We spent several days in Milan. The city is a mixture of celebration of the Roman Catholic faith and honoring the dead. The Milan Cathedral is a magnificent example of Italian Gothic architecture. In 1386 the church was started and was not finished until 1965. It is the largest church in Italy.The main doors outside the cathedral have wonderful bronze sculptures that illustrate the bible stories designed by Italian sculptor Ludovico Pogliaghi .
Joseph and Mary marry
So many exquisite works of art inside the cathedral like these marble saints.
And the body of St. Carlo Borromeo who was the archbishop of Milan in 1564 to 1684. It is in a crystal coffin in the crypt of the church. It is the site of pilgrims who come to pray for the saint’s help.
His face is made of silver
The monumental cemetery in Milan is one of europe’s best. The sculptures and grave stones are artistic and creative. This is one of my favorites; a woman expressing profound grief.I will say that the majority of the statues are women expressing grief at the passing of their husbands. Though there were some honoring women and children who have passed.There is also a sense of deeply felt faith even in sorrow.
And this grave stone which is an abstract.The city is a combination of faith and death.
We have had a great time here in Stratford upon Avon. We went to a couple of National Trust homes that are open near by. The first one is called Baddesley Clinton. This a moated manor house from the 13th century. It was the home of the Ferrers who were Roman Catholic when the Reformation was overtaking England. They hid priests from the authorities and had several “priest holes” built into the house. A priest hole was a hiding place for Catholic priests if the house was raided. It is a lovely home and so interesting to visit.
In the 19th century, when they could practice their religion privately, they built a small chapel to hear Mass.We also went to Packwood House. This was a Tudor home that was restored to its Tudor interior by Graham Baron Ash in the 1920s.
A sun dial at Packwood House
One of the best things about returning to Stratford was seeing some people that we got to know last year. These two ladies work at the Shakespeare Hospice bookstore. Last year they helped me find some old books that we falling apart for me to use in my mixed media art. They helped me again this year, thank you ladies.
I also got to tour Shakespeare’s school house. I did not get to do that last year so I was very happy to visit this 15th century building that was Shakespeare’s school for 7 years of his life. They do an excellent job of bring you into the experience that Shakespeare might have lived, Here is a photo of the school master at his big desk.
So we will bid Stratford adieu tomorrow and say goodbye to sweet Enzo.
We said good bye to sweet Nell and hello to Mr. Enzo. We stopped in Laughane which was Dylan Thomas’ final home called the boathouse. He lived there the last four years of his life and wrote some of his best work in this ideal setting. He died at the age of 39 in New York.
View from the boathouse
Here is a photograph of Dylan Thomas’ writing shed where he did most of his writing.
Dylan Thomas’ grave in Laughane
His house is down the shore from the remains of the Laughane castle.
These are a set of houses that are around the castle.Here is a photograph of David watching the Taf estuary and waiting for me to finish taking photographs.
I will post some new photographs from Stratford upon Avon.
We are staying in Epsom and we are taking care of two sweet french bulldogs and a rabbit.
We have gone to two National Trust homes. The first one was Polesden Lacey. It was the weekend home of the popular and powerful socialite in the 1900s, Margaret Greville. No expense was spared to impress the royalty and political men of the time who flocked to her accommodating home to spend the country weekends away from London .
She catered to each guest to make sure they had the best time at her home. She made sure that the cigars that were preferred by each guest was in his room. There was a large billiard and smoking room for the gentlemen to use. Each guest room had the latest novels on the bed stand. The food was fresh from her farm land and of the highest quality prepared by a famous chef. Everyone who was anyone wanted to be her guest.
The cafe at the Polesden Lacey house
She died in 1948 and left her house to the National Trust. This is a lovely home that is still impressive and now it is open for the public to enjoy.
The second house we visited was Ham House. This was another stately home that was build in 1610. It was the home of William Murray and his feisty daughter Elizabeth, the Duchess of Lauderdale. She hosted important government officials at her home and dining table during the English Civil War. They did not know that she was a spy for King Charles II while he was in exile in France. She even wrote letters to the royalists in France in invisible ink. She was a member of the secret organization known as the Sealed Knot. In 1660, when Charles was restored to the British throne, he awarded a sizable reward and pension to Elizabeth for risking her life and fortune in support of him. She died at Ham House in 1698 at the age of 72. Her descendants lived in the house until 1948 when it was donated to the National Trust.
the staircase is carved in battle dress
Wooden windows looking out to the garden
The house was built a short walk from the River Thames. No doubt many distinguished guests arrived by way of the river for house parties.It was an inspiring visit to the homes of two women who were powerful political agents in a time when women were considered powerless party ornaments.