the upper level of the TATE





Also while in London I went to visit the new Design Museum - which I am a member of - hey I was a designer (am a designer?) It has a wonderful shop and while the temporary exhibit I saw was OK it was overshadowed by the beauty of the building itself. They do have on reasonable permanent exhibit on design but I felt that it spent too much time of technology for the creation of 3D objects. Here are a couple of images inside the building - an impressive space.



And last but not least I drove to Wales for a school reunion. School in the UK sense, in my case A-levels, pre university at the United World College of the Atlantic. It has been used as the venue of a number of historical filmings but is the founding college of the UWC movement. Below a few images of it. Lots of good memories here for me - it was here I was an RNLI boat captain and helped developed the inshore life boats that I so feebly capture the idea above in Lego




And then it was time to fly home to Umbria - well Rome and then drive to Umbria. As mentioned above BA managed to make a right royal mess of that with their IT issues - which were bad enough but compounded by their apparent total inability to deal with the problem they were landed with. I did get back to Rome but via Dublin ( yes that is going west to go east!) and via Air Lingus.


Summer has arrived here! - The summer bar, the Torraccia is open again, this year run by the Pro Loco which is nice - the local youth of the community have some summer work and now as July 1 approaches they are preparing for our normal summer festival July 1st to 9th.




The images above - view from Piazza Garibaldi 7 - my own terrace ready for the summer sun


And that is it for this update. I am always asked - 'how do you keep busy in retirement?' and my usual answer is 'retirement? Just means tired again!' Lots to keep one busy. I hope in the next week or so to update the Design Thoughts section as well - lots to add there.

Till then - all the best - Ross


rjslade.com - Monte Castello di Vibio - last modified April 5th 2015