Love in Portofino

 

 

How should I not have fallen for Portofino? Sir Clough Williams Ellis said when he built Portmeiron, Italianate village, in Wales,UK , inspired by Portofino’s beauty. Portofino, as the name indicates in Italian language,  is more than  a fine port of the Italian region of Liguria, its beauty is stunning!

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Driving down from the mountains of Liguria towards its coast someone needs to have real guts because the roads are very narrow with lots of turns and  twists. The picture above is  the only one I managed to take by succeeding for a moment to overcome my horror!img_1686

The same happened along the coast from Rapalo to Portofino, narrow twisted road populated with uncountable number of vespas! Along this road there were the most amazing  Italianate villas perched on the cliffs.  img_1712

The port itself is a tourist resort mainly for rich Americans arriving with their super yachts. Somehow I felt that the talented Mr. Ripley will make his appearance through the crowd.

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Portofino is beauty by itself but I had the same feeling as in Venice :  the buildings are going to collapse from moment to moment. The recession in Italy is going from strength to strength, for long time now, without showing any sign of recovery.  For that reason, it is worth  visiting  this part of  the Italian Riviera in the near future!

The Girl from Ipanema

Who has not been humming the tune of “The Girl from Ipanema” as was going up and down in the elevators around the world?  It was the most popular song in history, behind Beatles of  “Yesterday”! Lately through the media and because of the Olympics in Rio the story about the inspiration of the song came up in the surface and became part of the Olympics opening ceremony with Gisele Bundchen. The story was so romantic and once more reassures me  that life is getting better when there are musicians, poets, artists and in general when there is still around the University degree of Art & Humanities which is so depreciating subject  in our times.What will we do without all these people that feed our soul? It is quite clear that the type of Mark Zuckerbergs in this world, simply alone  does not fit the bill for  making us feel better and enhance our inner soul.

But let’s see the story behind the song which I don’t know if it is true but who cares ? It is a nice one! Lydia Hutchinson at the website ‘performingsongwriter.com’ writes:  “Summer 1962. Rio de Janeiro. At the Veloso Bar, a block from the beach at Ipanema, two friends—the composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and the poet Vinícius de Moraes—are drinking Brahma beer and musing about their latest song collaboration.The duo favor the place for the good brew and the even better girl-watching opportunities. Though both are married men, they’re not above a little ogling. Especially when it comes to a neighborhood girl nicknamed Helô. Eighteen-year-old Heloisa Eneida Menezes Pais Pinto is a Carioca—a native of Rio. She’s tall and tan, with emerald green eyes and long, dark wavy hair. They’ve seen her passing by, as she’s heading to the beach or coming home from school. She has a way of walking that de Moraes calls “sheer poetry.” Legend has it that Jobim and de Moraes were so inspired by this shapely coed, they wrote a song for her right on the bar napkins!”

Those musicians and poets, eh!

 

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Helo Pinheiro and Vinícius de Moraes

And when you listen Sinatra and Jobim  to sing the song you feel even better and life is good again!

 

Enjoy the rest of summer! August is a fabulous month to recharge our batteries with uplifting music  during its summer lazy days. Don’t worry, Mark will make all this job  of competing  and achieving (jogging, learning Chinese…) for us😉  Have a nice one!

Booking open for MmIT 2016 Conference

MmIT blog

Booking is now open for the 2016 MmIT annual conference – Digital Citizenship: What is the library’s role?

To book go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mmit-2016-conference-digital-citizenship-what-is-the-librarys-role-tickets-18734070108

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During this conference we will explore and discuss several digital citizenship themes and the role and responsibility of the library and the librarian in supporting citizenry in the digital world.

The conference themes will consist of, your library’s role in:

  • Digital access and inclusion
  • Digital literacy
  • Digital communications (including digital profiles, reputation)
  • Digital law
  • Digital security

Digital citizenship is a term often used to describe how people acquire and use their digital and online skills and experiences in order to further achieve and develop in their personal, professional and social roles. MmIT believe that libraries across all sectors play a significant role in supporting and developing digital citizenship with our user communities.

With four expert keynote speakers confirmed, the conference seeks to facilitate discussion and the sharing…

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Lucknam Park

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

I have a feeling that our times are equal interesting as Dicken’s time in his book ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’. The plot was centering on the years leading up to the French Revolution and culminates in the Jacobin Reign of Terror. Oh well, I cannot predict the future not even what is going to happen in the near future, the only I know is that we deserve a break from the bombardment of the bad news and the everyday anxiety of what’s next. For that reason I’m posting some photos from the Lucknam Park, a country house near Bath which  I visited recently. It is a lovely and serene place and transmits this calmness even through the pictures. Enjoy your weekend!

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18th-century Palladian Mansion

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Michelin star  Restaurant

 

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“Only men of property could vote…”

During the pre-enlightenment period  only men of property could vote and probably it was a continuation and mimic of the  Athenian democracy where only the aristocrats can vote -no women, slaves and commoners…

The  British referendum had divided the country into two camps (leave & remain) with clear animosity between them. The same happened with the Greek referendum of “No & Yes” against EU/German’s bailout.

Many people have argued only selective persons must vote such as:  young people whose future belong to them, the highly educated, probably with PhD and above from Ivy league or Oxbridge Unis and for sure the petite bourgeoisie  with their well grounded aspirations for better life , their “comme il faut” appetite for museums, concerts and their pedant inclination to scorn everyone who has posted on facebook a ‘grammarly accident’. The rest must stay at home and play videogames or watch x-factor. Only by this way Democracy will survive, they argue.

The above arguments gave me an inspirational idea :  to abolish all these nonsense elections – government, local, referendum…-  and launch a whole new election concept  : the Bank elections as we say Bank holidays et cetera. Where the above mentioned selective people will elect the Banker of the year or the best Bank with the best mortgage or interest rate…

The following  is a parody from 1915 by Alice Duer Miller, satirizing all the reasons given at the time the reasons for why women shouldn’t vote :

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Chelsea Flower Show 2016

 

The life connoisseurs say that patience is from the highest virtues and probably they have right. I had booked my tickets for Chelsea Flower show long time ago, at that time of the year that someone has nothing to look forward. Christmas and New Year celebrations were over  and the next holiday is quite far away, let alone the next payment day which is just a bank transaction from the current  to the credit card account. Through all these months being occupied with the daily working routine  I had forgotten the second round of “Christmas time” the flower show at Chelsea. And there you are! The tickets arrived promptly and along with my friends were visiting one of the best shows of the year that the English life can offer!

The prominent flower colour for this summer  is definitely the purple and the rotten apple.

In the interior space of the Chelsea ground the  flowers and strawberries’ fragrances were creating euphoria to the visitors.

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Husqvarna Garden by Charlie Albone. The cottage flowers (lupins, hollyhocks) entertain the formal garden. This was very inspiring idea for my own garden.

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The Chelsea Barracks Garden by Jo Thompson. The garden was inspired by the huge developments of apartments next to Chelsea hospital which prices are in the range 2-5 millions pounds!IMG_0645

L’Occitane Garden by James Basson. It seemed to me that this year the same garden was much more scruffier and drier.

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The Cloudy Bay Oven by Sam Ovens.  His winemaker sponsor wanted him to echo the flavours of sauvignon blanc in his planting.IMG_0679

Red handmade 5000 crochets poppies  covered the whole ground front of the Chelsea hospital.IMG_0617

Click, click,click … I heard the sound of the iphones taking pictures and saw a bunch of people through the hole of this structure. I couldn’t imagine what was the object of their admiration.

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I had to go around to find out  what was about all this fuss. The Queen’s profile !

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Small is beautiful : This cute garage/garden designed by Kazuyuki Isihara. If you have space this is a nice compact idea, two in one: Garage & Garden!