Wednesday, 25 August 2010


Just back from holidaying with my daughter in glorious Fuertevenura.

When I booked it, I thought it was a Balearic island (I really should have paid more attention to my geography lessons at school) and was very surprised (and excited!) to discover that it was actually one of the Canary Islands - and just 100 kilometres off the coast of Africa.
Which might explain the climate (hot all year round, but with a delicious breeze).
And the terrain....
The photo above shows the lush, tropical foliage.

While the interior was barren and sandy (lots of Sheikh material here!).
It was quite different to anywhere I'd ever been before - and gave me lots of inspiration.
So now I'm looking out at the rain falling on green leaves back in Winchester and wondering where you might have been recently, which has inspired you...?


  1. Glad you had a great holiday. The Cannaries are always a good bet for all round sunshine. Caroline x

  2. Excellent photos, Sharon. It sounds like you had a wonderful time.

    I found inspiration this past weekend on a drive to the University of Illinois in the central part of our state. My brother and I drove my nephew there to get him settled in at school. It was wonderful to see the campus. I was inspired by the fact that all these young adults are taking their first real steps out into the world....and the endless possibilities laid out before them. I can almost remember that time in my life...

  3. Rubbish, Dan - of course you can yesterday, I'll bet!
    Is your U.S "School" the same as our University?

  4. Sardinia inspired me very much…
    Being on an island has always a hypnotic power (sadly not for Teddy Daniels in “Shutter Island”…amazing novel!) and holidaying there was really magnificent.

    The most stunning place was The Emerald Coast with wonderful sand beaches, Golf Club and it’s also the favourite location for American, European, Russian and Arabian VIPs.
    It was normal to see their private jets or luxury yachts flashing from nowhere in the middle of the day or at sunset.

    Mainly, it was a jewel of a place for its simple things, as excellent food, exquisite people (don’t forget I witnessed a “last second” wedding there!), local traditions and the right place in order to relax and regenerate.

  5. Oh, and about Dan's tale - it's true.
    The years we spend at University shape our behaviour and make us become who we'll be for the rest of our life.

    It's not just a place where you learn or meet new friends but it's a lesson for ourself.
    It shows us several crossroads and makes us aware of what we're going to face outside.

    It happens the same to me when I pass through my University. Unforgettable memories.

  6. Sharon, I forget that our educational system is a bit different here. Here, the terms 'college' and 'university' are pretty much interchangeable. Grammar school here is grades 1 through 8 (students aged 5-13, approximately). What we call High School is grades 9 through 12 (students aged 14-18). Upon graduation from High School, students have the option to attend college (or university) where most students spend 4 years to receive a Bachelor's Degree in their chosen area of study. Post-graduate studies are required to receive a Masters Degree, or further yet, Doctorate Degree.

    Well said, Michela. Those years were incredibly hard work, but they were some of the happiest moments of my life.

  7. Dan, I’ve always envied your educational system because students can live and sleep in the campus when they go to University.

    In Italy we haven't this tradition – it took 15-20 minutes by bus to reach my University and it’s one of the most important ones in Napoli for foreign languages.
    Luckily I live here… but many students come from abroad or from Northern Italy.

    Differently from us, your students create a new family in the campus and share everything with other people. It’s a very good way which I experienced in a different manner (when I spent my year in the Navy I lived in the military barrack) – but both ways make you understand what means living outside your family and look after yourself.

  8. Michela, I completely agree with you. University students quickly learn a great deal about living independently. The good friends that I made at that time have become life-long ones.

    I have a question: Is service in the military a requirement in your country? In America, all males must register for 'selective service' (aka: the draft) upon their 18th birthdays. However, military service is not mandatory. A few years ago - when I was teaching full time at a technical school - I quickly discovered that the hardest working, most dedicated students were former military. Their discipline was impressive.

  9. Dan, no. Military service isn’t mandatory anymore in Italy and guys don’t have to register for draft as before.
    I think it hasn’t been a requirement anymore for almost ten years.
    Everyone who wants to experience this career is a volunteer now.
    In Italy there’s a very useful chance, actually the one I tried: boys and girls can spend one year in the Army, in the Navy or in the Air Force (after strict selections, of course) and I worked in the Ministry of Defence of the Navy.
    It was a wonderful experience and I still remember military training which lasted 40 days.
    Some examples: wake up alarm at 6.20 and be ready at 6.45 (no make up for girls! But it was good as my skin regenerated for a while!) – oh, and every morning we had to undo our beds and do them before sleeping.
    We marched during the morning, after lunch and sometimes until 10 p.m. (under the rain…). I studied penal law and nautical culture. I learnt to shoot and how to use a rifle. I wore those stunning white uniforms.
    Anyway, my job after the training was quieter. I don’t regret anything.
    That experience changed my life but now I’m trying to enter The Police Force as warrant officer (The Finance Guard is a special force here in Italy).
    I already passed several exams including grammar and logic tests; physical, psychological and psychiatric examinations (so many people haven’t passed these ones) and my last step is an oral exam in October (History, Geography, Maths and Civil Law).
    So, fingers crossed ‘till the winning post.