Friday, September 07, 2018

Giardini di Pomona

Cisternino, Puglia, Italy. Sunday 02-September-2018.

An absolutely fascinating open day at the Pomona Gardens botanical conservancy with a huge collection of over 600 varieties of fig and a guided tour from the amazingly knowledgeable Paolo Belloni.

It started off with an exhibition of figs, of course, in the courtyard plus other produce.

A circle of hay bales with just some of the various varieties on display.

Quite the selection of black and green figs, cut open to show how different they were inside.

Also other fruits on display, a trough of quinces and some speciality apples.

These apples are not only red on the outside but also have red flesh.

Also nuts - hazelnut, walnut, almond, and pistachio of which more anon.

Chris started chatting to Paolo Belloni who then, Pied Piper-like, lead us on a tour acquiring more and more followers as we went. We started in an adjacent orchard with a collection of citrus fruits and some water lilies with water filtration properties.

Across the road into the main arboretum where we met and tasted a range of figs. I was amazed at how different a fig can taste.

We also encountered a pistachio tree. I've never seen a pistachio tree before although I did know they grow on trees.

Close up of the pistacchio.

The final tree was a Kaki, Japanese Persimmon, with a real story behind it.

"The rebirth of time" Kaki tree project 
On 9 August 1945 Nagasaki was bombed with an atomic bomb. It seemed that any living creatures were dead, however, under the rubble, it was noticed that some plants had survived including some kaki trees, although rather battered. One of these, very weakened, returned to good health after being treated of the botanist Masayuki Ebinuma. This tree belongs to the local variety of the area of ​​Nagasaki called "Tongo". 
From the fruits of this khaki tree, which survived the bombing, seeds were obtained.  So "the second generation kaki seedlings" were born. 
In 1994 Ebinuma started to entrust the small plants to the children visiting the city asking them to grow them to become symbols of peace. 
In August 1995, thanks to the contribution of the artist Tatsuo Miyajima was born the project "The rebirth of time"
Following Paolo in a silent meander through a lavender maze we arrived at the tree.

Persimmons on the tree.

After that we went up to yet more fig trees where Paolo was experimenting with a system of micro-terracing using small linear mounds filled with organic materials acting as both reservoir and water run-off control. An absolutely fascinating couple of hours.

A fitting final view, the Kaki tree and lavender maze:

Friday, August 31, 2018

Aperitivo Classico 2018 - August

Bar Fod, Cisternino, Puglia.

The season continues...

Wednesday 01-August-2018.

A bonus, mid-week Aperitivo Classico to celebrate 20 years of this excellent tradition. A tribute to Edith Piaf with songs and stories of her life. The maestro who produces the series is the leftmost man seated next to the singer.

The acoompanying nibbles just had to be birthday cake!

Sunday 05-August-2018.

No concert because it was the town's patron Saints' day: Cisternino Celebrates San Quirico 2018.

Sunday 12-August-2018.

Clarinet and Pianoforte by M Goffredo and A Palasciano.

The nibbles were Capocollo from Martina Franca in a rosetto roll - "a traditional capocollo of Apulia. It is smoked with laurel leaves, thyme, almonds, Mediterranean herbs and pieces of bark of Macedonian Oak" [Wikipedia].

The recommended wine was a rose. Mine had a hint of cork taint but Mary's was fine however they were from different bottles.

Sunday 19-August-2018.

Song and Pianoporte by G Palma and L Tanzarella.

Nibbles: Hummus with crudités and prosecco.

Sunday 26-August-2018.

Guitar solo by G Calo. This guy was good. Not that the others weren't good but this man was a virtuoso.

Bar Fod kindly posted this picture in which you can see, on the back left table, Mary and I with our friends Chris and John, Michael and Gail, and Trudi and Steve with family. In the left front row other regulars, the German couple (Alex and Barbara) and the Italian couple (whose names escape me).

Nibbles: Aubergine dip which Fabio described as a "savoury cappuccino" with cream cheese, mango sorbet and a small croissant. The recommendation drink was a vodka-based cocktail which was delicious!

The last session of August is the occasion for the "team photo" with all the regulars, Mary and I right in the centre.

Update: Sunday 26-August-2018.

A supernumerary Sunday concert after all the Italian tourists have gone home. A triple bill with piano accordion ...

... clarinet and pianoforte ...

... and singer with pianoforte.

Nibbles: a re-presentation of insalate caprese with rocket (rucola) purée, mozzarella and tomato with mini friselle.

A wonderful memento of a great Cisternino tradition.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wandle Trail GPX and KMZ for Walking

Wandle Trail (version 1.0). Wednesday 29-August-2018.

I have created a GPX file of the Wandle Trail [new window] for walkers to use with hand held GPS. There are versions out there but they are either for cyclists or behind a paywall or chargeable. Mine is free (hey, I'm retired I need a hobby). Feel free to use.

If you find any errors please let me know at:
Suggestions for improvement welcome.


I started with the Google map (above) which I exported as a Google Map KMZ version then converted to GPX using GPS Visualizer, tweaked and converted back again.

There are several versions of the Wandle Trail out there so I have used the route from the Wandle Trail Map on the Wandle Valley Park site.

At several points the Wandle Valley Park map shows alternatives, I picked the one that best suits my recollections of walking the trail.

Links [mostly not in new window]:

Wandle Trail v01 Google map



More about the Wandle Trail [Wikipedia]

Bike trail versions from The Guardian [New window]

You're welcome!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Notte Verde: Acqua e Sale 2018

Cisternino, Puglia, Italy. Saturday / Sunday 18 / 19-August-2018.

Another festival. As it says on the poster: Music, Culture, Gastronomy. Two nights to wander the streets of Cisternino and soak up the atmosphere.

Our street, Corso Umberto I, was dedicated to craft stalls. From Piazza Marconi up Via Manzoni it was the turn of the food stalls including a demonstration of passata making and local organic produce of all kinds.

As Via Manzoni segues into Via San Quirico we came across a local artisanal beer stall by Birrificio Birranova so we had to try their range. The Myra was my favourite, dark and sweet, brewing using mosta di primitivo (leftover must from wine making).

We took our beer up to the Ponte - the raised section of via San Quirico - found some plastic chairs from the earlier cultural talk and sat to oversee the scene and listen to the music.

The live music was Arheref Chargui Trio, a French-Italian-Tunisian group comprising drums, bass and oud. You could tell the drummer was the Italian - he was wearing a scarf, presumeably to protect his neck from draughts. A very North African sound, you could almost be in the Mahgreb. We bought their first CD rather than the second because I think first albums always have something fresh and special and avoid the Second Album Syndrome.

The next night it was a case of "rinse and repeat" with an intervening lunchtime Aperitivo Classico, lunch and siesta.

We strolled around with artisanal beer in hand then went to Chirico Bistrot for a cocktail whilst listening to the DJ set.

And so to bed after the witching hour.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Piano Lab 2018

Matina Franca, Puglia, Italy. Sunday 12-August-2018.

A lovely evening of piano music in Martina Franca at 15 locations around the town in piazzas, parks and churches and with a schedule of different players. Called Piano Lab, it is a two-day event where you can wander around the town and hear an array of piano music from classical to jazz. And it's all free!

In the Piazza Plebiscito in front of the Basilica di San Martino:

Chiesa San Domenico:

The lovely Piazza Maria Immacolata:

Piazza XX Septembre:

Each stage has a packed list of performers. You can listen to as much or as little as you wish and wander on at will. When you return to the same stage there will be someone different.

We ended up eating late, at about quarter to midnight. None of this typical English rubbish of "It's 10 o'clock, the chef's gone home"; restaurants are serving while there are customers to be fed.

Definitely on our list to repeat next year.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Cisternino Celebrates San Quirico 2018

Cisternino, Puglia, Italy. Saturday/Sunday/Monday 04/05/06-August-2018.

Three day of music and festivities to celebrate Cisternino's Patron Saints Quirico e Giulitta.

Saturday 04-August-2018.

The day started at 10am with a marching band passing literally beneath our feet - down Via La Fiera through the arch that passes under our kitchen / dining room ...

... and out next to our front door and off down Corso Umberto.

The evening concert in the town square was a rousing brass band editions of Turandot and The Barber of Seville from the Gran Concerto Bandistico Città Di Conversano.

Sunday 05-August-2018.

Instead of the usual Aperitivo Classico we were treated to more brass band (they seem to be a big thing round here). Cinderella from the Gran Concerto Bandistico Città Di Bracigliano.

The evening was the main religious part of the celebrations which means a procession of the statues of Quirico e Giulitta from the eponymous church around the town along with marching band, the town dignitaries and a following of the townspeople. The procession passes under our window.

It was more music wherever you looked. I went for leisurely circuit of the town at 11pm. First sax and guitar at the end of our street doing an excellent version of "Summertime".

Through the arch of the Porta Piccolo into the old town - a group who don't seem to be on the official poster busking outside Micro vegan restaurant.

In the main square it was back to classical with a selection of Wagner on the bandstand.

On the other side of town out through the Porta Grande just up from our rented apartment the Junior Band giving it some welly on trombone and sax.

The illuminations on Via San Quirico looking lovely.

Monday 06-August-2018.

All three days had craft stalls along Corso Umberto and food trucks at the end in Piazza Marconi. The headline act for the Monday: Luisa Corna and the Dolphins Jazz Orchestra in Largo Amati. We stopped off for a digestivo at Chirico Bistrot (formerly Bar Palazzo Amati) and people watched to the sound of the band.

A quick stroll up the the church of San Quiroco to have a peer inside. The statues were back in place.

Cinderella-like we were tucked up in bed by midnight and so only heard the spectacular firework display at 00:30. Congratulations to the Comune (town council) for another fine festival.