From the Book....

From 'Fragments from the Diaries of Lorenzo da Peccioli.' 1485

Friday, September 16th, Prato, Toscana

'Betto?' I chanced.

'Look at you my friend.' Came the reply. 'Did you lose your plumage in the cold of the north?' Master

Giovanni laughed and indeed we must have made a most curious sight to any onlooker. Betto in his colourful Florentine clothing and myself, in a traveling cloak impregnated with weeks of road dust. But then, it is partly the Florentine's reputed taste for luxury and flamboyance that has prompted Master Giovanni to move and establish our workshop in Toscana.

Betto's reaction to meeting my Master was indeed curious. When I introduced the two men to each other, his first reaction was to bend his knee as if he were about to bow before Master Giovanni. When I questioned him on this he explained that he thought for a moment that we were playing some trick on him because apparently, it seems that Master Giovanni is close to being a double for Lorenzo de Medici, the de facto ruler of Florence. Personally I have only ever seen Il Magnifico at a distance. Perhaps there is indeed some resemblance.

We spent the day in good company and conversation.

Betto sounds very keen to have an association with my Master, although Maestro Giovanni Montesano is not exactly a renowned name in Venice. In fact it may be that he is more notorious than anything else in that country. I feel sure though, that Betto will portray him as an illustrious artisan and confidant of the Doge himself! It will surely help to raise the reputation of his own Bottega if others believe that he and his brother now have access to secrets from Murano.

Betto was smarting a little that he and Francesco did not win the commission to create new ceramics for the doorway of the Duomo here. My first teacher, Maestro Andrea will create the works, although Betto was insistent that his own proposals were clearly the stronger. But life does not always work so simply and to be honest much as he is my dear friend, I can understand why the church elders selected the illustrious name of Della Robbia rather than the unknown Buglioni to adorn their temple. Perhaps, if truth be known, Maestro Andrea's uncle, Luca once felt the same when Donatello won the contract to build the pulpit for this church all those years ago.

Betto's time and reputation will come. I am convinced of that. In the meantime, he is insisting that we use his workshops for our own work, assuring us that there is ample room for all of us. And of course, he already has precious kilns in place, which we will need for our plans.

From 'Inflating the Ambitions of Billy Thomas IV' I

'Hey Babe. Come'n have a look at this f'r a trick.'

Sceptical, but knowing that compliance would avoid a pointless, time wasting row, Nelli stepped through from the tiny kitchen to find her husband sitting at the table, clasping an empty Corona bottle in both hands.

Billy looked up at her with a smug smile on his face. 'Wanna see a new way to get rid of empties?'

She shrugged, willing him to hurry up and get on with it so that she could get back to her task.

'Watch and be impressed hun.' Billy kept one hand firmly around the base of the glass but he released the other one and moved it up to the top of the bottle. 'Abera-cada…bera.' He announced as he pushed down and the bottle disappeared downwards into his fist and apparently, the tabletop. He kept pushing the bottle downwards until it had completely disappeared into his fist, then he opened out his hands and placed them palms down where the bottle had been standing.

'Guess that's kinda neat.' Nelli was actually fairly impressed by the slickness of the stunt, but really didn't want Billy to know that, sarcastically quipping. 'Hope you can settle the cable bill that way too.'

'Workin' on it babe.'

'Oh come on Billy. Just find something useful to do with your time.'

'Hey babe.' He laughed. 'That's exactly what I am doing.'

From 'Alyson Through The Looking Glass' II

'I hope, that having come all this way, you are not going to disappoint me.'

'Oh, I don't think you will be disappointed professor.' With that, he crouched down slightly and made a "come here" gesture with his fingers. 'Look.'

James's eyes nearly popped when the head of a small black and white cat suddenly burst out of the surface of the mirror. The momentarily detached head was quickly followed by two front legs, a body, two more legs and a tail as Eliot emerged onto the landing, looked briefly and dispassionately up at the stranger and then trotted across to greet Alexander, rubbing his head affectionately against his outstretched fingers.

A stunned voice whispered. 'Oh my. I heard you talk about it, I've read so much about it. Dammit I think I even believed in it all. But I can't believe what I just saw.' He looked straight at Alexander. 'That did really happen. Didn't it?'

Alexander laughed. 'Yes… It really did. Let me introduce you to my sister.' As he spoke he nodded a gesture towards the mirror and almost immediately Maggie's face and form appeared in the glass as she too stepped out onto the landing. James stood transfixed, wide eyed and opened mouthed as Maggie appeared.

'Professor Rogers. How very nice to meet you.' She cheerily extended a hand in greeting.

James numbly accepted the handshake, still lost for something to say.

'Are you feeling okay professor?' Inquired Maggie, bemused by the shocked expression on his face.

'James. Please call me James.' The response was automatic but it helped the professor to regain his composure. 'Ummm. I think I can honestly say that I've never seen anything like that before.'

'Impressed?' Asked Alexander.

'I really don't know what to say. I mean I've known of the possibility of this for so many years. My mother talked about it and wrote about it. I liked to think that I had come to believe that what she talked about was true, or at least possible, however far fetched it sometimes seemed. To be honest though, I have never seen one shred of hard evidence that anything these old alchemists got up to had any real substance to it.'

'Until today?'

He snorted a laugh. 'Look, I don't know whether of not this glass was made in Florence five hundred years ago, or whether this is… Oh, hell! I mean. I've just seen something incredible and I suddenly realise that perhaps I didn't really believe at all. Maybe I just gave lip service to the idea.'

Okay, that's it for samples, now click here and get the whole Book!


As with my earlier writing, I do not intend to show any images of my ideas of what the characters in my book may look like. One of the joys of reading for me is to form my own visual ideas of each character and setting. It will probably be different to your idea. We all read and visualise in our own way. Until somebody else shows you a picture and transforms your idea into their idea whether you like it or not.

I defy anybody who has seen the films to pick up the book of 'The Lord of the Rings' and read it without visualising Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen and so on, in their roles as you read.

So, I'll settle for a drawing of Florence as it looked in 1493, details of Renaissance Decorative art and so on...