Ispra, Lombardy, Italy

Clare lives on the top floor of this block. 

Jessica and I flew to Italy, to her new home in Ispra, Lombardy. For the time being, Clare lives in a rather small apartment, in a block belonging to the European Commission, although she plans to find somewhere larger soon, so she can have friends and family to stay.

 The farm behind the complex

The complex is surounded by forest and farmland, with paths winding in and out of the trees. At the moment, the trees are bare, but in summer they will look spectacular.

 We went for a walk in the forest

We are obviously in an earthquake zone, as we have had two this week; one of 5.1 and the other of 5.3. I am assured that the apartment block has been built to earthquake-proof standards, but it is still rather scary when the whole building sways from side to side during a shake, and you are stuck on the top floor!

Jessica was delighted to find there is a playground with swings and slides

We saw this wonderful sky-blue-pink sunset from Clare's balcony window.

Jessica had her tenth birthday this week,
and we surprised her with a cake and candles.

Jessica was delighted with her cake.


Jessica in Istanbul

 It was very cold in Istanbul, so Jessica was wrapped up warmly

I collected Jessica from England and brought her to Istanbul for 10 days, while Clare moved to Italy to begin her new job with the European Commission Research Station. We had such fun together. Jessica is so easy to entertain, she never complains or makes a fuss. She is quite delightful.

We went with Angela to the Grand Bazaar, and to Şark Han, an amazing emporium of goods imported from India and China; no doubt keeping up the ancient trade that travelled back and forth along the old Silk Road.

At the Grand Bazaar, we learned new ways to tie scarves.  Here is Angela, modelling an elegant knot.

We also went to the hairdresser where Jessica had her hair trimmed. We were fascinated to see how he did the parting. I tried to recreate it at home, 
but it never looked the same again!

One day, we went to Büyükada to have lunch with Angela, and afterwards rode around the island in a pony and phaeton. Fortunately, Angla provided us with blankets, as it was freezing cold and trying to snow!

At the end of the ride, the good-natured driver let 
Jessica sit in the driver's seat...

...and then sat her on one of the horses.

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I couldn't resist this one!