Posts Tagged ‘Pisa’

Called for jury service and Piazza dei Miracoli

November 20, 2017

Note The previous post has been fixed, using Google Chrome, which I am maybe being forced to use for editing?

I was recently called  for jury service at the Sheriff Court in Edinburgh and, although I was not actually selected to serve on the jury, it was a strange experience. Firstly, I arrived at the court to be sent to the Jury Room. Here sat about 50 people, all in a strange environment. Few people spoke to each other and most either checked their mobile phones, read books or stared into space. This was a formal setting, not a social one and it was clear that no-one had any idea how long we would be there, as little information was forthcoming. After an hour, a clerk appeared to tell us that there might be two trials on today and that she would be back in 10 minutes. Half an hour hour later, the clerk reappeared and took us through to court ten, shown here. After another 10 minutes, the phrase “Court rise” was heard and we all – the potential jurors, the court staff and lawyers present – stood up and sat down again. The judge/sheriff talked to one of the lawyers and we could just about her the lawyer say that the trial could not go ahead. The judge thanked us for our attendance and our patience and said that normally, lunch was 1-2pm but there was good news. We all looked up expectantly. The good news was that we could go for lunch early and come back at 2pm as there was definitely another trial to be heard and a jury was needed. This was beginning to appear like the crime novel I’d taken along – too much padding and too little action.

So we all returned at 2pm. Another clerk said that she would be back in 5 minutes to take us through to court 12 for a jury to be selected. One advance in the tale was that there was now only 15 jury members to be selected from the 50 of us and not 2 x 15. The chances of being selected was reduced by 50%. As no-one in the jury room knew how long a trial would last or when we could start making plans again for the next few days, I got the feeling that few people wanted to be selected. 25 minutes later, the clerk took us in to the court and the ballot began. As each name was called out, the picked juror went forward and a collective sigh could be heard amongst the rest of us. Eventually 15 were picked. People started looking at their watches, as in it’s 2.30pm so we’ll be released soon. Hopes were dashed when one juror recognised the accused and was excused. Another selection, another collective sigh. The judge ordered that the clerk read out the charges – sexual assault with details given – again. Then another juror said he could not hear the judge and this man was excused, to whispers amongst the still potential jurors that he might be trying it on. The final selection was made and final sigh of relief uttered, and the great unpicked left the court room and the court. What was interesting was that, by the time the ballot was taking place, I was ready to be picked, having earlier hoped that I could not be. So, an odd day spent in an environment where I had very little control over what I could do, apart from the lunch break.

Edinburgh Sherriff Court (Click on all photos to enlarge)

My pal Roger and I went on our annual trip to a European city to a) see the sights and b) go to a football (aka soccer) match. This year’s holiday started in Pisa, where we stayed 2 nights before going on to Florence to see the game (next blog post). While Pisa is best known for the leaning tower – La Torre Pendente – I think that the other buildings in the Piazza dei Miracoli (includes video), the Square of Miracles in English, are more fascinating. There’s no doubting the uniqueness of the Tower but its attraction is mainly because of a mistake. It is, of course, worth seeing.

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La Torre Pendente, Pisa

Also within the Piazza, is the magnificent cathedral, seen below. It is famous for its marble exterior, Giovanni Pisano’s intricately carved pulpit (close up photos) and high, vaulted ceilings which are brilliantly decorated. Whether you have religious leanings or not, you cannot fail to appreciate the superb artwork and interior design on display.

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Pisa Cathedral

You can also visit the  hugely impressive Battistero (Baptistry), with its high dome and a balcony from which you can look down on the large baptismal font and exquisitely carved pulpit, photo below. The official website refers to the “women’s balcony”, so perhaps women were excluded from the ceremonies below?

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Pisa Battistero

My own favourite building in the Piazza was the Camposanto (good photos). This is the cemetery and inside there are many statues to famous university teachers and members of the powerful Medici family. The most fascinating part of this huge complex are the frescoes which line the walls, as in the photo below. Some of the frescoes are still quite fresh looking, even though they date from the 14th century. The frescoes are of course, mainly religious although there are some battle scenes. A common theme in the range of frescoes is the battle between going to heaven or hell, and you can see why 14th century people might be terrified by the depictions of hell, where the devil is seen as eating humans amid  a scene of torture. It was the violence in so many of the frescoes that intrigued me – designed to inspire but also to threaten. As works of art, these are impressive in their range of colour and detail and well worth a visit.

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Frescoes in the Camposanto, Pisa

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A Word a Week Photograph Challenge: Transport

August 1, 2014

Another very flexible topic this week. Here are my photos and see lots more at Sue’s website.

Ducking gondalier

Ducking gondolier in Venice

Materials transport on the canal in Venice

Materials transport on the canal in Venice

Horse carriage in Pisa

Horse carriage in Pisa

Old bus on tiled wall in the Algarve

Old bus on tiled wall in the Algarve

Old buggy in NSW

Old buggy in NSW

A Word a Week Photograph Challenge: Traditional

July 16, 2014

Another intriguing word for challengers around the world. Here are my suggestions and you can see many more fine photos at Sue’s website.

Sheep shearing in Coolamon, NSW

Sheep shearing in Coolamon, NSW

Blacksmith in Rutherglen, Victoria

Blacksmith in Rutherglen, Victoria

Kilts for a Scottish wedding

Kilts for a Scottish wedding

My two sons and me – dress rehearsal for my older son’s (on the right) wedding in 2006.

Sorting prawns and fish manually in Dunbar harbour

Sorting prawns and fish manually in Dunbar harbour

While there have been many mechanical and digital advances in fishing, sorting out the catch is still done manually, as it’s aye (always) been.

Traditional letter box in Pisa, Italy

Traditional letter box in Pisa, Italy

 

A Word a Week Photo Challenge: contrast

April 2, 2014

Here are my photos involving different types of contrast. Many more excellent specimens at Sue’s website.

Please note that I’m unable, at the moment, to make photos open in a new tab – looking for a solution.

Height of man and height of termite mound in Litchfield National Park,  NT, Australia

Height of man and height of termite mound in Litchfield National Park, NT, Australia

Bright sky and dark shore at Belhaven Beach, Dunbar

Bright sky and dark shore at Belhaven Beach, Dunbar

Silhouettes against sea and sky, Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Silhouettes against sea and sky, Cathedral Cove, New Zealand

Burj Khalifa dwarfs 70 storey buildings in Dubai (Photo taken from car)

Burj Khalifa dwarfs 70 storey buildings in Dubai (Photo taken from car)

Contrasting colours in the summer sky above

Contrasting colours in the summer sky above the summer night sky in Dunbar

Upright donkey, leaning tower in Pisa

Upright donkey, leaning tower in Pisa

A Word a Week Photo Challenge: High

December 1, 2013

Here are my pick for this week’s challenge – see more on Sue’s website.

Cakes for high tea at the Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Cakes for high tea at the Burj Al Arab, Dubai

Looking down to North Berwick and Bass Rock

Looking down to North Berwick and Bass Rock

Seagull frenzy at high tide in Dunbar

Seagull frenzy at high tide in Dunbar

 

View of Dubai from 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa

View of Dubai from 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa

Looking down on guillemot colonies at St Abbs Head

Looking down on guillemot colonies at St Abbs Head

Ceiling of Pisa Cathedral

Ceiling of Pisa Cathedral

 

 

 

 

A Word a Week Challenge : lines

November 21, 2013

Here are my photos for this week’s challenge – see Sue’s website for many more.

Curved lines of spring wheat

Curved lines of spring wheat

Rows (lines) of sprouts with power lines in the background

Rows (lines) of sprouts with power lines in the background

Strata in a New Zealand gold mine

Strata in a New Zealand gold mine

Baptistry in Pisa

Baptistry in Pisa

Fishing lines with Bass Rock behind

Fishing lines with Bass Rock behind

Fishing lines on a stormy day at Dunbar Harbour

Fishing lines on a stormy day at Dunbar Harbour

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly photo challenge – metallic

June 4, 2013

Here are my photos for this week’s challenge. See Sue’s website for lots more.

Brazier and Tauranga sunset at my sister's house

Brazier and Tauranga sunset at my sister’s house

 

Metal wheeled carriage seen at an old house near Waga Wagga

Metal wheeled carriage seen at an old house near Wagga Wagga

 

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

 

Harley in Nicosia

Harley in Nicosia

Letter box in Pisa

Letter box in Pisa

 

Forth Rail Bridge, Edinburgh

Forth Rail Bridge, Edinburgh

 

Weekly photo challenge – face

May 25, 2013

A bit late in the week but here are my suggestions for the topic face. See Sue’s website for many more examples.

Reader in the Camposanto in Pisa

Reader in the Camposanto in Pisa

The Camposanto or monumental graveyard in the Piazza dei Miracoli in Pisa.

Horse fresco in the Camposanto

Horse fresco in the Camposanto

 

Speckled face

Speckled face

 

Saint Ebba at Northfield House, St Abbs Head

Saint Ebba at Northfield House, St Abbs Head

A feature of St Abbs Head

Fiona and Costa - bride and groom

Fiona and Costa – bride and groom

 

Our gorgeous granddaughter Abigail

Our gorgeous granddaughter Abigail

 

And her equally gorgeous twin sister Lola

And her equally gorgeous twin sister Lola