Dark November Days – digging out from the doldrums?

Friday 30 November, 2018

Doldrums for the weather and for my blog. Hopefully, the photos will tell the story of what’s been happening during this mostly dreary month. With any luck my ennui won’t show!

Taken early in November. The bark is going and the leaves getting sparse
Taken early in November from my window. The bark is going and the leaves getting sparse
Street art in the back streets of Dalston - ethereal, magical
Street art in the back streets of Dalston – ethereal, magical
A catfish noodle salad box at Bánh Mì Hội-An, Hackney Central
A catfish noodle salad box at Bánh Mì Hội-An, Hackney Central – Passable, cheap, not really a salad!

Behind the counter at Bánh Mì Hội-An, Hackney Central
Behind the counter at Bánh Mì Hội-An, Hackney Central

Continue reading “Dark November Days – digging out from the doldrums?”

Bethnal Green and a new mural

Friday, 16 November, 2018

I seem to be having loads of Torino hints in front of me. That’s so odd.

Chocolate in the kosher shop, Clapton
Chocolate in the kosher shop, Clapton
Great range of Lavazza coffee in Sainsbury's, Dalston
Great range of Lavazza coffee in Sainsbury’s, Dalston
On Bethnal Green Road
On Bethnal Green Road
Shrine, so Italian, on April Street, Hackney
Shrine, so Italian, on April Street, Hackney

If I were superstitious…

I had bloodwork on Thursday morning. Once upon a time they told us the old doctor’s office would be renovated or built over with a new office but this never happened. The offices are in such a drab old building and the interior isn’t all that much different, but there’s a lot of new technology. Maybe one day they’ll rebuild it. Meanwhile, the phlebotomist is the nice one, and not the mean one, so that’s a very good thing!

Somerford Grove General Practice
Somerford Grove General Practice

Opposite the doctors is an imposing 30s style buildingOpposite the doctors is an imposing 30s style building[/caption>

My plan after that was to go to a pop up bakery, check out a new mural I’d seen on Instagram, and then meet Krish for lunch.
Continue reading “Bethnal Green and a new mural”

Rediscovering London – reflections 2018

Sunday, 11 November, 2018

This morning it’s raining. It’s been raining since yesterday mid-afternoon. It’s not the relentlessly heavy Turin rain but it’s a lot for London, along with the sometimes fierce wind. By 3:30pm it looks like twilight and the mornings are dark enough that I light candles rather than turn on the lamps. It must be November!

London feels nothing like Turin. The light, the architecture, the feel of the streets, the earthy smell here. It feels more mellow in Hackney.

It's 3:30pm and the light is fading. I'm concerned for how much bark this tree has lost
It’s 3:30pm and the light is fading. I’m concerned for how much bark this tree has lost
During the day the light is soft and the air smells of Autumn
During the day the light is soft and the air smells of Autumn

On Wednesday we wanted to go out but it was another rainy day. So it was Thursday when I decided to take a trip to Kings Cross to check out some venues for a Christmas get together for some colleagues. Continue reading “Rediscovering London – reflections 2018”

The rest

Saturday, 3 November, 2018

The last week in Torino the rains started and it was hard to find a day when it felt OK to be out. It rains in London, of course, but it’s a manageable rain – with few exceptions. In Turin the rain is incessant and heavy, with only short breaks.  We did wander, when we weren’t indoors keeping dry and slowly filling cases.

The streets of central Torino – Centro – can be grand but in between these wide boulevards are the quiet narrow streets.  Imagine this in central London – even in the back streets and alleys!

I’m also fascinated by the inner courtyards. Just off via Garibaldi there’s a courtyard that leads into other courtyards, each with its own shops and apartments and little cafes. It was raining this day and things were very quiet. It’s like a hidden oasis from the mad shoppers, who are never stopped by rain.

The Piazza San Carlo is a very grand square. Krish was amused by the statue since his favourite crisps are the San Carlo brand. He said that every time he saw the statue he needed to thank the man (is it even San Carlo?) for this taste treat. The square is used a lot for events. In this case they are getting ready for the Chocolate Festival that was taking place the week after we left. Bad timing!

The annual festival of artists’ lights was starting to take shape. We saw a few as we left. This one had projections of lacy patterns over the paving stones. It looked so pretty. In fact, Piazza Carignano is the prettiest square in Centro. If I return, I want to explore it better.


Continue reading “The rest”

Magic and Halloween in Turin

Wednesday, 31 October, 2018

This would be my third Halloween in Torino. The first one I was too tired to go out but Krish and Adrianna did and came back telling me tales of candles, lights, costumes… apparently, Torino was mad for Halloween. The second, last year, I went out too and saw many people in costume wandering about the streets and squares. So this year I was prepared but also curious.

Why is Torino so obsessed with Halloween?

While I was doing research about this, I got sidetracked. Were it not pouring with rain every day and so close to the day I had to pack up and leave, I’d have made this a larger, more elaborate, project – to go visit and photograph all the things that make up this history, part fact, part legend.

The research is a bit overwhelming, to be honest. You need only Google Turin and magic to see the sites which will give you more information. I’ll try to get the main points down. (Edit: I’ve also read this  blog entry that slams the whole thing. Decide for yourself. Personally, I’m not unhappy because, as I’ve said above, this is part legend and an entertaining one it is.)

The reasons for Turin’s recognition are rooted in the legend of the founding of the city, born after Zeus had hurled Phaeton, Prince of Egypt, in the river Po. H landed where is now the Fountain of the Four Seasons, located on the banks of the river in  Valentino Park. So was founded an Egyptian Turin and Egypt is where magic is said to have begun.

Historians tell us that the Savoy family were always interested in alchemy and the art flourished in Turin. There are said to have been three alchemic caves below the city and the alchemists told Cristina (Maria Cristina of France, the daughter of Henri IV and wife of Vittorio Amedeo I of Savoy who ruled after her husband died) where they were. She never betrayed their secret.  Some say they are below the Palazzo Madama, while others locate them in the park of the palace itself. They’ve actually never been found.

Then it seems there are magic triangles. Three points on the map where major cities of magic are located. Torino is in both. The white magic triangle is  Prague, Lyon and Turin. The black magic triangle is San Francisco, London and Turin. Turin is the city that has both – of great significance in the world of magic. The statues that mark the points in Turin are for the white, the statues of Castor and Pollux at Piazza Castello, and for the black the Caduti del Frejus n Piazza Statuto, These statues stare at each other across the distance and each has a pentagram on its head.

This explains the mysterious Grotto di Merlinho magic shop is in Piazza Statuto! It’s never been open when I’ve walked by but it’s always intrigued me. (And that’s when I discovered how many magic shops there are in Torino.) Many feel that under the statue – topped by who some believe is Lucifer – is a portal to hell. This is probably connected with the fact that the tunnel that linked Italy to France was there – as well as the entrances to the Alchemic caves. But more about those in a bit.

At the beautiful round Gran Madre church The Holy Grail is said to be buried, pointed at by the gaze of ‘Faith’ holding a chalice.  This and the Shroud, then. The plot thickens…maybe.

I also read about the Palazzo Trucchi di Levaldigi  (40 Via Milano) also known as Palazzo del Diavolo, the devil’s palace. The legend says that an apprentice wizard tried to summon Satan here and was turned into its ornate creepy door with the devil’s face as a knocker.  There are mysterious deaths and ghosts here, they say.  The building is now a bank, and it has the highest turnover of night guards in the city. The Torinesi believe in magic. The door is magnificent, with many carvings – the knocker slightly disappointing, not as large as the legend! 


Turin has attracted many philosophers, magicians, and authors – Nostradamus, Apollonius of Tyana,  Bartolomeo Bosco, Nietzsche… and now me! If I return to Turin, some magical exploration is necessary!

But, anyway, it’s time to move on to the present day Halloween in Turin! And if you want to read more:  The New York Times and The Washington Post have articles. Just click!
Continue reading “Magic and Halloween in Turin”