A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Sunday, 29 January 2017

Hooptedoodle #249 - Not the Eighth Dwarf


A propos of absolutely nothing, I was going through my folders of family photos, and came upon this one, taken while on holiday in Sorrento in 2000 (goodness me - is it that time already?).

We went for a walk up to St Agata, which is a good climb above Sorrento, and then on to the ancient convent of Il Deserto, which is on the road over the hill to Massa Lubrense. Past the convent there is the Hotel O Sole Mio (no, really), which in 2000 used to cater almost exclusively for German tour companies. The only reason I mention this at all is to explain the picture - along the side of the road was a line of plastic gnomes - I think they were Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, though now I study the photo I'm not so sure - and I was amused by this homely touch in a land of treasures and fine art. The entrance to the hotel car park was adorned with a plastic statue of Jesus, as you see, which struck me as a rather idiosyncratic complement to the group.

This is all mere whimsy - a fleeting moment of quirkiness in a pleasant holiday from years ago. In passing, I might mention that we last visited the area in 2010, and naturally we couldn't pass up on the chance of retracing our walk to Massa, but the little road had been redeveloped a good bit - the hotel had been replaced with a nice new one (and, it has to be said, the old one looked a bit of a dump), and Snow White and her augmented entourage were no more.


I am also reminded that in 2000 a local dog insisted on attaching itself to us, despite everything we tried to discourage it, and walked all the way with us from just past Il Deserto to Massa Lubrense. I was very concerned that the poor thing would be lost forever. When we went into a cafe in Massa for a well-earned drink (we took the bus back), the dog happily sloped off back up the road. I have to assume/hope that it got home safely; in fact, it probably joined tourists for the walk over the hills every day.


Another photo from the same holiday - maybe even the same walk - reveals a strange, slim version of MSFoy with rather more hair - scary - now that seems far longer ago than the holiday! It looks as though I may have been worrying about the dog...

11 comments:

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    1. Indeed! - probably very appropriate that Grumpy, Dozy and Happy should all feature in my blog yet again.

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  2. Tony - dogs are a worry, hence my own hairline.

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    1. I have sort of convinced myself that the dog came to no harm. Note that the thing like a house-brick in my hand is my first digital camera - an impressive construction, though short on pixels. Very good for maintaining upper body fitness on holiday.

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  3. Poor pup, i wonder whatever became of him?

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    1. I think he was OK - he knew the area better than we did, and despite all the winding lanes and the vineyards there's really only one road from St Agata, via Il Deserto and San Francisco to Massa. He may even have waited to accompany some more tourists going the other way!

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  4. He went on to write a blog about wargaming and various whimsical topics

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    1. At the time he was starting to get the hang of the fact that he might not make it as the world's greatest mathematician, after all. Age and politics - the terrible twins.

      In fact I was just starting to think about dusting off my toy soldiers after a lengthy sabbatical, so it worked out!

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  5. If the dog was anything like mine, he was simply taking the opportunity for a walk. If mine could get out they'd attach themselves to any passing stranger who seemed to heading towards the park! Sometimes they even tag along with strangers while we're at the park. Bunch of opportunists the lot of 'em.

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    1. I once had the experience of being joined on a walk in Glen Lyon by an unknown dog, which then proceeded to bark annoyingly at all passing hikers, sheep, trees etc as part of the adoption process. The thing just would not go away - attempts to chase it were greeted with a wagging tail as some sort of game which I suspect it had played many times before. The Italian dog was more laid back altogether.

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  6. We all have photos of ourselves younger and thinner.
    In Reykjavik there was a cat that followed my wife for several blocks - she has that effect on local felines. I think cats of all nationalities recognize a cat person.
    I once had a young German shepherd join me on my run, stayed with me for several kms then abruptly turned about and headed home.

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