Tag: sunshine

Up, down, shake it all around

Up, down, shake it all around


Indulge me for a moment while I focus on the selfie stick.

The selfie stick is one of those items that are at the same time dreadfully touristy and incredibly useful. The benefits are obvious – not all friendly tourists will take a nice pic of you – and yet we still hesitate to buy one, not wanting to join the throngs wandering about, sticks in the air, heads bobbing about.

Our friend Ruth has a selfie stick; she brought it with her on our trip to Italy.

Our friend Ruth is an intelligent, funny and capable woman, however mastering the selfie stick seems to be a skill that has totally bypassed her. And nothing – nothing – on this trip to Italy has made us laugh so hard, so loud, so tears streaming down our face shrieking, as Ruth taking our photo using the selfie stick.

We don’t get it out much because it takes a short discussion on appropriateness and importance of the proposed site followed by around 45 minutes of assembly. In fact until today we’d only used it three times: for a photo at the Roman forum with Ruth’s head chopped off, a photo at the Spanish Steps without the Spanish Steps in it and a photo of our black shapeless head silhouettes in front of some blurry backlit columns somewhere in Rome.

The thing is, I really don’t know how it always goes so wrong what with all of the instructions the rest of us provide for Ruth to follow. Particularly Tim. Because wives love it when their husbands shout a string of conflicting instructions at them. Take this morning when we went for our fourth attempt with the selfie stick on a cute little canal bridge in Venice. After the assembly process, Ruth lifted the stick, and it was on.

“Tilt it back!”

“Straighten it up!”

“Lift it higher!”

“Move your head!”

“You move your head!”




“The other sideways!”

“Wait, I need my sunglasses!”

“Don’s not in!”

“I said straighten it up!”

“Tim’s too tall!”

“I can’t hold this pose much longer!”

“Tilt it 80 degrees left!”

“Sure, let me get my protractor out!”

“Wait, I’ll take my hat off.”

“I can’t find the button!”

“It’s on the bottom!”

“It’s on the side!”





And so we have added to our collection a photo on a Venice bridge, three smiling faces and Don sliced perfectly down the middle.

All that plus a marching band

All that plus a marching band


We didn’t really know much about Philadelphia, so on our first full day we chose to wander our way to the art gallery and back and just see what we could find along the way. And this is how Philadelphia proved to us that sometimes you just happen to be in the right place at the right time.

Let me present the evidence.

Exhibit A: The Discoveries

On our walk we stumbled upon: the murals of Philadelphia, the Amor statue, the Rodin Museum, ‘create your own monument’ pedestals, a pop-up dance exhibition by Philadelphia’s premier ballet company, the quirky ‘Your Move’ sculpture of giant board game pieces, a dancing fountain, Philadelphia’s city hall (the largest in the world), and the impressive Washington Monument Fountain.

Exhibit B: The Weather

It was the most beautiful, beautiful day. The colour of the sky was a clear, bright blue, not one cloud anywhere. It wasn’t humid, it wasn’t hot, it was bright and sparkling and beautiful. People were out and about and happy; I like to think because the weather was perfect.

Exhibit C: The Food

A cute little organic bakery with (real) coffee, spicy Cajun at the Reading Terminal markets, sneaky handmade chocolate truffles and a sensational local Greek restaurant.

Exhibit D: The Parade

And the pièce de résistance? As we walked back down Benjamin Franklin Parkway, we saw a marching band. A big, bold, red and white, loud, feathers in their caps, brass blaring, marching band. We stood in the sunshine bouncing along as they marched past. They were followed by a whole parade, including flag twirling rainbow girls, vintage cars, dancers, streetcars and a six banjo double accordion band. Turns out it was Pulaski Day – the annual parade honouring the Polish patriot known as the ‘father of the American Cavalry’.

Philadelphia – right place, right time.