Friday, June 15, 2007


Ciao and Wow! Thanks for a variety of comments. Some great questions from the history buffs among you. So FYI the materials from the old Roman and Medieval walls were recycled--some of the stones were pinched to build houses and some were incorporated into the new walls. What did the Medici have against Lucca? Well, in the 16th century, a young, ambitious and clever Cosimo de' Medici came to rule in Florence and set about strengthening his power base and dealing with his enemies. Many malcontents had fled from Florence and were hanging out in neighbouring states such as Siena and Lucca, so, in order to control the threat that they might cause him, Cosimo tried to find a way to take over Lucca--which, by the way was a ripe little plum of a place run by rich silk merchants. Well, Lucca was lucky and escaped his clutches, but Siena was not so fortunate and fell to Medici domination after a prolonged siege in 1555. Actually, I was in Siena yesterday; it is currently being besieged by thousands of tourists.
Now, I am sure you have realized that we are a family of animal lovers. My children spent most of their early summers in England with family who owned dogs, cats, horses and even parrots and all of them own pets--mostly cats--except David, who of course has Mars. I too have a dog. She is quite unique but I suppose all dog owners think that! She is called Chelsea, not after the ex-president's daughter or after the soccer team but Chelsea as in Chelsea BUN, a particularly gooey and sticky but sweet english sugary bun, for those of you who don't know. She was given up by her owners, a free dog to good home, and I happened to be there at the right time and adopted her without hesitation. I have never regretted it, despite some difficult re-structuring of my life round a dog with separation anxiety, which means she has often accompanied me to work, wherever that may have been. My kids say this dog has been more places with me than they have, as she has lived in Italy twice (of course she is bilingual), she has also lived in Toronto, Windsor, Washington State, Ohio and maybe England could be next. She is 14 and her birthday is Feb 14, St. Valentine's Day, and she is all about love. She is half Cocker and half whatever, with a bit of Afghan hound thrown in. Actually, that part of her is in her hair. She is very deaf now and now going blind but she still acts like a puppy. She is very greedy and is now on a vet-instigated diet. She is very happy with the life here, especially when people drop a lot of croissants and pizza crusts. She adores her walks on the wall where she socializes with (well, bosses) other dogs.
Lucca is doggie heaven and there are many dogs here. People ride their bikes with dogs sitting in the front basket; people run and cycle with their dogs round the wall. Every year there is a dog show on the wall and the proceeds go to the local dog shelter and last year Chelsea won the Super Nonna (super granny) category. I was very proud of the gold cup she won but she was only interested in the dog biscuit that came with it. There is a show on TV here with a wonderful police dog who carries out all sorts of amazing feats for his team in the cause of justice, and that is the only programme Chelsea lets me watch in peace, but she is really quite jealous of Rex, as he is called, because he is so talented and so we now have to do a lot of frisbee practice to rebuild her ego...brava Chelsea!


Becky S said...

Chelsea is beautiful! I can see why she won her category in the dog show. It's good that the two of you found eah other, neither of you will ever feel lonely. Pets are wonderful that way - even when you haveto make special plans to include them into what you do.

Thanks for sharing her photos. Have a great weekend!

iB said...

Wow, thank you for the photos..
Chelsea is really beautiful.

I love pets, but we don't have any.. It's difficult in an apartment and my sister is afraid of dogs and cats.. So no way..

Have a nice weekend!

M said...

Chelsea is gorgeous!

And hahaha... Inspector Rex is also shown in Australia. Or Komissar Rex as they called him in Austria.

I used to watch that show a lot - good for beginners' German. They've undergone such a change of cast over the years. I used to find the copper who played Brandtner cute. Now it's that Moser guy.

Haven't seen the show in a long time though! :D

crazymom said...

Chelsea indeed looks very sweet. My dog Radar (named for his large ears) is 13 but still acts like a puppy. Trying to keep the dog hair swept up and out of everything is very frustrating, but I can't imagine not having a dog.

Thanks for sharing your blog with us. I check in with the Hewlett gang every day to see what gems your or your children might have for me!

Yeoyou said...

Chelsea really is a beauty. I think, I would have thought it strange if you didn't have a pet. Hewleet soemhow is linked with pets for me : ) No idea why.....
We have two dogs and four cats at the moment, so I really can't imagine to live without a pet. Every place feels more homely if there's a pet!

I've seen a few Komissar Rex wpisodes when I was still younger. Living in Germany, I saw the original of course. Maybe I should have a look if it's still aired here and let my dogs watch it? But then, they don't watch much tv. Chasing cats through the room is far more entertaining *lol*

I cross my fingers for Chelsea that she will win the price again! She surely deserves it.

I wish you a beautiful weekend with better weather than we have at the moment!

sueKay said...

Chelsea is beautiful!

I love animals, and I'm definitely a dog person. I have one dog. She's a Border Collie called Sophie and she's 11. She's been quite poorly recently, but she's getting better now :)

I've never been to Italy although I've always wanted to...I've got relatives that are from Italy, but sadly I have no clue whereabouts!

Live Out Loud said...

Oh, I love the pictures.

We have just one cat right now but he gives us more trouble than when we had three - and one was pregnant. This cat we have now bites everyone and attacks other cats but loves dogs. He just snuggles up with dogs and follows them around and sleeps curled up between their legs. Oh, and he's afraid of hamsters.
I love him so much! He sleeps with me every night. In fact, if I stay up too late, he comes up to me and whines and meows at me until I get up and go to bed. And when he decides it's time for me to wake up, he sinks his teeth into my flesh. It's a thing we have.

I agree with what others said about not being able to picture a Hewlett without an animal family member.

Have a great weekend!

Francy said...

Welcome to blog-world, Mary, and thanks for posting pictures of Chelsea. She's really sweet! I too am a fan of David and Kate, and that's how I found your blog. Congratulaions on growing up your kids so well!
I'm Italian, and I live in Trieste, except now: I'm in Vancouver for 4 months, and I'd love to move here. Funny world!
Question: have the dog parks in Lucca been set up by the "comune" or are they private? How are they equipped? I'm trying to find info from other Italian citiesto present to the "comune" of Trieste, 'cause we have no dog parks here.
Hope to read from you soon!

MushyPup said...

Awww, Chelsea's a real darling! I, too, am a dog owner and my Hunny is starting to lose her eyesight as well, plus she and I both have a bit of arthritis we're trying to deny. She does a better job with that as she gets her medicine on a more consistent basis than I take mine. *ahem*

Thank you for sharing your pictures of your baby with us!

Someday Scientist said...


Ohh, Chelsea is such a pretty darling!

My family has two cats and a dog, and I've got some fish of my own. I love them all. My darling kitten was unfortunately hit by a car two Christmases ago, but the other two cats are still around, even though they're very old (14 and 15).

That little bit of history was fascinating. Thank you for sharing it with us!

NZ_Jackie said...

Wow! She is soo Cute!
I have a Miniture Foxey named Zues, he has the longest legs in the world and barks whenever anyone tries to hit me...I miss him soo much, he is living at the other end of the Counrty at the moment.

Have Fun and I hope Chelsea has fun watching the programe...


Fran said...

She is such a pretty dog. David has a cute dog too. Have not seen a picture of Kate's cat.

Yes I know Chelsea Buns my family loves them. I have an urge to make some now after seeing your post today. Either make some or purchase them? Mmmmm decisions decisions.

Thank you for sharing the tid bit of History.

Have a great week.

Susan the Tartan Turtle said...

Chelsea is a pretty looking dog is that a mini Mars look-alike toy that she has?

I have two cats and they are monsters. I love them to bits.

It is really nice that David, Kate and yourself talk about your furry families in your blogs. Like me you treat them as just another family member and not as merely "the dog" or "the cat".

Kathy said...

Awww Chelsea is adorable!

A friend of mine has a niece called Chelsea. Very sadly she IS named after the football club.
Unfortunatly I don't come from a very 'animal' family. I might get a dog one day. My husband is a bit of a twitcher and therefore hates cats with a passion. But I have a phobia of birds so owning a parrot would be completely out of the question. A dog is the only one we could compromise on. But only if we could have the time to look after it properly. I've always thought David's quite lucky to be able to take Mars to work with him.

Thank you for the Medici breakdown, I find them quite facinating since visiting the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence. I didn't really know much about them. I went more for the art but in Italy in particular I find the 2 go hand in hand more than anywhere. I envy you.

If Chelsea is coming back to the UK does that mean you will be as well? Don't do it! Its still wet, miserable and stupidly expensive!

Teknikal said...

chelsea..prize winning dog!!same as mars!!!!
hope you are well!!!

Rally Killer said...

Chelsea is so cute!

I must say that this is all very interesting and I really enjoy reading your blogs. I feel that reading about the history of Lucca is disallowing my mind to turn to mush on my break from school!

Thank you,
Rally Killer

Lucía said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lucía said...

She looks like a stuffed dog, Is incredibly cute

Wolfen said...

Aww, what a cutie she is! (That looks like a little stuffed Mars in her bed!) Mutts are the best! Ours just recently passed away, but she had a good, long life. I miss her, but I still have my little bunny to keep me company at least. Really, how can anyone *not* love animals, ey? :)

Thank-you again for the history lesson!