The rOME cHRONICLES: all paths lead home…


It doesn’t matter where you come from; a little bit or a lot of your heart will stay in your home country…
It’s exciting, living in a foreign country where the language is not your own, where things are different & new.
When one thinks of a life in Rome, they may think glamour…fun…but realising that home is so far away can take it’s toll…

If only for a brief moment the young lady wanted to be herself away from the scrutiny of eyes she did not know and those who judged her regardless. Was she from eastern Europe, a babysitter, a secretary or a rich man’s lover?

Only she knew the answers, only she knew who she was as the eyes and taunting faces questioned her and mocked. Some of the women perhaps, were even envious of her and that she’d left her country, family and friends to settle in a new one…she looked different this is true and she dressed differently too and of course she sounded different, Italian was not her mother tongue.

Why had she come here, why had she left her home so comfortable and secure? She had been to university, she was clever. Wasn’t she? Doubt filled her thoughts as the countless faces trudged passed her as she made her way home, hands laden with bags of groceries. Only servants trudged kilometres with bags in this city. They were heavy too and she’d had to park so far away.

She wanted to be home, in the confines of her appartment where the eyes could no longer see her and she could be herself.

All paths lead home…don’t they?

WOrds… never cease to amaze & engage


The lights went out in the theatre leaving the audience seated in complete blackness. That is, except for the whopping great sign that read ‘eisteddfod’ It is the strangest word and as it dangled up there from the ceiling, it looked even stranger. In fact, the man sitting behind me remarked to his wife what a strange word eisteddfod is. I had to agree. While I studied it I thought it could be broken up into lots of little words, like the obvious:
Wow, I actually began to break into a sweat trying to remember all of the little words I was finding.

A lady sitting near me commented too, ‘Gosh, doesn’t eisteddfod look so weird, it’s as if lighting it up like that has made it look all wrong’.
It was true, the lighting made it look defective…odd, unreal…

The choir began to sing or rather bellow and the guitar strummed loudly and our thoughts digressed from the mystery of the word eisteddfod.
Gosh, I hope I spelt it correctly for the purpose of this blog. Gotta love the english language, it never ceases to amaze and entertain…


The rOME cHRONICLES: …It was almost a ballroom twirl…


Moving to a new country always has it’s fair share of settling in dilemmas and ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ can impact on the way you fit in. Most of the time things are new and exciting and other times just plain daunting…Fitting in is the key to enjoying your new life…

Claudia always had perfectly peroxided hair and bright red lips; so much so that the red would seep into the creviced lines around her mouth. Years of smoking had taken it’s toll…
She slipped me the party invite as we passed each other on the stairs. Both of us rushing to be somewhere.

An invite to her daughter Angelica’s fifth birthday, to be held this Saturday afternoon in their apartment on the second floor.

My little girl would be delighted to learn that she had been invited. I probably wasn’t as excited. I knew how these Italian parties went. All the pomp and pageantry of a ball would be executed and the guests would diligently rise to the occasion in their finest attire. I knew I would have to rush out and buy my little one a gorgeous smocked dress with a velvet collar and sleeves so that she would blend in. It would set me back a few thousand lira (no such thing as ebay) but it would be money well spent so that she would ‘fit in’ and not ‘stand out’.

Saturday arrived quickly, Angelica answered the door in her black velvet dress with it’s ballooned sleeves and lace trim. She had a head band to match and so did my little girl.

Coordinated headbands were a must in Rome!

Angelica beamed as she embraced our arrival and welcomed us inside. My little girl handed over the cumbersome present with the crimson bow. Claudia was close behind in a full length red taffeta skirt. I remember the long full skirt matching her lipstick not her headband… Everything looked beautiful… Claudia had excelled herself; she must have worked into the wee hours of the morning to have managed it.

The apartment was brimming with children and parents. I noticed that highly polished silver adorned the white table clothed tables. Silver teapots, silver trays, silver cake tiers and silver cutlery; it shone elegantly as the light through the windows caught it’s attention.

The children were ushered into a separate room to be entertained by a clown. Laughing and clapping could be heard from outside the closed door as the clown wooed a tireless audience.

A maid dressed in her perfectly ironed maid’s uniform approached me and asked whether I would like a coffee or a tea. She gestured to the overflowing table and it’s wealth of foods. The detail to the miniature cupcakes was incredible! Shortly, a butler approached offering champagne glasses filled with the glorious bubbly stuff.

Finally, Erica, one of the mother’s I knew from school arrived. After having completed the ritual kiss to each cheek and formal hellos we both took a glass of champagne. My nerves began to settle as I relaxed into the cordiality of the child’s party.

Claudia flittered from guest to guest, I imagined she might do a twirl soon as her red taffeta skirt would definitely allow it, but no, interrupted by the chain of giggling children emanating from the bedroom I guessed the clown’s antics were over, which left no time for ballroom twirls. Claudia automatically switched to her motherly expertise, pouring drinks and filling party plates.

I sipped on my bubbles and surveyed my surroundings. My little one in her smocked dress and velvet sleeves and not to mention the matching headband had fit in and not stood out.

‘Mission accomplished’, I thought to myself as she turned to look at me grinning from ear to ear,silver cup in one hand and miniature cupcake in the other…

Needless to say, we were invited to many more parties on the second floor for grown-ups too.
Oh and Angelica and my little girl became bosom buddies…

WORDS: How absurd is that word…


At times words can be kind of strange…don’t you agree?

I was helping my little girl with her spelling homework last night and looking at her list of fourteen words. As she wrote quarter I looked at it once and then twice and then a third time and wondered if she had written it correctly.

I studied it, I brought the word closer to my face, I mean, I really analysed & scrutinised it, but it looked really strange… quarter

She thought I was going a little around the bend. She promised me that she’d copied it down correctly and that I shouldn’t be so uppity about it. But I couldn’t help it…quarter…looked unusual…weird…I wrote and re-wrote the word about a dozen times on a scrap piece of paper…quarterquarterquarter…etc, until my fingertips began to pain.

In fact, the more I wrote quarter the more alien it became. It no longer looked like any word I knew, let alone what it was meant to be. Finally, I surrendered and searched the book case for the trusty dictionary and was pleasingly reassured quarter was written there loud and clear.

My daughter stared at me like I was half mad…she was probably right for in that moment I was bamboozled, baffled by a word as straightforward as quarter.

Have you ever felt the same strange sensation, writing a word copiously and furiously turns it into a nothing at all? Maybe it’s because the more you focus on it, the more your mind refuses it…

One thing is certain, my little girl will spell quarter right in her test at the end of the week…


The rOME cHRONICLES: Someone out there like you…the intrepid traveller

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Is it unconscionable to imagine walking in another’s shoes?
You know what it’s like when you are a tourist, lost and found all rolled into one. But have you ever thought about what it would be like to be someone else. Someone who is not your nationality does not speak your language or dress like you with the only commonality being the act of being a tourist.

It’s 6:30am local time. At the airport there are many like me. I spot a Japanese tourist, she’s just arrived, straight off the flight. Long flight, not so fresh, slept a little needed to sleep more though. She’s used to eating smelly rice for breakfast.

In Rome, they eat something sugary like an apricot jam filled croissant with a strong cappuccino. She will have to adjust to that. She loves Gucci and Prada so she’s dying to go shopping. She can’t speak Italian and her English is poor to fair at times. She has no idea how to get from Fiumicino aeroporto to the city centre where her abode for the next 5 days is. She is cautious as she surveys her surrounds. But she is so excited, she’s been planning this trip for months.

But the Japanese girl is not alone, there are more of her out there as well, well not exactly her, they may or may not be of her nationality or tongue and they might dress differently too. Some speak no Italian, some speak a little. Some speak no English and some a little of that too. They come in all shapes and sizes German, Swedish, American, and African and there are more too…

In fact, there are so many who take the same path I crossed and do what I did.

Travelling…to learn, to broaden our horizons, to grasp on to the unknown and to learn the art of adjustment because travelling means adjustment; like when you are washing jeans in a budget hotel hand basin with a cake of marsiglia soap (it had a hand washing diagram on the side of the box so you think it’s right) and then trying to dry them somehow and what about lying on your bed; using a handtowel as a placemat and a face washer as a serviette while you munch on a crusty bread roll filled with deli (alimentari) salami.

Good times, I wouldn’t give up the chance to do it all again…I wonder how the Japanese girl adapted and if she bought a Prada hand bag and ate a choc-filled cornetto for brekky?

Resemblance and resilience are the qualities possessed by most of us tourists and I must not forget… adventure…without it we wouldn’t travel the globe in search of it…


The rOME cHRONICLES: …and so it goes the tale of ‘the Mouth of Truth’.


A Roman with very broken English quietly explained the tale of the Mouth of Truth to me with a stern look of seriousness.I was mesmerised, not only because it was difficult to understand him so I clung to each word but also because the story was creepy…

…If you are to place your hand in La Bocca Della Verita’ and you are an untruthful sort of character who tells fibs or even petty white lies then the mouth will chew off your hand, I mean rip it off, bite off fingers one by one as blood trickles down the corners of the giant mouth. The Roman actually played out the biting of fingers with his own hand shoved unpolitely down his throat. It was an unusual scene.

But don’t laugh I actually fell for this… So, having heard the horrific tale from someone who lives in Rome, I was genuinely petrified when it came time for me to visit ‘la bocca’. A teenager, about three people ahead of me, plunged his hand into the cavernous hole. His smile quickly receded as he struggled to retrieve his hand. I gasped, as the onlookers laughed raucously. The teenager pulled out his hand, still wholly intact, waved it to the crowd and moved away.

I felt a little ill, ‘I don’t think I’ll have a turn, non posso…’ I backed into the line of eager tourists, whom with a sense of camaraderie stopped my regression.

‘Tu puoi’, my boyfriend urged me forward. The line forced me onwards.

Crazy thoughts invaded my head ‘Well, we’ve all lied before…but what if I was the unlucky one and my hand really did disappear…what if it was true and a bunch of people I didn’t know watched my hand get crushed,eaten and blood oozing…weeping…?’

I approached dubiously and with my eyes scrunched up tightly, I placed my right hand into the ominous mouth. I’m left handed and I needed that one if anything did happen.

The line of queue waiters stared intently at me and my hidden hand and my boyfriend waited patiently to the side…I managed a small breath…

I survived the ordeal and I still have two hands to show for it, I guess it really was only a tale…it had me going though…and thousands of other tourists too…


Words:hearing them, seeing them, writing them… & all that blah, blah


We love to hear words, see words, write words, sing words and remember words…how many times have you heard a fantastic word and thought I’ll use that but you never get the opportunity too because it just doesn’t fit into the context in which you are writing or speaking or it is a word that is difficult to express effortlessly and seamlessly…

Word articulation is pure elation! We all love a good story, the power of words to inspire! Writing words it’s a wonderful thing isn’t it? The moment when your words or those of others make you feel good, it’s great really…

Words; the way they trickle onto the page, slowly at first then they pick up speed as one thought overlaps another and then you are off… galloping even…taking the field like a true winner…then you catapult towards the finishing line and the words begin to slow again, canter and then walk until they come to a complete and satisfying halt.

Then we return to where we began and sometimes re-jig them, making adjustments re-reading and sometimes re-writing it all together. Or hopefully satisfied, you leave them as you wrote them in the first instance… untouched…

The world of words is constantly changing…and finding the right words at the right moment to generate an audience is the crux for instant fortune.

So, I’ve posed this question before: are the writers the masses discontented by the lack of reader response or are the masses the readers discontented by what is being written…?

Well, I’d better get back to it, writing that is, broadening my vocabulary and using two words that I want to make fit seamlessly…