Leather has been a “material” if you can call it a material; that I like very much. Great leather shoes, belts, document folders, bags, furniture and more. To me, leather means quality, durability, strength and more. O yeah, and class; too. But really….I didn’t choose to like leather because of all those….words.

When I think back, I can’t remember exactly when I started liking leathers. Probably, when I started my working career.

Brands and advertising? Could this have been the start to my leather liking? Branded leather products means very expensive pricing to the point of it being exclusive. It also means top grade leathers. I was and still am attracted to leathers with advertised exclusivity brands. Nowadays, I look more for handmade products without branding or advertised branding. But the quality of the leather is still excellent.

An example of this is a leather bound notebook with leather tie straps, that I bought from a small, old cottage leather business in Venice, Italy. The tradition of making leather bound note books was 500 years old according to the old gentleman that made this notebook for me. Even the tools used to hot-stamp my name on the notebook, was 500 years old.

The leatherbound notebook I purchased in 2009. The leather is still in excellent condition.

The craftsman setting up the nameplate tools to hot-stamp my name on the notebook. With me and a nice pose from Princess Laura.
The raw, reverse side of the leather. The pages are made from cotton – cotton paper. Notice the rough edges?
The place where I got my leather-bound notebook. The little store on the top of the bridge of shops in Venice, Italy.

The intricate binding of the whole book. Very sturdy.

Many years ago, when I first started my working career; I decided that I wanted to have a brown leather executive office chair. The thing that held me back from getting one, right up till very recently; was the exorbitant price tag that always accompanied such a chair.

I didn’t want to get just any old leather chair or brown leather chair. I wanted a good quality one. One that had character. When you think one that is of good quality and character; you may picture a high back, winged leather chair that was in standard colours – either black or mahogany, with an old man dressed debonair English style, newspaper in one hand, a glass of neat brandy or whiskey in the other; and a cigar or poker pipe in his mouth; in a very dark room lit with a 1.5 volt torch light bulb. Ok Ok, My imagination is getting carried away. No, sitting in a good leather chair is not confined to one of those old English gentlemen’s clubs only.

I like bright, vibrant colours. The atmosphere must be easy going, not stuffy and filled with stiff, upper-lipped, not so friendly people. So, throughout my working career; I had many opportunities to buy one but never did.

Jeannie and I went to my youngest brother, Malcolm’s; and his wife, Uma’s house for dinner last evening. It was a gathering of family and friends, the people that helped make Uma’s 60th birthday party the Saturday before the last; a huge success.

When I walked to the kitchen; there was this brown sort of old-fashioned, yesteryear designed executive office leather chair parked along the hallway. I never thought much of it, until Malcolm was telling someone else that the chair was there because he was about to sell it. Someone had indicated to him online, that he was interested in buying this chair.

I asked Malcolm if the chair was sold, as I had an interest to buy it myself. Malcolm said the guy only indicated that he was interested in buying it; that if he wanted it, he would call Malcolm. So, I seized the opportunity and bought it myself.. Very reasonable price, Very happy with the purchase.

This chair is as retro as you can get.

A lifetime dream come true. Whatever I set to do or wanted to get; I achieved. Some of those achievements were not immediately, like the chair. But they were achieved.

Real retro. The adjustment knobs look like something from the America cars of the “60s.

I believe the same experience can happen to anyone. Please share your comments, experience and excitement that you have had where you wanted something or wanted to accomplish a goal you may have set many years ago and may have even forgotten about it, until… Until one day, it happens, and you may not have planned for it. But it happened. The power of dreams.

roma, italy

Roma, F8 Tributo, Monza SP1, Aventador, Huracan, Gelato, pizza, pasta, Illy, Lavazza, caffe moka, Benetton, Armani, Prada, Versace, Milan, Florence, Pisa – everything Italian.

For the car enthusiast, “Roma, F8 Tributo, Monza SP1, Aventador, Huracan” refer to models of legendary Ferrari and Lamborghini supercar marques. Italy is also home to Alfa Romeo and Maserati.

Gelato Italian ice cream, pizza, pasta, Illy, Lavazza, caffe moka all refer to food and beverages.

Yes, you’ve got to have one of these to prove that you’ve been shopping in Italy – Benetton, Armani, Prada, Versace. Question is, are these still made in Italy? Italy is also home to many excellent quality products that are made by small businesses.

One criteria that I look out for is that the products have to be “Made in Italy”.

Ferrari leather and braided belt – Made in Italy

Ferrari leather and braided belt – Made in Italy.

Coming to Italy, you have to visit at least one of these cities to say that you’ve been to Italy – Milan, Florence, Pisa. Oh yes, how can I leave out perhaps the most famous of all – Venice?

Date: January / February 2009.

Jeannie was in Italy with gift-of-the-gab, renowned, Chef Wan; and his crew on a shoot of some food products. They got in and stayed in Vasanello, a little town, half an hour away or about 20 kilometers from Orte.

Jeannie, at “home” in Vasanello, Italy

Vasanello has a population of 4,249. (1) It is about 80 kilometers north of Rome.

Princess Laura, sitting like how a princess does; in the foyer, at “home” in Vasanello, Italy; enjoying a bit of sunlight during winter.

Some of the initial scenes like the swimming pool were of the large house we stayed in. We had to hitch a ride from our hosts whenever we wanted to go to town. In town, we had to catch a cab to the railway station in Orte. Orte is about an hour to Rome by train.

Travelling to and fro Orte from Vasanello, we had to pass the ancient part of the town which was carved into the mountains hundreds of years ago. People still live in that part of town. Cavemen?

The carved out mountain looks nice, with its face (walls) painted in many colours. This mountain will be on the right, just across the valley, as we come into Orte from Vasanello.

Orte, a town, too; but larger than Vasanello.

The short movie clip below was mainly shot in Rome. (2) It was February 14, 2009; when Jeannie, Chef Wan and gang met Laura and I when we just arrived in Rome. Chef Wan and all his antics. He used my Leica camera to take many pictures of us. Those were the days when cameras on phones were just beginning to show up. We went shopping at the streets which homed brands like Prada, Benetton, and Panerai. Eerrr…no; not Panerai. That was in Milan.

More of Italy to come, in time; untold stories and more pictures.

With the centurions on the first day in Roma.
Ok. You caught me with the chips.
On the Spanish steps? Why, in Rome, of course!
The Vatican on the first day in Rome.
The Parliament, and the Colosseum. Caesar’s palace is on the right (not in the picture). I found it very interesting to note how this whole complex was built with bare hands and no gadgets. Looking at he model of this complex at a coffee shop from across the street (this picture was taken from the coffee shop). A scaled model of this complex is at this coffee shop.

The chapel at the Rome airport.

italy; Film shot by Freddie. Feb 3 – 15, 2009. (2)


  1. As of 2010, Wikipedia
Arrivederci roma, Mafalda Minnozzi