Achille Castiglione

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An Italian designer who would have been 100 in February, his studio in Milan is one of the most fascinating things I’ve seen.

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He collected objects endlessly, getting a sense of how they worked, of how they could be stretched or improved and what the most practical next steps would be.

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All photos April 2018.

The Cinque Terre

From nearly a week of grey skies and cold rain came glorious sunshine, and the Cinque Terre.

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First up Vernazza, and it’s little harbour, church and castle overlooking the bay.

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Then Manarola with its little shops, pistachio walls and washing lines,

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its craggy rocks and bright jade seas.

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And finally Riomaggiore and wild waves.

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April 2018.

Double pairs

Another trip, another set of time twins. First up: Roger van der Weyden’s saints and Lucian Freud’s Kitty:

next a Bronzini portrait from the 1520s/30s, with a type of fashion silhouette that wouldn’t be seen again for another 400 years:

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and finally, a piece of 1760s porcelain (top) that looks like it could have come straight out of the Bloomsbury studios.

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Pieces from the Genoa palazzi on the Via Garibaldi, photos April 2018.

Palazzo life

Genoa is the town of palazzo after palazzo and a LOT of painted ceilings.

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First up, the palazzo reale – built for the Balbini family and then taken over by the Savoy monarchy in the 1820s.

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Then the Palazzo Bianco (also containing the Palazzo Tursi, 2-in-1 palazzi, ker-ching)

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and Palazzo Rosso – owned by the same family as the Palazzo Bianco, leading to a pleasingly martini-sounding pairing.

All pics April 2018

Overheard at home and abroad

“I’d like to show you my scar tonight, but I can’t get it out in public.”

“I think I’m going to have a parrot in my house?

Harrod’s?

A parrot. One that talks back to you.

What?”

“It could be an absolute disaster. It’s brilliant.” (In the same conversation)

“I might change; we’re going out V VIP tonight.”

“I’m not going to lie, he’s still got the ring and the child. He’s 20. He’s definitely dating though – it’s paying for his rent cos he’s got a touch.”

“Anyway, long story short, they bought a train ticket.”

“Anyone can drink that – it’s just like milkshake. It sits well on the stomach. And I was so sick, I threw up in the street outside and then I went in and hadn’t more.”

“And then it happened again, and we were at Warren Street AGAIN.”

“It was like you had to whisper a code word in a fridge or something.”

“He’s an idiot – he bet like a hundred grand on a horse or something. You can lose money that way.” (Yes, yes you can.)

“You’re being very selfish now making mummy eat the chocolate croissant when you know she doesn’t like chocolate.”

“No one expects the dog to get married.”

“You’re going to really enjoy that photo when you’re older.”

“… and then it turned out that he just wanted to move to a little town in the middle of nowhere and be a taxidermist.”