Back at the beach, the wind is still high, and the waves are crashing relentlessly onto the beach. The sun is shining very strongly, and I feel as though I’ve been sand-blasted and then double-baked! High waves can be great fun, and we spent an hour body surfing, and allowing ourselves to be buffeted about like kittens in a washing machine. The beach is almost empty. For many Italians the summer ended yesterday. The middle classes have all gone back to Rome to start work again. It is, after all, only three months now until Christmas.
Those Italians who are still “summering”, like our new friends who we’re going to dinner with tonight, wouldn’t be seen dead swimming in choppy water, or sunning themselves on a windy beach like this. Consequently, the only people mad enough to be running into the waves were the English. I caught some of the staff here staring at us in disbelief; “it may be rough” I said, “but this sea is still calmer than any I’ve seen in England.” And with that, I poured milk into my tea, causing even more hilarity.
We’ve just played the Pie Jesu from the Requiem to Roberto and Rafaella, who run the beach cafe where we’ve been spending all our time. I wrote the movement on a little lime green keyboard on this very beach almost exactly a year ago, so it felt appropriate for them to hear it. They seemed to love it. There were cries of “Mama Mia” (genuinely... I didn’t think people actually said that over here) before I was proclaimed a genius. More friends were immediately called over to hear it again. None of them, of course, understood the English lyrics, and weren’t aware that everything that was being sung had come from inscriptions written on gravestones, so their response was to the music itself. I may be too shy and embarrassed to even attempt to speak Italian, but with music I have a universal language... and I guess that’s a very special thing.