Thursday, 30 August 2012

Leaving Italy

We're on a plane heading north along the Italian Adriatic coast. Periodically, one of the Ryan Air air crew members attempts to sell us something in an incomprehensible accent. I wish they'd just shut up so the passangers can enter a trance to block out the hell of the experience. At the moment they're walking down the aisles trying up flog us scrunched-up copies of The Sun newspaper, which have plainly been read (and paid for) already by the passengers who were on this plane before us. Earlier on we were invited to buy lottery tickets, the proceeds of which "could" help children's charities. 

We're currently experiencing rather bad turbulence over The Dolomites and my palms are sweating.  

It felt incredibly sad to leave Italy. We spent the day on the beach once again, floating, swimming, eating and knitting, said our goodbyes to all our new friends and, of course, Julie, and  that was that. Holiday over. 

As we left the beach, a glorious dusky-pink sunset glowed in the Western sky, whilst the moon, rising in the south, cast a glorious silvery reflection on the surface of the sea. It was, we're told, the last day of the high Italian summer. The weather is due to break before the end of tomorrow. 

Every morning we took ourselves to a little pasticceria in Pineto to buy pastries for a breakfast on the beach. One of the young women who works in the shop took a real shine to me... She, like many Italians (we discover) really likes the English accent, and called me Teddy Ben. We explained we were leaving today, and she came out from behind the counter to give us big hugs. For the third time this week, all of the pastries were for free!

The Italians genuinely seem to be the most generous-natured people in the world. Sure, they get hot-headed when driving, and take ridiculous siestas, and the country almost entirely shuts up shop in August, but they fall over themselves to assist you if they can. Today, our friend Angelo, with the surreally low voice, insisted on helping me to blow up my fluorescent green lilo by frog-marching me to his car and handing me a foot pump. Sadly the blessed thing had a puncture, so it all got a little embarrassing! 

I learned something today: The heady Italian scent, which, on more than one occasion, has made me go all funny is actually a flower! It's a pretty little pinky-purple thing, which, like jasmine, starts to throw off a powerful aroma as the sun begins to set. The flower is called Bella Di Notte. Isn't that beautiful? I'd love to know its English name and whether it would grow in Highgate soil. We could grow some under our tree in the back yard to attract bees and butterflies.

On that note, I think it could be time for me to spend a fiver on a crappy cup of tea, and try to get my head thinking like an Englishman again. Without this mental gear shift, it's almost impossible to deal with the mayhem of London. 

I wonder if the city will be filled with people in wheelchairs? 

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