But in other ways
the year is turning out typical. I've just had my review copy
of Donna Leon's 2021 Brunetti (the 30th!) called
Transient Desires, and
Philip Gwynne Jones' new Nathan and Federica novel The
Venetian Legacy is coming soon. I'm also currently reading
Ross King's The Bookseller of Florence and have been
made aware of the recent novel City of Vengeance by D.
V. Bishop, another Florence fix. So it's looking like another
Spring reviews glut, I'm happy to say.
As Italy, and abroad
generally, is not looking to match our vaccine and
lockdown-easing measures I've booked a couple of guided UK
trips - Medieval Suffolk (including Sutton Hoo, Lavenham
and Southwold) in August and Durham (with Jarrow) in September
with an art historian who's also a good friend. But I've not
given up hopes of Italy in the Autumn.
So on Monday we
Brits were shown our slow way back to normality. Very much
from my personal perspective the stages we pass before then
are as follows.
8th March Schools reopen
29th March Meeting friends and family outdoors is
allowed. Weíre going to see ours on the 30th, for the first
time since last October. Travel outside oneís locality now
allowed. The return of the Brick Lane bagel run?
12th April Non-essential shops, libraries and
hairdressers can open. But why not art galleries and museums?
A very good question so far not sensibly answered. Holidays in
this country will be allowed in self-contained accommodation.
17th May Museums and galleries can now reopen, as well
as restaurants and hotels. Also international travel can
resume, but this will be reliant on other countryís
vaccination states and rulings, of course.
21st June All restrictions lifted. Mass mask burnings?
For me I can see myself getting
out in the fresh air more in March as the stay-at-home rule is
relaxed. Iíll finally get to take my library books back in
April, but it wouldíve been nice to have been able to go see
some art while Iím in town. But I wonít be able to do that
until May. Letís hope day trips out to cathedral towns will
happen then too. City breaks in the UK are tempting me for the
summer, but Italy is looking unlikely before the Autumn. Itís
good to have a rough idea, though.
We're still in covid
lockdown, and as a new season of
art-history trips approaches - Spring - so a new batch of
cancellations is upon me. Lucca this March is now Lucca in
March 2022 and Siena in May has just been cancelled and is now
Toulouse and Albi, also in March 2022. Parma and Modena this
June has yet to cancelled, but is looking dicey, I'd suggest.
I'd like to vaguely and broadly conject that UK holidays
might become possible in late Spring, maybe even around
Easter, with foreign travel
maybe in the Autumn. The roll-out of the vaccine and the fall
in the rate of transmission and deaths across the UK suggests that some
optimism may be in order. Our esteemed leader is set to
make some sort of announcement on the 22nd of this month.
But back to
business. David Hewson, an author we like, has a new novel set
in Venice out sort-of soon called The Garden of Angels.
I say sort-of soon because it is published in the UK in
hardback and on audio on January 29, 2021, with the e-book out
in the UK and US on the 1st of March, and the US hardback out
on April 6th. This odd and confusing mishmash of publication
dates is blamed by the author on his website on the current
Covid situation. But how does that explain the ebook coming
out a month after the hardback? The blurb tells us that the
book concerns 15-year-old Jewish boy whose grandfather
presents him with a musty manuscript which tells the tale of
what really happened to said grandfather in Nazi-occupied
Venice. Sounds hopeful.
If I say that this
week has been important and auspicious you might suspect me of
exaggerating, but... On Monday we took delivery of two new
Cats Protection, left on our
doorstep in their carriers as the need for social distancing
has adjusted the whole homing process. They are called Minnie
and Lily and I have created
a new page detailing their
settling in. It's maybe a bit too detailed, but it has sweet
photos. Not so many of Lily yet, as she has been slow to
emerge much from her preferred spot behind the sofa, although
today did see much progress and more sightings. And this week has seen me and
Jane both get the Covid jab - her on Wednesday and me
this morning. The process was swift and easy for both of us,
and it's hard not to see the future looking brighter. Holidays
The Bookseller of Florence Florence
Donna Leon Transient Desires
Lily and Minnie New cats
The Faces of Angels Florence
I Give It To You Florence
David Hewson Shooter in the Shadows
London Bridge and its Houses
Charles Dickens Dombey and Son
David Whittaker Mindful of Venice
Reflections and Meanderings
A Beautiful Crime
Philip Gwynne Jones
Van Eyck in Ghent
Hallie Rubenhold The Five:
The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper
The Books That Made Me
Some 2019 Tintoretto books
A Month in Siena
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell