Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture (III)

Published as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge

I promise this is the last one. This photo challenge is not allowing me to stop thinking! Every photo I have, there is a different texture. Salty walls in a salt mine, honey, fruit, yeasty surfaces, bees… just looking out the window and watching the moon at its perigee (“supermoon or whatever”) on a very clear night, even the surface of the moon… I wish I could feel it. So while I can’t feel the texture of the surface of the moon, here is a photo of the beautiful islamic decorative patterns at the Alhambra, in Granada, Spain.

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Weekly Photo Challenge II: Zig Zag (Quilt)

Published as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge

Before the week is up, I’d like to publish a photo of my quilt. Why?

When I graduated from University, my grandmother gave this quilt as a gift, but it’s a special type of quilt. Not only my grandmother made it, but it has a piece of clothe from most members of the family. Parts of my great-grandmother’s dress, of the dress my aunt left maternity with my cousin, a pocket from my uncle’s first pair of pants, my mom’s dress when she was 15 years old… well, you get where this is going.

It’s more than just a quilt… it is a quilt that my grandmother made that tells the history of our family! Pretty neat, isn’t it?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Zig-Zag (Knitting)

This week’s photo challenge is Zig-Zag

One of my favourite hobbies is knitting. I think that the patterns created from this extremely relaxing hobby fits perfectly with the challenge!

It helps me zig-zag through my thoughts!

Homebrew Labels: Some Photoshop-ing/GIMP-ing

This post contains 8 labels. Click on the label to enlarge.

Some “art” work for my homebrew! A bit of a random post, but I’d like to think that I am very thorough with my brews! From the sanitation to the labelling. I am lagging behind the label making, but I will catch up as soon as I have some time.

  1. Wagerberg Original Lager
  2. Just your ordinary lager, blond and clear! Earlier post!

  1. WillHoneyWeiss Spiced Honey Weiss Beer
  2. Weissbier seasoned with orange peel and coriander Earlier post!

  1. Tobias KinderDoppelBock
  2. High gravity bock-style lager.

  1. StrawberLy GarWeiss Strawberry Banana WeissBier
  2. Wheat beer with fresh strawberries added to secondary fermentation, using yeast which leaves a hint of banana flavour in the beer. That’s technology for ya!

  1. Wagerberg Backyard Plum Wine
  2. Plum wine made with fresh plums from my own backyard! Probably the cheapest brew yet! Less than 50p per bottle.

  1. StrawberLy Mead
  2. Simple dry mead, with strawberry added to secondary and tertiary fermentation.

  1. Feel the Beet Beetroot Mead
  2. Experimental recipe which worked very well! Earlier post!

  1. Ray Teabaggins Tea Ale
  2. Pale Ale with 24-hour cold brew tea added before bottling.


The Luck O’ the Irish….. in Florence

The day dawned in Florence after a very emotional night at the gates of Santa Maria Novella Train Station. Having spoken to Carlo (click here for the first part of the story) for 10 hours or so, it was time to go sightseeing.

Florence is probably one of the places that I know the history inside and out. Even before I ever went there, I studied art history and renaissance art is very closely related to the history of the city. Anyway, I went a bit over the top and read more and more, so being in Florence had a special significance in my itinerary. Not only did I want to walk around, but I wanted to spend as much time at their local artist’s gallery. Local artist’s gallery? I mean the Uffizi Gallery, and by local artists, I mean Michelangelo, Rafaello, Ghirlandaio, Da Vinci, De Verrocchio, Massaccio and so on… not too bad for a local museum, right?

Even though I wanted to visit some paid touristic attraction, I had no money. I had those €35 for food, of which I spent €20 for breakfast with Carlo. The €15 I had was literally the last money that I had, so I what could I do? I had to skip the museum, which was going to break my heart. I had still three full days in Florence, so that first day, I decided to walk all the way up to Piazzale Michelangelo to enjoy the panorama of the city. Incredible, I must say! The church of San Miniato Al Monte, which is close by, was free to enter, so I popped in for view. Very beautiful romanesque style building, but that’s beside the point. In summary, my day was full of getting familiar with the outside of places. I walked through the whole city and put my theoretical street knowledge into practice. I did not need a map to walk around! It seemed I did my homework correctly. After a very long two days, it was time to call it the day and rest. And worry about the lack of money the next day.


I woke up to a glorious breakfast at the hostel, which they offered for free only twice a week. Well, maybe that was my lucky day. I tried to decide what to do and as I was walking out, a group of tourists were gathered outside the hostel for a free walking tour. I decided to join for the first part, just to see what it was about. We waited 5, 10, 15 minutes and nothing… the guide didn’t turn up. The guy who was at the front desk approached us and said that the tour had been cancelled as the guide couldn’t make it. I was planning to go busking somewhere to get some money, when something clicked and I asked: “Can I take the tour?”. The hostel owner was a bit reluctant, so I asked around if they would be ok with me taking the tour, after all, in the worst case scenario, they wouldn’t need to give me any tips (free tour guides work on tips only).

So we set off! As most people who know me can confirm, I love talking, but as I put myself on the line, I had to try to be as coherent as I possibly could. I knew about the history of the place, but making it flow as we walked around is no joke! The beginning is terrifying, I have to say. No idea if that was going to work. So we started waking down towards the Duomo (Basilica Santa Maria del Fiore) and the Baptistery. Facts and things of interest start coming out of nowhere, thing I thought I had forgotten, but it was a cool experience. Did you know that one of the projects to build the Dome of the Duomo was to fill the entire church with mud as support? Well, now you know!

The group consisted of about 40 people. We lost a few souls along the way, but not many. We stopped a couple of times for ice cream in some hidden gems that I knew about, gift shops… but mostly, touring around and telling stories about the place, interesting facts, a few jokes, well, trying my best to keep everyone entertained. As I had my guitar with me, we sat down for lunch and I played it while I waited. I was so hungry, but couldn’t afford to eat with them. We walked around for another hour and the tour finished back at the hostel. The tour took the best part of 5 hours! I took my guitar case, opened up the outside pocket, explained the situation and asked only to give what they thought the tour was worth for them. My God, American tourists are very generous! I received about €90. A couple alone tipped me €20! And best of all, a subgroup of the tour invited me to go to the pub with them later that evening. It was great!


The next day, I had a whole bunch of friends! When I finally could afford to go into the Uffizi, a few of them joined me and offered to pay my ticket if I would give them a tour around the gallery. Well, I refused, but still wanted to show them around the place. They were so generous the day before, they could just have said no to the tour and left, but they gave me a chance. Needless to say, it was another great day! I got to see the best museum in the world (in my opinion), talked about it to people who were willing to listen to me and made new friends.

Is there a better way to travel? Now… off to Rome!

(Photos are from a more recent trip to Florence. I only turned to digital in 2008!)

Church my Grandfather built…

A while a ago, 8 years in fact, I decided to draw the church of the small village of Ubari. The church was finished in 1959 and the master builder was my paternal grandfather. Quite special, I must say! It makes even more special that the first wedding held at the church was my maternal grandparents’. My grandfather used to take my then 9-month old father to the top of the tower while he worked in a small basket and used to hoist him up… can’t imagine really how that went! On my dad’s 50th birthday, I decided to attempt a drawing of the church to give to him… well, let me know what you think!