The trees of Rome





There was something immediately recognisable in the shape of the trees, they were rangy but with perfect canopies.They had been the backdrop of Rome’s famous sites for centuries, the traveller had seen them before in postcards and paintings. Grand, majestic and emblematic of the city, they were of humble origin – the common pine tree shaped through time by judicious pruning.

I must be in Naples because….


… there is a coin machine in the lift.

“I’ll show you to your room”, the concierge said as they entered the lift.
The traveller followed hoping that politeness would overide claustrophobia.
“Now,” the concierge instructed “to make it go up you need to put a coin in the meter”, as she rolled 5 cents into the slot.
The traveller was so incredulous she had to suppress a laugh, “I’ve never seen that before” she offered coyly, hoping not to sound like a smart arse.
The tone must have worked because the concierge respectfullly informed her,
“Most lifts in Naples are coin operated so make sure you keep your small change handy otherwise you will have to use the stairs.”

Looking for an exhibition by Ernesto Neto


The gallery wasn’t on her map. The streets were familiar because she had been nearby the day before to have lunch with some friends.
“Straight ahead” the first person said “and then turn left straight away.”
It was a strange space, more like a private courtyard with a few shops but nothing that resembled a gallery.


“I’m very sorry, I can’t help you” apologised the woman with the dog. “I’ve never heard of that place.”


“Try asking her” replied another woman as she struggled to get her young son’s stroller through the gate. “She is always standing there.”


It was only when the visitor walked passed the discarded box for the second time she realised what was happening.

A difference of opinion


“Why do you feed the pigeons everyday?” he asked in an exasperated tone.
“They add life and colour to to the city and there have always been pigeons in Rome” she replied.
“But they are filthy and they shit all over the place”.
“They are my friends and they love the wheat I feed them”.


“You are just a crazy bird lady”, he snapped “you waste your money on wheat and nobody likes them except you”.
“That’s not true” said the woman “the tourists like them too. See over there, one is taking photos of the pigeons as we speak”.


Fifteen minutes later they were still arguing and the pigeons were still hungry.