On such a wild, wet and windy day as this, without even the consolation of a World Cup win for England’s rugby team, there is only one thing to do - pull up the drawbridge and do a bit of scrap-booking. Okay, that’s
two things - but why choose one method of comfort, when you could choose two?
Even better, as far as the scrap-booking is concerned, is to opt for subject matter
somewhere warm and faraway. Which meant, for me, a foray into the past to our distant holiday in sunny Rome thirteen years ago. You are possibly wondering (though, to be honest, I suspect nothing I do really surprises you) why I have left it so long. I don’t
have a good answer for that extremely sensible query, except to say that it was production of a rather successful scrap-book about our Golden Wedding (which was only three years ago) which made me think I should do the same for our Ruby Wedding. I even had
the perfect album for it, a present on that splendid occasion - I’m so glad now that I never got round to filling it with photographs. It’s delightfully blank pages are just so enticing...
Helpfully I found an old CD on which Mr B, in better days, had transferred all the photos he had taken in 2006 including the birth of the Eldest of the (Not So Very Little) Welsh Boys, a visit from our Canadian cousins (one
of whom has since, sadly, died) - plus a complete pictorial record of our Ruby Days. This record incorporates party preparations, the party itself, garden fun the day after the party and a wonderful holiday in Rome. This afternoon I decided to concentrate
on our Roman holiday.
I thought the photographs would be self-explanatory. I mean, there is only one Colosseum, one Trevi Fountain, one set of Spanish Steps and
one Vatican City. I did realise I would have to look up the name of the Pope who we were fortunate enough to see in glorious close-up on our visit to the Vatican (Pope Benedict XVI) and I had made things difficult for myself by printing off, on two separate
occasions, the same set of prints in two different sizes, thus risking duplication.
What I had not anticipated was the Obelisk and Fountain Problem. There are
a lot of obelisks and fountains in Rome and we seem to have made a practice, Mr B and I, of taking photographs of ourselves in front of a fair few of them. Inevitably I hadn’t been (i) sensible; (ii) organised; or (iii) knowledgeable enough to write
the names of the various structures on the back of the photographs. All I knew for sure was that there must have been a reason why we chose to pose in front of these edifices, with our broad holiday grins; we wouldn’t have just come across any old fountain
and said to each other “What the hell, let’s ask someone to take a snap of us, just for the sake of it.”
I was quite proud of myself for coming
up with a solution in the shape of the travel guide to Rome which I had bought in preparation for our Ruby Roman Holiday. It was a stroke of luck that I found it during my current de-cluttering exercise when I came across a whole box of travel books dating
back to the mid 1990s. Such a voyage into the past, that was, skimming through guides to Greece, Kos, Turkey, Crete, Rhodes, Florida, Canada, and any number of other holiday destinations including a few that we never got around to. The purchase of a guide
book or two was always a pre-requisite to any holiday for me - it used to drive Mr B to distraction.
What a good thing I invested in a guide book to Rome
all those years ago! And thank goodness I kept it! It was still quite a task, going through 445 pages of maps, pictures, useful information and Places to Eat in order to match up my photographs with illustrations in the book. It took so long that I had to
keep allowing myself a rest - for instance, venturing out into the rainy, windswept garden to rescue the Flowerpot People who had been blown all over the lawn and into the bushes, losing their heads, arms and one or two goggle eyes in the process. I returned
from my Errand of Mercy wet through and in need of a restorative mug of coffee - which meant further delay to my Fountain and Obelisk Investigations.
quite proud of my endeavours. I have identified all the fountains and obelisks and even gone as far as to cut out of the guide book some explanations as to their origin. Should you ever want to know more about the Obelisk of Santa Maria with its elephant sculpture
- it was originally intended as a joke but thanks to sculptor Bernini’s “inexhaustible imagination” the elephant is now - according to the guide book - seen as the embodiment of all the virtues on which Christians should build true wisdom.
To be honest, I think I just liked the elephant for itself...