Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"Coming Events Cast Their Shadow Before"

This is a time to reflect. As the old year fades into precious memories, and the new is yet an "untravell'd world", we find ourselves on this winter's night in contemplative mood, our thoughts roaming back and forth over what has been and what lies ahead.

caught in the convex - Jane and Lance Hattatt with Carol Duke [photographer]

Most recently, of course, has been the joy of Christmas followed by the jollity of a New Year shared here in Budapest with friends from Germany. But before that, rather in the manner of the eponymous Alice, we found ourselves falling through the mirrored waters of Venice in late November to delight in all that that most seductive of cities has to offer.

mirrored in the Monaco Hotel, Venice by Carol Duke - Jane and Lance Hattatt 

seen in the looking glasses of a Venetian shop - photograph by Carol Duke

Together with our very dear friend, Carol, we yet again stood in awe and wonder before the Tintoretto paintings in the Church of Santa Maria dell' Orto, wept for the eyes of Saint Lucy in the magnificence of the Capella Chapel of the Church of Santi Apostoli, traversed the Stations of the Cross as painted by a youthful Domenico Tiepolo in 1747 inside the mediaeval San Polo and then, some 150 years later, with the painterly eye of Carol, followed in the footsteps of Ruskin, revisiting 'The Stones' where once he himself had gone.

one of the 'Stations of the Cross' as painted by Domenico Tiepolo and photographed by Carol Duke

Another day, on the terrace of The Hotel Monaco - Grand Canal, we sipped coffee and watched the light playing on a rising lagoon, spied idle gondoliers at cards and then, a lone threesome, we danced amongst the mirrored halls upstairs of the old ridotto, Venice's first State-run gambling house.


one of the many mirrored halls to be found in the old ridotto upstairs in The Monaco Hotel

Once more in Budapest we delighted in the magical performance of 'Eugene Onegin' danced by the Hungarian National Ballet Company as part of a glittering evening, for a magnificent dinner came later, hosted by the most generous of friends, Marianne. Further trips to the Opera, dinner parties at home, with friends, in restaurants, a concert or two and, most naughtily, late night revelries in the bar of the Four Seasons Hotel with our darling and indomitable friend, Richard, finally brought the year to a close.

late night in the Four Seasons Hotel with friend Richard Adams and a selection of puddings

leaving a restaurant on a very wet night in December 2012 - Lance Hattatt with two friends

As for the present. And how privileged we are to have Dávid Nagy of the Bard Conservatory Orchestra of New York State as a friend for through him we have met such an exciting group of young musicians whose outstanding talent, combined with a liveliness and intelligence of mind, will ensure, without a shadow of doubt, the resounding success of their European Tour.

Dávid Nagy of the Bard Conservatory Orchestra in our Budapest drawing room this January


So, as the year begins to unfold, so the pages of the shiny, red-bound 2013 diary start to fill. There are Private Views listed, nights at the Opera booked, dinner parties arranged, concert tickets finalised, artists' studios to be explored, whilst beyond the borders of Hungary invitations wing in from Lucca, Milan, Rotterdam, Berlin, Munich and the sunny slopes of Provence.

Jane and Lance Hattatt seen stepping out into a new year photographed by Carol Duke 

And for now a thought, no more than a whisper, for we hardly dare to breathe those most exciting and persuasive of words even to ourselves: The United States of America.



215 comments:

  1. As I see it, your 2013 diary is already filled with lovely and exciting activities...

    Personally, as I grow older I plan more, so I think age has got something to do with it. I rarely plan for my goals during my younger and carefree years.

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    1. We certainly agree, Ann, about age having something to do with an urgency about living life to the full. As we becomes increasingly aware of our own mortality, the zest for adventure becomes ever stronger for us together with the lack of fear of the unknown or of failure which we felt so fiercely in our youth.

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  2. Dear Jane and Lance,
    Lovely to hear from you again! It seems that Santa has been benevolent!
    Your portraits are quite romantic; we are privileged you've shared them with us. For me, I find them touching: I can't imagine the two of you apart.
    Oh Europe! The art around you is of such an exceptional level. Not just art, but the human involvement in that art, and art in relation to daily life. The world really needs to take note how art ( as it is in Europe ) is integral to living, how good life necessarily relates to art.
    Thankyou, lovely friends, for the glimpse!

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    1. Dearest Faisal, how we are touched by the kindness and wisdom in your words!

      We do feel ourselves very privileged to have access to such a wonderful spectrum of the Arts in their many guises and do so agree that they are the very lifeblood of human spirituality and growth.

      And, we also feel blessed to enjoy the friendship of so many wonderful people, including you, dearest Faisal,for that really does make the world go round!!!

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  3. Dear Jane and Lance,
    welcome back - I missed you! And a Happy New Year to you both (it is still the time to wish that, I hope).
    Wow - when I read what you have done and seen in such a short time, I think one could fill a year with it (well, not quite :-) The photos are so lovely! The big mirror, too - but with the convex mirrors I have a problem (even complained at the fitness-studio where they have a humble one at a special weight-lifting unit - of course they were astonished, me being the first to complain about that little aesthetic item).
    You will have plans for the new year in abundance - and the stamina to fulfill them. Enjoy 2013!

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    1. Thank you, Britta, for your most kind comment. Yes, the convex mirrors can indeed be less than flattering but we find the best approach is to be somewhat blurred and indistinguishable leaving the rest to the imagination!!!! As for a gym, well, we are never to be found in one.....!!!!

      We have enjoyed being away from the keyboard but have missed all our 'blogging buddies'. It is certainly good to be back!

      Wishing you a joyous and peaceful New Year!

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  4. Hello Jane and Lance, That first Carol Duke photo with the convex mirror is a remarkable composition, as well as a telling portrait.

    You always get so much out of your European jaunts and experiences; I hope you get the chance to apply the same sense of adventure to the U.S.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Carol has such a wonderful eye for detail and composition. We were constantly in awe of her photographs and her ability to capture special moments with such sensitivity. She is in so many ways a remarkable person and our lives are very much the richer for meeting her.

      The USA represents a great challenge for us, not least the whole prospect of getting there. But, the adventure of it all....yes, we can see that this would be enormous fun!

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  5. Welcome back, Jane and Lance. Glad you got to Venice this Christmas; how exciting! But how I love your mirror photographs! Not just because I have such a thing about convex mirrors - I adore them and have a lovely one of my granny's in storage still - but for the lovely reflections of you two in them. Take Carol everywhere! I look forward to reading (and seeing) you in 2013.
    Much love,
    Axxx

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    1. It was such a joy sharing our favourite Venetian haunts with Carol who had never been to Venice before. And, her 'painterly eye' ensured that we saw things from an entirely new and exciting perspective. Oh, if only we could take Carol everywhere with us, for we would surely do just that!

      We too love convex mirrors but good ones are becoming increasingly hard to track down and increasingly expensive when one does find them. How wonderful to have found one in the attic!!!

      Wishing you a joyous 2013!

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  6. Hello Jane and Lance... I am happy to see you back, it sounds like you had a lovely holidays.

    I hope 2013 is as wonderful as you hope and more.

    I have missed you... have an awesome day:)

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    1. Thank you, Launna, for your warm wishes. We did indeed have a wonderful holiday time and we do so hope that it was the same for you.

      Wishing you a joyous and peaceful 2013!

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  7. Oh Jane and Lance,
    What a life you both lead .......... our's pales into insignifigance compared to the things you get up to !!!! ....... and, more power to you ..... I cannot wait to hear of your exploits in 2013.
    ....... and, the US bekons too. We have seen quite a lot of the States and I personally think that it is a very underated country. It is very beautiful and has much to offer The Appalachian trail, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Powell, Zion & Bryce Canyon and Monument Valley are just a few favourites of ours.
    Wishing you both a wonderful, healthy and peaceful New Year filled with love and kindness and,most of all, filled with fun. Much love. XXXX

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    1. Dearest Jackie, how we have missed communicating with our many wonderful 'blogging buddies' such as you!

      November, December and, now January, are simply whizzing by and although we have so much to write about, we can barely find the time to put finger to keyboard and transmit it all over the ether. Still, we would not have it any other way!!

      Thank you so much for your marvellous suggestions for the USA. We are so nervous about flying and so aware that it is a vast country with so much to explore. And yet, we are excited at the prospect of it all and so, who knows, one day.....

      We wish you too the most joyous of New Years. Perhaps 2013 may be the year that brings us together in the real world? We do hope so!!!

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  8. My goodness, what will you make of that? I look forward to hearing about it in due course. Meanwhile, envy envy about Venice. It never ceases to amaze me.

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    1. Surely, Jenny to tire of Venice really is to tire of Life itself. There are, as you say, always new secrets to be revealed and hidden places to explore. And, can one ever really have too many Tintorettos to look at?!!!!

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  9. Happy New Year to you both.
    Wonderful to see Venice through a different perspective and it's good to plan. We must have outings to look forward to and most of all enjoy who we spend those times with.

    Enjoy 2013. We shall look forward to seeing and hearing about your travels.

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    1. Wishing you a joyous and peaceful New Year, Sue!

      Increasingly, we do find ourselves planning the time ahead and it does, as you say, give something exciting to look forward to in the long dark days of winter.

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  10. Dear Jane and Lance - so lovely to see you both on my sidebar again, you have both been missed.
    I know how you feel about flying to USA but in truth it is not that bad - plenty of walking around on the plane and no alcohol is my top tip - drink water instead.
    I liked the way the convex mirror shop used Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Portrait, and Carol has employed the same technique herself.
    You have been having interesting times, and lots of good company. May 2013 be another happy year for you both.

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    1. Dearest Rosemary, thank you so much for your kind and generous comment. We have missed the Blogosphere too but, somehow, real life has totally swept us up and kept us from the keyboard!

      Well spotted! The painting is indeed employed cleverly in the window display. The shop is very close to our favourite Pensione in Venice and so we pass it frequently. However, we have yet to manage to enter the doors as it has always been closed. The mirrors are designed and made by the owner and are most unusual and, of course, unique. Perhaps on the next visit.....

      Wishing you a joyous, healthy and peaceful New Year!!!

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  11. Very beautiful...love the last photo...Happy New Year to you both, I hope it's a fulfilling one with great joy and fun!! May all your hopes come true! xx

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    1. Thank you so much for these kind words. The last photograph was taken on the Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest on a beautifully crisp and clear day. It affords the most marvellous views over Budapest and really does lift the spirits!!

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  12. So wonderful to see you both again. Reading of all your 2012 adventures and yultide events.It most certainly well passed.
    Great photos Jane and Lance.
    2013 more adventures, and wow.. USA.. will look forward to all your news..
    wishing you both a most successful New Year. May all your dreams come true..
    Your posts are like fairy tales.
    with much love
    val

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    1. Thank you, dearest Val, for your very kind comment. Carol is a wonderful photographer with a trained, artistic eye. When ours turn out anything like the subject they have intended to capture, it is pure luck!

      Our list of possible adventures in the USA grow ever longer and, one day, we really want to get there. So many wonderful sights and, more importantly, such marvellous people with whom to experience it all. Perhaps 2013 will see us there, time will tell....

      Wishing you a joyous New Year!

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  13. Goodness i don't know where to start. Such wonderful photo's and it was so lovely to see you both. I adore that shot in the evening leaving a resturant the darkness against that stunning building in the background took my breath away. Your christmas and new year sounded magical just like your new year sounds. So many wonderful new memories to make and magic to spread. Enjoy every moment of 2013 and i look forward to reading all about it. Best wishes to you both, dee x

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    1. The stunning building is St Matthew's Church in the Buda district of Budapest. It looked particularly magical on that evening, lit up against the inky night sky. However, the rain was torrential and the restaurant which we had been at, famous for its wide ranging views of the city, was shrouded in fog!!!

      The past two years for us have been, in large part, somewhat overshadowed by health issues of one kind or another and so we are embracing 2013 as a year of promise and adventure! We wish you too, dearest Dee, happy times ahead in 2013!!!

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  14. Wow, what an exciting year you have planned. I have a feeling 2013 will be magnificent!
    Happy New Year. Can't wait.
    Di
    xxxxx

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    1. 2013 has certainly started at a cracking pace, so we have high hopes of the months ahead.

      Wishing you too, dearest Dianne, a most joyous, healthy and peaceful New Year!

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  15. Oh hooray! My adventuresome friends are considering a visit to my home country? Again, I shout out hooray! The Hattatts take Manhattan...the mind reels. Oh you both would love it and I would supply you with a list of addresses down to the floor to ensure that you don't miss a thing. That is, if the Big Apple is part of the plan?

    As for the flight? Easy peasy just as long as it is direct. I wish that I could be as virtuous as Rosemary but of course I do drink alcohol on the flight (she is right by the way) and back in the days when I was invited in Business Class (press trips), I often was down right, shall we say, thirsty in my consumption of the fine wines on offer (in my defense Paris-Tahiti really is a long, long flight and so there was time even for that second digestif)! However, I do walk a bit and am even that wacky girl that does stretching in that tiny area between cabins, not of course do I suggest that last bit for either of you. All of this to say that I love to fly. It is a few hours where you have nowhere to be and nothing to do but whatever makes you happy--reading, watching movies, watch the light change and the landscape shift below, etc. Ooh, can you tell that I am going to do my best to encourage this trip? :)

    Like Faisal, I was moved by the lovely photo of you both in the mirror. I wrote yesterday about being linked inextricably and what a beautiful illustration of that your couple is. You give us all inspiration to live our lives well and show us how to do it too, if only we pay attention.

    Here is to Health, Joy and Discovery (!) in the year ahead,
    With much Love,
    H.

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    1. Darling Heather, Provence is a must and Manhattan a maybe and, meeting you is surely a priority in 2013. So much talk, so many emails, but this will definitely be the year of ACTION!!!! We just know that we shall be quite beside ourselves with excitement at the prospect of meeting up with you....we just hope that the feeling may be mutual!!!!

      You make a most convincing case for the joys and wonders of flight.We want to believe, we really do.....and, as for the stretching, well, you are absolutely right that we should not be joining you on the floor for pelvic lifts or whatever. We shall definitely be the ones who reach for the alcohol as moral support.

      You are always so generous and kind with your comments. We do feel that we are on the same page over so many things and two people functioning as one is something which we identify with absolutely as we know you do too.

      We shall be popping over to you to find out what you have been up to in our absence. Wishing you every happiness, good health and peace in the coming year. Love to you, Remi and Ben. J and L xx

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  16. Oh you two lovebirds! What a charming post! Looks like your year is already booked and filled! :) And You're traveling across the big pond?! Fabulous! :D Loving the picture you two have of each other mirrored, I'd totally frame that up somewhere in B&W! Thanks for taking us along and a Happy New Year!

    Hugs,

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    1. No firm plans yet, dear Kasia, for crossing the Atlantic Ocean [oh, if only it were a pond!!!!]but we really do want to be there one day and 2013 seems as good a year as any!!!

      Thank you so much about the picture, we are very fond of it too.Such a lovely idea to have it framed and in black and white. We may well do just that.

      Wishing you a joyous year ahead!

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  17. The Hattatt's are back! my new year blogging can start properly and with it the glorious impressions of a life well lived, indeed lived as it should be, in my dreams that is!

    I think I shall take a leaf out of your own book and start to plan ahead, who knows what enjoyments I can sniff out.

    The look between you in the mirror at the Monaco Hotel it says it all, so much has been enjoyed together and the promise of so much more to come. A very Happy New Year to you both.

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    1. Thank you, dearest Susan, for your most warm welcome.Indeed, we are thrilled to be, once again, back in the thick of it all. The Blogosphere is filled with ideas and temptations, it seduces us!!!!

      In our youth [mere moments ago, of course]we rarely planned a single thing.Work [paid employment as it was then] took up so much time. But now, with the luxury of life as lazy tarts we can let our minds wander to ever more adventurous places. How we love the idea of your doing that too!!!

      Wishing you a year of happiness, peace and joy!

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  18. Good Morning Jane and Lance - this might be the second comment, if so, delete one of them, please.
    It's terribly exciting, the possibility you might come to the USA. If so, you always have a home, however temporary, at Thistle Cove Farm. It's a short step, actually, as you already live in my heart. xoxo

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    1. Dearest Sandra, this is such a beautiful sentiment. We hold you close too. Our sense of Geography is hopeless but Thistle Cove Farm is certainly a spiritual home for us and, who knows, it may be a real home one day?!!!!

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  19. And here I was thinking you were cooped up in a Brighton flat on your own staring out at rain and grey seas while waiting out winter. The photo of David Nagy reminds me of myself in exalted artistic company ever so many years ago. I could talk the talk, but my cheap clothing betrayed me as an imposter.

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    1. Oh, Andrew how funny! We make only the briefest of visits to the UK these days.Far too much rain and grey skies for our liking, we much prefer the snow of Budapest which is falling as we write!

      Dávid Nagy walks the walk, talks the talk and plays the music as the highly talented and totally captivating young man that he is. We are sure that you would be entranced too...perhaps an Australian tour could be in the planning?!!!!

      Hoping you are surviving the heat and wishing you a joyous 2013!

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    1. You are right. And maybe with the addition of a little Dutch courage we will make it! Indeed, we have to!!

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  21. Dearest Jane and Lance

    How delighted to see you on this balmy morning here in Florida.
    The images by Carol Duke capture what I think is your essence. She has depicted your joie de vivre. Tell us Carol and Stephen Spielberg are shooting a movie: "The Hattatt's Pay Homage"I am delighted to hear you are coming to visit the USA. I will wait to hear more details. Meanwhile a very Happy New Year.

    Helen xx

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    1. You are always so very generous, dear Helen. Carol's photographs are always, whatever the subject matter, totally inspirational but then, like you, she is a painter and you both have the capacity to see everything in a very special way.

      Nothing is yet definite about a trip across the Atlantic but it is now no longer on the back burner but, rather, increasingly in our thoughts and conversation.

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  22. So nice to see your post back on Blogger and to hear about your adventures. Planning, as you do, shows so much enthusiasm for life and living it to the fullest. I have been more or less a semi-planner, always with goals, but waiting till the last minute to make definite arrangements. On the other hand, now that I have more time and less responsibilities, I do enjoy the luxury of doing things spontaneously. Age has its rewards and the freedom of more choices. However, we are aware that we must make hay while the sin shines and to make the most of our time with friends and family and to leave some space for our dreams.

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    1. It is, Arleen, that freedom of which you speak which comes with becoming older which is such a luxury and a privilege and something which, we feel, must never be taken for granted. After two or more years beset with health problems, we now feel the importance of seizing the day and of packing into life as much as is humanely possible. And we are making a good start in 2013!!

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    2. Dear Jane and Lance,

      l see that I had a little typo, sin instead of sun. Oh my, but what the heck, we all need a little sin in our lives to keep things interesting.

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    3. We spend our lives making such errors, Arleen, and in fact totally understood what was meant but thought it to be somewhat amusing!

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  23. Happy New Year, welcome back to blogging, so many great photographs, and it is truly a time for reflecting about the past and future; I find myself doing much the same.

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    1. We do so agree with you, Linda, about this being a time for taking stock. But, also, it calls for action too and we are in determined mood!

      Thank you so much for the welcome back.

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  24. Happy New Year to you both! So good to be able to read about your travels again. I love the convex mirror in your first picture - I have quite a collection of them but none are as beautiful as that one.

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    1. Happy New Year to you too, Marina. It is good to be back as we have so missed this aspect of our lives. Convex mirrors we find endlessly fascinating not least for the way in which they provide a complete panorama of what they reflect.

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  25. GASP! Is the first reaction....

    Hello, dear Jane and Lance.... as already explained.... I have been thinking of you every day (once or twice or more. =]) and I have been WONDERING what you've been up to and where you were this past month and if Christmas is quiet or uproarious for you and I have been wondering what the weather is like in Budapest is like this time of year (snow, apparently? =]) - but I have never ever doubted that you wouldn't be up to something fun!

    I have a blog friend who, every January, chooses a word for the year. It always causes me to think. I, almost flippantly, thought that my word for the year would be 'Live!' But the more it comes to mind, the more I believe that that really will be my word for the year. Then, a sweet young friend and I were talking about resolutions and how strange they seem to us and she said that her goal was to just make it through the year. A different interpretation of 'live'? and, now, you - you take 'Live!' to a whole new plane!!! =D (Thinking about you both and the way you LIVE has made me just stop, right now, and laugh and laugh! It's really quite wonderful! =])

    So, now, some of my curiosity has been satiated and I am most grateful. (I knew a blog post would come along one of these days... ;))

    and, I've just stopped for reverie.... I've been staring out the window at the clear, pale blue, snowy morn and I rather think that 'Live' shouldn't be alone. It should be 'Live and Love!'

    Anyhoo! I think there was more to say but there always seems to be endless words flowing out of me and I think that I'll just 'land that circling plane' with a thump and wish you a new year of joy and peace and life - whatever adventures bring your way!

    Love to you both!

    xxo

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    1. As always, dearest Katy, your wonderful comment serves to inspire us. We love the idea of taking a single word, or words, to interpret and live by for a year and your choice is, of course, as is to be expected, a most thoughtful and appropriate one.

      We really do believe that we should all try to live life as fully as possible providing it is never, which goes without saying, at the expense of others. We are all in a very privileged position and that is something which should never be taken for granted. To add 'love' is, we feel, so very appropriate for it is upon love that we shall, in all likelihood, be judged and it is one aspect of human behaviour about which we have no excuse for failing.

      Today we have a covering of snow but rather less, we think, than with you. We have in our minds a lovely picture of your splendid house, tall and proud, set in a winter white landscape which must look so very beautiful.

      We both join together in sending you and your family our love and best wishes for a joyous and peaceful 2013.

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  26. Oh, but all of these photos are wonderful! They're a peek into your life but, also, a bit deep - lovely! =]

    xxo

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    1. The success of the photographs is entirely on account of Carol's brilliant use of a camera. Our own are a matter of chance!!

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  27. Loved your holiday stories and Carol's great pics - especially the last one 'stepping out into a new year', one I hope will be the best year ever for you both!

    Thanks for the wishes on the Antarctic expedition - off this evening and very excited! Also very busy so must dash.

    Happy New Year of course, and many fabulous worldwide travels -
    Mary

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    1. How really kind of you to leave a comment, Mary, when we know that you are about to embark on the most exciting of adventures. We wish you the safest of all possible returns.

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  28. I adore the photo of you two walking down the long hall...so darn cute!

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    1. We are so glad that you like it, Gina. It appealed to us enormously and it is entirely thanks to Carol that we have it.

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  29. Happy New Year Jane and Lance!
    What a beautiful, romantic and artful post-- I must agree with everyone above that the portrait at the Monaco Hotel is lovely. Well done, Carol! It seems that you're off to a superb start on your adventures for 2013-- thank you for taking us along for the ride!
    Warm regards,
    Erika

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    1. Erika, we both join in wishing you a most joyous and peaceful 2013.

      We do so agree with you that Carol's images are superb. She approaches everything with the eye of an artist, which of course she is.

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  30. Dear Jane and Lance,
    Nice to see you both again. This time of year makes me into reflective mood, too, and this post is filled with reflections in mirrors, on the table, or on the pavement. I always enjoy having glimpse into your glamorous life with exciting activities and nice and unique friends. The last image is suggestive of your path with new possibilities and new opportunities. Wish your steps be rhythmical and smooth while dancing through this year.

    Yoko

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    1. We are so pleased, Yoko, that you have noticed and enjoyed the many aspects of reflection to be found in the images of this post. In the main this is entirely thanks to Carol's artistic eye and excellent photography.

      The start of a new year is always an exciting time and we are already looking forward to so many of our planned adventures. We wish you a peaceful and prosperous 2013.

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  31. A Hattatt year of action! The world will be trembling on its axes....

    I don't mind the flying part...it is the dreadful waiting around at airports which is so depressing and the mindless so called security procedures which the U.S. personnel seem to take so seriously.
    Waiting in lines while officials shout at people makes me think of totalitarian regimes...I don't travel via the U.S. any more.

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    1. It is, as you are almost certainly aware, the actual flying which puts, to some extent, the metaphorical brake on our travels outside of Europe. We too hate all the necessary(??) security aspects of travel these days as well as the general discomfort. We have still not ruled out crossing the Atlantic by sea but, whatever and however, it will not be until much later in the year if we are finally to take the plunge [metaphorically speaking again - and now mixed!].

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  32. Dear Hattatts..As I sit here enjoying my morning tea, your post thoroughly distracts and delights.I have been away from the "blog life" for several months, but am so glad to have returned...k

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    1. How wonderful that you have returned, Kathy, and thank you so much for such a kind comment. There are times when the real life does take over - we know the feeling only too well.

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  33. Jane and Lance, you've brought us a very fine New Year's feast of beautiful photos, and witty, stylish and spirited prose. It is a delight to see this post...it's now officially a Happy New Year!

    Your travel plans are intriguing. I do hope that New York might be included and would recommend any season other than the hot summertime when this city can be challenging.

    You all are so much more organized than I am. At some point this year, I will be taking a longish trip courtesy of my kind employer's bestowing a tenth anniversary travel bonus to those of us who've stayed the course. I qualified last year, and have been contemplating my itinerary for some months.

    Best wishes to you all and a warm welcome back. xo

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    1. You are always so very gracious and encouraging, Frances, which we so much appreciate. Thank you. Your comment about New York at the height of summer is something which we shall certainly take on board. At the moment we are thinking that if a trip is to be made, then we should probably try for September or even October.

      We are most interested to learn that you are planning a holiday, thanks to your long service, and will be very intrigued to know what you might have in mind. If it is to include Europe, then we do hope that Hungary will form part of the itinerary.

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  34. Wow! What a goodbye to the past year and what a welcome to the new year. After reading your post I could have died of envy had I been an envious person :)

    And I hear a whisper of United States of America? Am I right?

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    1. It is, we believe, and we are certain that you are of the same mind, important to try to make the most of each day and every occasion and we are particularly fortunate to have so many opportunities to hear wonderful music, something we very much love, here in Budapest.

      Yes, we long to visit the United States of America and are really trying hard to set aside our concerns at the long flight. So, maybe this year....!

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    2. I am so excited you have decided to cross the pond, it is not bad a bad flight. Unfortunately we are back in old age, on a Concord it use to be very short.
      So much looking forward to your visit, would love to meet you both.

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    3. Yes, we really think that we could have braved Concord without too much of a problem as the whole thing would have been over in a very short period of time.

      Should we come, as we very much hope to do but not until the autumn most likely, then we too would really love to meet with you too. Fingers crossed!

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    4. Autumn will be the best time to visit. Summers in the US can be crazy, especially for people visiting from Europe they can be agonizing.

      We too are keeping our fingers crossed, (my better half is a big fan of yours too, in case you don't know).

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    5. Almost certainly it will be the latter part of the year not least for the autumn colour which, as we understand it, can be spectacular in certain parts.

      And we are delighted to learn that your 'better half' is kind enough to take an interest in what we write. Please extend our thanks and best wishes.

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  35. Dear Jane and Lance. Have really missed you guys and the stories of your comings and goings. Happy New Year to you both. You certainly have been busy bees with more to come by the looks of it. Loved your post and especially liked the art element. Welcome back.
    Patricia x

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    1. This is so kind of you, Patricia. We too have missed all the activities of the Blogosphere but just at times events in the real world take over and leave one with insufficient time.

      We both join in wishing you a very peaceful and prosperous 2013.

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  36. Dear Jane and Lance,
    I was so excited to see a post up from you today. Happy New Year! I'll be very interested to see where you go if you do visit the U.S. I can picture you very well in Manhattan, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Santa Fe. Jacqueline is correct - the natural beauty of the National Parks is amazing. May 2013 bring health and happiness to you!

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    1. We think that you know us only too well for all of the places which you mention here would be on our wish list although, as we realise that the distances are so vast, we shall probably in the event have to be very disciplined. Whatever, we have time to think and plan but very much hope that it may become a reality this year.

      In the meantime, we both send you our very warmest wishes for a peaceful and joyous 2013.

      Delete
  37. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Absence is odd and void and so I don't know about that. But coming back in contact with light-filled beings after a pause makes the heart burst with alarming wattage.

    My throat was tight and my eyes all blinky as I viewed the mirrored images of two extraordinary people. The station of the cross piqued in me all the strangeness of everything to which I cling in the inner spaces. The image of Richard among the puddings similarly made me feel of dreams -- long-held -- then suddenly, smoothly, wildly realized.

    Even now, there is a backlog of tears in the space between my chest and the bottom of my chin. Where in the United States do you plan to visit? For is you can make it over an ocean, I will need to make my way to wherever you will land.

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    1. Suze, you really are absolutely WONDERFUL. How we have missed the contact with everyone, not least our dear FGD, but, as you too are keenly aware, sometimes the events which happen around one at home become the main focus leaving little or no time over for other equally enjoyable pursuits.

      Carol's images are, we feel, so perfect in every respect and we do wish that space allowed to show so many more of those which she took which are a lovely record of the time we spent with her in Venice and she with us in Budapest.

      As yet, for we long to visit the United States of America and must not procrastinate for ever, we are working hard to overcome our main concern of being in an aeroplane for so long and over so much water. But we must. However, rest assured, dearest Suze, that we should not dream of setting foot on American soil without the absolute guarantee that we should meet somewhere at some point. We could not bear it to be otherwise.

      Delete
    2. I well understand the fear of flying over water and have a little story to tell, as a result. Last April, when Shawn, our daughter and I traveled to Oahu, I was forced to face profound and penetrating fears. Friends advised the assistance of tranquillizers of varying degrees of effectiveness. I ended up choosing to sit by the window, fully in command of my senses, and cried a bit at the terrible grandeur of the sea.

      Somewhere mid-flight, most of the windows were drawn shut in the cabin as travelers slept or fixed their eyes on intermittent video screens, but mine was wide open, allowing not only sunshine to spill through but, below, the view of a yacht, with an emerald green deck and a red helm trailing an infinite white beard across the blue. I felt it was a message. What it 'said,' I'm sure I can't adequately articulate, but that jolly, quiet vessel was for me.

      Wishing you a secret boat to slice a surprising swath through every reservation.

      (I cannot wait to meet you. I know I will.)

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    3. Your own experience of flying over water really does help us to overcome what is, we know, a totally irrational fear although when in an aeroplane we always choose not to sit by the window as looking out we find somewhat alarming. That said, last year en route to Italy we did overcome this nonsense and saw the Adriatic from above - simply wonderful.

      Of course we will meet. Most likely, if we come, it will be towards the end of the year which gives us plenty of time to plan.

      Delete
  38. Welcome back...happy new year...love from me...xxx...

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    1. Thank you so much, Ria. We are delighted to be back and wish you much joy and happiness throughout 2013.

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  39. Good morning......you've been missed.....soooo.....you are coming to our glorious country.....perchance in my area? Please let all of us anxious readers know.....BTW....I'm coming to Hungary in October of next year.....I AM SO EXCITED.

    Happy New Year.

    Jo

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    1. We really do hope to make it to America this year - the fulfilment of a long cherished wish. But how wonderful that you are planning to come to Hungary, Jo, about which you really must keep us informed.Life really is exciting!!

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  40. Hello Jane and Lance,

    It is such a pleasure to read about your adventures, so full and rich with beauty, culture, and friendships. I definitely must visit Venice again one day. I've been reading a series of mysteries by Donna Leon, all set in Venice. The mysteries are very simple, but the wonderful thing about the books is that Venice itself is the main character, and written about with great tenderness and detail.

    My advice if you come to the U.S. would be to see places that are quite different from what you would see in Europe. San Francisco is the first place that came to mind, maybe Savannah or New Orleans, and some of the great landscapes.

    Jen

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    1. Like you, Jen, we rather enjoy Donna Leon for exactly the same reason. Fairly light, travel-type reading but so interesting to have places described which one knows.

      Your advice on places to see in the United States is something which we shall very much take to heart. It is always the differences which make for the most fascination. San Francisco....!!

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  41. Replies
    1. Thank you so much. It is so good to be back, Pamela, and to catch up once more with old friends.

      Delete
  42. It's good to see you are back, dear Jane and Lance, and as elegantly elusive as ever. My husband speaks of a possible household move to the former Czecheslovakia, which, if my shaky grasp of geography serves me well, means that I would be slightly closer to you and thus able to save koruna upon koruna of postage on my frequent packages to you, full of cultural delights. I realise that I haven't yet sent you one of these frequent packages, but the future nature of their frequency must not be held against them.

    Ireland is a top refuelling spot on the way to America, you realise?

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    1. Oh, imagine if we were to be close neighbours, how wonderful that really would be. The Czech Republic is but a stone's throw away and such a wonderful country. And think of all the white paint to be obtained for a mere handful of koruna, let alone the savings which you anticipate in postage. Besides, we should be regularly popping over the border to see one another.

      Equally, what fun to meet in Ireland - even if only in the airport buffet!!

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  43. Dear Jane and Lance,

    A Happy New Year to you both.

    I like the imagery 'reflected' in this post I also like the plans that you have for this coming year - they all sound rather exciting!

    I have been to the United States once (Christmas shopping in New York) and I too was somewhat nervous of flying over all that water as when I fly to Australia is is mostly over land. But it turned out to be rather easy. I am sure you will find the same. I myself have just overcome taking the Chunnel train because not only were we going under ground but were going under the sea - two things that I dislike with a passion! Once again it all turned out to be rather a storm in a teacup and we will do it again in the summer.

    Anyway I am glad you are back in circulation.

    Bye for now

    Kirk

    PS
    Your photograph of Mr. Nagy brought back fond memories: I sat in that chair too!

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    1. We both send you and Alan our warmest wishes for a peaceful and joyous 2013.

      Christmas shopping in New York sounds to be most exciting and very glamorous indeed. We are certain that you are right, and that flying over water does not really make any difference at all. Better to just get on and do it. We felt much the same as you about the Channel Tunnel but now, having done it so very many times, we much prefer it to the ferry.

      We shall much look forward with catching up with what you have been doing and do hope that it will not be too long before you are back here in your chair!!

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  44. Very nice to see your blog pop-up. Welcome back and a very Happy New Year filled with all sorts of exciting new adventures.
    I always enjoy your photos but the last one today is fabulous.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. And a very happy and peaceful New Year to you, Gayle. It is great fun to be back once more now that we have a little more time on our hands. The last photograph is another of Carol's - she really does have an eye for a picture.

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  45. Dear Jane and Lance, I adored this post, the photos are fantastic, especially the one where you are gazing so lovingly at each other!! Love it!!! And you are preparing to visit the USA? I do hope NYC is on your list of must-see places!! Happy 2013 to you both, I see you have been very busy but I have missed you. xo

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    1. We are so very pleased that you enjoyed the post, Barbara, and thank you so much for saying. All the wonderful photographs are entirely on account of Carol's magical touch with the camera - ours are always a matter of chance!

      Yes, we really do want to visit the United States this year - a long held ambition - and certainly NYC is somewhere that we could not possibly miss. Here's hoping!

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  46. My diary (not leather-bound and not red, but blue) is filling up already, too, although with slightly different things.

    The last of the pictures on this post is very, very, VERY good!

    Happy 2013 to you, Jane and Lance.

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    1. To be truthful, Meike, we think that there is not much in the way of leather about the binding of our diary! But it is fun to see it filling up with happy happenings.

      We are so pleased that you really liked the Fisherman's Bastion image - all entirely thanks to Carol.

      And we send our warmest wishes to you and your mother for 2013.

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  47. I have missed your posts.

    It sounds as if you have a wonderful year ahead...so much to look forward too. I hope that it turns out to be as amazing as you have planned.

    Happy New year!

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    1. That is so very kind of you to say, Adrienne. We were actually away from the Blogosphere for rather longer than we anticipated and it is now such fun to be catching up with everyone once more.

      We both send you our warmest wishes for a happy and peaceful 2013.

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  48. Good to have you back and I love this selection of photos. The reflections are fantastic and the hotel looks very special. We wish you all the best for 2013, may it be healthy and prosperous. Diane and Nigel

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    1. The 'reflections' are entirely due to Carol who whilst in Venice, and then here with us in Budapest, took the most amazing photographs. Each evening we had the most incredible slide shows of the day's work!

      To you and to Nigel we send our very best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous 2013.

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  49. Yay the Hattatts are back. I was wondering what you were up to and it seems like you were busy, busy, busy - which is good. Your blog always enriches me especially when you share about the talented people that you meet and the wonderful places that you visit. I see that I am not the only one seduced by La Serenissima.

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    1. We have indeed been somewhat busy, Loree, but in the nicest possible of ways with, looking at the diary, many goodly things to which we can look forward.

      Your comment here is most kind and generous. For us the blog serves as a record, albeit a rather patchy one, of some of the things we have done - something to look back upon in our extreme old age!!

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  50. A Happy New Year to you Jane and Lance, how lovely to see photographs of your-selves and your frirnds. I agree the new year is such a time for re-thinking life and new beginnings. May 2013 bring you a host of good things! Jane xx

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    1. We really do like the start of a new year, Jane, as it does allow for a time of reflection on what has been and what is to come. That said, we never make actual resolutions but rather enjoy planning out some of the thins which, given a fair wind, we hope to do.

      And we both send our warmest wishes to you for a peaceful and prosperous 2013.

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  51. What a lovely group of photos, darlings! Happy New Year to you both. I hope that Savannah, Georgia will be on your list of places to visit here in the USA! xoxox

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    1. It is all so very exciting even thinking about a possible visit to the United States of America. But such a large and varied country which makes the whole of Europe appear very tame and domestic. But what fun it could be.

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  52. It is wonderful to see the "H" on my blog roll once again. Welcome back! Bonnie

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    1. This is so very kind of you, Bonnie. We have much missed everybody and are now enjoying catching up once more.

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  53. You're back, how wonderful! And entertaining us with reflected glimpses of your esteemed selves and hints about America. May 2013 bring you health and joy, and sight of new horizons :)

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    1. This, we feel, has to be the year of America but it is early days and we shall have to see. Whatever, we are having such fun even thinking about such a big adventure for we have never before ventured outside of Europe.

      We both send you our warmest wishes for a wonderful 2013.

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  54. Did you literally follow in Ruskin's footsteps, as in following his book? He didn't want to leave Venice and I can certainly see why. That city must have had the most beautiful architecture, water transport, paintings, glass art etc on earth.

    Have a happy and creative 2013.

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    1. We did indeed! For Carol had come with the most wonderful book, 'Ruskin's Venice The Stones Revisited' by Sarah Quill which acted as an excellent prompt and guide. We too are always so sad to leave Venice but happily as it is, so to speak, just down the road from us we are always able to return.

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  55. Dearest Jane and Lance!

    Well, here we are again but oh so different too . . . knowing you as I now do. The dear is much deeper and dearer. The joy and awe much wider. What can I say? I am hoping that the long Boeing shadow over the pond will not keep you from coming to this vast landscape called US of A later in the new year. Do not let it intimidate you. September shadows are not quite so long.

    I love the way you crafted this post . . . moisture comes to the eyes that first viewed some of these images through other lens . . . in other enchanting lands. I love your casino photo Jane! Speaking of mirrors and reflections . . . it is very clever and I am certain was no accident. David looks to be a gem and too bad he is too busy to be your mad boy. Great portrait! I love the hands. I know where you will be on the 13th. What an auspicious date.

    I do miss you both so much . . . the love that lives within and between the two of you is precious, inspiring and hopeful . . . and so incredibly bountiful and generous in reaching out to others. I am so grateful and so greatly enjoyed being with you and truly smile to recall how everywhere we went had others in stitches from the contagiousness of pure delight that you can never, thankfully, contain . . . it radiates in such abundance from your sprightly spirits. Every encounter was joyous and gracious. I miss the order, beauty and surprises of your home . . . Timea . . . and the simple sweetness that is between us all. So, please dear ones while turning and filling the pages in your shinny red diary, pencil in USA for the month of September and why not add October while you are at it . . . or at least the first two weeks.

    Thank you for this very kind mention of me and the link to my blog along with your endearing and generous support of my being there at all. I was greatly honored and fortunate to have fellow travelers/guides and hosts as uniquely brilliant and benevolent as the Hattatts.

    Wishing you a splendiferous 2013 with boundless strength in spirit and body!

    Always . . . L,C

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    1. To you, dearest, most wonderful Carol, the endearments can never possibly be enough. What fortune it was that fate brought us together in such a way [no little thanks to Edith] and now we have all of those cherished memories of hours spent together and all of the hopes of the times to come. And what fun we shall have as the years unroll.

      How we should have loved to have included so many more of your magnificent, and truly professional, images in this post but they are there, waiting in the wings, and will, without a shadow of doubt, be utilised on future occasions. A whole post needs to be written on the Four Seasons which must, of course, include the 'lift' pictures as well as those enticing ones taken in the bar.

      Dávid is the most incredible of people and it is, we feel, so very unfair that he is quite so totally captivated and in love with your amazing country which to visit, we know, will when it happens be the experience of a lifetime. But it will, and the autumn sounds to be the most magical of moments - but more of all of that anon!

      We can barely express how much we miss you and we can say, in absolute truthfulness, that it is you who has so much enriched our own lives. Tímea speaks so very fondly of you and is, at this moment, sending her love. The pictures are now hanging, over the beds in your room where they look wonderful and are away from the light, and we shall of course send photographs of them in situ in due course. They serve as a marvellous reminder of you, as if one were needed, as well as anticipating all the joys to come of Flower Hill Farm.

      And now with all our love comes our warmest of wishes for a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2013. We shall email more fully within the next day or so.

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  56. I love the photos--the reflections are particularly delicious (oh, not to mention the puddings!). And of course it's so fun to see David right there in your beautiful quarters in Budapest!

    Now as for whispers of a trip to the States, well, of course I'm rooting for those whispers to get louder and louder and look forward to having the opportunity to make a plan with you, perchance, when (I'm not even going to use "if") you come!

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    1. Oh, Susan, that is so very kind of you but really all the praise must be heaped upon Carol.

      We had such fun at a wonderful dinner party given the other night for all of the Bard people and tomorrow they all come here, together with other friends, for a drinks party after which we shall take Dávid out to dinner. And then there is the concert on Sunday - how we wish that you could both be with us.

      If, as we really do hope, we visit the United States this year, then of course you are central to it all. In the meantime, we have not given up on the hope of luring you both to Budapest as soon as your schedules allow.

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  57. I have been away from my computer for a while and what awaits wheni come back? A wonderful surprise - your new post!
    And what a wonderful and poetic this post is! Your way with words and the sentiments you put across always put a smile on my face.
    And those pictures, in particular the last one really capture your sensibility (or at least sensibility that we get from your posts).
    But more than anything, it is so beautiful to see you loving and living life to the full. It always makes me happy to see people who know how to enjoy themselves and know how to appreciate important things in life.

    So, here is to a very happy, peaceful and most of all healthy new year. I feel it is going to be a good one.

    I wish you all the best.

    Red

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    1. Red, you really are so very, very kind and although we think that your words are too generous by far, they are much appreciated and taken to heart.

      As we have remarked to others, we are all in such a privileged position in life and that must never be taken for granted. We are so fortunate to be able to live life to the full but hope that we shall always be conscious of those for whom life is a real struggle.

      For now, we both join in wishing you every happiness and success as 2013 unfolds with all that it has to offer.

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  58. Welcome back, Jane and Lance and a very happy New Year to you. No wonder your blog has been silent for a while. Such an enjoyable social whirl was a wonderful way to end 2012 and 2013 looks to be bidding fair to excel its predecessor. Your forthcoming posts will be a delight. :-)

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    1. Thank you so much, Perpetua, for these warm words. We miss the Blogosphere when away from it and so, with a little more time to spare, it is so good to be catching up with everyone once more.

      We do trust that you had an enjoyable and peaceful Christmas and we send you our warmest wishes for a joyous 2013.

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  59. Happy New Year! Hope you find yourselves visiting Vancouver as well if you happen to come to North America!

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    1. Now yet another place to add to the list, Rose. At this rate we shall have to come for far longer than the maximum permitted 90 days!!

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  60. THE UNITED STates of HEY! I know where that is!!!
    I'll be watching for you!!! I know that you will certainly
    starve to death if someone doesn't prepare your food!!!
    I want to see Provence...take lots of pics.
    Happy new year Lance and Jane :)

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    1. How well that you know us, Phyllis, when it comes to the preparation of food. But we know already from friends that it is almost impossible not to eat well in the United States.

      Yes, Provence. We have several friends there so that is a 'must' too for this year. And we both send you our warmest wishes for a really happy and successful 2013.

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  61. Hi Jane and Lance. It has been too long hardly blogging nowadays.. I think I should start in this year.
    Nice set of photos!
    I am sorry that I have been long didn't reply your comment too, please forgive me..
    I wish you all Have a wonderful New Year sincerely.. With loves and peace. Xx

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    1. It would be so splendid if you revived your blog this year, Gerald, for it is always fun, interesting and slightly 'edgy'!!

      We too wish you a very enjoyable and successful New Year and it is so very good to be back in touch.

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  62. Do let us know if you are NY bound this year. We shall be devastated if you come and we don't get to meet you. Reggie

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    1. That is more than kind and very generous of you. Of course, knowing of you also through P and G it would be such a pleasure, and great fun, to meet with you both. We shall most certainly keep you abreast of our plans.

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  63. Your posts are always so restful to read and yet paradoxically leave me with such a wanderlust. There are so many lovely places in this world and of all times in human history, we are able to visit them relatively easily and cheaply. And so, I resolve to do just that! On my own terms at last. And I think Venice must be a destination. Thank you for the idea.

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    1. There are, we agree, so many wonderful treasures to be discovered in the world, far too many for just one lifetime and so one always has the agonising problem of choosing. However, Venice is an absolute must in our view. We are certain that you would love it. But, be warned, once visited, it will for ever call you back again and again!!!!

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  64. How great to see what you look like! The photos are wonderful and love the idea of coralling
    young visitors to your area-- it really makes the world more interesting to change perspectives.

    Have a great new year!!!

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    1. We find that to have the company of young people, especially those with talent and intelligence,really does give one a most intriguing view of the world and hope for the future. We love the energy of the young and the sense of anything is possible......

      Wishing you too a most joyous New Year!

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  65. Dear Jane and Lance, what a wonderful post showing how much you love life and eachother, you are an inspiration to me. The new year is filled with such promise for you, you certainly deserve the very best. It is fab to have you back! uch love to you, Linda xx

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    1. Dearest Linda, these are such sweet words. You really do have a special place in our hearts.

      We have missed the Blogosphere. Life has simply been too hectic to post and now we have so much to write but not enough hours in the day to put it all down. Still, we would not wish it to be otherwise.

      Wishing you and your family the most joyous, healthy and peaceful New Year!!! Love, J and L xx

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    2. Dear J&L, many thanks for the New Year's greetings!
      I cannot wait to hear all the things you have been doing, and the interesting people you have been with.

      Many thanks for your kind words on my blog. I never thought about the wartime poppy fields, you are quite right about it though. I have put a fleece over the plant as it has gone quite a bit cooler now, so I do hope it will survive.
      Much love to you both, Linda xx

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    3. It is always such a great pleasure for us to read what is happening with 'Flowers on My Table' and the dialogue which ensues, such as this, ensures that we really are in touch.

      And now tonight we are holding a drinks party for all the musicians over here from the Bard Conservatory. It promises to be great fun.

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  66. What a wonderful list of to-dos and have done......LOL! Oh, when you come over the pond, I'd LOVE to say hello, like so many perhaps, but surely you'll visit the big apple???
    Please share your exciting news....

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    1. New York is certainly on our wish list, Victoria! If only it was a pond and not the Atlantic Ocean that we have to fly over....Still, we are resolved to get there one day and what fun it would be to meet up. We just know that we should have such a wonderful time together. We shall, whatever, keep in touch!

      Hoping that your New Year has already got off to a good start after your troubles of 2012. Wishing you joy, good health and peace for 2013!

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  67. Jane and Lance Take America By Storm? What fun! I love the photos as always and going along for the adventures but can't wait to see what more you get up to this coming year. Also I now want more than anything to have a photograph made which I can caption "Helen Hartman and selection of puddings". It will, of course, be of Helen and 2 friend and a dog.

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    1. How we have laughed at the thought of Helen Hartman and her pudding selection. In our minds you are always linked with luridly coloured spam and frankfurter casseroles, so goodness knows what the puddings would look like!!!

      We rather fear that it would be a case of the USA taking us by storm...an American Blogfest of gigantic proportions.......we are afraid, very afraid.....and not just of flying!!!!!

      Wishing you fun and laughter throughout 2013!

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  68. Welcome back and wishing you all good things for 2013! What a wonderful social whirl you had over the festive season.
    Sounds like you have the shapings of a very good year!

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    1. Thank you so much. And we shall much look forward to your own adventures throughout 2013 for which we wish you much happiness and success.

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  69. Happy New Year, Jane and Lance !
    As our friends in New York plan trips to Turkey and Asia, my husband and I plan our return to New York .
    Our flight home takes a little over 10 hours. If I can do it, you can do it :)
    Maybe we will see you there, besos, C

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    1. Thank you, Candice for your words of encouragement. How strange it is that we all seem to be heading in the opposite directions as we travel the globe. Yes, New York has a strong appeal for us but, then again, so does Buenos Aires!!!!

      Happy New Year!

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  70. Beautiful photos and charming prose! I really enjoyed this. As for your next adventure... Paris (Texas), Rome (New York), Oxford (Alabama), Athens (Georgia), Venice (California). So many choices.

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    1. This made us smile!!! As you say, so many choices, we wondered for example just how many Oxfords there are in the world?

      Amazingly, we have not yet been to Spain and from your blog alone we realise just how much we are missing. Oh, one lifetime is just not enough!!!

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  71. What adventures you have had since you last wrote on your blog. Your photos capture those special moments so well. I am looking forward to following more of your journeys in 2013. Thank you for your encouraging words.
    Sarah x

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    1. Sometimes it seems that there are too many things to write about and insufficient time so to do. However, we are pleased to be back once more in the Blogosphere and able to catch up on the happenings of so many others.

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  72. Happy New Year! What a wonderful time you must have had with Carol in Venice. I love that city off season best of all. We have a similar fisheye mirror in our home, from England. I like how the reflective theme is repeated in images and in your words.

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    1. Yes, we so agree with you that Venice is at her best out of season when the crowds have very largely departed and she resumes that air of mystery and solitariness.

      Convex mirrors have always fascinated us - we should wish to have more!

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  73. Ah yes, tis' been such awhile since I graced thine site with one of my highly anticipated, much loved comments. And I know, despite your thrilling lives mingled with the famous, your hearts sing with joy knowing that you know me. Yes me, shy and humble me.

    And Canada awaits thee :)

    Your starstruck and modest fan,

    Gary

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    1. Of course, dear Gary, we have missed you and the reticence of your comments - our lives are incomplete without!!

      As for Canada, now one step at a time!

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  74. How did I miss this first post of the year? I thought I'd been checking regularly.
    Ah well - here you are, and as I read, I felt as though I was at the tail of the eddy in the spume of the wake of your marvelous holiday travels. May all your marvelous plans come to pass and may the shiny red diary be full of amusements, invitations and ideas for new posts.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind wishes. All the best laid plans, as they say,.......but it is also good to leave space for serendipity, we think, as we love the spontaneous things which one has never even considered and yet materialise along the way!

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  75. I adore where you take me through your blog - truly! There is so much I have not only never heard of, but not dreamt of!

    I'm sure you will relate to this: My Grandmother oft said that every person who embraces life and all it has to offer, needs at least 3 lifetimes to complete all that you wish to accomplish.

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    1. We absolutely agree with your grandmother. Indeed, we often feel that it takes up the whole of one lifetime just working out what one might do with the next.

      You are always so very kind and generous about our posts, Rose. And, through you, we too experience a life of which we have scant knowledge but tremendous interest. The marvels of the Blogosphere!

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  76. I LOVE the last phot of the two of you walking.

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    1. That is so very kind of you to say. We have some wonderful images taken by Carol on the Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest, in early December.

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  77. So glad you are back on-line and I can dip into your elegant blog again.

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    1. We are pleased to be back too and catching up with all our 'virtual' friends!!!

      Wishing you a joyous, healthy and peaceful New Year!!!

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  78. Hello Jane and Lance, it's great to have you back. Wishing you more adventures and all things lovely for 2013, and may you keep enthralling us with your wonderful posts.
    And that last photo is phenomenal!

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    1. We really do hope that it goes without saying that we have missed everyone so very much. Just sometimes events in one's life overtake leaving very little time for other things. The last photograph is entirely down to Carol's wizardry with her camera.

      Our warmest wishes to you for a happy and peaceful 2013.

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  79. Dear Jane and Lance - Your wonderful agenda for the coming year is very inspiring. Bill has already booked some adventures for us: a week in a cottage (an old pub)in Cockermouth with his children and partners (and grand baby Charlotte!)to celebrate his 65th; three weeks in Fountainbleau in our motorhome (with some day trips to Paris, of course); a weekend in Devon (where we've never been) to marshal for the Long Distance Walkers' Association; another week in the Lake District when my SIL and her husband visit from Sydney. I'm trying to work in a week in London (it's been years since I went just for fun, not for business). We're generally alright at travel, but your Private Views and Opera nights are outside our ken, and dinner parties are still hard work. Still, that means room for growth! Happy 2013 to you both!

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    1. Shelley, this all sounds absolutely wonderful and such great fun. May we join you?!! Whilst in Devon, if you have never been, do try to visit Lyme Regis, just inside Dorset on the Devon border, which is one of our all time favourite seaside towns - small, quiet and old fashioned - where we often went for weekends away when we lived in Herefordshire.

      London is always of interest but, as you may imagine, nowadays hideously crowded. We are most fortunate when it comes to dinner parties as Tímea, our cook/housekeeper, does everything. Without her, and left to us, they would never happen. As you sy, far too much in the way of hard work!

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  80. Oh, and I meant to say that I look forward to hearing what you choose to see in the US. I've been able to show Bill much of the Midwest and Western states, but I'm hankering to show him the Deep South, the Gulf Coast and - of course - New Orleans!

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    1. The USA is still some way off. Such a vast country with so much to see and so many people to meet. We were talking about it at dinner last night - again!!

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  81. Dear Hattatts,
    How bold you have become to want to venture to the land of savages where some of us lead a most civilized life--well ,sort of.
    Old New York is very much evident if you want to find it as in
    the MET
    the NY Public Library
    The National Arts Club
    The Frick
    etc etc.
    I will send you a reading list--except you probably don't need one.
    Do try Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth (you have probably read it already....)
    I would be happy to meet you for tea or drinks.
    Sadly, The Chelsea Hotel, not a block from our apartment, is closed for renovations.
    I think you know Frances Oakley, painter, blogger and chum who lives uptown.
    So keep me posted.....!

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth, for so much in the way of suggestions not one of which could possibly be omitted from our list. Oh dear, there is such a frightening amount to see and the whole country is so vast that we should need years spent there even to rub the surface. Edith Wharton, and Henry James, of course, are absolute favourite writers.

      Yes, we do so much enjoy Frances's posts - she is such an interesting and sensitive person. Perhaps we shall be able to meet you both for a coffee as we do know you to be friends with one another?

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  82. Welcome back, strangers, or should it be social butterflies!! I feel like grandpa compared to you two. Do come visit Washington, DC. Perhaps for the inauguration? :) Happy New Year!
    Cheers to a fabulous 2013 ~ Loi

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    1. Thank you, Loi, and we are so pleased to be back, not least for catching up once again with all that has been happening at 'Tone on Tone' and for new design ideas from that wonderfully stylish house of yours. A very happy, prosperous and peaceful 2013 to you.

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  83. Dear Jane and Lance,

    So many people have commented before me, I am happy to see I can still add a message :-)! Your last couple of months sound perfect to me. I can't think of two people who enjoy life more than the two of you. You are absolutely right to do so. Carpe Diem!

    I enjoyed the photo of the two of you. You look so very much in Love :-)

    Your new year sounds promising. So many lovely people and beautiful places to visit....and the US.....Wow, that's really far away :-) But best of all, off-course, is your visit to Rotterdam!!!!!

    Good to have you back in the blog world!

    Love,

    Madelief x

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    1. This is all so exceptionally kind and sweet of you. But then you are. Hardly a day passes without our talking of you both for we are reminded, if a reminder were needed, of the wonderful 'Gouda' vase in the Morning Room and your beautiful cups and saucers which have prompted our own collection.

      As for Rotterdam in May, it cannot come fast enough. But if, for any reason for you both, the dates have to be altered, then do not hesitate to let us know. Meanwhile, we will reply to your lovely card with an email shortly.

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  84. As I revisited Venice through your eyes and words, I was hoping to be led through the doors of the Basilica Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari to see Canova's perfect angel once again... but it was not to be. What a lovely time you've been having.
    Happy days!
    Happy 2013.

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    1. The Frari Church remains one of our all time favourite churches in Venice, not least for the Titian 'Assumption', but on our November visit our time was taken up with so many other wonderful things.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. We shall, on completion of these replies, go over to explore 'Writing from the Edge'. Meanwhile, we shall very much hope to welcome you here again.

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    2. You will certainly be seeing me - and indeed I have visited in the past, but possibly not left comments! Having moved to the sticks from London, your impossibly glamorous life brings back happy memories and I derive great pleasure from your travels! Thank you for the comment you left on my blog - in fact you have visited me before, and kindly left a comment then as well - I think it was sometime over the summer. How kind of you to become Followers. Sadly, due to circumstances beyond my control, you will not receive notifications of posts that way, only by subscribing, but you may have noticed that you are added to the list of blogs I like at the bottom of the page, so other readers of mine can enjoy your travels too.
      You are so right - there are just so many things to do in Venice it would be impossible to fit everything in

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    3. Thank you for taking the troube to return and write.In fact, your posts do come up in our Google Reader, so we are easily able to 'follow' you in this way. It is most kind of you to have included our blog in your blogroll, so we are connected in different ways!!!

      One of the best parts of blogging in our view is the way in which we can all share in the lives of others through our posts. In this way, we can travel across the globe in an afternoon!!!

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  85. It’s lovely to have you and your great zest for life back in blogland.

    The very best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

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    1. And it is, of course, wonderful to be back even though, as we know that it is for you, on occasion keeping up with everyone can be somewhat time consuming.

      We send you both our warmest wishes for 2013.

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  86. Is New York City on that list??!!

    As usual, I am completely jealous of your social lives and art friends but I have decided this year that I will take advantage of the things my city has to offer - it may not be Europe or NYC but sometimes there are interesting things going on! Hubs and I usually plan one big trip a year so we always try to make the most out of it.

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    1. In our view, it is possible to make things happen anywhere. Where two or three interesting people, as you most certainly are, are gathered together then almost anything can happen. Just sometimes one has to take the odd risk but it nearly always pays off. Last night, for example, we had the most amazing drinks party here for a group of musicians, thirty or more in number, only a very few of whom we really knew, and it turned out to be absolutely wonderful.

      And New York City is most definitely on the list!!

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  87. Hi Jane and Lance,

    Wow, your celebrations sound wonderful and your year ahead much more exciting then I could ever imagine! You are lucky to have such lovely friends to share your good times with, and all of your online followers, too who eagerly anticipate your latest post...

    To good times and health, Tammy xx

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    1. Our friends do indeed matter to us greatly and we have been blessed with knowing so many who have such diverse and interesting lives. And for us it is always so exciting to spend time with young people, such as yourself. They have so many ideas - and they are our future.

      The support which we receive from our Followers, Tammy, is beyond measure.

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  88. Hello Jane and Lance! Happy New year to you both! It was wonderful to read about your festive Holiday, to know you are well, with friends and surrounded by the beauty and culture you always describe with such glowing detail. For me, the most evocative photo is that of the rainy night in Budapest with the umbrella shapes and golden light. So rich in atmosphere...a little gem of a moment caught in the blink of an eye.

    I hope your adventures in the U.S. will be just as magical!

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    1. And a really happy, peaceful and prosperous 2013 to you, Carol. We have had the most wonderful time in recent weeks with friends and, as the New Year unfolds, we are enjoying some very exciting moments with, happily, the diary nicely filling up as we go along.

      That was one of the wettest nights we have known in Budapest - the photograph was pure chance!

      Now, as for the USA........!!

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  89. Dear Jane and Lance,

    I can see that 2012 was ushered out in glorious fashion and I was thrilled to see Carol's lovely photos. You will have a full dance card for 2013 and I will be anxious to read of your adventures.

    For 2013 I have, like the two of you, an adventurous trip or two in reverse. Plans must be made and I do plan to see some dear friends in 2013 if it can be worked into schedules.

    When you arrive in the USA we will likely have a welcome party and a ticker-tape parade.

    Gros bisous,
    Genie

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    1. We do remain, despite her protestations, indebted to Carol for her wonderfully evocative moments [and we have so many stored away to be brought out as the occasion demands!!].

      It would be so wonderful to think that when you are next in Europe you might, Genie, include Budapest on your tour. We have a spare room and bathroom and we should love to share our adopted City with you.

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  90. JANE AND LANCE!

    May the new year be GOOD to you no matter where you reside or visit! What a lovely life you seem to lead from one spot to the next, filled with friends and lovely surroundings! Thank you so much for coming to visit with me! May this truly be a great year for us all! Anita

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    1. We wish you the same, Anita, over the coming year. Thank you so much for your most generous comment and we look forward to your wonderful posts to inspire us in 2013.

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  91. Jane and Lance I love your photos and you state of mind and your coup de foudre with cultural Europe. Allow me to join you...with my spirit during your breathtaking adventures. Your last photo is amazing...where were you>?

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    1. This is so very kind of you, Petronela, and how we wish that you were just that bit closer to join us in reality. Perhaps one day?

      The last photograph was taken in the Fisherman's Bastion, a folly overlooking the Danube on the Buda side of Budapest.

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  92. Beautiful photos Jane and Lance. Venice is such a magical place. I fell in love with it many years ago, so much so I almost christened my daughter Venice (before settling for the more traditional name of Katherine)!

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    1. We are delighted that you have enjoyed the photographs. Carol has such an eye and we have many more wonderful images to recall our time with her both in Venice and in Budapest.

      We rather like the idea of a daughter called Venice. We have no children but did at one point consider India as a possible name for a girl!

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  93. My dear Jane and Lance,

    Happy New Year to you both. Your absence had made our hearts grow fonder. It seems like ages since you've both been away. But we are not disappointed with this hearty post as a welcome back into the world of devoted friends with your beautiful, razor sharp wit and writing.

    The first portrait of you smiling in the concave mirror reminded me of the famous Arnolfini portrait by Jan van Eyck (there is a striking cancave mirror hanging on the wall in the background in the painting). But in the world of mirror reflection, I don't remember the couple in Arnolfini portrait smiling. They are rather subdued and serious couple revealing nothing except pure possibilities like head or tail coin flip. In here, unlike the Arnolfini portrait, to me it is like the recovery of morning freshness to see your smiling faces reflecting on sweetened silvery mirrors and the smile of your friends on their faces while celebrating the special moments of togetherness - art, music & culture - the best adornments in life itself. "...a lone threesome, we danced amongst the mirrored halls upstairs of the old ridotto..." A beautiful sentence.

    I'm delighted to hear that there are more stories to come in 2013 which I'm sure will be a happy, peaceful and healthy year for you both. Your cultured spirit and your brilliant charm will shine on and on and on.

    With best wishes, ASD

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    1. Dearest ASD, thank you for your most generous and heart warming comment.It is always a delight for us to hear your thoughts and ideas which are drawn from such a cultured and intelligent well of knowledge. A tiny copy of the Arnolfini portrait sits in the window of our favourite looking glass store in Venice, which we pictured. It can just be made out amongst the convex mirrors which are handmade and truly wonderful in both design and form.

      We love to cherish the idea that 2013 may bring us together in reality. You seem so very far away physically [but, at least, not a transatlantic flight away] but so close at hand in our minds.Perhaps this can be a reality this year. Whatever, we shall keep in touch through our virtual worlds until the happy time comes for us to dance as a threesome together!!!

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  94. Callooh! Callay! That Hattatts are back in town - tempting us with their images, puddings, events and wanderings. Lovely to hear your news and that 2013 promises great adventure and even more pudding I hope! Not too wet in Venice I hope.
    Best wishes
    Jenny

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  95. Dear and wonderful Jane and Lance!
    What a great joy it is to read this most exciting new post, and to know that your holidays were full of beautiful friends, places, and memories! Just as it should be!
    Terrific photos, every one.... I can feel how you relished and savored these splendid moments...
    And there are few things more exhilarating than being in the company of fantastic talent...
    How happy I am for all of your plans...and you may even be visiting the U.S.? Exciting indeed!
    May you have a most glorious time welcoming each and every new and marvelous experience...
    Much love from across the pond (and a big thank you for your kind visit....you were certainly in my thoughts over the holidays!)
    - Irina

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