I'm Tamsin Hickson, I live on an olive farm in Le Marche in Central Italy with my husband, sons, father, cats, dog, chickens, ducks (until Christmas).

recipes

  • Iced coffee iced-coffee

    This morning we went to the seaside and I declared the beginning of summer by choosing an iced coffee. Nothing could be more delicious – take one espresso, add a teaspoon or two of sugar, and some cubes of ice. The bubbles are an additional extra – produced by shaking the whole lot in [...]

Italian

  • Bystanders elections

    One of the most noticeable features of life in a small Italian town is the collection of elderly men who fill the benches on our main road into town. They keep an eye on everything, which is very useful if you’re looking for someone, but perhaps not quite so useful for anyone undertaking any [...]

making things

  • Elderflower cordial elderflower

    When the poppies are out it’s time to order the citric acid to make elderflower cordial. Every year I go through the recipe with our local pharmacist, who takes some convincing that I really want THAT MUCH citric acid. I’ve not yet found an Italian home recipe for a drink that doesn’t contain alcohol, [...]

Optical illusion

piazza santa stefano

Last weekend we drove to Bologna, the car packed to the roof with enough tomato passata, jams and assorted food stuffs to feed a small army for a month or three students for a fortnight. (Actually Sam shares his flat with four other people, but two of them are girls, who doubtless rarely eat jam).

Aldo and I hung out in my favourite square, the Piazza di Santa Stefano, at the Caffe Sette Chiese. He was stationed in Bologna for eight months during military service, and his stories of that time are so full of fun times and nights out that I suspect they had little time to suffer hardship, let alone do much marching. bar dei 7 chiese

Back in June Jasper and I spent a day in Bologna helping Sam move house. While I threw away empty bottles and scrubbed floors Sam drove his things to the new place, a total of four trips. A month later we received four traffic fines: he had driven on a bus-only lane for a distance of 50 metres. With this in mind we approached the drive into Bologna with some trepidation. Our hotel offered parking and a day’s travel permit but knowing how difficult it is to spot the signs regarding bus lanes and other dangers, we carefully followed their instructions on entering the city only to find the main road closed halfway. We turned off, got lost a few times, and finally found our way back to the station. Then, seconds too late, Sam said from the back of the car “I think we’re getting to that bit of road….!” It reminded me of my favourite gag in Bugs Life: ”Don’t look at the light!”optical illusion

The cobblestones from the Piazza sometimes look concave, sometimes convex. Perhaps the police of Bologna will look at their photograph of four frozen fearful faces snapped through the windscreen of our car and say “Not them, again! It must be an optical illusion.”

 

2 comments to Optical illusion

  • Alex M-Mason

    I can’t think why I haven’t subscribed to your bloggings till this moment! I dip in from time to time – and always have such pleasure getting these gently humorous, insights into your life in Italy…
    You really have such a talent (one of so many!) for writing. Some of your other talents are very much part of my life – Your painting hangs on the wall in our bedroom, your silver earrings and bracelet (fishy ones) come out for special occasions, and happy memories of evenings spent in the back row of the altos at the HCS make me smile. I wish I could see you (and Sam and Jasper) again – and meet Aldo too. Travel becomes more difficult but I haven’t given up hope, though doubtful if it’ll be 2014. Looking forward to future blogs and, in the meantime will catch up with the ones I’ve missed in your archive. X

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