A bitter-sweet birthday in Venice

From mid September until she left this world on 23rd October, just one week before her 86th birthday, my mother has been ill in hospital. She had a wonderful life up until the last year or so, full of romance and adventure in Hong Kong and Italy. I’ll miss her for the rest of my own life.

But yesterday was Victor’s birthday, and we decided to get away and spend the day in Venice. We took the train and walked from Santa Lucia Station to the Rialto Bridge, stopping to take pictures in the various campi, and of the small canals that criss-cross the sestieri. We had coffee at the start of our walk and, by the end, Victor was in need of a beer and I downed a glass of aqua minerale at a bar in one of the squares.



A shop selling lithographs of the 1500s, the era of my WIP, caught our eye, and I bought one for Victor. It’s too big to reproduce in its entirety, but here’s a section of it. img131I also bought one for myself, as it could be a scene from In My Lady’s Shadow.


We walked past the church of San Giacomo di Rialto,  IMG_0421 and made our way across the bridge to gaze down at the Grand Canal, before heading for the Trattoria alla Madonna, where we ordered the house white wine, grilled sea bass and salad, followed by a sgroppino for Victor.

Rain had set in for the afternoon, but we didn’t mind as Venice is stunning whatever the weather. We walked to the Campo S. Silvestro (this pic was taken on a sunnier day), where legend has it Giorgione had his studio at no. 1091. Time for a coffee (macchiato for me, and a corretto con grappa for his nibs).sansilvestro Giorgione's residence We strolled past a street sign Calle amor dei amici (Love of the friends Road). I’m posting this because I don’t know what I would have done without the love of my friends over the past few weeks. IMG_0429We crossed a bridge and reached Campiello and Campo San Toma. A few yards away is one of the best chocolate shops in the city: Vizio Virtu (Vice Virtue), and we couldn’t resist popping in to buy a selection. Nothing like chocolate to lift your mood…Chocolate Shopviziovirtc3b9-3

By then, we were feeling decidedly damp and tired, so we hopped on a vaporetto for a ride back down the Grand Canal to the station. We passed the Cornaro Palace, belonging to the family of the lady in my novel (centre of pic), except in 1500 it would only have been a two storey structure. IMG_0424On the train back to Castelfranco, we reflected on the many occasions we visited Venice with Mum. We’re about to start a new phase of our lives without her physical presence, and it will take time to adjust. She will always be with us in spirit, though…

17 thoughts on “A bitter-sweet birthday in Venice

  1. So sorry to hear that your mama has died. Mine did several years ago and like you, I shall miss her till the day that I die too. A great idea to take time away in such a beautiful place. I am so glad that you had such a blissful time – your mother would be pleased!


  2. You have a wonderful way with words, and am so pleased you had an enjoyable day. Belated birthday wishes to Victor. It was a blessing you were able to spend more time with her this last year after your move to Italy. Precious moments, and precious memories will help you through the initial dark days and those memories will be with you always.
    Big hugs Siobhan, much love from us both P & E xxx


  3. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Sending my sincere condolences. I’m glad you had a chance to go away both for yourself, and to celebrate your husband’s birthday. Going to Venice has been a lifelong dream of mine. Your pictures are wonderful.


  4. Ah, Siobhan, that brought a tear to my eye. I am glad that you have had the love and support of friends and what a beautiful place to spend the day reflecting on your mother’s life and your plans for going forward without her physical presence but, as you say, always in your heart. Jo xx


  5. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Remembering the times you had together will bring tears but also help you to heal.

    Her body, like a worn out coat discarded.
    Her spirit lives on.



  6. Thank you so much, Lyn. It’s great to meet a fellow YouWriteOner and your review of FH was very helpful. I’ve made a huge effort in my latest edits to bring the reader closer to my characters. Mum’s spirit does live on, for sure. I’m trying to forget her last weeks in hospital, when she was fighting so hard to stay with us, and focus on happy memories. It will get easier with time. S x


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