Thursday, February 20, 2014

Snapshots

Qui s'excuse s'accuse. So let us not dwell on an absence which, most shameful to admit, approaches that of a year. But should reason be required, then let it be said that it has been a year full of friendship, foreign travel [fear of the long haul flight finally overcome], frivolity [such parties], fantasy [the enchanting world of opera and ballet], and delights in abundance - the alliteration now exhausted - beyond all measure.

Richard Adams, Jane Hattatt and Lance Hattatt on The Grand Canal, Venice

Revisiting our garden days we spent time with dear friends, Lesley and John Jenkins, whose outstanding gardens surrounding their home, Wollerton Old Hall, enjoy much deserved critical acclaim from both near and far.

Wollerton Old Hall - view from the dining room window

Country house visiting remains an untold pleasure for us and the spent year excited with many most interesting discoveries of castles and palaces hidden in the depths of the Hungarian countryside. Alas, as has been remarked upon here before, many are in dire need of restoration and with some, one suspects, it is already too late.

a fireplace surround within the castle at Tata, Hungary

At home we have continued to entertain and with it has come the joy of spending time with friends old and new.

Jane Hattatt surveys the set table in the dining room

Alongside this we have been so very fortunate to enjoy seasons at the opera and ballet, to have attended musical events from Salon Concerts to full symphony orchestras and, on occasion, to have had the enormous pleasure and thrill of hosting cello and piano recitals within our own Budapest apartment.

Lance Hattatt - before a country house Salon Concert
before a concert to celebrate Latvian Independence Day
exterior of Budapest Opera House advertising a new ballet

Art Market Budapest occupied much of our time throughout 2013 having been invited early in the year to join the planning committee. The Fair, opening in late November, proved to be an enormous success, attracting thousands of visitors, and establishing Budapest at the heart of the Contemporary Art scene.

Ari Kupsus Gallery, stand at Art Market Budapest 2013
newly purchased painting by Orr Máté above sideboard

Abroad we made such fun forays to Italy [Lucca, Milan and Venice], to Slovénia, a jewel of a country with its ancient villages and towns and breathtakingly beautiful coastal ports, as well as to Germany and the cities of Weimar and Dresden.

Lance Hattatt, Andrea Franchi and Carlo Claude in Milan
table prepared for lunch in the loggia of Villa Massei, Lucca
guide books in readiness in a Venetian hotel bedroom
wayside Madonna with electrically lit candles in Slovénia

And then, finally, at the year's end, came The Great South American Adventure where, accompanied by Rafael González Paz, the maddest of Mad Boys, we crossed continents to his home city of Montevideo. 

Rafael González Paz practises in a rehearsal room in Weimar

But that is a tale yet to be told. More anon!!

Lance Hattatt in Montevideo, December 2013

221 comments:

  1. Welcome back Jane and Lance, we've missed you and wondered what you'd been up to. It's lovely seeing you here again and your life seems to have been one big whirlwind of wonderful events. So glad you are both well and look forward with anticipation to seeing more photos of your exciting travels and entertaining :)
    Patricia x

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    1. Such a warm welcome on our return. Thank you so much, Patricia. We too have missed you all and are so pleased to be in touch once more. Life has been extraordinarily hectic but in the nicest possible way and we have much to look forward to this year.

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  2. Back! And thankfully as glamorous as ever! And the Blogosphere needs some glamour!
    So pleased to see you here.
    Sxxxx

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    1. How wonderful of you!! Back and, hopefully, with a vengeance. But as for glamour, and amusement, we look no further than Ms Scarlet. Let the good times roll!!

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  3. I was just wondering about you both the other day, what fine adventures you have had, looking forward to hearing more details and tales.What is the building in Milan, is that marble, looks interesting.

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    1. It is so kind of you, Linda, to have given us a thought and we do hope that your work is going well and that you are making good sales. The construction in Milan is simply that, a construction, a kind of wall, but rather interesting like an enormous sculpture. It is, if remembered correctly, made of marble.

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    1. Thank you. And such fun to be back!! Trust all is well - we shall look forward to catching up.

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  5. Welcome back Jane and Lance.. it certainly sounds and looks like you had an incredible year. I look forward to your posts in the future to hear more about you past and future endevors ;-) ♡

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    1. Launna, how really nice of you to comment. We have had such a fun year and now we wonder how yours has been? We do hope that everything is going well for you and will certainly be looking forward once more to reading your posts.

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    2. Thank you so much for the lovely comment on my blog, you always make me smile with how insightful and how very kind you are... Have a lovely week ahead :)

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    3. It is a pleasure, Launna. We are always most interested to read all that you are generous enough to share.

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  6. Juhu! (German for "yippee")
    It was good to keep your blog in my reading list, after all. Just the other day, I was wondering whether to give that list an early spring cleaning, but then decided against it.
    Now I am looking forward to learning more details after the excellent summary you gave of what really appears to have been an excellent year for you.

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    1. It is so sweet of you to have stuck with us, Meike, particularly as we never intended to be away for so long but events simply overtook us. We did enjoy the year enormously but the highlight has to have been Uruguay.

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  7. Oh, so happy to see you today!!! A bit of sunshine in my day! Happy to see you have had a wonderful year. I'm looking forward to your posts~
    Cheryl

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    1. What a lovely thing to say, Cheryl, and it is truly appreciated. We are looking forward to making time to catch up with everyone.

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  8. Dear Jane & Lance,

    Such a surprise to see one of your posts! I had almost given up on you ;-)! Happy to hear you are enjoying yourself and taking part in all kind of exciting events.

    Lucky you to help organise an art fair. Myrthe and I visited 'Rotterdam Art' one and a half week ago, with galleries and young artists from all over Europe. I believe even one from Budapest (AcB gallery).

    I think you will like Rotterdam. There is always something happening in our town. Looking forward to your visit!

    Love to you!

    Madelief xox

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    1. Dear, dear Madelief,
      We rather surprised ourselves but are happy to be reunited with so many friends and not least, by any means, with you.
      The Art Market was a most interesting and enjoyable experience and one in which we learnt so much about Contemporary Art and met many young artists from all over. How splendid that you went to 'Rotterdam Art'.
      We cannot wait for our visit - it will be such fun.
      Love as always, J&L, xxx

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  9. SPEECHLESS! Overcome with giddy happiness! You are a sight for sore eyes! I have to confess I worried over you at times but I should have known you'd be out gallivanting in mad style! SO pleased to see a post here. Impeccable images!

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    1. Darling Suze,
      You were NEVER forgotten - simply each time we planned a return something else, principally real life, got in the way. But here we are once more, possibly a little madder and less wise than before. But who cares about that?!! xxx

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    2. *happy laughter in response*

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    3. And let there be much of that throughout the year!!

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  10. Wonderful to find you back posting, we have missed you but you seem to have filled your time with the most exciting thing. I love the view through Wollerton Old Halls window. I haven't been there for a number of years but it's definitely back on the agenda for this year.
    I shall wait to see your post with baited breath. I hope you are both keeping well.

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    1. It is SO good to be in touch again, Sue, and we do hope that everything is going well for you and that you are now fully settled into your new home [some time now we imagine]. You most certainly must go back to Wollerton. It was looking absolutely stunning last year even in the rain which carried on for our entire visit.

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  11. How lovely to have you back Jane and Lance. What's more, wonderful to see you enjoying life to the fullest.
    Love the pictures and looking forward to more stories and pictures from you.

    Welcome back.

    Red

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    1. Thank you so much, Red. It really is fun to be connecting with everyone again for these virtual friendships do become very real. And what joy is that?!!

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  12. So happy that you are back. You have had one amazing, fun-filled year. I was wondering only yesterday whether you had given up your blog for good. Glad to see you have not and that you will be sharing your adventures with us,

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    1. And we are more than happy to be back, Loree. In fact we never thought of giving up, simply there was so much happening that we found it difficult to make the time. Hopefully we are organised once more!!

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  13. Wow! can't express my joy to see your post :) Please allow me to be a teenager for a few seconds and say "OMG! can't believe you are back" :)
    We missed you very much, blog world was not the same without you....

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    1. Oh, please do be a teenager again [and for as long as you like]. We are forever Peter Pan and Wendy so is there really a difference? We think not.Thank you so much for such a warm welcome on our very delayed return. You are more than kind and it is so appreciated.

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  14. Your life is so vastly different and so unknown to me--as if you are in a fantasy world of sorts, but I do love seeing your photos and hearing your stories as I get to go someplace new through your shared adventures.
    Welcome back to this funny world you two.

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    1. It is indeed a strange, strange world, Linda, but let us all be thankful for the differences which make for such riches in life. In truth, sometimes we do think we inhabit a 'Never Never Land' but then we are so very fortunate and blessed that we may so do. And thank you so much for your kind welcome.

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  15. Hello Jane and Lance, It's funny, I was just thinking about you two. I was looking at the format of my blog, and your thumbnail is still there, albeit on the bottom as it's been a while.

    I love the photo of the view from Wollerton Old Hall--pictures like that get me every time!
    --Jim

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    1. How wonderful, and kind, that you have kept us there after all of this time. Wollerton really is the most splendid of gardens and so worth visiting. Their web site contains many images which may appeal to you.

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  16. Lovely to hear from you again, lovely pictures as always. You bring such fun with you.

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    1. We have missed the Blogosphere hugely and are so much looking forward to being in touch with everyone again.

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  17. Oh Christ. I had just got used to a mundane and boring proletariat life, when you two turn up and force me to up the game again. I am in deep enough debt as it is, without having to keep up with close neighbours. Venice it is again then this year, though I was hoping to fake it with a few shots of my friend's house on the Levels.

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    1. For our part we should never become used to your wonderful dry sense of humour interspersed with touches of rapier wit.
      Each time, as surely for you, it is harder to leave Venice but, as you point out, the Somerset Levels are becoming a good substitute. Poor people - we trust you are at the top of a hill in Bath!!

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    2. Very close to the river, but very high above it!

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    3. In these times we are happy to hear that.

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  18. Oh how lovely...a post from the strange voyagers...no, wait, that's not quite right. How about...a post from the voyaging strangers...? YES! Welcome back, no matter how long it's been, you're here now and that's all that matters. Welcome! I'll come back and read in greater length; love the photos of all the mad boys and girl and am so glad you were able to overcome your fear. Bravo with great love!

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    1. Dearest Sandra, It is so good to be back and we have missed you all so very much. And now here we are and it as if we had never been away. How nice is that. As for the flying to Uruguay. The aeroplane was huge and we loved every bit of the journey - even the turbulence was not a worry. How is that??

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  19. Well, I never! Gone is my warm and excited welcome back comment...gone! Will I *ever* get the hang of this blessed blogging world?
    Welcome, Jane and Lance, welcome. No matter how long it's been, you're back now and with lovely photos of far flung locations, mad boys and girl and tantalizing tidbits of travel adventures.
    All's right with my world -smile-.

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    1. This is just to reassure you that your comment did make it across the airwaves. Another of life's great mysteries!!

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  20. Céad míle fáilte. It is so wonderful to see you back again. I had been thinking of you today and then voila I see your blog.
    I am so happy to see that life is full of joy and you are living it. I adore the image of you with Richard Adams in VCE. Fondest wishes
    Helen xx

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    1. Dearest Helen, Thank you for such a warm welcome on our return. And how good it is to be back. Life continues apace and we consider ourselves so very blessed for all of that. Like you, it is always a matter of 'Carpe diem'. WE had, as always we do, such fun in Venice - a city we adore - and are so much looking forward to going back but as yet no immediate plans.

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  21. Joy and jubilation, with many peeks back in to see if the lights were still out.

    So glad to see you're well and warm and having such a lovely time. Moire non après all these chores I gave a strict deadline to. And if YOU'RE not an excuse, I think I must have a will of iron.

    Just know you've been much missed (and discussed, for several of your devotees were already friends of mine, and I've made a simply lovely one whilst you were away.

    Gee, Golly, Gosh!! I may have to go find the sherry.

    love and,

    rachel

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    1. A joy most certainly shared by us!!
      We are indeed well, as we trust that you are too, and do so apologise for the long period of silence. So much seemed to be happening and each time we resolved to write a post events overtook us.
      The Blogosphere is an extraordinary thing where one does create very real friendships; we count ourselves fortunate to have yours, Rachel.
      Now, speaking from experience, avoid the sherry at least before breakfast!!!

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  22. Hi!

    For some time now I do not come to visit you. Wonderful to know that you back posting, this post is very good. That photo with 3 on the ladder in Milan was phenomenal, it looks like a marble.

    Kisses from Rio de Janeiro

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    1. Hello, and how lovely to hear from you [and all the way from South America where, as we know, summer continues]. The Milan photograph, taken with our young Italian friends, is great fun; they are full of life and egg us on to even greater madness.

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  23. And they are back - BAM!!!!!! I've missed you fine people and your lovely lifestyle. What a year you've had! Thanks for bringing glamor back. And thanks for sharing Wollerton Old Hall - such charming and beautiful gardens. I'd love to visit. Cheers, Loi

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    1. You are so very, very kind - and we have missed you all so very much. But where style and glamour are concerned, then we look for inspiration to 'Tone on Tone' !
      Wollerton we know you would love. It really is the perfect English garden and one created by the loveliest of people. Perhaps one day?

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  24. Early last Oct. we really hoped to bump into you at restaurant M - Miklos even tried to reach you by phone for us! At least he told us he'd seen you a few weeks prior so we knew you were OK! It was a lovely meal in a most unusual place which I LOVED! Miklos was very friendly and we chatted for a long time. I can see now you were busy with the upcoming Art Fair being on the committee etc. Busy continued by sound of it, but what fabulous places - can't wait to hear more about Montevideo. Great pics - and so glad you are back here - you were missed.

    Fondly,
    Mary

    P.S. If you go to my Archives to early October 2013 posts - I have lots of pics of Budapest - what an amazing city, loved every moment spent there AND the weather was perfect all the time. I felt truly blessed to be able to get great photos to hold the memories of a beautiful place and lovely people close for ever.

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    1. Dear Mary, We feel so bad. First we were not in Budapest for your visit last October, which we missed by only a matter of days, learning of it when we were next in 'M'. Secondly, when we should have made contact we were overtaken by all manner of events and then, shame of shame, we allowed time to pass and did nothing. But now we are back in touch and how wonderful is that.
      We shall post on Montevideo which was the most incredible experience, not least leaving Europe for the first time ever.
      Thank you, we shall certainly go to look at your Budapest pictures and are so pleased that you found the City to be as fascinating and as interesting as we do ourselves. And may there be a next time. xxx

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  25. You've made me so happy with this post, you are both looking so gorgeous and healthy and have clearly been up to excellent adventures, what could be better? Looks like you found a Mad Boy and I love that new painting. Many thanks to both of you for the update.xox

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    1. Such kind words. Thank you so much. Yes, as you may imagine, we have much enjoyed all of our travels and are looking forward already to further adventures this year which will include a return trip to Uruguay. Our Mad Boy is a delight and a very accomplished pianist studying at the Music Academy here in Budapest.

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  26. Wonderful to see you back - Sounds like the only place you haven't ventured is through the back of the wardrobe to Narnia. Hope you'll post lots of pictures of your travels.

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    1. Thank you so much for the welcome on our return. Whilst Narnia may be still beyond our reach we are very much hoping that Turkey will soon be within our grasp as we are urged to visit friends living in Izmir. Do trust that all is well with you.

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  27. Welcome back, Jane and Lance. No wonder you haven't had time to blog this past year. With so many wonderful travels and experiences packing your days, I'm amazed you found time to sleep. :-) I look forward with intense interest to learning more.....

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    1. Dear Perpetua, You have been such a loyal supporter during both our presences and our absences. For this we thank you so much as we do for your warm welcome back. Life has indeed blessed us with the most wonderful experiences - we shall hope to share all in due course.

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  28. My dearest Jane and Lance,

    Welcome home. Without the goodness of our mutual friend's soul, I would have missed this opportunity to say welcome back!

    It seems like such a long, long time ago since we'd spoken here the last time. Having said that, you are never far away from my thoughts. Dear friends like us can pick up where we left off.

    It must have been an amazing year to visit all the new places and see one's old friends as well as some new ones. I thoroughly enjoy looking at your photo albums. Oh my dears, what a lot you've achieved within a year. It seems like you've probably beaten Patrick Leigh Fermor and Bruce Chatwin...the two most travelled men on earth!! Travelling abroad has been one of my weakest areas of knowledge and ability, so anything you impart in these subjects will be an education for me! Reading your blog and writings have always been an enchanting journey for me. In another word, your blog will always be a simple blueprint for Utopia...a place where culture, art and literature dwell inside one another like a set of Russian dolls.

    With best wishes, ASD

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    1. Dearest ASD,

      Please be assured that, along with so very many good and very real friends, YOU are the reason for our return to the Blogosphere which we have missed hugely. And you are so right when you say that the passing of time does not have any lasting effect on true friendship.
      And how wonderfully typical of you, dear, dear ASD, that you should make reference to two of our favourite travel writers. For years, whilst the garden remained a huge responsibility, we travelled very little and hardly ever abroad and so now, in so many ways, we find ourselves liberated and are so enjoying all that that freedom brings. But, like you, we derive enormous pleasure and satisfaction from reading.
      Your image of the Russian dolls is so perfect - you never fail but to find the right expression to convey the feeling and the moment. We love it. xxx

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  29. Oh yes, I agree. Weimar and Dresden were amazing cities to visit and explore.

    Any amazing photos from that part of Germany you can add to you blog? But then I suppose it would be almost impossible to include all your favourite photos.

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    1. Dresden we found to be utterly charming and so full of interest even allowing for the fact that so much of it has been rebuilt since the Second World War. Weimar is a fascinating city and we plan to write about it later on in the year. So much to see there and such history. We could not, however, bring ourselves to visit nearby Buchenwald as we were unable to look at the horrors of Autwitz when in Poland.

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  30. Montevideo - a favourite city. The name alone brings back memories of the food, the wine, the smell of the enormous wood-fired grills in the market place. A beautiful late 19th century etching of the harbour is a reminder of a beautiful city. I look forward to learning more about your past year.

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    1. How wonderful that you should have visited Montevideo. We loved it so very much [and will post on it next] and thought the people to be so full of life and vitality. And how nice to recall it all with an etching of the harbour which we too visited alongside that splendid market which stands close by.

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  31. You have been missed, but what wonderful adventures! love the photos, so happy to see a post. you recently both popped into my thoughts! xo

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    1. It is indeed fun to be back and writing about places visited brings back so very many happy memories. How kind of you to say that we were in your thoughts - that is so nice of you.

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  32. Thrilled and delighted to see you both again! No excuses necessary - I haven't blogged since July 2013 and don't know when I'll be able to. I zoomed through this post - too excited to slow down. I'll come back tomorrow and savor!

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    1. How very kind of you to take the time and trouble to leave a comment, Kim. Sometimes real life does overtake one leaving no time for the virtual world but, in our experience, that is something which most people readily understand. And blogging should never become a chore or an obligation. What point would there be in that?

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  33. That was a nice surprise to my bleary eyes at five o'clock in the morning. With all that travel, your minds must be very broadened. Montevideo is one of my favourite words.

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    1. How really good to hear from you, Andrew. It will come as no surprise to you to learn that we are never very sure what time it is in your part of the world!! Now, you must let us know when you, R, and your friends will be in Budapest - it surely cannot be so far off now.

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  34. The return of the Glorious Hattats - you have put a smile on a lot of faces!

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    1. Returned, yes, but in no small part drawn back by the exploits of Bourbon and Pearls!

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  35. Nice photographs. Looks like you really had an enjoyable time.

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    1. We have indeed had such fun. Would that there was the space to publish all photographs [but that might be something of a bore!!].

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  36. It's wonderful to know, Jane and Lance, that you've had a marvelous time and not wasted a moment of your break! Welcome back!

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    1. And so good to be back, dear Faisal, although we do feel that the dreaded Facebook does, at least, serve as a link and keeps us in touch. Have a really enjoyable weekend.

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  37. What a delight to find your wonderful blog popping up today - and to think I almost took it off my list a few weeks ago! It is so good to hear of your many and varied adventures and to see the pictures; the shot of Venice particularly entices me, as we are off on our first trip to Italy in a matter of weeks, and naturally Venice is on the agenda. Welcome back to the land of Blog, Lance and Jane.

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    1. You are so VERY kind, Patricia, and thank you so much for staying with us during a very prolonged absence. How exciting that you are shortly to visit Italy for the first time. It remains one of our all time favourite countries and we shall never know it well enough.
      Try to get a good guide book of Venice and steer clear of the principal tourist attractions which, whatever time of year, are always heaving with tourists. Do not be afraid to venture off the beaten track into unvisited areas which will reward you time and time again, not least with the most wonderful paintings to be found inside the churches. Please, please do, in time, post of your adventures.

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  38. Dearest Hattats! What wonderful adventures you've been having! I'm going to sit down with a cup of tea tomorrow and read your post in detail and look at your lovely pictures. Meanwhile do I have castles for you - please go and look at this castle being renovated by my friend Jim Parton and his lovely wife Anna in Poland, they do B&B and would be delighted to receive you. I'm going to introduce you on Facebook. Just as soon as they let me out of this damn office. That photo in Venice is just divine! You look like my kind of people.

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    1. How simply divine to be in touch like this and please, please, let us have a link to your friends' castle in Poland a country with which, on a single visit, we fell in love. We are certain that you are exactly our kind of person and thank you so much for the Facebook Friend requests. This is all going to be such fun.

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  39. Too busy living it to blog it, and why not?

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    1. You are right. And it should never be seen as a chore or an obligation.

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  40. Jane and Lance ….. Hurrah !!!!!
    What adventures you have been having ….. certainly better than blogging, that's for sure !! ….. and, you've been to wonderful Venice…..one of my favourite cities. We must return there soon.
    Hope that you are both well { you certainly look it !! } and that you will be posting often. Much love and, it's so good to have you back. I've missed you both. XXXX

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    1. Jackie, What a wonderfully warm welcome back. You are so generous and kind, both of which are appreciated beyond measure.
      Yes,we had a marvellous time in Venice, which we too adore, but the highlights of our year out must surely have been the meeting with the Mad Boy Rafael, a pianist from the Music Academy here in Budapest, and the adventure to his home city of Montevideo in Uruguay about which we shall post next time and to which we have purchased aeroplane tickets for a return visit in December/January.
      We do so hope that all is well with you and are thrilled to be in touch once more. Love, love and more love. xxx

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  41. Welcome back to blogging, Jane and Lance! I'm relieved to hear that your time offline was happy. I love your Venice photo - very Merchant Ivory. It's such a beautiful city, one I've revisited several times. I fear it may sink as the seas rise.

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    1. Yes, thank you, we have had the most wonderful year away but are not at all sorry to be back. We too love Venice which, on account of its relative proximity to Budapest, we often visit. Like you, we fear for its future - all those dreadful cruise ships displacing huge amounts of water.

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  42. Lovely to see you again. You had the perfect excuse to neglect the blogging world. Sounds like a grand time!

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    1. And it is lovely to be back and, once more, renewing and reviving friendships. That said, we have had the most wonderful year.

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  43. Happy to see you here again ! I look forward to reading about the visit to Montevideo ! and seeing more photos, chau, besitos, C

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    1. Thank you, Candice. The highlight of the year was our trip to South America, so much so that we have booked to return in December when we shall, almost certainly, cross the water to visit Buenos Aires. And now you are returned to the United States.

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  44. Cor, Blimey! Welcome back. No, I mean it MOST sincerely. My blog trawls have now recovered some of the colour it lost when you disappeared like a genie popping back into the lamp.

    Btw: I'm bound to be thinking of you when I watch the much-awaited film 'Grand Hotel Budapest' which opens here in a couple of weeks - though I'm not sure where the actual filming took place. It looks great fun from the trailer now showing. I wonder if you've seen it yet - or even heard of it.

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    1. Such a long time absent it comes as something of a shock that we should be remembered at all. But here we are, and thank you for the welcome!!
      Although we do not know very much about 'Grand Hotel Budapest' it is our understanding that it was actually filmed here. We too anticipate its release although, as with most major films, we will in all probability have to wait!

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    2. A little further research suggests that it was not filmed in Budapest at all but on location in Germany!!!

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  45. aahh i adore the first photo of you all what a lovely photo i can see so much fun and adventure in your expressions :-) It looks and sounds like you have been having a ball and living life to the fall well done i say :-) I see so much love, freedom and magic in your words and photo's. Thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment it means a lot. Best wishes to you all, Delia x

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    1. We are so pleased that you like the photograph of the two of us, together with our friend Richard, in Venice. It was taken quite by chance and is, we think, rather fun. Thank you, Dee, for all your kind words and we send to you our warmest possible wishes for your future happiness and success.

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  46. Dear Ones,

    How most pleasing it is to find you have returned to the blogging community. Once again I find the screen shimmering and sparkling with your wonderful prose and the stylish composition of your photography as always, is visually intoxicating.

    Though absent from our midst, please know you were thought of with each visit made to the blogging world. And as you have now returned I look forward to hearing every detail of you absents and wait on chair edge for reports on your new and latest adventures.

    As always, my best to you both. – gary

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    1. Gary, darling, how you flatter and how wonderful is that!! But, seriously, such very kind words which are taken to heart, savoured and appreciated. Thank you so much for all of this and your continued support.
      We have had such fun and so many adventures but suspect that is true of you at Fox Paw Lodge where there are always the most interesting of projects and happenings.

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  47. I have so missed your most entertaining of posts -- they are quite addictive you know? A wonderful surprise most welcome at the end of what has been a most dreary winter here! Can't wait to hear more about the 'maddest of mad boys'!

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    1. This is most generous of you. And what, by all accounts, a dreadful winter it has been. Strangely here it has overall been quite mild with nothing approaching the usual amounts of snow.As for the Mad Boy Rafael he will, as very much a part of our lives, doubtless feature in future posts!!

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  48. Dear Jane and Lance,

    What a delight it is to see you back on Blogger. As you can tell by all the comments, you gave been missed very much.

    How wonderful that you have had this year of adventure and fun. I love the pictures and seeing the look of joy on your faces as you live life to the fullest. We all have the choice on how we color the days of our lives and yours are painted with a rainbow of the brightest hues.

    Party on.

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    1. Your comment, along with so many others, has touched us deeply. And whilst we enjoyed a very busy and joyous year largely away from the computer, it is indeed good to be back.

      We do agree with the wisdom of your words that " we all have the choice on how we colour the days of our lives" but we really do consider ourselves to be most fortunate and blessed. And, as we are sure that you would agree, none of us should forget that. Meanwhile there will be adventures to relate. Such fun.

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  49. Forgot to post the link to the Polish castle. I have introduced you to Jim on Facebook.
    http://www.piotrowicenyskie.com/

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  50. Well, well, well, how wonderful to see you back on the blog scene. Obviously, whilst the rest of us have had our noses pressed to the screen, you two beauties have been "out there" living your lives. I say BRAVO! It is so good to see you back and to learn of your adventures. I for one am looking forward to more. I actually gasped when I saw Hattatt at the top of my blogroll.
    Simply wonderful.
    Di
    XX

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    1. Di, YOU are the wonderful one! And what of you, tossed around on the Atlantic in all of these storms? We do so hope that both you and your boat have come through the wind and rain in one piece for at times it must have been so very alarming.
      And how lovely of you to be so welcoming - it is indeed good to be back and to catch up with so many friends, not least among them all yourself.
      Enjoy your weekend and we much look forward to catching up with everything. xxx

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    2. We did indeed survive the storms! There were times on land, John and I found ourselves swaying but we now have our land legs back. All is well. Thank you. It is so joyful to communicate wit you again.
      XX

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    3. We are much relieved to hear this for we do know some people have suffered, are suffering, dreadfully.

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  51. What a delight it was to see this delightful new post from you all yesterday. Yesterday was also notable here in New York because of much warmer and sunnier weather. I celebrated all the joy of the day by bringing home some pretty tulips with bright coral/yellow petals.

    It's fun watching those tulips put on their show and I know that it's also going to be fun finding out more about what you two have been doing. Your travels sound fantastic!

    xo

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    1. This is so very kind of you, Frances. From all that we read the United States has had the most appalling weather in recent weeks and so we are so pleased to know that you have some cheer in the form of spring tulips - one of our favourite early flowers.
      We have had such adventures, the principal one our trip to Uruguay as before December we had never had the courage to venture outside of Europe. And what a world awaits.

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  52. Hello Jane and Lance - as soon as I read your comment on WFVM I dashed over post-haste to see you.
    I am delighted to learn that you have had a stimulating year with lots of good art, music, companionship, travels and tales to be told.
    Welcome back.

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    1. How wonderful to be in touch once more and to have the certain knowledge that WFVM continues to go from strength to strength. Our year brought us into contact with so many new and delightful people as well as much else in the way of interest - a great deal of which, we are sure, would appeal to you, Rosemary, hugely.

      And now, as you say, there will be tales to be told!! Have a joyful weekend.

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  53. Welcome back!!
    You have been missed.
    xo,
    pamela

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    1. And it is so good to be back, Pamela. We imagine you have had a very hard time with the snow. Poor you.

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  54. Such a pleasure to see you again in the world of blog...and I am most eager to hear about Montevideo as that is where I wished to go to live when we left France.
    Perhaps one day...

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    1. This is so very kind of you, Helen. Montevideo, about which we will post, we absolutely loved - such a fascinating, edgy place and the people are a pure delight. Much to tell. Meanwhile we do so hope that all is well with you.

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  55. How bona to varda your dolly old eeks again! I drew breath when I saw that a new post has been published by Jane and Lance, does this mean I can now cancel my subscription to Country Life magazine? I adore the kunst above the sideboard.

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    1. Darling Mitzi, cancel the subscription to Country Life immediately but maybe, just for the moment, keep going with Harpers and Queen!!

      Isn't the Orr Máté painting over the sideboard just a dream? We are so pleased that you like it.

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  56. Admittedly I did worry a bit, but I should have known better, Jane and Lance. You two were living it up while I was buried under mounds of snow and ice and bemoaning my fate. Ha! I was relieved to see your new post as I do enjoy learning about your happy travels. As always, thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. It is so kind of you to have been concerned, Yvette. But as you can see, all is well and that simply so many things seemed to be happening at once, nearly all enjoyable, that there never seemed time for the blog. We are, hopefully, better organised now!!

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  57. Callooh Callay : The HATTATS are back in town! What a delightful time you have been having and looking forward to reading of more adventures, jolly japes and escapades. Could we please have more photographs such as the one with Mr Hattat et al. on the steps - reminds me of 'art films' circa 1963. Most stylish!

    Best wishes
    Jenny
    PS: I have recently visited Frome..............!

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    1. How, Jenny, have we survived almost an entire year without your enthusiasms and joie de vivre? Certainly we have had a most enjoyable and fun time but have, genuinely, missed you all.
      Next post on Montevideo - we promise some strange photographs!!
      Now, Frome........!!!

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  58. Welcome back folks I thought something serious may have happened but it seems like you've been having fun and frolicks around the beautiful world. You've visited some wonderful places and Venice is one of my favourite haunts on earth.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you too. Enjoy the weekend, it's bright and sunny this morning at my end.

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    1. Happily, as you can see, we are alive, well, and kicking. But how kind of you to have been concerned for our well being. Like you, Venice is an all time favourite for us as well and its relative proximity to Budapest means that we can be there quite often.
      Have a happy weekend and we shall look forward to staying in touch.

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  59. I gasped and ran to my computer to "see" you both, dear travelers! What adventure and experiences over this past year. You have delighted all of your senses with art, music, travel, friends, and have been drinking it in with such joy. It warms my heart to see you here again and to know that there will be many stories unfolding in posts to come.



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    1. Dearest Genie, You are so very, very generous and kind with this comment. And how wonderful it is to be returned to the fold, so to speak. We shall much enjoy putting together a post on Uruguay which was the most marvellous experience.

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  60. It sounds like you had a most memorable year full on fun, excitement and interesting people - I look forward to future posts.

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    1. We did indeed have enormous fun, particularly on The Great South American Adventure which we look forward to repeating later in the year.

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  61. Good to meet you and come along on your adventures!

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    1. And how nice to have you with us. Thank you so much for becoming a Follower; we shall look forward to staying in touch.

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  62. Greetings Jane and Lance,

    Have you not be delighting your adoring fans with a posting for quite some time? Never noticed, my friends. Yes, I said that in playful jest.

    And thus, a verbal and pictorial wonder you have shared. Almost like you were never away.

    Gary

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    1. And in so many respects it really feels as if we have never been away. Now so much to catch up on and the pleasure of reconnecting with everyone. Take care, Gary.

      Delete
  63. Welcome back dear friends! I look forward to tales of your adventures.
    xo, Jen

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    1. Thank you, Jen. So much has been happening but not only with us but all our friends in the Blogosphere too.

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  64. What a wonderful surprise when that little photo of the teddy bear from your last post was replaced with such a striking trio! Your adventures sound amazing... you know we do love to live vicariously through your exploits! Happy seeing you here and anticipating the reveal of your South American experiences. Smiles...Susan

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    1. This is exceptionally generous of you, Susan. We do have to admit that we have had some wonderful experiences over the past year, not least of all our trip to Uruguay about which we shall, most certainly, post.

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  65. How nice to have you back posting again. It looks as if you had a very exciting, enjoyable and productive year. What wonderful adventures you experienced. Welcome home!

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    1. We are glad to be back, Adrienne. One of the joys of being here again is to discover that so many friends, such as yourself, are still here and writing such lovely and interesting posts.

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  66. Hello, hello! Welcome back, Jane and Lance! It's so good to see you again. It seems like you have had the most interesting, fun-filled year and as long as you share your wonderful adventures with us, the absence can be excused. :-)
    Have a lovely Sunday.

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    1. Dear Suman, how really wonderful to be connected once more and thank you so much for the very warm welcome. We shall very much look forward to sharing some of our adventures.

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  67. Dear Jane and Lance,
    I have really missed your adventures and tales, and so look forward to hearing more about them. It's good to have you back!

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    1. That is so nice of you to say, Gary. For our part we were so happy to be back in touch and reading of all your activities along the South Coast. We do hope the weather will improve for you to be able to start work again properly.

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  68. Enjoyed the visit...LOVE Venice.

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    1. We too adore Venice which happily, on account of its relative closeness to Budapest, we are able to visit quite often. Thank you for your comment - we shall hope to welcome you here again.

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  69. JANE! How fantastic to see you again in Blogland! I must say that I am able to travel the world and not even leave my stone cottage here in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA! The rooms with the fireplaces, the canals, the lovely friends...you live a rich life of beautiful people and experiences. You are a joy to read, and sharing your travels with us is what I love about blogging. To think that we can see into one anothers' worlds and view points from across the globe.

    Thank you kindly for coming to visit my post. One thing is for sure to me...kindness reaches across the miles. Merci, et bonne journée! Anita

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    Replies
    1. And how we are enjoying being back in Blogland. We have so missed everyone and it is such fun reconnecting. You are so right, Anita, in all that you say here about the way we all can, from the comfort and security of our own homes, be in touch and explore so very many different places and enjoy so many varied experiences all over the globe. What fun that is.

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  70. Yipee!! you're back!! I've kept visiting and I did start wondering what had happened. I'm so glad you are both okay. In fact you are more than okay, you've had a stupendous time! You look terrific in your photoographs. It's really a tonic to see you back in blog-land, lots of love and hugs to both you lovely people.

    Hugs Jane

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    1. How lovely of you, Jane, to welcome our return in this way and for having bothered to wonder about us. Thank you so much. And of course we are fine, and so much enjoying catching up with everyone once more. Love and hugs to you too.

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  71. Your blog is beautiful, with so much joie de vivre, my brother, who has always been culturally and aesthetically inclined, has moved to Budapest and seemingly got lost in a sea of silicone enhancement and competitive shopping. He's an Oxford boy so his soul is yearning for more of your style of living, if you are involved in any more art fairs, please leave a message on my blog and I will tell him to come to seek you out!

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    Replies
    1. We are so delighted, Alexandra, that you have enjoyed the blog and we shall very much hope to welcome you again.
      Of course we should be very happy to meet your brother; we have many young friends so he should not feel out of place.

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  72. Glad to see you back safe and well and obviously bursting with stories to tell! Since your disappearance I finally made it to Venice and found myself visiting all the places you pointed out in your blogposts - thank you! Apart from that I did a tour of Northern Spain and was ‘getting to know Guernica’ and ‘Beguiled by Burgos’ among others. Nothing as varied or far-flung as yours, but I’m bitten by the bug now.

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    1. We are delighted to learn that you have been able to visit Venice and that it lived up to all expectations. It really is the most magical of cities and so intriguing too.
      Alas, we do not know Spain at all but have heard that it is exceptionally interesting and very beautiful, particularly so the northern part.

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  73. Dear Jane and Lance,

    I am so delighted you're back ... and what wonderful journeys you have had in the past year. I enjoyed your photos very much; they're well-composed, and full of colour and detail (Lance looks so dashingly handsome, he positively set my pulse racing!).

    I wonder if you had chance to visit Punta del Este in Uruguay? I so love the town, it rather reminds me of St Tropez.

    Fanny x

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    Replies
    1. Darling Fanny,

      Such compliments!!

      Now, Punta del Este, about which we could tell 'stories' [rendez-vous on that hand on the sand] but are sworn to secrecy by the Mad Boy and which we have yet to visit. But aeroplane tickets are already booked for December when, without fail, we shall be in that St Tropez of Uruguay. How splendid that you have been. Are we to know more?!! xxx

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  74. Dear Jane and Lance, you are back.....hooray!!! I am overjoyed. You have r
    eally been enjoying life to the full, and you have found a mad boy, what larks!
    You both look absolutely marvellous in your photos, as do all the gorgeous places you have been. I nearly pee'd with excitement when I saw you lovely little names in my mail. I am thrilled that you are back, it just hasn't been the same without you. Can't wait to hear all about your travels. Welcome back. With great big bear hugs, Linda xx

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    Replies
    1. Dear, dear Linda,

      What a welcome. You are so so sweet and so kind. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      Yes, we have had such exciting times and travelling as never before, not least to Montevideo the home of Rafael who, a gifted pianist at the Music Academy here in Budapest, you would most certainly love. And how wonderful it is for us to be reconnected in this way. Joyous times ahead.

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  75. Jane and Lance - thanks for discovering me so I could discover you! What a wonderful spot! Boy I am going to have to make my corner of the blogsphere a little shinier if you are coming by!

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    Replies
    1. Wendy, we were/are delighted to have discovered you. Please do not change a thing - we love it as it is!!! Indeed, it is all such fun and none of it should, in our view, be taken too seriously.

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  76. Hello Jane and Lance, your blog is so rich with wonderful text and imagery that I hope you do not mind me following it.
    regards
    matthew

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    Replies
    1. Welcome, Matthew. We are so pleased to have you here and even more thrilled to have engaged with 'The Ramblings of an Ordinary Person' which you most certainly are not!

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  77. Nothing better then catching up with you! What delightful times you've had!
    Now I do not feel so bad having not blogged for a while.....
    Much love to both of you!
    Victoria

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    Replies
    1. How really lovely to hear from you, Victoria. One should not feel bad about disappearing for a while when real life overtakes, but somehow one does. Still, we are back!!

      We both send much love to you and hope that all is well.

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  78. How fabulous! What a beautiful world it is!

    Pearl

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    1. Absolutely, we do so agree. Meanwhile, we shall hope to welcome you here again.

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  79. oh, how lovely to read your blog post! happy travels!!

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    1. We are delighted to be back once more and to be able to catch up with everyone.

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    2. i love your new painting too!

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    3. That is so kind of you. We think that Máté is an exceptionally gifted artist and very imaginative too.

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  80. How wonderful to find you posting again! Don't leave it so long next time will you x

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    Replies
    1. Just sometimes, as you will know yourself, events in the real world overtake one!! We did not intend to be away for such a length of time and are more than happy to be back.

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  81. Hi Jane and Lance,

    So very nice to make your acquaintance! Thank you for following Poppy View, and for your very sweet comment.

    Well, what a beautiful place you have here in the great big blogosphere! Looking forward to tagging along on all your wonderful adventures throughout Europe and abroad. So enjoyed the enchanting photos of Venice, Wollerton Old Hall and your elegant home in Budapest!

    Your newest follower,

    Poppy

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    1. We were/are delighted to have found you and will much look forward to your future posts. And thank you for becoming our newest Follower; it is much appreciated.

      Montevideo, about which we shall post, was a huge adventure and we loved every minute. Indeed, we plan to return there at the end of this year.

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  82. I love your blog and your pictures: a trip for the mind. I am your new follower now.
    Thank you for the insightful comment you left on my blog.

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    1. This is so very kind of you, Julia. And thank you so much for becoming a Follower. We are so very pleased to have discovered your blog and much look forward to future posts.

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  83. What a nice surprise to find your blog. I look forward to following along on your adventures, as I am now a follower of your blog. I always wanted to visit Hungary, even back in the days when it was behind the Iron Curtain. So now I'll get to visit that country through your lovely blog.

    And thank you for visiting my blog and your comments!

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    Replies
    1. We are delighted to welcome you as a Follower, Sanda, and thank you for this most kind comment.

      Hungary is a most interesting country but one which, like others in the former Eastern Bloc, is experiencing many difficulties, not least those of an economical nature. However, there is much to be positive about and we very much hope that you will continue to enjoy our future posts.

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  84. Darling Jane and Lance,

    I would love to know more about the "Mad Boy". As for Punta del Este, I enjoyed the Fingers (the Monumento al Ahogado), as well as the wonderful grilled seafood, good nightlife and peaceful beaches. I'm afraid I didn't get time for much other cultural pursuits when I was there as I shortly afterwards went to Florianopolis in Brazil, but it was a very memorable trip. I would love to know more about your experiences in Uruguay.

    Fanny xx

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    Replies
    1. Darling Fanny:

      More, we assure you, will be revealed, little by little, of the 'Mad Boy' who is very much a part of our lives and who is very talented as a pianist and in many other respects.

      Your South American trip sounds to have been a wonderful experience - we should very much like to see more and hope when we next go in December to spend some time in Buenos Aires. Our next post will be on Montevideo [simply have to put some pictures together].

      Take care and keep that new butler of yours working!!

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  85. Hooray! To see you both posed and poised and obviously in the best of health and spirits has lifted my day. I'm now off to clear my rooms of clutter and face a housework day with re-newed cheer! Jane xx

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    Replies
    1. This is so,so nice of you, Jane. We really appreciate such a kind and generous thought. Now, we do hope that your day of housework contains many elements of fun or, at very least, is therapeutic which such work can often be.

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  86. Welcome back!
    Although how you can face the humdrum world of blogging after such a year makes me wonder.

    Strangely, I had thought of you this morning; seeing the H in ‘Huffpost’ reminded me of Hattats and I was idly speculating about your progress.
    So glad to see that your progress is as spectacular as ever.

    'Age cannot wither them nor ... absence... spoil their infinite variety'.

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    Replies
    1. We are enticed back by you all. For we have missed the exchange of ideas, the challenges, the insights into different cultures and lives, the variety of opinion, the argument and the sheer joy which comes through so many friends in the Blogosphere.

      And how kind that we should have been in your thoughts this morning. You too are clearly living life which, finally, is what it is all about. It is so good to be reconnected with you, Friko.

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  87. Gosh, I had you dead and buried. So pleased you are still kicking. Look forward to hearing about the S. American trip - never ventured there as yet. Is that Aloysius in Lance's lap? Welcome back to blogland!

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    Replies
    1. No, very much alive and kicking!! We enjoyed The Great South American Adventure enormously and would certainly recommend Uruguay to you if ever you have the opportunity.

      The bear's name is, in fact, simply Teddy!!

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  88. No wonder you haven't been posting, what a busy year. I'm quite taken with the view from the dining room window in Wollerton Old Hall, isn't it beautiful?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, real life really has got in the way of keeping in touch with our virtual friends for the better part of a year. Still, now we have much material for blog posts lasting well into the next millenium!

      Wollerton Old Hall Garden is simply delightful and would, we are sure be somewhere which you would much enjoy visiting if you have the opportunity. They are great friends of ours who garden there and they have amazing style and artistic eyes. It is open to the public on some days so if you are in Shropshire do pay them a call.......wonderful teas too!!!

      Delete
  89. Hello there, Jane and Lance,
    Goodness, what a warm welcome back you have been given, you are clearly the King and Queen of blogging! It's lovely to meet you, and I look forward to reading and seeing more about your year of adventures. You lead a terribly glamorous life, I feel a little dowdy and stay-at-home by comparison! So many gorgeous places and photos, I'm going back for another look.
    Thank you for your kind comments on my blog, I appreciate it.
    Love Curtise xxx

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    Replies
    1. How very sweet of you to say this, Curtise, and we have been most touched by the welcome back we have received after a far too prolonged absence.

      We are indeed most fortunate to have the opportunity to travel extensively but, even more so, to have many, many good friends here in Hungary, in the UK and in other parts of the world.

      Thank you so much for becoming a Follower; we are delighted to welcome you.

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  90. How marvellous to see you back, and hear about some of the lovely things you have been doing. I think that sometimes, actually, blogging can get in the way of living, and so everyone should be able to take a break. Montevideo! I can't wait to see and hear what you made of it.

    I've wanted to go to Slovenia for a long time. Perhaps this year I'll make it. There never seems to be quite enough time to do everything I want. Perhaps I'll have to give up blogging for a bit, too!

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    Replies
    1. It is so good to be back, Jenny, but you are right about blogging which can, occasionally, whilst being most enjoyable for the most part, also be just a little time consuming!!

      Our next post will, hopefully, be on Montevideo, which we loved, and our experiences in Uruguay. Such an interesting country.

      Do, if you have the opportunity, go to Slovénia. It is such a very attractive country in all possible ways and the coastal region is a largely undiscovered delight. But then you must return to tell all!!

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  91. Jane and Lance you two are wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is so very generous and kind of you. Thank you.

      Delete
  92. Dear Jane and Lance

    I was sure I left a comment here a few days ago but alas I've checked and checked again and no comment - gggrrrhhh. And you have been so generous as to pop over and visit me today! Please be assured that your return had not gone un-noticed at Cottage Garden, in fact I was jumping for joy because your return has coincided with mine - hurrah!!!

    Your travels look amazing and I look to reading further about your travels and adventures. It is SO excellent to have you back!

    Jeanne
    xx

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    Replies
    1. This is so very kind of you Jeanne. Not only are we delighted to be back but that joy is enhanced to know that Tales from a Cottage Garden are there waiting for us.

      We had the most wonderful time in Montevideo and will hope to relate all in a future post.

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  93. Lance and Jane - well, what a surprise! And what a year you've had! Thank you for your kind comment on mine. I was thinkling about you, Lance, recently - as Bill (Mr VTT) - www.billlaws.com - has been asked to give a talk to 700 (!!) delegates at a conference in Denver, Colorado in June about his last book "50 Plants that changed the course of history". He's given talks before, but never to such a large audience! Any tips? Abby

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    Replies
    1. How lovely to hear from you, Abby, and by now it is to be hoped that you are enjoying your break by the sea.

      Where Mr. VTT is concerned, it is very unlikely that he needs any tips at all but how splendid to be addressing such a large and prestigious audience. We do hope that he will go armed with copies to sell - we have just read with interest an excellent review of 'Fifty Plants' and so are certain he will be an immediate success.

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  94. Your blog didn't appear in my blog roll - I must amend that - but I saw you were back via a comment first on Perpetua's blog, and then - hurray - on my own!! Lovely to see such amazing photographs of what must have been the most incredible year. I am overwhelmed by the beauty and the elegance of your surroundings during this time...full of wonderful culture, people and art - especially that new piece above the sideboard!
    Welcome back - the world of blogging suddenly ups a notch...Axxx

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  95. Dear Jane and Lance,

    It's good to have you back, and I look forward to tales of your exciting life. Your new painting is great fun; now I wonder whether the lady knows what she's getting into!?

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  96. Dearest Jane and Lance! I am thrilled...THRILLED that you are happy, healthy, refreshed, and BACK! :) You have been missed, and I know that many of your friends and readers (including myself) have been thinking of you these past months....
    But how wonderful to know that life continues to be a feast in every way....gorgeous images of you both, and what exciting adventures....South America? Was that your first time there? How thrilling...yes, please do tell us and show us more if you get the chance...
    I have missed your fabulous writing as well! :) Art, music, travel, ballet, salons....in one word, bliss...
    And thank you SO very much for taking the time to visit me...your kindness and graciousness are rare and precious gifts.
    Welcome back! :)
    Sending love,
    - Irina

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