I mentioned in my post yesterday that I was in Marta and took some update photos of the work along the lakeside. There was no work actually going on but I did find this duck sunbathing amongst the cobbles that have been saved!
I had a message a few days ago from fellow blogger, the talented Mademoiselle Poirot asking me to visit her blog as she had something for me! Well to my surprise and delight it was this sunshine award. I have been trying unsuccessfully today to post this to the sidebar in the blog, so instead it is here!
Apparently I am supposed to nominate another ten blogs for the award but as I find this an impossible choice I am awarding it to you all. Each and every one of my readers, both family and friends, deserve this award for the way you all in your own ways bring a little sunshine into my life.
I invite the Bloggers amongst you to accept this SUNSHINE AWARD and post it on your own Blogs.
I enjoy keeping in touch with everyone via this medium of Blogging and although I do not aspire to great writing I am happy to think that I do maybe sometimes post items of interest.
If you have a chance do take a look at Mademoiselle Poirot's blog via the blue link above. She is a very talented artistic young lady from Paris now living in London whose blog always has something beautiful to look at displayed there, she makes and sells various items via her own stall in Greenwich Market.
You may just get some inspiration or an opportunity to visit her at Greenwich Market one Saturday.
Having posted my lovely sunshine award I shall now go and enjoy some real sunshine in the garden. We visited a plant nursery this morning after going to the Marta weekly market and of course could not possibly leave empty handed. We arrived home with a boot full of plants.
While I was in Marta I took some photos of the progress on the lakeside improvements, I will post update soon. It is only two weeks until the deadline for the Festa Celebrations, I wonder if they will finish in time? Marta Lakeside All Change!
A little early for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere but I am planning a long weekend away from my computer, no Sunday Song this week but I thought before leaving you all in peace for awhile I would leave you with my Friday Foto.
Have a peaceful and stress free weekend where ever you may be and however you choose to spend it. I will be back sometime next week.
Sadly my little group of tulips will soon before over for another year.
Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever. While climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest opportunity – an unprecedented opportunity to build a healthy, prosperous, clean energy economy now and for the future.
Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. Earth Day Network is galvanizing millions who make personal commitments to sustainability. Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy. Join the more than one billion people in 190 countries that are taking action for Earth Day.
What do we do to help:
We recycle as much as possible, paper, plastic, aluminium and glass.
We reuse plastic shopping bags or even better are trying to remember to stop using them and change to re-usable bags.
We print responsibly.
We do not use pesticides in our garden.
We grow our own fruit and vegetables or use local markets.
We eat locally produced food as much as we can source.
We leave grass cuttings on the grass and do not cut it too short.
We are replanting trees in our garden to replace those that have died.
We have a compost bin.
We are careful with our water usage.
We are in the process of changing all of our light bulbs to low energy ones.
We try to use the car less, this is a hard one, but we do use our Smart Car at least 90% of the time.
I know there are also a lot of things that are bad for the Earth that we still do as well but at least we are trying. Are you, what are you doing to help?
I have joined the group above on Facebook and they have asked us to post about Earth Day on our blogs if we have one!
World Earth Day was first celebrated globally on April 22nd 1970, to highlight the need for the conservation of Earth's natural resources.
This video from You Tube is sponsored by The World Wildlife Fund
Back in Hong Kong there were still lots of places that we wanted to see. One place in particular that I had been looking forward to was a trip to Lamma Island.
My particular interest in visiting Lamma Island was because I enjoy the writing of Christine Coleman and her latest novel 'Paper Lanterns' is partially set on the island. My copy is on order and I am looking forward to it arriving.
Her website is definitely worth a visit, just click on her name highlighted in blue and you will be redirected there and can learn more about her by scrolling down the page or clicking on the different ‘categories’ list on the right and generally having a browse around while you are there. I will of course be reviewing the book myself in due course, but if any of you have already read and reviewed 'Paper Lanterns' maybe you would be interested in doing a guest post on my Book Review Blog? lindyloumacbookreviews
Lamma Island is one of our daughter's favourite places in Hong Kong and I can understand why. Lamma is the closest island to Hong Kong Island and here it would be possible to live a peaceful lifestyle yet be close enough to the city for work, or just some general hustle and bustle when you felt the need. A fact very much in evidence by the number of bicycles at the ferry pier of the main settlement of Yung Shu Wan when we docked! Click on the blue links above and below to learn more about life on the Island
On arrival on the island we sampled a delicious selection of Dim Sum for brunch from the Sampan Seafood Restaurant, one of many as the island is known for its restaurants, beaches and country walks. An easy way to see a fair amount of the beautiful scenery is to take the 4km walking trail across the island to the other main village of Sok Kwu Wan, which is exactly what we did.
A very late fish lunch in Sok Kwu Wan, then the ferry from there back to Hong Kong Island.
There were hundreds of bicycles on the pier!
Dim Sum Brunch
Beautiful scenery on the walking trail
I am now of the opinion that I have posted more than enough photos of our trip here on My Blog and therefore this will be my last one. I know that some of you will breathe a sigh of relief as you really visit here to read about our life in Italy. Others will be disappointed and have already hinted as much so those of you who want more, yawn click HERE. This link will take you to my Flickr account where in addition to the photo selection here you will find more and in addition photos of our trips the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Stanley, Cheung Chau Island, Macau, The Peak, Sai Kung, Tai O, A Symphony of Lights and Shek O
Thankyou everyone who has commented on our China Trip, I have enjoyed sharing the experience with you but feel I must now try and get back to writing about ordinary everyday life again. I suspect nothing much will happen around here as life settles down into a more peaceful summertime routine but I will try and find something to post about a couple of times a week or so.
Do remember if you are interested in more information or photos, just clicking on the blue links will redirect you to other sites.
Photos of Roma courtesy of Wikipedia
A view of Rome: the top left picture to the is theColosseum, followed (left to right) by the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, the Piazza della Repubblica, theCastel Sant' Angelo, the Trevi Fountain, the dome of St. Peter's Basilica and finally an aerial view of the city's historic centre.
Today is the 2,763rd Birthday of the city of Roma. As according to legend Rome was founded on April 21st, 753 BC by Romulus and Remus. In roman mythology, they are the twin sons of the priestess Rhea Silvia and Mars, the god of war. The twins narrowly escaped an attempt to drown them in their infancy and were supposedly rescued and raised by a she-wolf. When they became adults they apparently decided to build a city and while arguing over who should rule and thereby name the city Romulus killed Remus. The city of Roma was born!
Image courtesy of http://www.vignaclarablog.it/2010041710189/21-aprile-2010-roma-compie-2763-anni/ where more detailed information of events can be found
From April 18th to the 23rd in Roma there will be over 30 events and 70 free guided tours at 19 archaeological sites and monuments and 18 museums taking place to celebrate. A grand finale will take place that recalls the history of the City with lights, sounds and fireworks from the terrace of Pincio. A local festival has taken place since 1870 to encourage the Romans to gain a better knowledge of their historical heritage.
Below is the link to another Blog post about Roma's Birthday.
Tanti Auguri Roma
Having read a review of this film on another blog I had added it to My Wishlist. So when I was walking past our hire shop Video Planet in Marta a few days ago and seeing it on the new arrivals advertising board, how could I not go in and see if it was actually available.
Thankyou so much for the review Susie Vereker and for drawing my attention to this brilliant funny film, which is based on the true stories of the two protagonists. I was in just the mood where I needed cheering up and this film certainly had the required result. Just click on her name to visit Susie's Blog and enjoy her review.
There were so many aspects of this film that I enjoyed that although I do not normally write about films on my Blog for this one I have made an exception.
Meryl Streep, a favourite actress of mine played post war housewife, Julia Child who whilst living with her embassy working husband in Paris studies Cordon Bleu Cookery and goes on to write a book 'Mastering the Art of French Cookery' for the American market.
Julie Powell is the 21st century blogger who challenges herself to cook recipes from 'Mastering the Art of French Cookery' over the period of one year and write about her experiences in a Blog at the same time.
Julie/Julia Project Clicking this link will take you to the Blog that Julie Powell wrote at the time of the project.
What Could Happen Clicking this second link will take you to her current Blog
Julia Child Clicking this link will take you to Biographical information about Julia her
I thought my blog readers would be interested in Julie and Julia (2009) as the film covers both blogging and cooking both subjects that many of you are keen on!
Here to tempt you further is the link to the Trailer on You Tube
While we were visiting our daughter in Hong Kong during our second week we flew to Xian for a few days, a present from her in fact. She knew how keen my husband in particular was to see The Terracotta Army in situ and not just a few pieces on loan to some museum so she arranged this trip for us. We had a fabulous time there with so much of interest to us to see, it was however bitterly cold in contrast to Hong Kong.
There is no way I can possibly post all the photos I took during our stay so I am just posting very edited highlights here and once again for those of you that may be interested the full set can be found here. Xian
Xian City Wall - Spring Lantern Exhibition
Xian - Forest of Stelae Museum
Xian - The Bell Tower
Xian - The Drum Tower
Xian - Street Vendor
Xian - Terracotta Army
Xian - Silk Factory
Xian - Buddhist Temple Lintong Bowuguan
Xian - Great Goose Pagoda Square - Fountain Show
Two rather bad videos I took, but they give you the idea!
Xian - Great Goose Pagoda
Xian Opera Gardens - Musical Entertainment
I hope you enjoyed this taster of all there is to explore in Xian, besides The Terracotta Army, which by the way was absolutely awesome!
This will make sense to anyone who has read the first post Residency Certificate
As instructed last week we presented ourselves at the Anagrafe office in Viterbo this morning. We were there when the office opened at 10am so there were not too many people in front of us and we were seen very quickly, within a quarter of an hour.
Having explained why we were there, we were checked on the office computer and told the good news. We are now officially registered residents of Viterbo as we show up on the computer records. Ah, says the man behind the desk, that means we now need another bolletino for 14.62 Euros for each of you to complete the application, oh and ten euro cash as well.
Ok we think a quick trip to the Tobacconist for the stamps and we will get our certificate, that's fine. There is one conveniently just across the square so that took just a few minutes and we were back in the cubicle again. Stamps and cash were handed over and the official disappeared for a few minutes, phew nearly there we thought.
Well I know that you didn't believe that it was going to be that simple, neither did we, after all we live here! Yes he returned with two copies of the document he had attached the stamps to, for us to take away with us. Our instructions were to return in three months with one copy to collect our new residency certificate. Three months, I know and this was just a move within Italy from one commune to another!
The other copy, well you will recall from Part One that they were thinking about renewing our ID cards early as they have our nationality wrong! We are to report to another office in the same building to start the process for this, however we were unable to go today as the photos we handed in last October are no longer in the file. It seems best to assume that they have not been handed over to the relevant office, so the ID card process will have to wait for us to take another trip to Viterbo armed with photos and other relevant information we think they might ask us for.
At least now we have a piece of paper that proves we live in Viterbo so that if we want to find a local doctor to register with we can do so. Somehow though I think both of us are hoping we will not need to do that just at the moment as we know it will need yet more form filling and lots of patience!
We will start with sorting out the ID cards for now, after all what is the point of trying to do everything at once.
This is how the road in front of our little house 'Casa Piccola' looked in August 2008.
Below is how it was looking a few days ago very different! The trees were all considered dangerous so down they all came, gone are the old stone benches, the lights, a restaurants outside space, and car parking spaces.
It is no surprise that there is a lot of local interest in how the commune are going to complete this area, which they promise will be done by mid May in time for Marta's most important festival the ‘Festa delle Madonna del Monte.’(link to my newsletter for June 2009 in which I briefly mentioned this important Marta Festa.) This year as my Newsletter has emerged into this Blog I will hopefully be able to cover the event more comprehensively. Meanwhile if you are interested take a look at last years photos.
We are told it is to be transformed into a pleasant area, with paths and young trees, for the evening passagiata (a walk the Italians take to see and be seen and meet up with friends for conversation.
As soon as some progress has been made I will post some more photos.
For the last two mornings, that is today and yesterday we have spent time chasing paper trails, not that unusual occurrence in Italy as the wheels of bureaucracy do often seem to move slowly. Domani, domani, tomorrow, tomorrow what is the rush?
When we moved house last year we transferred from Vetralla comune/council to Viterbo , yes technically we do not even live in Marta but right on the furthest possible outreaches of Viterbo. Last year we were advised, although now I cannot recall who by, that before we were able to register with a doctor at ASL/ offices for Italian Health system for this area, we would need an up to date residency certificate for our new and current address.
This is a completely different document from our Carta d'identita/ID Card which also shows the Vetralla address. There was a debate as to whether these would also need changing so we decided to visit the Anagrafe/Registry Office and make official enquiries and applications.
We duly did this on October 1st 2009, a fairly lengthy but straight forward process. We filled out the forms, purchased the bolletino(stamps that are purchased for all official comune documents)from the local tobacconist, had the forms stamped and handed them in to set the process in motion.
This is all to prove that we have actually moved to where we say we have, within the same region but to a different comune. We were warned that the entire process was a slow one by the Anagrafe and that it would be months before our new residency certificate could be issued. Firstly Viterbo comune had to contact Vetralla comune to make sure we had not left the town leaving any unpaid comune debts! you will be pleased to know that we were cleared on that point. also we would have to wait for the Polizia Municipale to confirm with the Anagrafe that we are actually living at the address we have given them.
We were also told last October that although our Carta d'identita are actually valid until next year they think we should mayber be issued with new ones. On close inspection it appears that Vetralla comune have listed us as of Italian Nationality!
See pictures! Three interesting errors, besides my nationality can you spot the other two?
The Polizia Municipale eventually made the visit to check us out on January 14th 2010, at 8am, I had to rush out of the shower! Then just last Thursday am they called by with the piece of paper that we trailed around Viterbo with yesterday morning. Unfortunately we were out at the market and it was left under the front door (remember no post box at the house).
A very faded piece of paper and no verbal message meant that although we had correctly translated that we were required to present ourselves with the document at the Anagrafe , we had not realised that we needed an additional piece of paper to present with it! Presenting ourselves at the office in Viterbo yesterday morning we were told that the document we had was insufficient to prove that we had been police checked. We were told we needed to go to the offices of the Polizia Municipale on the other side of town and ask them for further verification!
Off we went immediately, thank goodness we have a car, Viterbo is a large city and it was way out in the suburbs a good ten minutes drive from the centre. Not walking distance so I suppose those without their own transport would have to take a bus! Arriving there to find it was not open was frustrating, why could we not have been told opening times by the other office. No that would have been way too simple! Anyway we were advised to return at 12.30pm when the office we required would be open, so we went off and did some shopping, returning at 12.30pm to find it still closed. This time we were told by someone else that the office for residency confirmation would not be open for another hour.
We retreated to the nearest bar to draw breath and have some lunch and debate the fact that we had spent many happy hours on bureaucracy since living here. We have always been lucky in that at least everyone has always been friendly towards us.
After lunch we returned to the offices of the Polizia Municipale and were dealt with in a very friendly manner both speedily and efficiently. Having presented our by now much handled piece of paper, we were presented with another document to sign in return for another document to take away with us, along with the original one we started out with.
By now of course the Anagrafe office back in the centro storico/city centre was closed for the day, as it is only open in the morning on most days of the week, so we planned to return today for the conclusion.
Return we did but not for the conclusion. There were many more people at the Anagrafe office this morning and it took over an hour for us to be seen, then when we handed in with bated breath what we hoped was our final document, it was only to be told that we must return on Monday when our residency certificate will be ready for collection.
We shall wait and see what happens next week then, as we still have no idea what they have decided to do about our Carta d'identia.
The following link will take you to what I had to say last year after the earthquake in Abbruzzo. I cannot believe that this tragic event was a year ago today! Terremoto
Image from Times Online Full article may be read here
On that day the history of Abruzzo changed as at 3.32am precisely an earthquake measuring over 6 on the Richter scale devastated the region causing some seventy thousand people to lose their homes and over three hundred people lost their lives.
In the early hours of this morning over 20,000 people attended a service in memory of that moment as the bells of L'Aquila tolled once for every individual that lost their lives.
Please take a moment to remember this terrible event and sadly the other tragic events that have happened in the world since then, it seems to be to have been an exceptionally bad year for natural disasters.
I have at least two blogging friends who have written posts today in remembrance of this event and are much better at expressing themselves than I am, so if you have a moment please follow the links and read their moving articles which I am pleased to be able to share with you.
This post brings us to our first weekend in Hong Kong when we were able to have a weekends exploration with our local guides Selina and Chris. On the Saturday we had a very interesting day visiting Lantau Island, the largest outlaying island in Hong Kong, almost twice the size of Hong Kong Island. More than half of it has been designated as Country Park area. Its tranquil and green environment makes it a popular spot for nature's lovers and hikers. We took the MTR out to Tung Chung and then the Ngong Ping Skyrail, actually a cable car which takes you up to the Lantau Peaks and the Ngong Ping Village in around twenty-five minutes.
The walk through this traditionally built village takes you to visit the amazing Giant Buddha or Tian Tan definitely worth the climb up the 268 steps and the adjacent Po Lin Monastery which is fascinating.
Tian Tan is the world's tallest, outdoor, seated bronze Buddha The eyes, lips, incline of the head and even the right hand (raised to deliver a blessing to all), combine to lend great depth of character and dignity to this extraordinary statue.
The majestic figure of the seated Buddha is 34 metres high, was cast in China and took over 10 years to complete. Weighing 250 tonnes, it was unveiled in 1993 amid deeply religious ceremonies.
I have posted just a small selection of the many photos I took that day, so if you would like to see more please visit my Flickr account. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mctumble/
The next day, Sunday we headed out to lunch in Lei Yue Mun a fishing village southeast Hong Kong where after a walk through the village and out to the temple we headed for the fish market to choose our lunch! You buy the fish fresh from the market traders and then take it to the restaurant of your choice for cooking.
I took photos of the fish Garoupa, Scallops and Prawns,, they were all still alive at this stage.
and some more when they appeared after cooking on our table in the restaurant.
After lunch we took the MTR to Diamond Hill to visit the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Gardens One of the most beautiful and arrestingly built environments in Hong Kong; this large Buddhist complex is built completely of wood without the use of a single nail. It is intended to demonstrate the harmony of humans with nature and is pretty convincing, until you look at the skyline! The gardens are peaceful and serene in the midst of the urban hustle and bustle.
I took many more photos of these beautiful gardens which if you are interested in seeing you may view at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mctumble/