While Shepherds Watched Their Ducks By Night, or The Decline of the Roman Empire

Sunday 15 February 2009

First of all, the threatened photo of Wussius Maximus.
Secondly, before anyone asks, no I didn’t buy any Fonzies when I was in Rome. By the time I remembered to look for them I was already at the pitiful airport departures terminal and didn’t want to pay an extra Euro for the privilege of possessing a rather sad looking packet behind the only bar. (If you’re a Twisties fan, apparently you’re not missing much.)
The good thing about visiting Rome in the middle of winter is that the city is pretty empty. On a Monday night in January you and your special someone can have a restaurant more or less to yourselves. This makes it an excellent time of year to visit the Vatican, which at any other time is impossibly packed with tourists. Mind you, the low season doesn’t deter the dodgy touts who still hang around on the Rome-Vatican border offering you “special access” to St Peter’s and the museums, even though you it’s perfectly possible to wander in by yourself. (Don’t try this at any other time of year! The queue for the museums gets up to a kilometre long.)
The Vatican houses some of the greatest masterpieces of art from the past two millennia. It also contains some remarkable modern catholic tat. The Holy See keeps its Christmas decorations up until Candlemas, so I got to see two nativity dioramas: a ho-hum, life-size one outside in the piazza, and this monstrosity inside the basilica itself.

It looks like someone just went crazy with the church credit card down at the local garden centre, then just shoved it all together wherever they could get it to fit.

Apparently there was a sale on plaster ducks that day.

It’s good to see the Catholic church still has a good eye for a fine bottom on a young lad. That rooster is totally checking him out (make your own joke here.)