Our Thing

It would be impossible for me to write about my travels in Sicily without a mention of their most famous export. Or perhaps as we shall see it also falls under the category of import. I'm talking about the Mafia of course and let me be clear from the outset that this a personal reflection; … Continue reading Our Thing

Advertisements

Rock Follies

Some months ago I wrote a piece about Studley Royal water gardens, and how they were created by John Aislabie when he retired from government in disgrace at the end of the South Sea Bubble Affair.  As Chancellor of the Exchequer he was greatly responsible for the scheme which was intended to refinance public debt … Continue reading Rock Follies

Vanity Project

I tried to avoid the obvious locations when I last visited Rome; what would I gain from seeing the Coliseum once more, or ambling through the Forum and Imperial ruins for the third time in my life? There were two particular exceptions to this; the Musei Vaticani was one, for how could a few hours … Continue reading Vanity Project

Revisiting the Past

The last morning in Rome of my honeymoon was spent in Santa Maria Maggiore (due to its proximity to our hotel) and then, to kill time until we had to leave, people watching from the steps outside. The memory is one that has long outlasted the marriage, but coincidentally I spent my last morning in … Continue reading Revisiting the Past

Needles and Pins

I can't recall whether it was on University Challenge or some less august programme, but I recently heard the following question asked: Where in the world will you find the most Egyptian obelisks outside of Egypt? The answer came to me immediately (and not entirely because I've been playing Assassin's Creed Origins of late), but because I've … Continue reading Needles and Pins

The Second Elizabeth.

For centuries England had been ruled by kings, and then Henry VIII produced two daughters who would each sit on the throne. Mary's rein was relatively short and largely forgotten by many but for her persecution of religious dissenters. Her sister Elizabeth's era is legendary by comparison. She was an exceptional woman.  And yet there … Continue reading The Second Elizabeth.

My Name is Nobody (Enna IV)

And so as the two floats have been escorted to the cathedral with a funeral march and choral accompaniments at 7.00pm we are ready for the procession to begin. The robes for the oldest confraternity of SS Salvatore bear a red Maltese cross which suggests a link back to the crusades (this being the emblem … Continue reading My Name is Nobody (Enna IV)