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Jan
13

white fluffy water!

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We’ve had polar cold for at least a week, but today whoever is in charge of weather decided that that was becoming boring.

This morning, it was a soupcon of acqua alta.

And now: Snow!

For all my readers who may have been shoveling white fluffy water since Michaelmas, excuse me for doing that annoying “It’s so pretty!!” thing.  I grew up in upstate New York, so I grew up being unimpressed.  But now I feel differently.  Sorry.  That could be largely because I don’t have to drive in it.

The important thing now is that it doesn’t melt and then freeze.  I draw the line at that.  Ice turns bridges into stone skateboards from which people can fly with amazing speed and pain.  So I’m fine with it melting, but no freezing.  That’s the rule that I just made up.

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Sep
03

They’re baaaaaack!

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The gondolinos are resurrected, revived, repainted, and ready for the Regata Storica on Sunday. It's not just all talk here, people got down and pulled off a feat of dazzling proportions. Take that, you boat assassin(s)!  I bet you're gnashing your teeth, wherever you are.

The gondolinos are resurrected, revived, repainted, and ready for the Regata Storica on Sunday. It’s not just all talk here — people got down and pulled off a feat of true magnificence. Take that, you boat assassin(s)!  I bet you’re gnashing your teeth, wherever you are.

Yesterday afternoon, as per tradition, the ceremony of the blessing of the gondolinos for the Regata Storica was held in front of the basilica of the Madonna della Salute.

But as all the world knows, it was not a foregone conclusion that this tradition would have been maintained this year, considering that just two weeks ago these elegant craft were reduced to kindling.  Technically, not quite kindling, but to everybody’s splintered emotions, yes.

Three boatyards called their people back from vacation and got right to work, repairing the seven mutilated boats in record time.  For this we can thank the skill and determination of the maestri d’ascia, as they are called here — masters of the adze — and also the excellence of the gondolinos’ original construction, which revealed no weakness or defects after 35 years.  And a shout-out to advances in tools and especially materials, up to and including epoxy resin glues which dry in 12 hours instead of two weeks.

I’ve never seen a complete, new set of nine boats, nor would I ever have thought to see one, considering how much the things cost.  (A knowledgeable source revealed that a new gondolino would cost around 30,000 euros.)  Seeing all the boats lined up, gleaming and still smelling of varnish or paint or whatever that smell was, was thrilling.

As for the malefactor(s), I hope they enjoyed the sight of being so spectacularly foiled.  We all certainly enjoyed it immensely.  The only thing I’m going to enjoy more than that is to see them identified, cuffed, and presented with the bill for the repairs.

They were beautiful from every angle.

They were beautiful from every angle.

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The boatmasters (L to R); Silvia Scaramuzza, Dino Tagliapietra, assistant carpenter, Roberto dei Rossi, Gianfranco Vianello, nicknamed "Crea," two more associate builders.

The boatmasters (L to R); Silvia Scaramuzza, Dino Tagliapietra, assistant carpenter, Roberto dei Rossi, Gianfranco Vianello, nicknamed “Crea,” two more associate builders.

 

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Sep
03

more soon on the boats

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Sorry for the truncated post about the resurrected gondolinos. My computer ate 3/4 of what I wrote.  More on this as soon as I get my machine to function.

Anyway I was able to announce that the boats are back and ready to rock and roll, and this makes me happy!

 

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Sep
01

Correction

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Or as they say here, “Errata corrige.”

The flowering plant that starred in my next-to-last post is NOT “erica.”  Thanks to sharp-eyed, knowledgeable, trustworthy and witty reader Mary Ann DeVlieg, I have corrected the caption to read “Limonium vulgare.”

She has done me a huge favor and I didn’t even have to ask for it.  That’s how life is always going to be when I get to be in charge of the world.

Thanks and an unpicked bouquet of Limonium to her!

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