Chinese artist Liu Bolin spends several hours painting himself in exactly the right colours to blend in with his surroundings. This photograph has not been 'touched-up' at all.
Clever lad, huh?


In this blogposting...
*Robinson's Grand Tour
*Two Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know About Oscar-Winners' Speeches
*Giant George
*In Memoriam
Now, on with the motley...

No, we haven’t finished yet. After my time in Brussels, Cologne, Munich, Ulm, Regensburg, Verona and Venice, my journey will take me southwards to Florence.

From what I’ve heard and read, Florence is one of those cities you really must try to see before you die. I know they say that about quite a few places now: Venice, Paris, New York, Wolverhampton... But Florence, I think, is the big one. Those in the know say that no city on Earth is crammed so full of cultural icons of such a uniformly high standard and importance. Reports also suggest that it’s a city of surpassing beauty.

What Florentines will make of a passing truckshunter in a Northumbrian kilt is anyone’s guess.

I’ll be staying in Florence for five nights and have tentatively pencilled in a couple of day trips - to Rome and Siena. I’ve heard some genuine horror stories about the rapacious pickpockets of Rome and, in truth, the only monument drawing me there is the Pantheon. It was built by Hadrian and there’s a kind of poetic justice in making a pilgrimage from his Wall in the North to his great Temple of the South.

Everyone says Siena is lovely, which seems like a good enough reason for me to pay it a visit.

I’m so very grateful for all the suggestions and tips you’ve given me so far about my Grand Tour. Please keep up the good work now. If you have any experience of Florence, Siena or Rome - or you’d like to do some rummaging around to find some unexpected delights for me to sample there - please get in touch in any of the usual ways.


*The shortest Oscar-winner’s speech ever was made my Alfred Hitchcock in 1968. He said ‘Thankyou’
*The longest Oscar-winner’s speech on record was made by Greer Garson in 1942 (for her role in Mrs Miniver. It lasted almost 6 minutes.

Guinness World Records has officially named Giant George, a blue great dane, as the world’s biggest dog. He measures 43” from paw to shoulder and 7’3” from nose to tail. He weighs over 17st and eats about 8st of food every month.

I’ve just realised that that item has an interesting ‘sideline’. I used British ‘Imperial’ measures throughout. Feet, inches and stones. I’m not proud of it but there you are.

I’m starting to worry about this feature of the blog. I think there may be a ‘Truckshunter Effect’ on the mortality of the great and the good. Each time we mourn the passing of a Great Name, a few more go and shuffle off this mortal coil.

This time we’re saying our goodbyes to Cy Grant, who has died aged 90. When I was a kid, and when all television sets were black-and-white (and were called ‘television sets’), Cy Grant used to sing a nightly calypso about that day’s news on the Tonight programme with Cliff Michelmore.

The sainted Lionel Jeffries has also died, aged 83. As well as starring as the wacky father of Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, he also directed one of my favourite films of all time. No, not The Railway Children (which is, admittedly, a corker) but the much better - and much less well-known - The Amazing Mr Blunden.

And a final goodbye to Kathryn Grayson, who has died aged 88. She was perhaps best-known for her role opposite Howard Keel in the Cole Porter musical Kiss Me Kate.

Please don’t forget that I’m still looking for dates and venue suggestions for AGM XIV during the week commencing Monday 12 Showery.

A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

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