Signor Franco, Tunbridge Wells

by Simon Email

Link: http://signorfrancorestaurant.com/

This is an Italian restaurant through an unprepossessing door and up steep steps - so it's not very obvious to passers by.

Once inside, though, we felt very relaxed and instantly at ease.

The staff were very friendly and welcoming - although we were with a 2 year old, and the restaurant was full of business people.

The food was superb - there's nothing to beat a very well cooked Italian meal.

At the end of the meal, which was quite expensive, I felt sure that we would come back.

Morgan M

by Simon Email

Link: http://www.morganm.com/

This is a restaurant in North London founded this year by Morgan Meunier. He used to be the chef at the Admiralty restaurant Somerset House.

We enjoyed his cooking at the Admiralty and ate there on several occasions.

His new restaurant is more spacious and relaxed than the Admiralty. The staff are very attentive, but also more laid back than at the previous place.

The food was just as good, though.

Morgan comes across as very sincere and dedicated in his cooking.

It's clear when you're eating that he has thought deeply about the combination of flavours, and the emotions you might have as you taste them. It's rather like attending a music concert, in terms of the different sensations and feelings that arise.

This time we had an autumn-themed menu. The food was both comforting and challenging. As a vegetarian I particularly enjoy his "Garden Menu" which is completely vegetarian.

The flavours of my menu were of an autumn wood - moist, sweet and damp. The dishes contained chestnuts, wild mushrooms and pumpkin.

A very nice touch was that Morgan walked around the tables at the end of the meal and engaged the diners in conversation.

Redhat Fedora 2 and IPV6

by Simon Email

Interesting quote in latest Mozilla Readme:

Users of Fedora Core 2 may experience unusually long delays in resolving hostnames. This results from the fact that IPv6 is enabled by default in Fedora Core 2. If you do not need IPv6 support (which is most likely the case), then it is advised that you disable it in the kernel. To do this run the following command as root: echo "alias net-pf-10 off" >> /etc/modprobe.conf You will need to reboot to have this take effect (or simply unload the ipv6 kernel module).

Tuscany

by Simon Email

We just spent a very pleasant holiday in Tuscany, Italy.

We stayed in a farmhouse in the hills on the edge of Chianti, and then in Florence.

It seems a very modern place - motorways and factories - and also a very ancient place. The countryside in particular seems ancient. There seems to be more small-scale agriculture practised than in many other parts of Europe.

Grapes growing in a hillside vineyard:
Grapes growing in a hillside vineyard

San Montione:
San Montione

The Leaning tower of Pisa: (note how the top is at an angle to the rest of the tower!)
The Leaning tower of Pisa

San Gimginiano: (beautiful hill town in Chianti)
San Gimginiano

Ponte Vecchio, Florence: (note the line of windows forming "Vasari's Corridor")
Ponte Vecchio, Florence

Vasari's Corridor is an incredible piece of extravagance (http://www.mega.it/eng/egui/monu/ufd.htm). It links the Uffizi Gallery to the Pitti Palace
running across existing buildings.

Another photo of "Vasari's Corridor"
Another photo of Vasari's Corridor

Another photo of "Vasari's Corridor":
Another photo of Vasari's Corridor

The Dark Heart of Italy

by Simon Email

Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0571205925/qid=1096542207/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl/202-3018772-7410250

I bought this book after recommendations on the net.

I've just spent a holiday in Tuscany and wanted to read about Italy while I was there.

I'm not entirely sure if it was a good idea to read this at the time!

The book is a fascinating read, and clearly shows the author's love-hate relationship with Italy.

It clearly lays out the strangely polarised nature of Italian politics. It helped me to understand why there seems to be so much extreme-looking graffiti and posters in Italy, which otherwise seems a very conservative place.

It also described how "furbo" is an important concept for Italians. This means "cunning" - and means that you don't follow rules (like queueing or paying taxes) imposed by the state, but follow others (such as loyalty to friends and family).

This information made me feel rather wary about being the victim of "furbo" and unsure of whether to act like an English or an Italian when visiting.

Overall I felt the book lifted a lid of sides of Italian culture only glimpsed dimly when you're there as a tourist.

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