Saturday, 31 October 2015

Lake Garda

I worked all day today whilst Nathan was doing a shift at the box office of the Shaftesbury theatre. It's the last night of Memphis today, which is being replaced by a show called The Illusionists.

I badly banged my knee on the corner of a table last night and have been in discomfort all day. I hit myself on the knee-like equivalent of the funny bone, and if I weren't such a hairy old bear, I reckon I'd be able to see a big old bruise there.

I watched a programme about Lake Garda on the telly earlier on. Was it just the camera work, or is that place stunningly beautiful? Has anyone reading this been there? Is it to be recommended? Are there better lakes? Is it a tourist hot spot and therefore crowded and ludicrously expensive?

The programme I watched was being presented by Michael Portillo and I'll confess to being slightly perturbed by his bright cerise trousers which clashed rather terribly with the blues and earthy terracotta hues of the Italian landscape. Someone of his age might describe the trousers as "snazzy." That's an ancient word isn't it!? Like "diggy," "wally," "prannie." And "skill." A rumour went around our school that "skill" actually meant bird crap. A "twat" by the same count was a pregnant camel!

We rushed into Muswell Hill when Nathan got back from work and bought our customary pumpkins which we carved out in front of the X Factor, marvelling at how dreadful Ollie Murs sounds when he says things like "was you happy with them judges comments?"

Hallowe'en is my favourite time of the year and, for as long as I can remember, we've carved pumpkins and had hallowe'en parties. We once set fire to an out house in our garden by lighting so many candles whilst I told ghost stories!

In catholic countries it's actually tomorrow when things get exciting. About a million years ago, I was in Poland on All Soul's Day when they light thousands (and I mean thousands) of candles in cemeteries. The tradition is for entire families to visit their departed loved ones after dark, and sit with them for a few hours, eating food and chatting.

The cemeteries literally glow with candlelight. There's not a grave which isn't illuminated by at least one candle in a red, white, green or yellow jar. I found the experience of simply wandering around the grave yards intensely moving and hugely heartwarming. So if you ever find yourself in Poland (and I suspect Italy and Spain) on November 1st, head to a cemetery after dark and you're in for a treat.

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