I'm just off to Italy for some much-needed convalescence, so this will be my last post before I arrive. Like Greece, the Tuscan Alps also have a problem with wild-fires and recently the mountainside above Peralta - where Neil is working - has been blazing. He walked up the hill early the other morning and sent me these pictures of the fire as he casually strolled through.
It looks hot - but after weeks and weeks of miserable northern weather and a maximum of 17 degrees (this is summer?) I think I can take a little heat!
I'm looking forward to the relaxation, the Prosecco, and cafe life. I have a favourite cafe, run by two sixty-something men with grey pony tails and ragged jeans. The main attraction is going to the loo, where they play a tape of someone's sonorous voice reading Dante. It's quite hypnotic and people do seem to spend a lot of time in 'i servizi'! The tables are heaped with newspapers and poetry books, and it was here that I first came across Alda Merini 'one of the most powerful contemporary female poets writing in Italian' according to one review. I think some of her poetry is quite religious - content difficult for an aetheist - but the sound of it is utterly beautiful. I've never let my religious differences put me off Donne or Hopkins, so not Merini either. I'm learning Italian and hope to be able to understand it better in the original language soon.
Here's to practising! And I will remember to raise a glass of Prosecco to absent friends.