Firstly, Rome. We actually went to Rome. I will just gloss over the mobsters pretending to be legal taxis, the graffiti and the rubbish, and we will concentrate on what makes Rome amazing!
The Roman's were very keen on er, well, naked bodies. Nakedness and heads...lots and lots of naked statues everywhere you looked!
One of my favourite heads! Medusa. I will keep it to just these few. I'm of an age where I can only tolerate so much nudeness!
We did an organised, pre-booked tour of the Vatican, which was filled with all sorts from mummies stolen from Egypt to gold and silver gifts (so they say) from all over the world.
One of my favourite rooms or galleys was the tapestry room. The work that went into these amazing pieces was just unbelievable. And they were huge!
A lot of the tapestries used gold thread which was real, real, honest too goodness gold. The fibres in this tapestry have faded and rotted away but the gold remains.
Of course, the tapestries were of a biblical nature.
Most tapestries were showing those favourite biblical stories of er, Herod killing babies, or Moses being rescued as yet more babies were killed, John the Baptist being beheaded etc, etc. Can you see a common theme here? I've included the photo above, not because it is was baby being killed (because most of the tapestries showed something or someone being killed) but because I was so impressed at the....underarm hair! Seriously cool! I may start including pubic hair in my designs (goodness, I hope they didn't use hair to stitch it..they used things like ear wax to add shine to some of the threads!) This is seriously hard-core stitching isn't it!
My second favourite room was the Map Room. The ceilings were all hand painted with different panelled artworks: not one was the same. The gallery went on for miles and the maps were amazing. The details in them were out of this world!
I loved the gold bee and the two ships trying to blow each other up!
This room was painted by Michael Angelo's student. In fact every single room and ceiling was painted and an art of work in itself! I took hundreds of photos but really, you have to see it for yourself. We went in the Sistine Chapel but you couldn't take photos. It was amazing, especially when you have two art student sons with you who explained the techniques used to make the whole room look 3d!
It was impressive but I couldn't help but notice the 1000s of visitors, all paying to look around the museums, and how much money the Vatican city has while beggars lined the streets outside, often with limbs missing. There is something rotten in the state of Vatican as far as I'm concerned!
The next day we did the Coliseum which is so much more (if you have the sense to pre-book a tour) as it is actually like walking through a history lesson. We follow the journey of four Emperors and the architecture is amazing!
Water fountains like there are all over Rome, and provide free drinking water.
You sat according to rank. The covered buildings were shops (the very first tourist shops perhaps?) and slaves and women had to sit at the very top, furthest away from the action. The slaves, because they had no rank, and the women, because they distracted the gladiators. They had 'gladiator fan clubs'!
It would have looked even nicer had the marble that lined the walls not been stolen to build the Vatican.
The little square building on the right is where the senators met. It's actually nothing at all like you see in films. Very plain and boring.
This is one of the Vestal Virgins. Each one had a statue made of them with their family and background engraved underneath. If they were naughty with men before the age of 38 then they were buried alive.We had a wonderful tour guide, an art historian who was passionate about her subject. She told us stories about what happened at the shows held there. They would put on a production of Icarus and at the crucial moment, would catapult a slave, dressed with wings made of feathers, out into the arena. If shows or gladiator fights were boring they would randomly catapult someone in. Of course, I disgraced myself by giggling, but heck, it was 2000 years ago!
Then the Trevi Fountain and Spanish steps. Pretty but full of people conning you into buying things by offering you 'freebies' and then holding a hand out for money. I did what they were very good at doing: I pretended I didn't speak English. That seemed to work rofl. Some of them had perfect English until you wanted prices...then suddenly they didn't understand.
Throwing a coin in means you are coming back. Judging by how I feel health wise, I think this is highly unlikely!
Now for some crafting!
After my failed attempt at a cardigan in blue (see 'ode to blue wool in previous posts), I bought some decent baby wool and managed this for my Help the Hospice Baby Event. Much, much better I thought!
I had to do a radio interview to announce it as the Mayo and Roscommon Hospice are taking it all on board for me. It comes out on Sunflower day, which is our palliative care awareness day.
Look at what we have so far and we haven't even asked Irish groups to get involved yet!
I am incredibly touched that amazing friends from different countries are supporting me with this fundraiser for a charity which doesn't affect them or their lives, just mine. It is a wonderful and I'm very humbled by their friendship which has gone far and beyond what I expected or could have hoped for.
Of course, now my health is visibly deteriorating, or at least physically deteriorating because people tell me I look well when in reality I feel terrible, I managed to grab three days while I could, between endless hospital scans and appointments, to go and visit my granddaughter. It wasn't the most sensible decision I have ever made as I'm really too fatigued to travel to and from the UK in three days but there you go: it was done and I did enjoy my time with her.
Alyssia wanted a blanket for her new 'baby', so a little blanket she got.
My daughter took this lovely photo of Alyssia and I relaxing at the end of the day, watching the Clangers. She is wearing her pjs and the Christmas poncho I crocheted for her last year. Apparently this is all the rage in toddler fashion circles (or at least Alyssia's) so who was I to argue? And our 'Soup Dragon' language skills are so much better than my Italian language skills were. Darn it; I thought I was quite good until you take into account accents and how fast they speak. Soup Dragon is much easier!
So I will leave you all now. Thank you for having the patience to stick by me after my absence. The next post will be stitchy, I promise xxx