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Regular readers of this blog will know how passionate I am about elephants. There is just something so majestic and prehistoric about the way they carry themselves – families trundling through the forest of central and south Africa, or Asia, trunks aloft, their valuable tusks reflecting sunshine and sometimes protecting them from predators (human and …

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1936 Italian Art Deco Travel Brochure, Les Lacs Italiens

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am fortunate enough to be able to spend a few weeks every year in a place I love very much – a little town called Cernobbio, on the banks of Lake Como, in Italy. Over the years I have learned how to speak Italian reasonably well (although certainly not as well as my son Giulian), have made a few friends (who tolerate my less-than-perfect Italian), and made a small home-away-from-home.

It is to Cernobbio I go when I need to get away – from love, from life, from work – and it is Cernobbio which always manages to make me whole again. By the time I got there in June, I felt in serious need of replenishment and rejuvenation. The beginning of the year had been challenging – for all sorts of good and valid reasons – and I was looking forward to seeing Giulian (who would fly to Italy from school in London), to eating more than my fair share of pasta, and to catching up with my Italian family.

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One of our Expo 67 posters, and wait, that’s me before I passed out from heat exhaustion at the Milan Expo…

In spite of a record heat wave, Giulian and I went to see the Milan Expo (the 2015 version of Montreal’s Expo ’67), which was devoted – it being Italy – to food and food sustainability. You could taste wines and cheeses from all over Italy, buy some to take home, and then stroll through pavilions presented by most of the countries of the world (except Canada, who I guess decided they didn’t need to be there … pity.) If you’re interested, you can find out more information about the Expo here.

A selection of our Italian posters.

By the time I left Cernobbio I was, as I had hoped, restored, refreshed, and ready to face the world once more. I had seen much, eaten (way too) much, spent time with people I love and who love me, and spoken all the broken Italian I could manage. It was time to go home …

Giulian and I hit the Expo

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A few years ago a handsome man with intense blue eyes (and a charming accent) walked in to the gallery and politely asked me if I might be interested in purchasing vintage Russian posters. That man, Alexander (Sasha to his friends) Bobylev, has become for us not only a great source for Russian posters, but …

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Perhaps one of the best things about Mad Men is not it’s look and feel, but rather the way it deals with politics, race and gender. Draper’s agency is tasked with presenting Nixon’s campaign against Kennedy (they lose), one of the (white) copywriters accompanies his (black) girlfriend down to Mississippi for the marches against the …

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What keeps me coming back episode after episode, is the costume design: it’s just so perfect. Whether it’s the uber-WASPY Mrs. Draper’s perfectly designed urban/suburban wardrobe of jodhpurs, Empire-waist gowns, and baby-doll lingerie, or the way Peggy’s wardrobe changes to match her rise at the agency, the costumes are the bomb. Betty Draper’s enviable figure, …

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