A terrace looking out over the Mediterranean with a backdrop of Tuscan alps. Candlelight, a full moon, a warm early September evening. An Irish fiddle player and a banjo are rehearsing jigs and reels. Oceans of sparkling Prosecco are fizzing in our glasses and on the table rolled turkey breast stuffed with lemon, oregano and thyme, a wheat salad called Farro, Tuscan borlotti beans, and chargrilled aubergines marinated in olive oil and garlic.
A light breeze is ruffling the napkins and tossing the candle flames around in their glass jars. Wisps of cloud blow over the moon and a thunderstorm is flashing over distant mountains. It is the end of summer here - a return of cooler weather and hoped for rainfall to save the olive harvest.
Soon I'm going to be on my way back to England - this time with a lot of regret. I've had almost two weeks of sunshine and space to write - met some fantastic people - and fallen in love with Italy all over again. But hopefully I'll be coming back. Someone has very generously offered to lend us a house for a few months over the winter and, if I pay for a broadband connection, I can do my Open University creative writing tutoring on-line, coming back to England only to run dayschools and sort out the logistics of the new book. It all sounds too good to be true at the moment. Fingers crossed!