This was an unusually busy summer, with lots of destinations. This long page includes Watercress Festival, Sicily, London, and Paris.

Click HERE for photos from 2022 (Amsterdam and Abruzzo), HERE for photos from 2021 (Scotland, Paris, Kent), HERE for photos from summer 2020 (Calabria and National Trusts), HERE for 2019 (London and Abruzzo), HERE for 2018 (Budapest, Le Marche, and Northern Ireland), HERE for 2017 (Paris and London), HERE for 2016 (festival and chaps), HERE for 2015 (reunion and wedding), and HERE for 2014 (meeting the stars).
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For the coronation, Tiny Cow decided to wear his crown. We had a German brunch for a friend that included Linzertorte.

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The Watercress Festival is always a highlight in May and we returned on a sunny Sunday afternoon for lots of plant-based festivities.
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2022 Runner Up of Masterchef The Professionals, Charlie Jeffreys (top centre) gave a cooking demonstration using fresh watercress.
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Esteemed chef Mark Hix (top right), looking a bit dishevelled, judged entries in the watercress baking competition. The Tom Cruise and Mike Wozniak lookalikes were highlights.

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I held a bake sale for our neighbourhood's Over the Garden Fence day. The following day was my birthday, for which Nick showered me with gifts.
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We had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend five weeks in Sicily on study leave. Nick did programming work and I composed a piece of music for my school. Everything worked out better than expected, and we were both inspired by the island's culture and people. We were very lucky, too, to have avoided the terrible heatwave and fires that happened later in July. Click HERE to see our last visit to Sicily in May, 2022.
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No better place to work and be inspired than a mountain cottage with a pool. I worked inside and Nick outside. Our host warned us not to leave shoes outside because the foxes will eat them. We ate very healthily during our trip, always starting the day with lots of fresh fruit and ricotta. The Snoopy cup, kept in the freezer, was my milk cup of choice.
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It was First Communion Day in Petralia Soprana. We bought cheese and salami from an elderly shopkeeper who was surprised to hear that we were from England and said my Italian was good. Their local dessert, shown above, was "temple-achingly sweet" as Nigella would say.
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We listened to the bells in the church above, hoping to get some inspiration for my composition, but they just clanged one note.
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Lots of Sicilian famlies dressed in their finery ("in ghingheri") for the celebrations.
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The photo of the girl, above, is one of my favourites.
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We had been to Castelbuono, the manna town, in 2019 but discovered new things this time, including the beautiful frescoes in the church.
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Some of our memorable foods and the start of our explorations of La Fiumara d'arte, an art trail along a riverbed.
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It was a long day driving on difficult roads, but we managed to see many of the spectacular works of art along the way.
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A storm was brewing while we were in the terracotta maze, so we headed back towards home after a fun day out.
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We stayed very close to Cefalù and visited a couple of times. The Byzantine mosaics in the cathedral were covered by scaffolding, but we did get to see them in 2019. I am hoding a Baci, a chocolate coated hazelnut with a love motto inside, like a Christmas cracker. I gathered these together and used them as the lyrics for one the movements in my composition.
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We were thrilled to see “Portrait of an Unknown Sailor“ by Antonello da Messina, which was under restoration the last time we visited. He is said to have the "second most famous smile in the world". There were cute men to be seen on the beach.
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We took the train each time we went to Palermo. The city was full of inspiration, including the poem above, which served as the lyrics for the final movement of my composition!
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We were honoured to spend the day with Nicoletta, the Duchess of Palma and recent widow of Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, adopted son and literary heir of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and author of The Leopard, as well as a musicologist and opera manager. The Duchess took us to Capo market to buy ingredients, explaining that locals "belong" to their favourite vendors and wouldn't dream of shopping with anyone else. She bought fresh tuna, only available when in season, and lots of fruits and vegetables for our meal.
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Back at the Duchess's palazzo, we got to look around before starting with the food preparation.
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We collected heaps of fresh herbs from the rooftop garden, minding our step for all the tortoises that were wandering around. The dining table was decked out with fine silver, china, and crystal for our meal.
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There was a single cedro still on the branch. The kitchen was small but filled with beautiful copper pans and useful gadgets.
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We made a sort of tuna ragù, fried aubergine balls, pasta with sage and almond pesto, and a peach jelly. The Duchess sold her own mezzalunas.
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Fancy table settings, dashing Spanish journalist Guillermo, and American Ginger, who was celebrating her birthday
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The view from the balcony, the group with the Duchess, the tuna dish, and Murano chandelier
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After lunch, we were treated to a tour of the palazzo. We were told that this was the only parquet floor of its type in Palermo. The Duke's collection of books was impressive and varied.
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On our tour, the Duchess pointed out two drawings of her mother-in-law, done by family friend, Pablo. Across from these was an original Miró painting and set designs by opera director Robert Wilson. Tiny Cow got to see the original mauscript of The Leopard.
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The Leopard was based on the Duke's adopted grandfather, whose love of astronomy features in the book, as well as the Burt Lancaster film.
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Out on the streets of Palermo, we did a bit of sightseeing on our way to the puppet theatre, when it started to rain heavily. Did the boy above make it out of the rain?
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The Argento puppet theater is a source of pure joy for us. One of only a few traditional places like this still remaining, we delighted at seeing the smoke-breathing dragon once more.
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A day trip took us to the sleepy town of Mezzojuso. There was a funeral while we were there and it seemed the whole town was involved in some way. The amaryllis bloomed in our garden while we were there.
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As in 2019, Oscar Café in Campofelice di Roccella provided us with the best desserts of our trip, including two entire cassatas.
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Caccamo was very picturesque, and we arrived right at "golden hour" for some lovely photos of the castle and surrounds.
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Our host put us in touch with the world's leading expert of Sicilian folk music, Professor Girolamo "Gigi" Garofalo. We spent six hours with him at his apartment, listening to music and learning about how cart drivers' songs are constructed. Gigi made us lunch of boiled octopus - "Do you eat the head?" - and cuttlefish pasta, among other things. After our long, long lunch, Gigi drove us into Palermo centre, where we got into the Steri gallery in time to see the wonderful, poignant drawings by prisoners during the Spanish Inquisition.
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We had heard about this place and seen some of the photos, above, on Sicily Unpacked, our favourite travel programme.
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Georgio Locatelli poses next to La Vucceria, the famous "line of death" painting from 1974 by Renato Guttoso. I used this painting and quotes from the artist and his admirers as the basis for one of the movements in my composition.
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The Palazzo Abatellis is home to the Galleria Regionale di Sicillia, which holds many works acquired when several religious orders were suppressed in 1866.
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It seems clear that much art started out depicting nudes and someone insisted that (translucent) clothing be painted on later, as shown here. The main thing we wanted to see here was the Virgin Annunciate by Antonello da Messina, the painter of the enigmatic sailor in Cefalù (scroll up).
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We went to Teatro Massimo to see a ballet production of Carmen. Restricted views and pre-recorded orchestra make this a forgettable production. The theatre was nice. I almost dropped my phone several levels below but caught it just in time.
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Back to Campofelice for more cassata - our favourite Conad grocery store was near there - and some sightseeing in Cefalù
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Ignoring the pretty men for a moment, the sculptor and his family make some of the finest Teste di Moro we saw during our trip. Still didn't bring one home, though.
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Beachfront bonanza
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We had some special cocktails far away from the main tourist area, a fitting end to a nice day out.
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There were wedding parties pretty much every day we were out. One couple was being photographed at the medieval wash house. I particularly like the photo of the woman in the white dress.
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The polpette were being made at the market. Nick working at his morning table in the garden.
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We returned to Palermo for a day without Gigi, taking in lots of street art that we'd seen on a Netflix documentary called Prospettiva Ballarò.
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The dragon puppet in the Argento workshop may well be the souvenir that got away, but what would we do with it?
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Shown here are the "Fountain of Shame" and virgins' breasts pastries from I segreti del chiostro
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Museo Palazzo Mirto
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I segreti del chiostro and what remains of Vucciria market, where I fell and cracked my phone.
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Museo Palazzo Mirto
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The Oratorio San Lorenzo, with its stucco interior by Giacomo Serpotta is one of the places that made Giorgio go "Wow!" on Sicily Unpacked.
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The Oratorio San Domenico has a large Van Dyck painting over the altar, enhanced by the intricate stucco work of Rococo sculptor Giacomo Serpotta
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Apart from the Van Dyck painting, the positioning of the demon on the cloud is worth marvelling at. After the oratorios, we went in search of some Liberty style architecture.
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Back at home, we enjoyed swimming in the pool with Geordie the Duck.
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Scenes from our home, including the local market, held near the cemetery in Cefalù, and the Sanctuary of Gibilmanna, which we visited at night after eating pizza at the local restaurant.
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Calascibetta was a lovely hilltop town, just across the valley from Enna. The cactus and waterlilies back home were in bloom.
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Enna was full of churches, each grander than the next. We had a long tour by an excited guide at what is now a memorial for soldiers.
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The cathedral in Enna is renowned for its intricately carved wooden features. Also shown is the octagonal tower, which we walked miles to see in the blazing hot sun.
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There are carved figures at the base of the columns in Enna's cathedral. Lombardia castle was beautiful on the outside.
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The archaeological museum in Aidone is full of spectacular works of art, including these silver bowls and the blue bearded sculpture.
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We heard the story of this 400BC goddess on Sicily Unpacked: how it was illegally excavated and sent to the USA in the 1970s then returned to Sicily in 2002.
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We had the whole of Morgantina archaeological site to ourselves. It was fascinating to see the exact locations that the museum's artifacts had come from.
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The elongated fountain at Leonforte extends for 24 meters, consists of 24 bronze spouts where it still gushes fresh spring water.
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Lower right: we stopped in Nicosia on the way home and they were setting up for a street festival. The local treat was sugared donut "bracelets". We were too tired and full to even try one.
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Sights from Nicosia and Tiny Cow's return visit to Cefalù
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We left Cefalù and headed west to our new accommodation near Alcamo. It was a splendid family house with pool. Our host told us there were "no bats and no owls" and that the local market day was Friday. None of those was true, and we joked about it for the rest of our trip.
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We bought swordfish at the Alcamo market (on Wendesday) and Nick cooked it with mint. We had cocktails (my last Hugo Spritz) at Alcamo marina before coming back to our own Geordie pool.
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It was nice to see Trapani in the daylight and we saw the highlights including the duomo and the clock that is on the oldest portal in the city.
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We were drawn to the rather sexy painting by Van Dyck and then headed down to the beach.
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We bought a souvenir cookbook from the wonderful Libreria. The fig biscuits, top right, are the specialty of Antica Pasticceria Colicchia.
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A bulging pile of pomegranates, memorial statues, Tiny Cow with fig biscuits, and more!
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Cute Dad with Peppa Pig, man in tiny red shorts, and Nick at the barbecue
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The barbecued chicken is worth a mention. The butcher rubbed it with seasoned salt. After a day, we cooked it using the Nigella chicken with lemons method and then finished it off on the barbecue. Amazing results. Gibillina Nuova is an open-air art museum full of interesting things to see and do. We loved the gallery there, which made clear what had happened after the 1968 earthquake that destroyed the original town. The painting, bottom right is by Renato Guttuso, whose Vucciria painting influenced my composition.
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In the gallery with the star, there were lots of models of artwork we would later see around the town.
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The gallery held a large collection of work by Maria Schifano, who asked the children of Gibillina what they missed most about their destroyed home. One said, "the beach", so he mixed sand in with his paint for the Solare painting.
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One of the greatest inspirations for our travels is Sicily Unpacked, a travel series presented by art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon and chef Giorgio Locatelli. We have tracked down so many of the locations they visited, including on this trip, Da Vittorio Risorante, run by chef Vittorio Brignoli. The views of the sea are breathtaking and the freshness of the ingredients, even to this non-seafood fan, is sublime. We had raw red prawns, tuna carpaccio, pasta with mullet and almonds, cart-drivers’ spaghetti, almond semifreddo, and a cannolo. I briefly spoke to the (fully clothed) chef.
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I can't deny that the bread basket was my favourite thing to eat, but it was a wonderful experience and what a location!
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We made a brief detour to Sciacca. where we met a gregarious shopkeeper named Santo D'Aleo. Turns out he is a character actor, specialising in fishermen, shepherds, and Mafiosi. He was currently filming a detective series and was learning his lines from a highlighted script. He showed us several of his film clips on YouTube.
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We returned to Sambuca di Sicilia, mainly to buy some of the Minni di virgini we bought on our last trip.
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In January, 1968, the city of Gibellina was completely destroyed by an earthquake, leaving most of the families homeless. Visionary Mayor Ludovico Corrao re-built the city nearby, enlisting numerous artists, who came free of charge to bring about social regeneration of the city. Artist Alberto Burri designed a gigantic monument that retraces the streets and alleys of the old city. It rises in the same place where once there was the rubble, now cemented by Burri's work; the blocks were made by piling up and caging the rubble of the buildings themselves.
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The haunting experience of visiting the Cretto di Burri, combined with a sighting of a flock of sheep and their attendant dogs, inspired another movement in my composition.
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Back in Gibellinna, the innovative new church uses stones and materials from the destroyed church of the former town. The ancient bell hangs over the sleek white entry ramp, and the sphere forms a concave altar inside the church. There are lots of cool places to sit and contemplate. Other arresting art is dotted around the town. We squeezed into the gallery to see the salt mountain with horses after closing time, but there was a function on.
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We went to Segesta at sundown to get some wonderful photos using "Milan light", named after a photographer we know from Mykonos.
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Tiny Cow enjoyed the ancient temple, which had just been featured in the new Indiana Jones film. Harrison Ford was in Sicily doing interviews while we were there. Also while we were there, a family altar was discovered on the Segesta site.
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We had our best pizza - maybe The Best pizza at It Gattopardo in Alcamo. We went there twice. The shrine was at the top of our road, leading to the house, presumably to ward against potholes.
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Mozia is an island full of archaeological wonders, in an area used for sea salt production south of Trapani.
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The Mozia Charioteer is a marble statue dating from the ancient Greek Classical Period, 470s BC. It was found in October 1979 in the ancient city of Mozia, originally a Phoenician settlement.
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Archaeologists are hard at work in the hot sun.
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Some of our favourite things in the Mozia museum
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Our second barbecue featured burgers, sausages, and vegetables, including the suggestive cucuzza.
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We really wanted to visit Scopello but had a false start, as the seaside bit was closed due to a wedding. We took these photos and then drove on to San Vito lo Capo lighthouse, a cat sanctuary from the look of things. Hoping for something worthwhile to do, we headed south to Erice.
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The cable car was closed due to strong winds, so we drove to Erice from Trapani, which was actually quite pleasant. We headed straight for Maria Grammatica's pasticceria, where I bought some gifts and then we had lunch next door - arancina and lasagna. We went back to Maria's for desserts, shown here.
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We bought a pass to see the many churches in Erice. Along the way, we stopped at one of Italy's Top 10 shops for granita, Liparoti. They were making fresh gelato by hand, smelling the ripe fruits as they went, and crushing them with a large bottle of alcohol (bottom left). The granite (lemon and pomegranate) were indeed excellent.
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Nick, returning to the car
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Nick found a destination for us to visit - Santa Margherita di Belice. One of the several towns to be destroyed in the 1968 earthquake, it was also the inspiration for Lampedusa's Donnafugata in The Leopard, and the place where the author spent much of his time. We saw yet more original manuscripts, plus memorabilia from the film.
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The Burt Lancaster film is revered by the Sicilians, who seem sceptical about the new Netflix re-make. The photograph shows the author with his adopted son, Gioacchino, the husband of our cooking class Duchess.
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The Mother Church next door to the Lampedusa palace was largely destroyed in the 1968 earthquake. It is now a memorial to the affected towns, with many poignant photographs on display. Shown above is Sambuca di Sicilia, of the "nun's breasts" fame, mentioned earlier. We learned that there is a major literary festival held every year at the palazzo, honouring prize winners including Kazuo Ishiguro, and hosted by celebrities such as our beloved Inspector Montalbano, Luca Zingaretti. The festival was overseen by Duke Gioacchino, but he died in May. We were told that one of his children would preside this year.
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We visited other earthquake towns, such as Partanna, which had a historical trail to follow. Gosh, it was hot! The statue, bottom left, is for emigrants who left the town for New York.
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Among ruins in Partanna
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We returned to exotic Scopello on another day and had access to beach chairs under a shady umbrella. We loved being there because it was featured prominiently in one of our favourite episodes of Montalbano, “Il Senso del Tatto”, which features the lovable dog, Orlando. I thought the man in the blue shirt looked like Salvo Montalbano.
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All kinds of hot in Scopello. We think Salvo and Livia's room is the one shown on the pink hotel.
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Nothing like a friendly Australian in Speedos. Also shown - a scene from the Montalbano episode and some anchors uses at the former tuna fishery.
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Turning our backs on Scopello, we went back to Alcamo for another Gattopardo pizza. Tiny Cow posed on a lion's foot.
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A joyous discovery just up the road from us was the wonderful Museo dei Pupi at the Real Cantina Borbonica. The woman came in especially for us and showed us how armour is made, let us work the pupeets ourselves, and told us about her dear father, Nino Canino, who was much revered and honoured for his work with puppets.
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Highlights for us were swordfighting with Orlando and Rinaldo, Tiny Cow's conversation with the smallest puppet, seeing the original scripts from the 1800s, and holding the dragon puppet.
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Such a wonderful tradition and an unforgettable occasion for us.
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Frank Zappa's father was a chemist from Partinico, and we hunted down the street that was a tribute to them. We had lunch outside of town at Mamma Rosa. a cavernous, empty restaurant when we arrived, but a lively spot filled with locals around 2.00pm.
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Our Saturday flights were cancelled due to wind in the UK, so we had three extra days in Sicily! We decided to stay in Monreale to see the mosaics again, and on the way, we stopped in the pretty town of Montelepre for lunch. There was a surprising amount to see there. An organist was practising in the church, there were Liberty buildings, a man called out from his fruit van. The locals recommended a restaurant, Monte D'Oro, which we walked to in the blazing hot sun. It was worth it in the end. (The following week, temperatures reached 47C and both aiports caught fire. We feel lucky to have escaped when we did!).
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We stayed two nights in Monreale, in two different AirBnB apartments, both perfectly located in the centre of town. We even found a free place to park! There was an ancient well near us (top left) and we had lots of time to really look at the catheral's spectacular Byzantine mosaics this time.
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On our final day, there was a street procession for the saint of a local convent. We had been inside the church - the most air-conditioned place ever - earlier in the day and didn't realise. The drummers in red were practising in the morning by parading up and down the streets.
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We returned to Pizzeria Toto, with it's outdoor art and library books and while we were eating, we could hear music from the procession and fireworks were set off directly above our table. I spotted the man who could be Invader at a neighbouring table. In the evening, we sat on our balcony with grappa and watch the street below. The next and final day was spent largely indoors, in the dark, with the air-conditioning on. We scurried out to buy lunch and quickly returned home again. It was an amazing and worthwhile trip for both of us. We arrived home at 3.00am from London, happy to be back, but full of memories (and 2,300 photos).

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The day after we got back from Sicily, I hosted two girls from my school and their German exchange friends, who are the daughters of my Italian roommate from Freiburg, Nicola. I thought they might be bored, but they seemed to love everything - picnic lunch, Frisbee in the park, galleries, historic sights.
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We took in the medieval walls, the Merchant's House, the oldest church in the city, and lots more.
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The Titanic Museum was moving, but also fun, especially when we found the dressing up box.
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We finished back at my house, for a homemade Mexican meal and a game of cards. It was a long, 12-hour day, but lots of fun.
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The weekend after Sicily, I held a bake sale as part of our neighbourhood's Over the Garden Fence event. At several times, I had queues, and I made quite a good profit (money for our next adventure!).
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We visited the sumptuously restored house of Frederic Leighton, the most eminent British artist of the late 19th century, and "confirmed bachelor". His house is one of the Holland Park Circle, a unique group of Victorian studio-houses in Kensington. The Staircase Hall, through which visitors would pass on their way to have their portrait painted, is inspired by the external staircase courtyards found at the rear of Venetian palazzos of the 15th century.
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The Arab Hall caused a sensation when it was built at the end of the 1870s. It was inspired by courtyard gardens of North Africa and the Middle East, as well as La Zisa palazzo in Palermo, which provided a model for the gold mosaics. The hall displays Leighton’s exceptional collection of tiles from Damascus, which date from the 16th and 17th centuries.
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The Narcissus hall featured an original Roman sculpture excavated from the ruins of Pompeii, thought to be Narcissus, but later reidentified as Dionysus. The beautiful turquoise tiles were produced by the potter William de Morgan, and create a watery effect when reflected in the gilded ceiling above.
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The spiral staircase leads to An Athlete Wrestling with a Python, Leighton's first foray into sculpture. It heralded the advent of a new movement, New Sculpture, taking realistic approach to classical models. Our visit coincided with an exhibition of Evelyn de Morgan’s gold drawings, made in brilliant gold pigment on dark grey woven paper. We first saw her work in 2014 at the Men in Pants exhibition. De Morgan discovered the gold technique through Edward Burne-Jones. Using solid blocks of pure gold pigment and grinding them to a powder, she invented crayons and paints that she then specifically applied to the production of her drawings.
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Up the road from Leighton House is another of the Holland Park Circle, the home and studio of Punch illustrator and cartoonist Linley Sambourne. The rooms have Morris & Co wallpaper and lots of the artist’s work densely hung on the walls.
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A re-activated Invader near Carnaby Street and some wonderful dishes we enjoyed at Lupins in Southwark, including Tropea onions with cherries.
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Some baked goods for my Over the Garden Fence sale, a blue plaque for Canaletto over Polpo restaurant, Mark Wallinger's Labyrinth, and the Wolf in Third Man mode.


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At the end of summer, we spent a few restorative days in Paris, hunting down Invaders and seeing cultural sights. Click HERE to see our last, most recent trip.
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Coincidentally, we stayed on the Rue du Cherche-Midi, just down the road from where we stayed in 2022. Our first evening, we went to the 10th arrondisement and sought Invaders near the Bassin de la Villette. It was pleasant in August, not too busy, and laid-back Parisians all in their uniform of usually white t-shirt and shorts, which they make effortlessly stylish.
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People were dancing to swing music at Place de la Nation. We refilled our water bottles at the green Wallace fountains, financed by and roughly designed by Sir Richard Wallace in the 1870s. Lots of bakeries are closed in August but are still lovely to look at.
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We only had one photo, taken with my phone, from our traditional picnic on the Île Saint-Louis, where we said our wedding vows in 2007.
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These are all the Invaders we flashed during this trip, which moved us comfortably into the top 2000 scores on the Flash Invader app worldwide.
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After breakfast in our lovely Airbnb apartment, we set out for Vincennes, an area new to us, which was unexpectedly pleasant and full of sights.
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The Château de Vincennes was a treat, as was the 3-D Invader. Wednesday Addams' post box is one of a series around Paris featuring strong female role models.
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We had some memorable rose ice cream at a shop specialising in stuffed dates. The burger came from a restaurant with in Invader in their celing. The quiet streets near Porte de Vincennes were a surprise.
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The fun trend of oversized ‘nounours’ (teddy bears) began in 2018 when the ‘nounours des Gobelins’ first popped up in the 13th district. During Covid, restaurants used them to socially distance customers the required 1.5 metres apart. Thankfully, the bears are still hanging around.
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A twist on goat's cheese salad served at the restaurant with the ceiling Invader. The wall of Invaders has no connection with the real Invader, I suspect, but this café's display paid worthy tribute to our hero's work. I have mixed feelings about the stickers left by Invader's fans, including Princess Leia, whom we met last time.
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The Galerie au Bonheur du Jour is in the heart of Paris, only a few steps from the Opéra. Madame Nicole Canet curates regular exhibitions of vintage drawings, paintings and photographs of bygone eras and is passionate about all types of art involving (mainly unclothed) male and female subjects.
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The Bugs Bunny mosaic is one of my all-time favourites. We found the Cyber-punk Invader, which was installed just after we left Paris in 2022.
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We went to the Palais de Tokyo, excited to see the LASCO Project, a showcase of artistic projects set in the building’s secret subterranean passages. We were disappointed to be told that the area is no longer visitable; however, the guide showed us a few of the works that are still on show, such as this misspelled Banksy stencil (a genuine Banksy) and the Invader over the desk. It was market day across the road and Chicken Boy sold us a meaty kebab, which we ate in the pouring rain.
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The exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo was about using parts of the building and architects' tools and supplies to new effect. I think. There were remnants of the LASCO project for us to see.
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Conceived as a single installation in dialogue with the architecture of the Palais de Tokyo, Vous les entendez? (Do You Hear Them?) attests to Laura Lamiel’s keen attention to space, whether that of the exhibition or that of her work.
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The lunch, top left, could be an art installation. Outside, the sun came out, and we headed for the Eiffel Tower to find more Invaders.
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The cute couple top right aren't by Invader, but they reminded me of us, and I admire the new artist's style.
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A real treat we almost didn't bother walking to was Maison Art Nouveau at 2 Rue Eugène Manuel, designed in 1903 by architect Charles Klein and ceramicist Emil Miller. Spectacular!
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We rested our tired feet with a croque madame lunch on the Rue de la Tour (castle Invader) in a quiet area of the 16th arrondisement.
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Tiny Cow enjoyed all the accents on his crème brûlée, while we admired the architecture of the 16eme.
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We bought a tradition baguette and some pains au chocolat at this lauded bakery before heading home on the bus.
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Our apartment, Église Notre-Dame de la Gare in the 13th arrondisement, statues in Parc Bercy, and a cute market seller on the Boulevard Raspail
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We were thrilled to find the brother of our cute Sheep, who came from Northern Ireland. The market seller sold goats' cheese and said a friend of his brought the lamb back as a gift. After the market, we headed out to Val-de-Marne, the 13th arrondisement, in search of far flung Invaders.
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The 13th district brought new surprsies in street market, street art, and the route to the Parc Bercy, which featured a Seine-side swimming pool and cool bridge.
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After too much walking, we sat for lunch and rehydration. At Nation, we stopped to enjoy the water sprays, a fantastic idea first seen in Budapest.
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A highlight of our trip was the Ron Mueck exhbition at the wonderful Fondation Cartier. Mueck is Australian but now lives and works on the Isle of Wight. Because his work is so meticulous, he has created fewer than 50 sculptures in his career.
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Our final evening in Paris (this time), with more Ron Mueck, another feminist post box, our final Invader scores, and the Best Artichoke Ever.


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My high school friend, Rus, last came to visit in 2007 and we had a great time together that year in Italy. We last saw each other in San Francisco in 2010. This time, he came with his sister, who was celebrating her birthday, and his nieces, who like Harry Potter and international confectionary. Their Airbnb in Chiswick was luxurious, including a signed photo of the Queen in the bathroom.
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I put together a route map for us, which included Chief Coffee and Chiswick High Road.
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Chiswick House and Gardens
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I loved the quirky Treatment Rooms Mosaic House
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No collection of photos would be complete without some shirtless men. That may well be the end of summer, but lots more fun on the way!

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