Day Three :: Genoa to Rome

The plan was simple enough, we’d be taking a trip to Pisa, with plenty of time for my daughter to limp about, before arriving in Rome really late. Except, as is often the case, that was not what circumstances dictated.

We were five minutes from destination when it happened: a sickening crash and bang and off drove the coach driver, clearly with no intention of stopping. All those Bond movies have not been lost on my husband, who gave chase and successfully got the guy to stop. Needless to say, this has put a crimp in the rest of the stay. Right now Mr Alt is at an Italian Ford dealership working out whether it is possible to get the windscreen repaired at all. Joint wisdom, after checking the damage last night, is the poor van (which is less than three months old) will need not simply a complete new tailgate but probably rear bumper too.

However, we are here and safe, which is all that really matters.

This apartment is one of four in the building, converted from a farmhouse a decade ago, which has seen the rest of this Rome suburb effectively built around it. If I had to find an appreciable British equivalent, it is probably not unlike the eastern part of London that I cycled through a couple of weeks ago: the place itself owes a lot to Ikea in furnishing, but is all bare floors and wooden beams, which will be extensively photographed today. It’s also extremely hot with only one working AC unit at present, which should become two at some point today. To be honest, I’m not that fussed about the heat. This is an incredibly convivial location to write, and that’s what we’ll do today.

I am also hoping to have my first proper lunch since Sunday. If nothing else, I’m pretty confident stepping on the scales once returning to the UK there’s gonna be some weight lost…

Summer Holiday


Today I’m travelling South West. I’ve not done it for a while, and I have to admit that I’m looking forward to going back to a place with an immense number of fond memories over the last 30 years. I’m not going blind until next week either: various electronic devices are making the trip with me, though there will be moments where I switch off completely. There’s also half a plan to try running down the seafront whilst we’re there.

Right, I’ll be off to finish packing. See you when we get there.

History Repeating

Okay, yesterday was Sunday, right? That means I’m at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and it’s the largest collection of Egyptian objects outside of Egypt (I believe) It also means an unreasonable amount of squeezing like a fangirl, and I did not disappoint on that front. Even writing about it now is making me happy internally. There’s a metric buttonne of pictures on Flickr for those of you who care but for me? I lose myself in a civilisation that has fascinated me since, I’ll freely admit, a book of my parents on Tutankhamun. Before then I didn’t have a clue about anything related to life before Christ. Now, it has become one of my favorite diversions as an adult.


There is a remarkable amount of scope in the Met’s collection, it must be said, and the curation insider this museum is very reminiscent of the V&A in terms of sympathy and situation. However it was the number of small objects that stunned me: tiny, intricate pieces of art, hand-worked jewelry, pots, painted panels… The range was staggering. I’ve realised I want more pieces of Egyptian art in my life, something I’ll attempt to remedy on my return to the UK. For now, I’m just staggered by the details: so many, and all so totally beautiful. Many new blog headers will be created as a result.


However it wasn’t just Egypt on display: quite fortuitously for me, there was a special exhibit on clothing: Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. This meant an entire area dedicated to some of the most iconic looks in modern fashion, and how contemporary designers are using cutting edge materials and processes to reinvent the iconic looks. However much I was impressed by the colours, use of 3D printed materials or fabrics? It was the black evening gowns that reduced me to speechless wonder. There was one Coco Chanel dress in particular, from the 1920’s, which is as close to perfect as I think I’ve ever seen fabric designed. I may not wear makeup, or spend hours on my appearance, but I sure as fuck know special when I see it.


So, I bought a catalogue, all $55 of it. I don’t remember the last time I spent that much on anything printed, but it is worth every single cent. Then we walked through Central Park, and visited Dana Barratt’s apartment block which, on cue, had nothing thunder and lightning burst forth around it shortly before the heavens opened and soaked the world. Then it was Dominos and the Olympics and I don’t care I only got about five hours sleep because yesterday was officially my best day for some time.


Coming Up

I’m never at my best at 5am. There was snapping at the kids, but also a lot of genuine understanding that Mum was crap, and she didn’t have to keep apologising. Once the plane was in the air? Absolutely fine. Novel got edited, I ate stuff and didn’t feel guilty. Once we hit JFK? Things became possibly the best they have been for a very long time.


Once my brain wrapped itself around the five hour time difference and the fact it is quite warm on the Island at present, everything just fell into place. We’re able to afford this trip because there isn’t a hire car, and we’re effectively staying in a Brownstone for the duration. The advantages over Hotel accommodation are manyfold: no worries over dressing for breakfast, our own timetable, the Internet as our guide and an entire city to explore for a period of time that should afford a sizable opportunity to do just that. We set the eldest the task of finding a suitable place to have dinner last night, and he came up with the goods.


The first revelation at Harlem Public was the beer (Grey Lady pictured, husband had cider and had to be forcibly dragged from the establishment) after which was the food. Son decided this was our destination due to the ‘Build your Own Damn Burger’ part of the menu, which he did. I had pulled pork, the like of which I have not tasted in the UK, but husband will tell everyone his peanut butter and honey bacon burger was better than everybody else and YOU FAIL. I have no doubt he was correct, and sitting in a bar less than three hours after stepping off a plane made this start to a holiday considerably more entertaining than anything I’ve done abroad for a while. I’m beginning to understand last year started a chain of events that have freed me from the self-imposed restraints I stuck on my life. Suddenly everything’s immensely more fun when you’re active and dealing with your fear.


The plan today is to walk down Broadway until everyone falls over, which in 90 degree heat may not take very long. The phone camera is taking some lovely pictures (as demonstrated above) but the roaming charges are a little too steep for my liking so don’t expect much until I can find free wi-fi (looking at you Starbucks.) That means Pokemon Go takes a distinct back seat, and that’s no bad thing. Even with a cursory 30 minute walk to and from the bar last night I can see so much has changed since I was last here. Unlike then, I am gonna do my best to document everything I can on the way, because I’d like to remember everything with clarity.

For now, I might think about getting dressed and waking up the children.

Warm Sound

Okay, I’ve done everything work-related I have time for. I’m supposed to be in bed by 10 for a 5am start, but that won’t happen. I’m too nervous. I’ve never done air travel well. There will be a lot of fretting and pacing. My carry on however is packed, and I have to hope that husband has everything else covered.

I am as ready as I am likely to be.

Bring on the Holiday.

Mud Glorious Mud

I’ve never done a ‘proper’ Festival before and so, this year, here the Family are at Eroica.ย Unfortunately (or unsurprisingly, depending on your outlook) the rain chased us all the way to Bakewell on Friday, and this made for interesting times underfoot. However, there was no rain allย day, and frankly the place was magnificent. In fact, if truth be told, it’s one of the best times I’ve had for a very long time indeed.

Our accommodation was last minute booked, and lovely, but caused some stress on Friday night when locating it in the dark was something of an adventure. However, even after five hours sleep, the view was worth all the grief, and the smell of burnt clutch that STILL does not seem to want to leave my nostrils. Yes, there are lots of hills. It was very late, and fifteen minutes earlier I had almost stuck the car in a hedge. I shouted at my husband. I am not a good wife or driver when tired ^^

Being an unashamed Jane Austin nut, I’d hoped we might get some time at Chatsworth, which is generally acknowledged as the inspiration for Pemberly in Pride and Prejudice, but that will have to wait (I suspect) for next year, when I’ll be doing the Baby Steps version of the course and taking part in my first proper bike ride. Of course, I’ll need to do this in costume, and that’s probably going to take a year just to organise. Mostly, I will be back in Derbyshire because it is amazingly beautiful, hugely inspiring and more green than is actually believable.

However, tomorrow is all about my husband doing the Hard Mode version of the cycle ride on his absolutely beautiful Bianchi. Crossing everything he does it, and is happy as he does. This is the best Father’s Day present I think we could ever give him.

Coming Around Again

There was a momentary period of panic when it became apparent that no phone signal at my current location equated to no code for my two step authentication, but fortunately I have a list of codes to hand to negate the technological shortcomings. WordPress’ app, although beautifully simplistic, lacks a lot of the charm of the web-based version, most especially the ability to use your own images. That’s quite a big draw in itself, and I’d be lost if I didn’t have a fully functional browser to compose on. Mostly, what this shows is just how horrendously awful Blogger’s entire interface is, either web-based or otherwise. Mostly, I am again reminded of just what a fabulous idea it was to move everything away with Google and settle here.

Traveling was not particularly problematic, even with the blow out on the M1. My other half maintains his 100% unblemished record as Best Husband EU and had us up and running within 30 minutes of the incident. I used an emergency telephone for the first time in 20 or so years, and fortunately there was only 15 miles left to crawl on the spare. Mostly, it was just one of those things. Now we’re here? The weather looks horrendous for the week but no matter. I did seven miles on the site before dinner (salad, no dessert) and suspect I’ll do about the same every day, mostly because my back is playing up and walking is the only sure fire way to ensure I’m not in agony.

It should also help me sleep.


Bring on the next four days of exercise, more exercise, occasional food breaks, exercise and probably lying in a pile going ‘BLEURGH.’ Welcome to what passes for relaxation for me, and it does, because I’ve never been the kind of person who can just lie on a lounger and get a suntan. Holidays mean making the most of every moment, not eating too much and burning more calories away than I do at home. Yes, I am probably doing this wrong, but I can’t help what I am.

Time to sort out the swimming costume for the morning.