Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Companion of Honour

accompanied by Hugh, Lance Hattatt contemplates a quiet, hidden corner of Venice

We never travel to Venice without Hugh. Intelligent, observant of the finest details, insightful, if not a little precious, comprehensive and compact, Hugh has been a faithful travelling companion for more than forty years. And what Hugh may lack in contemporary advice on the latest Venetian fads and fashions, he surely compensates for most royally in his knowledge of Renaissance art, Venetian Gothic architecture, and the many hidden nooks and crannies of Venice that continue to delight and surprise the discerning traveller.

some of the many colour washed houses of the Campo Maddalena, a quiet Venetian square

the Pensione Calcina , overlooking the Giudecca Canal, where, in 1877, John Ruskin stayed

here at the Squero di San Trovaso gondolas have been built and repaired for centuries

Without Hugh we should never have discovered the Campo Maddalena with its huddle of brightly colour washed houses, the Pensione Calcina where Ruskin lodged in 1877 or the Squero di San Trovaso, one of the few remaining yards in Venice where gondolas are built and repaired by traditional methods which have hardly changed through the centuries.

the window of Segni Nel Tempo in the Dorsoduro district of Venice - a hidden gem

surrounded by his interesting and eclectic stock, Federico Bucci patiently answers our enquiry

a strategically placed chair is an invitation to book and print lovers to while away the hours

Enticed by Hugh into a narrow calle in Dorsoduro, we happily encountered Federico Bucci buried deeply amongst his antiquarian books and etchings. Allowed to peruse the tightly packed shelves at our leisure, we happened upon all manner of literary and artistic delights. An hour or so later, and purchases had been made. Sadly, a 'Country Life' edition of 'Gardens of Italy' had to be left behind, not able to be accommodated within the suitcase. But a hand coloured etching of the Ca' d'Oro, Palazzo Santa Sofia, 'Saunterings in Florence' by Elvira Grifi, and a most unexpected but very much appreciated gift of a limited edition print of Venetian bridges were then ours.

newly returned from our framer, etching of the Ca' d'Oro purchased in Segni Nel Tempo

"a new artistic and practical hand book for English and American tourists" (!!) 1930-31

Opened earlier in the year, Federico Bucci's shop, Segni Nel Tempo, was far too new an addition to the Venice scene for Hugh to have made mention of him. Charming, knowledgeable and deliciously Italian, we wished him well in his new enterprise and extended an open invitation to visit us in Budapest. Meanwhile, Elvira will be our companion to Florence, our next planned Italian destination, something we trust that Hugh will not mind too much.

published in the 1960s, Hugh Honour's admirable book is our constant companion in Venice

247 comments:

  1. How wonderful to have a learned guide. I must go back to Venice. I also like the Italian invention of the series of bottomless buckets to shoot rubbish down into skips without missing.

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    1. We would urge you to go back, Tom,but perhaps not in August!

      The tubes for conveying builders' rubble out of buildings into skips is very much a Hungarian system too....that is when a bucket on a rope over a pulley is not adequate!

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  2. Delightful post!!! And Sir Lance all handsome in contemplation. So stylish and romantic!:) What a wonderful treasure trove of books and fantastic architecture you found! Hugh indeed serves you well. There is nothing more beautiful than these small crevices packed with history.

    Hugs,

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    1. Not only is Hugh Honour's guidebook packed with interesting and informative snippets, Kasia, but it is also highly readable and his delightful descriptions positively carry one along.

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  3. While reading I started wondering if Hugh was actually a book
    or ok, that would be strange, a dog :D
    Federico Bucci's shop, is such an extraordinary place to visit.
    I like the framing idea of your etching.
    It's different with such a big passepartout and it does make a statement



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    1. How wonderful it would be, Demie, to have a faithful dog to accompany one around Europe but, alas, that is not the case. Federico Bucci's shop was a wonderful discovery and somewhere to which we shall immediately head on our next visit.

      We are so pleased that you like the way in which we have had the etching framed; we thought to make something of it, and the large mount has given it added importance.

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  4. I don't remember if we talked about this while you were here but Hugh Honour is still alive at his villa here in Lucca, though certainly nearing the end of his long and productive life. We used to see him quite a bit in the old days but after John (the other of the "Maids of Honour") died Hugh limited his social life to merely two or three old friends among whom we did not figure. And alas, the plumeria he once gave me died.

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    1. Yes, we do remember our talking about Hugh when we were with you, and that you saw him quite often, but had not fully realised that he was, indeed is, a fairly close neighbour. Clearly, from what you say here, he is no longer in the best of health but must be, we assume, somewhere in his eighties.

      We do not have, and must track down, a copy of his 'Venetian Houses of Henry James, Whistler and Sargent' which, if we understand correctly, he wrote with his partner, John Fleming [Maid of Honour -we love it, as you knew we should!!].

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    2. "The Venetian HOURS of Henry ..." You can find it on Amazon. Enjoy!!!

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    3. The correction is noted. We are to Amazon! Thank you for sharing!!!

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  5. Dear Jane and Lance - how very wise you are to give the modern guide books a miss and travel with the delightful Hugh, and in time to come Elvira. That way you miss the 'I love Venice' hat brigade.
    Squero di San Trovaso where the gondolas reside is a little gem to remember.
    I take John Kent's guide book to Venice, and another that he did on Florence and Siena. They are beautifully painted with illustrations by him, accompanied by captions spiced with pithy anecdotes as you follow him down the streets, and alleyways.

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    1. By the way - clever title to this post.

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    2. What a wonderful way of putting it, Rosemary. As you may well know yourself, Hugh Honour's guide to Venice is both highly readable and very informative and we have yet to come across better.

      The Squero di San Trovaso is a delight and one which we should highly recommend to you. Alas, the nearby church, which contains goodly things, has always been closed when we have been there.

      John Kent's books are unknown to us and we shall, thank you, certainly seek them out. Indeed he may well be a good companion to accompany us to Florence alongside Elvira.

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    3. Thank you. Sometimes one is more inspired than at other times!

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  6. I think that we could all do with a 'Hugh' to guide us around Jane and Lance !! What an asset !! Those unknown little corners are definitely the parts to visit in any town or city ..... they always hold the 'most interesting' and show us how the 'real' inhabitants live. Those little alleyways, streets and squares are the heart of the city.
    ........ and onwards to Florence.....another place where we have walked our feet off !! So beautiful and jam-packed with art, sculpture and history and so much more. ( food and drink being much of the 'so much more !!)
    Lance, you look so wonderful in your panama......and what a treasure trove you brought back with you. What a shame that ' Gardens of Italy' had to be left behind. I can't believe that one of you didn't have a space for it !! XXXX

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    1. We have actually relied on Hugh since our very first time in Venice, Jackie, and he has never let us down. As you so rightly say, it is the unknown corners of any city which, visited, reveal the real life and spirit of the place.

      For reasons, most likely too boring to explain, we have never visited Florence. Now we really think that this cannot remain the case for much longer and all that you say here is tempting us even further, not least for the 'so much more'!!

      The panama hat comes from an exceedingly old fashioned shop in Budapest where we have hats made. As for 'Gardens of Italy', really no room and a wallet somewhat empty of euros!

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    2. Oh Jane and Lance ........ you are in for such a treat when you go to Florence. It is difficult for me to choose between Florence and Venice as my favourite but, as they are so different I shall choose both ! I cannot wait for you to visit Florence.
      Two of my favourite experiences are:
      1: Travelling from Florence to Venice and coming out of Venice train station, having not seen anything of Venice on the way in, and seeing Venice in all it's glory spread out in front of me..... I really did hear myself gasp ! .... and.....
      2: Turning the corner of a Florence street to come upon the Duomo !!!! Oh my goodness ..... another gasp and my mouth wide open for a least a minute !!

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    3. We PROMISE, Jackie, we shall set forth for Florence at the first possible opportunity. Indeed, if we were not already booked to return to Brighton next month for a few days, then we should be seriously tempted to see Florence in October which is, so often, a lovely month. You really have excited our interest!

      And yes, we know exactly what you mean about arriving in Venice by train and walking out of the station and there is the Grand Canal. Unbelievable. No-one should ever go to that city for the first time any other way.

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  7. Honour being a very appropriate name. Haha, I think the 'I love...' brigade are always to be avoided.

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    1. We should agree with that, Andrew. And, not unsurprisingly, he makes no mention of the 'I love...' brigade!

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  8. Being loyal to trusty old friends is always rewarding. Why would you want to change the habit of a life time when brash, new companions would lead you where everyone goes and take you away from your own, secret pleasures.

    That book shop is a gem indeed, I am sure you and the seller found yourselves to be like-minded souls.

    Your slightly misty, soft photographs do honour to Venice's muted vistas. Any sharp images would only take away from the mystery of La Serenissima.

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    1. You are so right with all that you say here and, somewhat surprisingly, on every visit we find something that Hugh Honour describes which we have not previously seen. And yet we both reckon to have read his book from cover to cover many times over.

      Federico Bucci, the owner of the bookshop, turned out to be a delight. And it was so sweet of him to present us with the gift of a picture, now framed and hanging on our 'Venice' wall in the Morning Room.

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  9. Dear Jane and Lance,
    what a clever book - that I will strictly keep away from Husband, having convinced(?) him to store thousands of his book in a special big room in the attic of our house in Hildesheim - he would instantly delve into the antiquarian bookshop of Frederico Bucci - - - and then: OH NO!
    PS: Though I would have found a place for 'Country Life' Gardens of Italy in my suitcase, I guess...

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    1. From what you have said in a previous post, Britta, we do know that both you and your husband, and perhaps particularly him, are avid book collectors and would, without a doubt, have very much enjoyed Federico Bucci's shop.

      As for 'Gardens of Italy' it was quite expensive, although not overpriced, but we were already well over our Venice budget!!

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  10. There are not many hours better spent than in a bookshop, particularly one more dedicated to older volumes that might be neglected by those who don't understand.... I had a feeling Hugh was going to be the book resting under Lance's arm.

    The quality of the photos perfectly illustrates the setting and your words.

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    1. Like you, Teresa, we absolutely enjoy time spent in bookshops and those which have a secondhand or antiquarian section are amongst the very best.

      You have very good observation to have noted the book in the first photograph which was, as it happened, caught in a natural pose.

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  11. You two always perplex me with your fascinating discoveries and mind blowing cultural adventures. I would have asked Federico to let me sleep among all the those fantastic old books, smelling their pages (I am freak, I like the smell of books:). And Jane allow me to congratulate you on your extraordinary taste in men :)...Lance you are one mighty handsome gentleman :).

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    1. As you may imagine, Petronela, we spent a great deal of time in Federico Bucci's bookshop and left feeling that there was a great deal more yet to be seen. But we shall return!

      We both very much appreciate your compliment and are blushing!

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  12. I had an idea - next time there is no room left in your suitcase for such things as Country Life, could you not post it to yourself from wherever you are? Is this a bonkers idea?
    Anyhow, I am enjoying these Venice posts very much, I would love to go there.
    Sx

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    1. Not an absurd idea at all! The problem is that we should have wanted it here in Budapest and the Hungarian postal system does almost everything imaginable, but fails to deliver anything other than bills.

      How kind to say this of the Venice posts. But deep down you may be relieved to know that this is the last!!

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    2. No, I meant it about the Venice posts - I read Miss Garnet's Angel by Sally Vickers and have been intrigued by Venice ever since.
      Sx

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    3. And this we really mean, we are very touched by your generosity and do hope that one day you will see and experience Venice for yourself.

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  13. Well, as I said in my last comment (lost amidst the jostling throngs!) we are seriously considering returning to live in Italy.
    I must research Hugh Honour so he can be our companion too.
    If looking for almost vanished books, I think you can get my 1989 novel The Three Graces, set mostly in Florence for a full 99p or 99cents on Amazon.
    Love your wanderings.....

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    1. If we had the energy, which we do not have, then we too should seriously consider a move to Italy. And yes, we do remember your previous comment, to which we made reply, as you recommended the Hotel Cristina in Florence which we have duly noted!

      We shall now seek out 'The Three Graces' [with much interest] on Amazon where many of our gardening books may be found!!

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  14. There are some excellent travel books around and you obviously have found a really good one there. I am sure that Elivra will be equally as good as Hugh, hope he is not put out! Keep well Diane

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    1. We are a little concerned about our taking up with Elvira after all the years with Hugh. But times move on, or in the case of 'Saunterings in Florence', back!!

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  15. What a delightful essay. I suspected that your companion Hugh was not, perhaps, a human one, and was pleased to learn of "his" existance as a guidebook. A very erudite one as it turns out! Reggie

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    1. Indeed, Reggie, we should certainly recommend 'The Companion Guide to Venice' as an excellent read in its own right. That it too serves as an ideal guidebook is an added bonus.

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  16. Beautiful, beautiful photos, the one with Lance in particular. We hope to see one of you too, Jane!

    I am loving this Venice diaries, and your intriguing post titles just make it so much more entertaining. All the while scrolling down the post, I hoped for a photo of Hugh, and must say, wasn't all that disappointed.

    PS. Love that frame!

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    1. This is so very kind of you, Suman. And yes, one day, but not just yet!!

      We are delighted that you have enjoyed these posts on Venice, of which this is the last. Something completely different next time, but as of now we have no idea what!!

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  17. Hello Jane and Lance,
    I love that Venice, or parts of it that can still be found, exist and function as they long have. To appear amongst these parts as you do, as lightly-treading, modern travelers, must stir up feelings of being in another time, as if you were wearing masks.
    My connection to Venice is purely literary, and rhetorical. My grandparents visited there three times, I believe, and sent me letters when I was young. It has such allure. Venice is perhaps a state of mind more than it is a state.
    If it were to be lost, a quarter of our humanity would be too.

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    1. You conclude this comment with a very sobering thought, Faisal, and one in which we are in total agreement. That you should see Venice as 'a state of mind' does, we believe, come very close to capturing the very essence of a city which despite its present day popularity remains elusive and in possession of an undiminished mystery. That you should know it from erstwhile letters from your grandparents and through literature exalts both you and it. Thank you, as always, for this comment.

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  18. Oh how wonderful to have walked with you both through the rooms of the hotel and gazed with longing at beautiful gardens and flowers! I would like to say a big thank you for doing your Venice posts I've enjoyed every second it's a place I have always wanted to visit and you have taken me along with you. There I was sitting in Mr Bucci's chair inhaling the fragrance of his magnificent books!!

    Hugs Jane and Lance,
    Jane

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    1. This is exceptionally generous of you, Jane, completely unnecessary but very much appreciated. As you are most likely aware, we write these posts primarily as a personal record of some of the experiences we encounter in our lives. That you, and others, should be kind enough to read what we write and comment is something for which we are truly grateful and something which is never taken for granted. Thank you so much.

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  19. Dear Jane and Lance,

    I loved your pictures, especially the one of the handsome, pensive Lance.

    When my son returned recently from Spain, I asked him if he had brought along a travel book. His answer was that he had his smart phone instead. Not the same, but that's the way of his generation.

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    1. All the pictures are, we have to admit, taken with the most basic of cameras and so the results are always very variable. So your kind comment, Arleen, is doubly appreciated.

      We too have young friends who hardly ever refer to the printed page over anything, let alone read a book! But, as you say, it is the way nowadays although we cannot feel that sometimes the younger generation is missing out.

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  20. Bookshops and library stacks are treasure troves, indeed. How wonderful that you all discovered such a delightful "new" shop with a gracious host and so many old gems.

    I have now made notes of all the books mentioned and will seek them out in my library's stacks.

    Years ago, I arrived in Florence after sunset, on Easter Monday, traveling via train from Cannes. In the general euphoria of such a journey, it had never occurred to me that others might also be seeking a pensione/hotel from the Information Desk in the train station.

    This error was apparent when I saw the immense length of the queue waiting to speak to the Information folks. My moment eventually arrived and I quickly decided to up my budget amount when I asked to reserve a room for the night. The signorina told me the little hotel Was On The River and gave me a little hand-drawn map. I set out into the dark, with not much idea where I was headed.

    I reached the hotel. It was small and charming, as was my room. It was late and I soon fell asleep. I awoke early the next morning, and drew back the curtains at my window. I saw the Ponte Vecchio and a splendid view of the Arno beyond my dreams. I went out to find breakfast and ate my first blood orange. Later that day I treated my eyes to the glories of the Uffizi, a five minute walk from my hotel.

    I extended my stay in Florence for quite a few days.

    During that time, Italy was having some currency difficulties, and I was once given as change a Gettone, a beautiful little metallic telephone token. I still keep it as a reminder of my good fortune in Florence.

    Best wishes.

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    1. Frances, this is such a very engaging and totally delightful tale of your arrival in Florence, of your decision to pay more for your room, of the hand drawn map and then that wonderful, magical moment in the morning to open the curtains onto such view. Oh, if when it happens, as soon it must, our first encounter with Florence is half as amazing, then we shall be more than happy.

      And what a reminder here of the Gettone, something which has until now gone completely from our minds, and what a lovely keepsake. We can certainly remember in the dying days of the lira being given sweets rather than worthless coins in the change.

      The Uffizi we feel we know, but have yet to visit and see the wonders of the collection for real.

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  21. Dear Jane and Lance,
    Hugh sounds a delight and "fads and fashions"...do they truly matter and add depth and meaning to life? I say not but those books, those quaint corners, the beauty of the city...ahhhh!
    I adore the etching; in another lifetime, I was hand colored wedding and other photos in a small photography studio. Yours is a particularly lovely piece.

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    1. Like you, Sandra, we tend to brush aside the 'fads and fashions' of life and are increasingly sorry for those for whom they mean so much.

      We are starting to build up a 'Venice' wall in the Morning Room and the etching of the Ca' d'Oro appealed to us when we saw it in Federico Bucci's shop.

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  22. Dear Jane and Lance,

    What a treasured companion you have found in Hugh! Anyone can list the "sights" of a historic city in a guide book, but it sounds from your devotion to Hugh that he has written something along the lines of literature to be savored and enjoyed time and again.

    If one needs to know what is of interest in a city, a quick search of the internet can provide a list. Hugh has undoubtedly enriched your experiences in Venice, allowing you both to feel his presence: in the waning hours of day as the sun sets over a particular canal, in the quiet moments in a sequestered courtyard over a cup of tea, and in discovering the nooks and crannies of Venice. His enjoyment with all the senses reflects your approach to knowing the city and its people.

    The bookstore is charming and the print will be a fond reminder of both your recent trip and decades of visits.

    I have been to Florence as well and know that you will breathe in the history and quiet places absorbing the art and culture (and the food) of Florence.

    Bises,
    Genie

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    1. Hugh makes no apologies in his book that his purpose is to give a personal flavour of the city and to give focus to its architecture and art. What surprises us is that no matter how many times we make reference to the book, we always discover something new and each visit gives us a deeper insight to this most beguiling of cities.

      The bookshop was indeed charming and, like Venice itself, there is so much yet to be discovered on the shelves and in the folders of prints.

      We are very much taken with the idea of Florence being our next port of call in Italy and are sure that we shall lose our hearts all over again. How many times can one fall in love?

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  23. Oh I loved your post Jane and Lance. We seem to have the same love of books and art. I am just about to start an Art history course with the OU on The Renaissance and can't wait. The book shop looks like heaven to me and your photos are lovely.
    Patricia x

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    1. Oh Patricia, your Open University course sounds most interesting and, surely, a field visit to Venice to support your studies would be just the ticket!!The Renaissance is such a rich and exciting period of Art history that you are bound to find it absolutely fascinating from beginning to end.

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  24. I love the way you have written about Hugh as if he were an old trusted companion who often accompanies you on your adventures. And, of course, he is! This looks a must have book for Venice. We often travel with found travel books and find them delightful and useful. What beautiful treasures you have seen, and acquired here! Minerva x

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    1. We really think that the only thing better than having the book as a companion on our Venice visits would be to walk the streets alongside Hugh himself. He writes with such passion and knowledge of his subject that one cannot help but be captivated by it all. The very best of travel guides in our view.

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  25. I must add my appreciation of your despatches from Venice. I will be returning to them if and when I actually achieve my ambition of a visit there. How lovely to be given an unexpected gift too. O wonder if you ever saw the televison series, 'Venice' with the wonderful Francesco Da Mosta. His book, which accompanies the series is a delight.

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    1. As we have no television ourselves and, indeed, have not owned one for thirty years, our knowledge of all things televised is somewhat sketchy. However, we have, as it happens, seen some odd episodes of the Venice series and did find them informative and delivered with a spirited style. Nevertheless, we much prefer to be there in person and breathe the air of the place and, of course, to take things at a much more leisurely pace than a television programme can permit.

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  26. AAAAH. A "boom compenion" who travels well, knows much, and adds to the charm of every adventure.

    Aren't good friends who introduce you to good things, the lasting things, the beautiful things, simply splendid? And those who provide such memories to savor---beyond price.

    The bookshelves are Aladdin caves of mystery and great allure---I don't think I'd even have to open one for a great time. I've just been feasting my eyes on the bindings and the arrangements and the shelving and the sumptuous leathers, just imagining the opening of the pages.

    But right now, they're like my "little cakes," for I'm content to simply open the box and smell them.

    rachel

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    1. And, the very best thing about Hugh is that he never complains no matter how far we walk, no matter how hot the day and no matter how long we stand and stare. He is the perfect companion and has become almost a real friend over the years!

      The bookshop was rather as you say like an Aladdin's Cave with so many treasures just waiting patiently on the shelves. A wonderfully eclectic mix but clearly chosen with an eye for the unusual, the humorous, the beautifully bound or gloriously illustrated. Browsing was sheer delight.

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  27. When I started my career as a librarian in the early 1970s, the Companion Guide series were at the height of their popularity, and strongly recommended to prospective travellers. I have several at home, though sadly not the Venice one. Another atmospheric and informative post, capturing again the very essence of what makes Venice unique.

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    1. It was in the 1970s that we purchased our Companion Guide to Venice on the occasion of our first visit. It has been an indispensable asset ever since. Indeed, only the other day we were looking into acquiring other volumes in the series. It is such fun to see what has and what has not changed since the date of publication.

      Thank you so much for your kind comment, Perpetua, you are always so generous and we appreciate that very much.

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  28. How lucky you are to know someone with all of this wonderful expertise. The photo of Lance at the beginning of the post is quite lovely...would make a nice painting.

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    1. We are only teasing about Hugh. He is the author of the guide book but we do sincerely wish that we knew him personally!

      We both hate having our photographs taken so stealth has to be the watchword!Thank you for the kind compliment.

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  29. Tour guides--unsung heroes indeed!
    That little book shop--my idea of heaven right there.

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    1. We do think that in the capable hands of intelligent and well informed guides, so many things can be made more accessible, meaningful and interesting.However, in the wrong company, something special can be destroyed for ever.

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  30. I notice that the Honour guide is still available, and intend to acquire a copy before my next trip to Venice. I love your photos, and the one of the gondola repair yard is wonderful....it could almost be a painting from the time before cameras.J.

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    1. Yes, the Companion Guide to Venice is still available we understand and we certainly do recommend it. It will definitely take you to hidden places in the city that we know, for our own part, we should never have seen without it.

      Yes, the gondola repair yard could well be the subject of a painting from centuries earlier. Time does stand still there we feel!

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  31. I far prefer the 'out of date' guides to the modern stuff.
    The former were written by people with an eye and the education to use it.

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    1. Yes, so do we. We find that those which rely less on the visual impact really teach one how to look and see for oneself.

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  32. You are going to make my next Venice unforgettable! Thank you.

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    1. It would make us very happy to think that we could achieve this!

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  33. I must buzz over to Amazon to have a look at Hugh's book, just in case of course that I get swept off for a weekend in Venice one day soon. You never know what might happen if you wish hard enough. I am sure that I can find a wonderful momento of my trip in that glorious bookshop too.

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    1. It would be a dear wish of ours, Susan, that you would be swept off your feet, installed in the Gritti Palace, wined and dined at Harry's Dolci [so much better than the bar we are informed]and serenaded in a gondola under a moonlit Venetian sky. You deserve it. But, should that not happen just yet, then at least reading Hugh would be some small compensation........

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  34. Dear Jane and Lance,
    Hugh sounds a delight and as to the "fads and fashions" do they truly add value to life? I think not but that bookstore, the gondola yard, the hidden calles and the beauty...ahhhh!
    Lance, the photo of you is charming; may I, lovingly, encourage you both to take as many photos of the other as possible? One day, they will warm many times over.

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    1. We are absolutely at one with you about the fripperies of fashion. They come and go but do not add to the real quality of life in our view. But, the gondola yard with the work that has remained unchanged for centuries, now that does make our hearts beat a little faster.

      We are touched by your gentle encouragement of taking photographs of each other. As you know, from your own attempts in Budapest, we are not keen to be in front of a camera!! However, we also appreciate what comfort photographs of Dave must bring to you now and we are touched by your loving thoughts.

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  35. What a beautiful place and a wonderful friend.

    Happy travels

    Nina x

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  36. As you might have guessed Jane and Lance, i loved this post as it is about that beautiful city that is Venice.
    What a wonderful idea to frame such a small atching in such a big frame. Now it really stands out. I might steal this idea from you, if you don't mind.

    And thank you vrry much for your last comment on my blog. You are very kind.

    Red

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    1. When we discovered the etching it had been given a large mount and we decided to replace it but to keep the mount the same size. We are so pleased that you like the idea....steal away! We are so lucky to have a wonderful framer in Budapest, whom we shall have to feature in his own post one day, as it makes all the difference to have things mounted and framed well.

      We always enjoy our visits to your blog, so commenting is a pleasure!

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  37. I love that Hugh is not only a little precious, but that you mentioned as much. And I must say that strategically-placed chair has my name stamped all over it!

    Was envious beyond imagining to discover, this weekend, that Elizabeth Stanton's family had been in your home. The first exclamation out of my mouth was, 'I so want to meet my fairy godparents!'

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    1. So do we love the feeling that Hugh is just a touch precious, a little superior and just slightly patronising. His intelligent writing makes up for any shortcomings, however.

      Yes, you would be beyond happy in the bookshop. Of that we are convinced!

      Surely one day your wish to meet your fairy godparents will be granted. And how thrilling that moment will be!!!

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  38. Lovely, lovely post today.
    I loved Venice, so beautiful. But what I really enjoyed after seeing all the "tourist" spots was wandering down narrow streets and then walking into plazas with shops and restaurant all around. I remember a paper shop where I spent an hour looking at wonderful papers, lovely notebooks, pens and inks... my idea of a treasure box.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Thank you, Gayle! Getting lost in Venice is really the perfect way to see the city. As you say, one stumbles upon so many unexpected treasures that way.

      The stationery shops are indeed beautiful with their tempting arrays of jewelled notebooks and wrapping papers. In Cannaregio we have located a printing press where the most beautiful variety of printed materials are produced. Book plates are a particular speciality.

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  39. Jane and Lance,
    Hugh has been my trusted companion in Venice and I love La Calcina as well - time for another visit! Until then I'll have to satisfy myself with a Bellini on my balcony.
    Jim in New Orleans

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    1. How splendid that you too have put your trust in Hugh, Jim, who we have always found to be totally reliable. We have never stayed at La Calcina but the situation is, of course, marvellous. Now, a Bellini on your balcony sounds rather good!!

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  40. What a clever and witty post this is - of I was desperate to know who Hugh! Oh but the bookshop - wonderments of wonderments - what joy to be had resting and reading in such a place.
    Best wishes
    Jenny

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    1. The bookshop really is something of a 'find', Jenny, and we are certain to find ourselves there again before too long. And we can certainly recommend 'Hugh' as a guide!

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  41. Hello! What a beautiful post! Happy travels!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Amin. It is always really good to hear from you.

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  42. I recently discovered your blog, and I really enjoy to read it, and to look at the photo's. It's very pleasant to read about your thoughts. Mmm, english does not come easy to me.I visited Rome once, it must be over 30 yaers, with a very good 'travel book, I borrowed it and it brought us to the most amazing little places. Like you describe.
    The first time I visited Venice was in 1976; in those days I had no money at all,I just left high school. We hitchhiked from the Lago Maggiore, and we got an advice to stay in a monastry. It really was cheap, and we were kicked out at 8 o'clock by the nuns, but they gave us also good advice which places to visit. I still have good memories.
    Well, I will follow you. And thank you for visiting my weblog. I know the weblog of Madelief, I do admire her style of taking photo's, and her allotment, and I suppose she cooks very well!! Nice you will visit her in may.
    Groetjes, Gerda

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    1. We are delighted to welcome you here, Gerda, as we are to have discovered 'Nummer 11' and thank you so much for taking the time and trouble to comment.

      It is amazing, as you found in Rome all those years ago, what an advantage a good travel guide can be in directing one to places of interest. Your stay in Venice in 1976 does sound rather strange with the nuns - we hope that they gave you a good breakfast before sending you out!

      Madelief is a very good friend and we are so much looking forward to our visit to her next May.

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  43. Those books are special. Better than a GPS! Great shots, too. xo

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    1. We should rely on a book or map every time, Barbara, if only to escape that strident voice giving out instructions at every turn.

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  44. Fab pics. I think I could just sit here and enjoy the images, with a bowl of risotto, and pretend I am there..no need to brave the airport. :)

    That book shop is a literary Aladdins Cave. Wonderfully atmospheric too. Aaah let me at it.

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    1. Of course as we travel to Venice by bus, Wendz, we are not required, thankfully, 'to brave' the airport!!

      You would, we know, love Federico Bucci's bookshop. We shall certainly go back there.

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  45. I was wondering who Hugh was :) It must be a wonderful book if it has served you so well for so many years. I might need to seek out a copy for our next trip to Venice - whenever that may be.

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    1. We really cannot recommend 'Hugh' too highly. His style of writing makes for an easy read yet it is highly informative and very erudite. Quite some balancing act, we feel.

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  46. Me? Coming in late on all of this, but loving the description "deliciously Italian"..................

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    1. As you have probably gathered, Cathy, it is for all things Italian we are currently enthusing!

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  47. I think I will have to become acquainted with Hugh. Are there guides to other cities?

    What a marvellous book store, and with a comfortable chair to sit. I always think book stores sell more if they provide seating. One of my favourite places on the planet is "Explore Booksellers" I Aspen, Colorado. You can peruse books, have a cup of tea and a slice of cake at the same time. People rarely leave without a book in their hand.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your Venice trip. Looking forward to the next instalment.
    Di
    X

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    1. There are indeed guides to other cities, Dianne. Venice is one of a series but is the only one we actually have. We think now to try to collect some of the others.

      'Explore Booksellers' sounds to be the perfect place to be trapped for a few hours. Totally civilised.

      Thank you so much but, on balance, enough is enough. We shall move on to something else but as of now have no idea what.

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  48. All so wonderful Jane and Lance.
    The back streets and finding all those interesting places.. to see those beautiful baskets of white flowers on the pensione Calcina.
    Hugh! has mapped it out so very well for you!
    The book shop of mr.Frederico Bucci.. is like our old "Alforabistas" ..old book stores in Lisbon. I can just imagine how you felt once inside.
    love your framed etching ..
    All "malto bella" ):
    val

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    1. We too thought the window boxes on the Pensione Calcina to be very prettily done. We love the idea of Ruskin having lodged there and really believe that the view from his windows can hardly have changed at all in the past 140 or so years.

      'Alforabistas' sounds to be a wonderful bookshop. Lisbon is yet another city we long to visit; friends who have been cannot speak too highly of it.

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  49. Dear Jane and Lance,

    A lovely post. I do like your pictures of Venice and the Campo Maddalena - I am sure we have walked there.

    One of my Mother's favourite books is Ruskin's The Stones of Venice and we took her to see that building when we there last.

    I have a feeling that when we return to Venice I shall be making a beeline for that book shop.

    What lovely souvenirs you have collected from la Serenissima!

    Bye for now,

    Kirk

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    1. We certainly share your mother's love of 'The Stones of Venice', Kirk, and were pleased to discover exactly where Ruskin lodged in 1877.

      What is more, we think that you really would enjoy browsing in Federico Bucci's bookshop which contains all manner of goodly things, or 'stuff' as we might describe it!!

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  50. Sometimes I think I could live in a bookshop - the best are islands of peace, and contemplation and intelligence. We need more good book shops!

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    1. What is so very alarming, Mark, is that so many small book retailers are being forced out of business as more and more people by on line or resort to 'Kindle' and such like.

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  51. More wonderful glimpses of Venice - and the sharing of your well-informed companion and guide.
    I must confess I am already excited at your visiting Florence - this has to be my all time favourite city. I was lucky enough to visit when it was relatively quiet about 25 years ago but the memory has not faded. I am sure you will love it too. I can't wait to see what you can show us of Florence...when do you go?
    Axxx

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    1. Your enthusiasm for Florence, Annie, is infectious. As yet we have no firm plans but think that it is most likely to be in the New Year rather than this one as, one way or another, we have rather much happening between now and Christmas. How lovely to have been there before it became quite so popular.

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  52. "Saunterings in Florence"! I am in love with a book title, and can only imagine the wonders within. The contemplative nature of the photograph of Lance Hattatt is carried through all of the photos. And what a treasure Fedrico Bucci's shop is--I'm sure I could spend hours there.

    Thank you sharing Venice with us.

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    1. It was in part the title which seduced us, Jen, but it also seems to be very informative about the major sights and so we are sure that when we do go to Florence, 'Saunterings in Florence' will be packed into our bags.

      Yes, Federico Bucci's shop is a wonderful discovery - packed with goodly things, all of which you would love.

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  53. When I can stop laughing....

    That first photo.... I thought, at first it was Lance (the colorful trousers were a clue ;) Love them! =]), but, then, no.... is it Hugh? Who's Hugh? Is he taking the picture? He sounds like a WONDERFUL person - a delightful travelling companion, I must say! A bit bookish (yes, I really thought that) and old fashioned but he sounds like a comfortable and well worn - true friend... and....er... 'compact'(?!!! =/) to boot!

    Hook, line and sinker! =D

    Alright, when I stop laughing again...

    ahem.

    Your new friend sounds charming, too! She can be "Artistic and practical" at the same time.... you have no idea how often I hope the two of those traits can fit together into one person. =P and. I can't think of a single witty thing to say about her writing for both "English AND Americans"... All I can think is, "Well! That's that, then! I'll take it as a cosmic hint that I should make my way to Florence, someday!" ;)

    You know, I've been feeling an awful lot like a Lucy Honeychurch, these days. It might do me a world of good!

    I'm really appreciating your photos. A virtual taste of poking around and adventuring in Venice. And, btw, I'm noticing how lush and beautiful all of the window boxes are.

    I think you know how much I love a good adventure and I think there are so many adventures to be had anywhere we are. Life is just fun. But, Europe.... the history.... the cities.... it's all so 'old'! Never ending exploration! =]

    Well, I'm rambling on! sorry. eep.

    Love to you both!!! =]

    xxo

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    1. Of course Hugh is a real person but now well into his eighties and living in the northern part of Italy. We do think how wonderful it would have been to have been shown Venice in person by him, but as it is we have had to be content to see it through his eyes whilst following his very well written text.

      We are sure, Katy, that Elvira will come into her own when we travel to Florence but, sadly, that is unlikely to be this year. The fact that her book states that it is written for 'English AND Americans' appealed to us enormously and we wonder what compromises she had to make to accommodate both nationalities!

      We do so agree about life being fun and an adventure. And whilst Europe holds so much in the way of history, we are certain that one could immerse oneself for a lifetime in America, and still not see and experience it all. Whatever, one day we hope to touch on it!

      Our love, of course.

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  54. Italy is on my long wish list of places to visit. I believe I might need to make acquaintance with a Hugh. I would much rather find the quite corners away from the crowds. Signor Bucci's bookstore would have kept me occupied for many hours. It seems he had some English versions.

    I am so glad you found a few volumes to take home with you.

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    1. Italy is, Bonnie, one of the most wonderful countries in Europe and Venice is somewhere like no other place anywhere. But to discover it fully, one really does need a companion like 'Hugh'.

      Federico Bucci's bookshop is a gem waiting to be discovered.

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  55. Good Evening Jane and Lance

    I am happy to see that Hugh is on a first name basis with you.
    It must be a perfect companion and like a good friend only takes you to places it knows will please.
    I love how you travel with such an open mind and heart and always interested and caring for others. Quite like how you are with your blog and your generosity of knowledge, caring, friendship and love is a true and rare gift.
    The images are spectacular and a beautiful picture of you Lance or are you Hugh in this picture?

    Fondest wishes from Galway

    Helen xx

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    1. Perhaps, Helen, we have been slightly presumptuous since we have not been formally introduced and should, from now onwards, refer to Hugh as Mr. Honour!! Whatever, he is an excellent guide and has, over the years, opened our eyes to all the delights of Venice.

      What you say here is so very kind and generous, as always. But in truth we are no different from so very many people who share their lives and experiences through the Blogosphere of which, believe us, you are a perfect example.

      We do hope that you are enjoying a relaxing time in Galway with plenty of opportunity to meet up with family and friends. We also hope to hear about it!!

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  56. What a useful companion. I love the Squero di San Trovaso. I would definitely seek that out if I returned. Seeing where something so essentially Venetian was made and repaired interests me much more than having a ride in one.
    Along with the book shop, I'm sure I could lose many hours there!

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    1. The Squero di San Trovaso is an absolutely magical small corner of Venice which, as far as we were able to see, has remained unchanged over several centuries. It is, apparently, one of the last places where gondolas are built and repaired to traditional methods. Like you, we have absolutely no wish to ride in a gondola.

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  57. What a great bookstore you discovered! Without the help of Hugh? I love the way the etching has such a large mat and frame!

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    1. Indeed, Rubye Jack, who needs Hugh these days?!! We are so pleased that you approve of the way in which we have had the engraving framed. We wanted to make something of it and thought that a large mount would achieve the effect.

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  58. Traditional bookshops like that are a treasure that is getting increasing rare, especially when they are architectural treasures as well, judging by the beams on the ceiling. I love all your selections, although the nerve of Ms. Grifi for not distinguishing between British and American tourists.

    Older guidebooks constitute of the the great secrets of travel. They reveal forgotten wonders, although one does have to contend with the disappointment when attractions are either gone or over-developed. Even then there is the charm of reading about the city in an earlier day that we would give anything to be able to revisit.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. You are so right in what you say here, Jim, about the rarity of traditional bookshops such as the one belonging to Federico Bucci. We too think that the building itself, in which the shop is housed, is of a certain age, which makes it even more atmospheric.

      We do agree about Ms [or do you think she prefers Miss as a title?] Grifi's failure to distinguish between two very different nations. And how, we wonder, are the Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders to feel about their omission?!!

      Somehow older guidebooks really do seem to have the edge on more modern ones. Perhaps they concern themselves with different things.

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  59. Hi Jane and Lance, thank you for sharing the beauty of Venice. This is the part of Venice I would love to visit, so amazing.

    I also want to thank you for you thoughtful comments on my blog, always very insightful:)

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    1. We are so pleased that you have enjoyed these few Venice posts, Launna, of which this is the last!

      Your own posts are always most thought provoking and we admire your courage in dealing with matters of a very personal nature.

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  60. the bookstore, your friend hugh and, what the heck, you guys too, are like something out of a great merchant ivory film!

    xo
    janet

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    1. This is very kind of you, Janet. In reality we are just hugely fortunate to be able to spend our time in this way, something of which we are very conscious.

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  61. Ha!

    You left the Country Life edition of 'Gardens of Italy'? I would have thrown out my clothes if necessary... or bought a bigger suitcase. Thank goodness you took home the etching of the Ca' d'Oro, Palazzo Santa Sofia. These are treasures... who knows when we come across treasures a second time.

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    1. It was, in part, affordability! That said, once home we realised that we should, of course, have done as you suggest and thrown out the clothes. Next time we shall, we hope, act more wisely.

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  62. Give me Hugh as a travelling companion any day, Jane and Lance! He sounds much more learned than Mr Lonely Planet! Always a joy to read about your travels and thoughts. xx

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    1. Hugh is certainly different from Mr. L. Planet although, of course, rather less 'with it' and we very much doubt that Hugh has an inkling of what 'cool' might mean in today's world.

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  63. Another beautiful adventure that I enjoyed with your colorful, delightful descriptions and your eye capturing details through your pictures. Always a pleasure to read your posts.
    Blessings,
    Cindy

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    1. You are so very kind, Cindy, and we very much appreciate your comment. There is so very much to see and write about Venice that it is difficult to know where to stop. But we have stopped now!!

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  64. When you go to Florence, be sure to visit Il Papiro and ask for Ricardo. He, too, is charming and helpful, and you will enjoy his wonderful paper store (actually there are two Il Papiros in Florence).

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    1. This sounds most intriguing, Mark, and we have made a separate note of this which we shall place within the covers of Elvira's 'Saunterings in Florence'. Thank you.

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  65. Dear Jane and Lance ~
    An oldie but goodie! I do not know this book but will make every effort to locate it. You continue to show us wonderful and hidden parts of Venice. With many thanks and good cheers,
    Loi

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    1. We certainly can recommend Hugh Honour to you, Loi, and the Venice book is one of a series of Companion Guides. Without our Venice copy, which we have had for over forty years, we should never have got to know the city in the way in which we have.

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  66. Oh what a fabulous little shop! I so enjoy hidden away little bookstores and antique shops, they always have a gem or two to be found. Thank you so much for sharing this. :)

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    1. We were so pleased to have happened upon the bookshop which is, by chance, in the same narrow street as one of our favourite restaurants, La Bitta. Too good to pass by!

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  67. Hello! Excuse me! I understood! Thank You very much for information!

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    1. We are not sure for the reason for this and certainly hope that the problem will be solved shortly.

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  68. Thank you for this snapshot of the real Venice, I applaud the Merchant Ivory comment above!

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    1. Tabitha, that is so sweet of you. Thank you so much.

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  69. A book I will certainly look out for, thanks to your recommendations. I read recently of people complaining about the mass of tourists drawn to Venice by the big ships which spoil the place for others, but I suspect that this is merely the latest manifestation of a complaint that is centuries old. And I have always found it so easy to quickly escape the tourist traps into quiet and almost deserted alleys and squares.

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    1. We should certainly recommend 'The Companion Guide to Venice' if you are able to obtain a copy as being very readable in its own right.

      The large cruise liners which bring so many day trippers to Venice present even more of a problem in the serious damaging effect that they have on the environment in a way that, of course, was never the case in the past.

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  70. Good morning my lovelies, I am so enjoying these trips around Venice. My goodness tht boatyard is amazing, what a find! I love the white flowered window boxes and the handsome Mr. Bucci! Love to you both, Linda x

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    1. Like you, Linda, we thought the boatyard to be absolutely wonderful tucked away in a side canal where, according to 'Hugh', it has been for centuries.

      Yes, the white flowers in the window boxes do look lovely. We did our walkway this year entirely with white pelargoniums but for some reason they did not do that well - perhaps too hot and maybe we overwatered!

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  71. I know Hugh's books but am unfamiliar with this one. How amazing to have a book that can lead you down lovely roads. I love that bookstore. It is a great tragedy that Amazon and megastores have virtually wiped out the small bookstore ... they are so much more than stores. They used to anchor neighborhoods and bring people together. Can't do that online.

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    1. The Companion Guides are really so much more than 'guide books'as they give a distinctly individual flavour to the area being covered. One can then guarantee that one will not be following the madding crowds.

      Yes, we agree about independent bookshops and really mourn their passing from so many towns and cities in England where they were once commonplace.

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  72. Thank goodness for Hugh, just the sort of travelling companion we enjoy to help us find the hidden corners of cities.

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    1. Yes indeed, Linda! we certainly should never have known which way to turn in Venice without Hugh....our forever friend!

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  73. You had me going to the very end thinking Hugh was actually traveling with you in person, Ha, a well written travel guide is almost the same isn't it? I love old books and especially like it when I discover a bookmark, quote, or memento left in the book by a previous owner. Venice becomes more lovely to me with each one of your posts.

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    1. Just teasing, Linda, but we are pleased that you enjoyed the tongue in cheek nature of the post!Thank you for your kind comment.

      And yes, what a thrill it is when one finds something inside the leaves of a second hand book which belonged to a previous owner....unless one discovers a library fine that is!!

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  74. An excellent travelling companion. I'm sure we all have our own version of Hugh, but experience tells me that some sre much more exciting than others!

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    1. You are so right, Gaynor, a wide variety of Hughs are called for in order that all eventualities, cities, towns, countries and continents can be thoroughly enjoyed. And, for us, when exploring the calle of Venice, having Hugh alongside is like wearing a comfortable pair of slippers! We rely upon each other for excitement!!

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  75. I just looked up Hugh Honour,and guess what? He was born in Eastbourne! His partner, John Fleming, died in 2001, but is Mr. Honour still alive? You should let him know about this post!

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    1. Yes, we did know that Hugh Honour was born in Eastbourne and he is currently living in Lucca, not far from our friends, Paul and Gil. A small world.

      If you look up to near the top of these comments you will find one from Paul Gervais de Bedée which goes into more detail about this.

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  76. What an absolute gem! Hugh's voice obviously rings clearly from his book's pages. It could also be said that books adopt their own personae, of course. This is a charming post as always. I must say, however, the pictures of the heavenly antique bookshop have left me,unusually, lost for words.

    Very best wishes,

    Stephanie

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    1. One can really tell from the book that Hugh Honour not only has an intelligent grasp of the subject matter but has also been and seen for himself. That is why, as you say, the book and Hugh become one. It is as if he is standing right beside one.

      The antiquarian bookshop is a gem.

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  77. Hugh sounds like the man to travel with in Venice! Thanks for all the insights on places to visit that tucked away in the corner. This looks like an amazing trip!

    e

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    1. And, how we should love to talk with Hugh in person about it all! He lives in a Villa near Lucca, Italy and has done for over fifty years.

      We did have a wonderful time and now, of course, are excitedly anticipating the next visit whenever that will be.

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  78. What amazing places you visited with Hugh especially the Squero di San Trovaso and the book shop. I always love to find books like this when we are going on holiday, it adds so much extra to the experience. Following your recommendation we will take Hugh with us if we return to Venice. I notice he has written other books about visiting other destinations. Is this the only one you have read?
    Sarah x

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    1. The Squero di San Trovaso is absolutely enchanting. Time stands still and the work goes on at a pace and in a way that one feel belongs to a different century. We watched the boat repairer for some time without another soul in sight!

      Although Hugh is long since out of print, we still think that he is an invaluable companion. We believe that there are reprints with updates but we would go for the first edition.This is the only book of his which we have read and there are other travel books in the companion series by other authors but we do not have them.

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  79. My dear Jane and Lance, thank you so much for your recommendation of Hugh Honour's guidebook to Venice. Everytime I come here, I learn something new here. It's a self-contained, privileged moments here shared by so many like-minded friends. I'm absolutely smitten by the old, antiquarian books at Federico Bucci's bookshop (it makes me think of 84 Charing Cross Road!!)I think I could stay there forever. You might have to drag me out as I'll probably be buried under the piles of books. I love the painting you bought and the frame is such a great choice! It's cold, damp and rainy here in St. Leonards...your sunny pictures (the one you looks out in contemplation in your summer clothes) bring me a smile on my face. I think you have inspired me with your holiday in Venice. I'm going to read Elizabeth Von Arnim's novel with a cup of tea in front of the fire. One reads her novels for the temperature...her delicate writing keeps you warm and cosy. Thank you so much for your most thoughtful feedback in my latest work-in-progress "Maggie". With best wishes, ASD

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    1. Dearest ASD, thank you so much for your kind and generous comment. Your appearance here always lifts our spirits.

      Yes, you would love Federico's bookshop, quite the feeling of being in Charing Cross Road but deliciously Italian and all the better for that in our view. We are so pleased that you like the picture and how it is framed. We have a wonderful framer here in Budapest with a marvellous selection of mounts and frames so that enables us to experiment with different effects.

      We like to think of you warming by an open fire at St Leonards wrapped up tight in the words of EVA and thinking of more 'works in progress' for the winter months. Take the greatest care!

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    2. My dear Jane and Lance,

      Hello again. I came back to read this beautiful post again. The fresh sense of your writing and the thrill of seeing Federico's bookshop remain the same with me ever since I read and saw it at the first time. This post has inspired me so much that last night, I took out my one of my favourite films set in Venice (an oldie) Summertime (1955) directed by David Lean starring with Katharine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi. This is my top 10 favourite films. I'm sure you must have seen it. I absolutely adore it because it's based on my beloved writer, H. E. Bates' novel. I might watch Death in Venice again but I may save this one for a long winter night. Have a lovely weekend.

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    3. Welcome back, dearest ASD. You will not believe this but Miss Hepburn when making the film 'Summertime' stayed at our very own Pensione Accademia!!!! Isn't that incredible? The scenes of Venice in the film are wonderful and it is said that after Miss Hepburn fell accidentally into a canal during filming she developed a severe form of conjunctivitis which plagued her for the rest of her life. Let it not be said that we are mines of positively useless information!!!!!

      Talking too of Death in Venice, this past week we went to a performance of Mahler's 5th [the Adagietto you will know is used extensively in the film]by the Budapest Festival Orchestra. They had just returned from Edinburgh. The performance was historic and we relived Venice all over again.

      We talk often of how we might one day make a pilgrimage to the frozen North to see you one day [that is if we were invited]. How marvellous it would be to reserve Death in Venice for that occasion?!!!

      Hoping that you too are having a wonderful weekend. A Mapplethorpe exhibition and a piano recital for us today.

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  80. Ahhh, I was right. Hugh is sort of Baedeker! It sounds like fun walking around in Venice with a travel guide from the 1960s :-) It suits you! In Venice you can hardly go wrong. The whole town must be a monument. I don't think you could walk around Rotterdam with a book from that period. You would miss the best parts.

    Thanks to Hugh you have seen some interesting places though. I am terribly jealous ;-)!!! Your new travel guide of Florence looks interesting too. Will you be going soon?

    Have a lovely evening!

    The lady in the polka dot dress. x

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    1. Hugh is certainly to Venetian Art what Pevsner is to English architecture, Madelief. So knowledgeable and yet written with a light and engaging touch. We love it and he has served us so well on all our visits to Venice.

      We hope, of course, that we shall have the most wonderful of guides to take us round Rotterdam in the Spring with Hugh definitely not needed on that trip!!!!

      Florence is definitely in our plans but possibly for next year now. As there is a direct bus twice a week from Budapest to Florence it is very tempting indeed. So easy to just get on a bus!

      Your red and white spotty dress looked wonderful. So jolly!!!

      Happy weekend!!

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  81. Hello Jane and Lance,
    Another fascinating read and insight, complete with enticing photos of Venice. If, per chance, I grace Venice with my eagerly sought after presence, I would hope your friend Hugh would show me the sights. Of course, the feverish frenzy of the local 'puparazzi', would be a rather annoying distraction.
    And Lance, contemplation is good.
    Pawsitive wishes and doggy kisses, Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet star! xx

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    1. It is to be hoped that one day, with Penny equipped with a Pet Passport, you will one day be enticed to Venice to discover for yourself some of its hidden gems. And, of course, Penny will be keen to see the Doges' Palace!

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  82. I always come so late, there is nothing left to say! But I will say this: having a "tour guide" like your Hugh is indispensable, isn't it? Another place we'd love to visit, but haven't got to, so thank you for this lovely cybertour.

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    1. A really good guidebook is, we agree, invaluable if one is really to get to know any new city. We do so hope that you will one day both have the opportunity to visit Venice where, in addition to the wonders of the architecture, there is always much good music to be heard.

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  83. Oh, I wished I had known Hugh, when we traveled to Venice two years back.... not that we did not find some hidden gems, but with such a trusted guide, what pleasures I might have missed!
    You look relaxed and I like the hat. Jane captured you well!
    Books and artwork, the things I most often buy when being abroad. And like you, I had to leave things behind....
    Mostly though my heart!

    Back from France....
    Many hugs and kisses to you both! Hope it finds you well!

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    1. For over forty years, Victoria, we have made use of 'Hugh' and still consider his book to be one of the very best when it comes to discovering the lesser known parts of Venice.

      As we both absolutely hate having our photographs taken, it can only be achieved when the other is completely unaware.

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  84. oooh I shall make a note for my return whenever that is....I have a photo of the gondola place taken from that very spot, there was a bacaro I believe where we drank wine and ate chicheti and watched the boat builders!!

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    1. Great minds....Yes, there is a small café near by and it is not far from here that our favourite restaurant, La Bitta is situated. We can just imagine you sitting and surveying this scene, it really is like in a painting, isn't it?

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  85. How lovely. It's great to think that the book is still relevant today, although I imagine quite a lot has changed. That bookshop looks fantastic too and what a lovely print.

    Nikki x

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    1. What is so intriguing, Nikki, is how much has stayed pretty much unchanged from the 1960s when the book was published.

      We are so pleased that you like the engraving. We thought it looked fun in a large mount and a heavy frame.

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  86. All your Venice photos have us itching to go and visit it again! The bookshop is very much our kind of place! We'd certainly have come away a print or two the richer too :-)

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    1. We are pleased if we have kindled the flame for a revisit to Venice for you both. Yes, the bookshop is a treasure trove for certain!

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  87. I like someone else was confused at first and thought Hugh to be a pet! I would find the boat yard so interesting and who wouldn't savor that wonderful little bookstore.

    I await with great anticipation your trip to Florence.

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    1. Hugh is a pet in a way!!!!!

      The gondola repair yard is just like a scene from a Renaissance painting. It is absolutely magical.

      We are still toying with the idea of Florence, possibly something to look forward to in the Spring.

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  88. Dear Jane and Lance, I so love your sense of mystery and humor. I was trying to find Hugh in the photo of Lance and there he was all the time under his elbow! Very clever. Unless I missed something earlier I thought you had a personal guide (I did not read carefully enough . . . compact could be used to describe a person I suppose.) . . . well you did and I must find that book too. What enchanting and hidden corners of Venice he guides you to. I would have a hard time leaving the bookshop. I love your print and how you placed it in a much larger frame . . . like a window into another world. Delicious post! The photographs are so delightful and somewhat timeless. Wonderful colors. I wish i could say I was leaving for Venice in a few days . . . it will have to wait but I so appreciate knowing bits of it vicariously through your charming wit and discerning eyes. Thank you for the knowledge and pleasure!
    Thank you also for your generous and treasured comments!
    Oh, somehow strolling along the Danube after hearing Mahler's 5th sounds so utterly romantic and an image our New England settings cannot compete with . . . still the chamber music by the American String Quartet plus guests . . . was divine and Mozart's Quintet in A Major for Clarinet and Strings, K. 581 . . . especially the Larghetto is one of my favorite pieces. Next up will be the Emerson String Quartet. South Mountain Concerts was founded in 1918, yet I have only discovered it in recent years. Truly a special place to hear world class chamber music. I will have to do a post on it during the winter months.

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    1. Ah, you spotted Hugh after all, dearest Carol! Even if you do not ever have the opportunity to visit Venice, Hugh Honour's book would still be a jolly good read. We are sure that you would find hist descriptions wonderful and would feel that you are walking the calle alongside him, even if you are not.

      We are so pleased that you like the engraving. We thought it would be fun to give it an oversized mount and it really makes one look right into it when it is on the wall. So glad that you approve!

      Oh yes, please do write a post on all the chamber music concerts. You obviously have access to the most wonderful musicians and music is so very important to the well being of the soul. Walking back along the Danube was so lovely. A warm evening and the bridges along the Danube lit up as with fairy lights, all twinkling against the inky black sky.

      Incidentally, the Budapest Festival Orchestra has its roots in the USA, in Cincinnati, where the Music Director was a guest conductor for many years until he formed this orchestra himself. Small world!

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    2. P.S. Your reply about the rabbits is on the previous post but you have to click on Load More to see it as the overall number of comments has exceeded 200. We have made reply to the reply!!!

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  89. I LOVE bookstores....I can easily spend a few hours in bookstores, leafing through books....the one in Venice looks very enticing. I feel for you that you had to leave a book behind there!

    Looking forward to your Florence adventure!

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    1. Like you, we are never able to resist a bookshop and one dealing in secondhand and antiquarian books is always a special treat. Yes, we most likely should have had 'Gardens of Italy' but perhaps it will still be there for us next time!

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  90. What a lovely compliment!! And from two such articulate, evocative writers---Oh My Goodness. Thank you.

    I, too, beweep the dwindling of the inky page, the folded pages of flowing script, though my own "hand" has grown scraggly from unuse, in this day of keyboard and screen.

    Mammaw was my Mother's Mother---a lovely, hard-working country-woman, with callused fingers and kind eyes. She was the person most important in my raising, with her easy conversation and great store of olden tales and almost-imperceptible lessons-by-example of how ladies conducted themselves.

    She'd have been 117 this year, and I think of her every day. And sometimes see her in the mirror, which I don't mind at all.


    Thank you both for being such faithful visitors and so kind in your comments.

    rachel

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    1. Just occasionally one really regrets some of the advances of modern technology, particularly in the case of the computer and the so quick and efficient email, which have led to the demise of letters as once we knew them.

      It is, we feel, so important to remember, and talk about, people we have loved and who are now dead. In that way they are never really gone.

      The pleasure of reading 'Lawn Tea' is, we assure you, entirely ours.

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  91. Oh to whittle away time in that charming chair ... In that thaumaturgical bookstore... Yes indeed. It has made the "bucket list" (pardon the meme) xx

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    1. Which, of course, we did - but taking it in turns!! Too inviting to remain standing! We love that the bookshop now has a place on your 'bucket list'.

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  92. Its wonderful you have a companion like Hugh
    who knows about the history of Venice.
    I love hearing historical input whenever I visit a place.
    And he certainly brought you to some really interesting places there, hence, your beautiful photos.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. A really good guidebook is, we feel, Ann, absolutely essential if one is really to discover a city and to be able to delve beneath its surface.

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  93. Your Hugh sounds like my George Bean. Written years ago but still the best companion.

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    1. Not at all dissimilar, we imagine. Erudite and very readable.

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  94. Perhaps us Aussies have been included in any updates to Hugh who clearly thought us too barbaric to enjoy the delights of Venice in the 60's! At least Lance's reverie wasn't in the company of an imaginary friend ...

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    1. The best reveries can be with imaginary friends, we find. But, does that make us strange we wonder?

      We feel we may have confused you since it is Elvira [writing of Florence] who writes for English and American travellers, not our dear Hugh. He is all inclusive for Art lovers everywhere!!!

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  95. A shop full of old books and old travel guides, two of my favourite things! I have a small collection of the latter, always such a joy to read :)

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