Tag Archives: Florence

This is part of my little home

DESPITE THE STATED fact that Facebook said photographs are now “easier to load” to the multinational, I have noticed they are much harder and it is much easier to upload them to Volesoft.com, and then refer them to Defacebook. Here’s a fragment of my little hom in Oxford. Why Facebook has made it so, I haven’t a clue, nor an earthly, but it is true, and has been for over a week. Facebook deserves to go bust…

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Here is a list of my favourite toons

ONE OF my readers – yeah OK, there’s only one anyway, has asked me for a list of my favourite toons, so I thought I’d take time out to oblige him.

In order, and as I write, they are Aberdeen, Scotland – the place where I was born. Florence, Italy – the place where you can never get a beer, just an ice cream. London, Engerland – which is somehow never boring but always quite dull. Muenchen, which is always awake, even for 24 hours a day and you can always get a drink.

Paris, where the waiters love you if you’ve even a smidgeon of colloquial French. Next up is Barcelona, where you always feel like you’re on the edge between reality and dreams. New York is never dull, but somehow never awake. San Francisco has taken me to its heart – goodness knows why. It’s about the size of Aberdeen but with up-hill and down-hill slopes that make Google Maps risible.

Is that 10 yet? Here’s the list so far.

And here are my 10 least favourite toons.

  • Roma, because it is totally inaccessible
  • Reykjavik, because it’s so predictable you’ll see volcanoes and it will be cold
  • Belfast, Ulster, because you never know what you are supposed to be
  • Manchester, because it’s a shambles
  • Halifax, Yorkshire – because it is part of the Cleckshuddersfax triangle
  • Miami, because it’s a bit of a shambles too
  • Berlin, it gets really cold there
  • Hangover (Hannover) because it is the home of hateful CeBIT
  • Wankum, ‘cos I never want to go there
  • Boston, ‘cos I met so many snotty people there with funny voices

totalwankumOf course the lists can be added to and subtracted from. But these are a few of my favourite things.

The bonfire of the vanities


DO A GOOGLE SEARCH on the Bonfire of the Vanities and you’ll get Tom Wolfe’s book – but of course there is more to the Bonfire of the Vanities than meets the eye.

machThe picture above is of the cathedral in Florence, the city’s symbol is the Fleur de Lys, that is to say prosperity in a way, but the real Bonfire of the Vanities concerned the egregious monk, Savonarola. It was he who urged the Florentines to throw on a real bonfire all those fripperies people love so much. It is said that Botticelli threw some of his paintings into the real bonfire because he regretted them. As the painter of Primavera,  and Mars and Venus, this is much to be regretted.

Savonarola attempted to redefine Florentine life, and these days it is very hard to get a beer in Florence. Ice creams, however, are easy. Savonarola found himself burning in flames in Florence. There are very many high towers there, it has to be said. Plus Machiavelli and Dante stalked the streets, with the former writing a very short piece about princedom in the Renaissance, and surviving, while the latter just couldn’t get over Beatrice.

Today, Florence is a favourite place for tourists to visit. And up high you can walk down past the home of Galileo Galilei, the poor guy who tried to explain to the Vatican that Rome wasn’t the centre of the universe. In the 15th century the centre of the universe was Hampi (Vijayanagar), bigger than Rome then,  and with an army of one million. Ah, civilisation!  Below is pictured a sunset over Florence.


Florence is not Zebedee from Boboli

THE PIC ABOVE is of Florence, home to the Bonfire of the Vanities, and to Lorenzo the Magnificent. It is taken from the Boboli Gardens and as far as I can see the only thing wrong with it is that there is scaffolding on the outside of the great dome.

This scaffolding isn’t where the great preacher Savonarola got his come uppance, no. That was a very long time ago.

It is a crying shame that Boticelli threw some of his paintings onto Savonorala’s famous bonfire. The fact Savonarola  perished a little later in the turbulent history of Florence doesn’t help. Love conquers all. Sometimes.  Machiavelli is considered a little schemer in the UK. But in Italy he is a genius. He certainly produced a little tome in The Prince, which just betrays he was a little bit of a cynic.