Journeys to Sunshine and Oranges 

The Winter Solstice has passed and while the days will get longer from now on, I know the weather tends to get worse before it gets better. Even so, on days like today when the sun is shining in a perfect blue sky I can’t help but feel grateful I live in such a beautiful country. Living in our caravan at the beach and having this glorious scenery on our doorstep, is to know and to enjoy life at its best.

We have friends in Italy at the moment, sweltering under soaring temperatures and sharing photographs of the stunning coastline and pastel painted villages, and food to die for. Other friends are in England, looking rather more wrapped up in coats (especially in the North) and posting about the great architecture, stunning gardens and lovely wildflowers. I like re-visiting these places all over again as I scan their photographs. We’ve been so fortunate in our lives to be able to travel that I won’t complain at being ‘stay-at-homes’ this winter, but I do love to be reminded and see places through other people’s eyes. 

Are you a traveller or a stay-at-homer? If you could only choose one place to re-visit, where would you go? 

For me, it would be Italy. There is so much history, and beauty in the rugged hillsides and steep cliffs leading to the most amazing villages, and the food is wonderful. I can still smell the tomatoes. You don’t get tomatoes here with that distinctive smell like those you find in the markets in Italy. And I love the art, and the sculptures. and the softly-waving branches of the olive trees and the bright orange orbs hanging on trees planted in tiers on the side of cliffs, and the huge lemons. And I mustn’t forget the wine. Rich red wine. Deliziosa!

Even in the week I launch my latest book – The Costumier’s Gift – my mind is turning to Italy and I wonder why it is so prominent in my thoughts, and then I realised I’m looking for my next story. It doesn’t take long once a book is released and launched into the world, for my mind to turn to ‘what next’. I enjoyed the journey that Jane, the costumier at Auckland’s Opera House in the first part of the 20th century took me on, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing what happened to Brigid and Gwenna as the decades passed. I hope you do too.  

But now it’s time for another journey – from the shadows of the Opera House to the secrets hidden within Italian art. One part of an earlier book – The Cornish Knot – is set in Italy before coming to New Zealand. I’m doing research into Italian artists in New Zealand and the influence Italians had on New Zealand in the early 20th century in preparation for its sequel ‘Portrait of a Man’. 

Do you have any stories to tell about Italian life? I’d love to hear them.

Until next time, be kind to one another.

By Vicky Adin, 

Author & book lover.

Read more by Vicky here.