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The music in Joan Didion’s writing

When I posted this mini portrait by my mother on facebook a friend said, “Is that Joan Didion?” Don’t think Didion was the inspiration but this is how readers often feel when reading Didion. She writes in minor keys. She writes about death and pathological grief and she is concise. She finds the right keyContinue reading “The music in Joan Didion’s writing”

As choas continues we’ll tell you why the mind’s on Piemonte

I keep telling you there’s a reason I’m writing about this place in northern Italy, this region nestled up against the Italian, Swiss and French Alps. It will take your breath away. And, their supply chain is short so they want for nothing. I suppose most of Italy is like that, in varying degrees orContinue reading “As choas continues we’ll tell you why the mind’s on Piemonte”

oh my goodness those short storms on Lake Garda

They are intense and they do not last long. Here on the lake fair weather turns foul and I could not be more grateful. The heat evaporates and we fantasize the ozone layer has been healed. At least for a while our bodies receive a reprieve from the heat and humidity. Awfully dramatic here onContinue reading “oh my goodness those short storms on Lake Garda”

The adventures of Colette and Godot

They fit perfectly into the hero’s journey. In fact, these two papillons were the heroes of my personal odyssey in many ways. They taught me how to listen to the call to adventure, so we sailed across the Atlantic, venturing deep into the belly of the whale. I was terrified but Colette and Godot keptContinue reading “The adventures of Colette and Godot”

Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces

The monomyth, the story of our lives; the hero’s journey. I used the template when writing my first book and it’s come in handy for my second because it’s universal. In fact it’s been around since the beginning of time. It just took Joseph Campbell to travel throughout the world, study all religions and culturesContinue reading “Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces”

If what you see does not move you then change what you see

Watched Powell and Pressburger’s “A Canterbury Tale” last night, loosely based on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. I quite like a pilgrimage, going on a journey, some take years, others found in the mind’s eye; looking for a blessing, perhaps to do penance, or maybe just a way to open my heart to the wonder of life.Continue reading “If what you see does not move you then change what you see”

The things my feet have seen and how my face is changing.

Daily maintenance dictates time, keeps us distracted and moving forward, we celebrate milestones and achieve the odd goal every now and then. I just passed an important Italian language test, got the results today; felt official and feels great, on my way as they say. Still, the moment arrives, as it did last night whileContinue reading “The things my feet have seen and how my face is changing.”

Churchill called it the 8th wonder of the world; and it’s open.

Winston Churchill called it the 8th wonder of the world, it’s called Strada della Forre, it’s nearby and it’s finally open. Took Audrey, my Moto and gosh, what a great day. I wish I’d taken more photos but it was so beautiful I didn’t want to stop. To be on two wheels on this road,Continue reading “Churchill called it the 8th wonder of the world; and it’s open.”

“A Couple of Europhiles” talk Turkey, Raw materials and Revolutions

On this episode Bailey Alexander and Francis discuss cultural realities and dissonance and there’s certainly a lot of dissonance to discuss.  They talk Turkey and cover their political issues, as well as their national character because that’s what “A Couple of Europhiles” like to do; it lends to understanding political and cultural motivation. They’ve livedContinue reading ““A Couple of Europhiles” talk Turkey, Raw materials and Revolutions”

Meanwhile here in Europe…

We could be forgiven for wondering why American liberals celebrate the distribution of assault rifles to untrained civilians in Ukraine and then…my goodness 200 mass shootings in America and it’s only May. We could be forgiven for wondering why Americans are sending billions of dollars worth of bombs to Ukraine, which will only kill people,Continue reading “Meanwhile here in Europe…”

Driving along the lake and through the tunnels on Lake Garda

A few friends are renting cars and traveling around the lake this summer. It’s lovely and a stunning drive; here’s a few vids taken over the years. After 20 of them, the drive remains as pretty as the very first time. Lake Garda’s the largest lake in Italy, every once in a while there’s anContinue reading “Driving along the lake and through the tunnels on Lake Garda”

The Reading Season: “The Pilgrimage”

by Paulo Coelho. A spiritual recollection of Paulo’s experiences as he makes his way across northern Spain on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. A contemporary quest for ancient wisdom. If you’re in need of a guide to self-discovery this is your book. We observe. We observe Paulo’s pain, it’s like watching another go throughContinue reading “The Reading Season: “The Pilgrimage””

Of course it’s perfect; it’s Stanley Tucci in Piemonte!

CNN: From exquisite white truffles to rich risottos and the finest wines, Piedmont is a gastronomic paradise. In the second episode of season two of “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” the actor visits Italy’s far northwest region, which borders France and Switzerland. Below is a guide to where you can find some of the dishes Tucci devouredContinue reading “Of course it’s perfect; it’s Stanley Tucci in Piemonte!”

A minute of wind on Lake Garda

So many winds to choose from here on Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake – located two hours west of Venice and one hour from Europe’s most romantic balcony in Verona. The two main winds are called Peler, and Ora. Peler blows from the north, affecting the whole lake, but particularly the central and northern areas. It starts in theContinue reading “A minute of wind on Lake Garda”

Difference btwn Come and Lake Garda

Last night while stirring in the saffron to make risotto alla milanese, windows open, offering a breeze throughout the house, my trance was broken by a very distinct mechanical sound. I picked up my glass of Pinot Grigio, perhaps to brace myself and stepped out to the balcony. I stood there and watched several millionContinue reading “Difference btwn Come and Lake Garda”

“Superheroes of Piemonte” – Anna Fila Robattino

In this wicked wicked world, it’s time to post a note about Anna Fila Robattino and what it’s like to take an herbal hike near her home in Olme Gentile. If you’re in Piemonte, it’s a particualar pleasure. She’s in my next book and when you read it; you’ll know why. She offers these fantasticContinue reading ““Superheroes of Piemonte” – Anna Fila Robattino”

The Carrie and Anthony McIntyre Interview: historic NI elections 2022

A Couple of Europhiles interview our favorite Irish couple. Carrie and Anthony are great company, freethinkers and they have a thing or two to say about the recent elections in Northern Ireland where Sinn Fein has achieved a historic majority. It’s a pleasure to hear their perspective and I think you’ll enjoy Anthony’s lovely accent.Continue reading “The Carrie and Anthony McIntyre Interview: historic NI elections 2022”

I’ll take 33 billion for ‘What is Edward Bernays known for’

Edward L. Bernays was an American business consultant who is widely recognized as the father of Public Relations. He sold World War 1 to the American public, branding it ‘make the world safe for democracy’. Sound familiar? Basically another father of propaganda. He knew most people don’t desire something for its value, rather it representsContinue reading “I’ll take 33 billion for ‘What is Edward Bernays known for’”

The French Elections: Part Deux

Time for another episode of “A Couple of Europhiles”. It’s worth a listen because one of the Europhiles, Francis, has predicted the last 14 elections, including Trump and Brexit. Time to explore cultural realities and dissonance and today, as promised, we deliver the French elections. Why Macron won and what makes the elections in FranceContinue reading “The French Elections: Part Deux”

As war streams thru our phones, reality is local and lovely

There’s something happy about this province, it’s city called Trento and our place on Lake Garda. Trento is often ranked highest among Italian cities for quality of life, standard of living, business and job opportunities; everyone seems happy. Which is unusual for Italians. They do like to complain, they have issues like anyone else, andContinue reading “As war streams thru our phones, reality is local and lovely”

The Truffle Hunters; a truly original movie about hunting truffles

They say Piemonte is a magical place. I lived there, so it’s easy to believe ’em. A great state of mind where time remains on their side. Where there’s hundreds and hundreds of herbs and thousands of flowers and magic is strewn throughout their magical land. This films’s a one off, an original. It’s aboutContinue reading “The Truffle Hunters; a truly original movie about hunting truffles”

Italy’s biodiversity is truly unique

Eataly’s owner, Oscar Farinetti gave a great talk on why Italy is the capital of biodiversity, not to mention its cultural heritage. Here’s a little film I posted during lockdown. Gratefully the lockdown is over, yet the magic of Italy’s biodiversity remains truer than ever. From Farinetti’s talk: This tiny country, located basically in theContinue reading “Italy’s biodiversity is truly unique”

Today is little Easter in Italy; Pasquetta. A time for thanks

I for one will make an attempt to be thankful all day long, for happy moments from the past and for the happy moments I will try and make today. And celebrate greatly. I will not listen to the news and read about people cheering on war from their armchairs eating popcorn. I will writeContinue reading “Today is little Easter in Italy; Pasquetta. A time for thanks”

Would you like me to read to you? If so, here’s a slice of life in Paris

As we sit in between two ballots, between two election days in France, here’s a slice of life in Paris. If you miss the place, or if you’re planning a trip or just want to get away from politics and the war of the world – I give you the city of distractions. Moliere, theContinue reading “Would you like me to read to you? If so, here’s a slice of life in Paris”

The Magic of Piemonte; a little film

Locals would ask, “Why did you move to Piemonte?” They were genuinely curious. After all, I was the only American living in our town of Loazzolo. When Gore Vidal was asked ‘Why Rome?’ He thought Howard Hughes had it right, “How did a long nailed recluse end up in a sealed hotel room?” Hughes simplyContinue reading “The Magic of Piemonte; a little film”

‘A couple of Europhiles’ provide a breakdown of the two ballot system in the French elections and why Macron will win.

On this episode of ‘A Couple of Europhiles’ Bailey and Francis breakdown the two ballot system in the French elections and precisely why the French are anything but a tribe of ‘cheese eating surrender monkeys’. The French know a thing or two about war which is why they have a grand monument called the ArcContinue reading “‘A couple of Europhiles’ provide a breakdown of the two ballot system in the French elections and why Macron will win.”

A couple of Europhiles discuss Trento and Piemonte, with love

On today’s podcast Francis and Bailey compare and contrast two fantastic regions in northern Italy. They discuss Trentino’s charm, its Venetian qualities and how it became the windsurfing capital of Europe. They cover those atmospheric tunnels that make driving around the lake feel unique, and precisely why Germans consider Lake Garda the uber tourist destination.Continue reading “A couple of Europhiles discuss Trento and Piemonte, with love”

I predict Macron will win and here’s why…

The French elections begin today. They have two ballots. The first allows them to vote for who they want. The second allows them to vote for who they do not want; it’s a pretty sensible system. The winner gets more than 50% of the vote. Macron seems nervous. Perhaps because Le Pen has been ableContinue reading “I predict Macron will win and here’s why…”

Liquid Gold along Lake Garda

When we lived in Piemonte the focus was on wine, like Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera – but here on Lake Garda – olive oil gets extra special attention – it’s often called liquid gold; it’s that good. I use allot of it. I cook Mediterranean and while I’m cooking I cut up some fresh rustichini,Continue reading “Liquid Gold along Lake Garda”

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