We are in Tuscany again, far later than usual, since the dreaded C impeded us and a glorious wedding delayed us.
Our youngest daughter married in a celebration that was a family affair, very home-made and happy, and one day later we drove through France and northern Italy, vaccinated and tested to the hilt, all proper documents to hand, to reach our Tuscan home.
Italy is always a gift to our souls. Straight after our five-day quarantine, a friend arrived from the coast bearing crates of peaches, apricots and plums. The cleaning of our house that had been shut for eight months was put on hold. When life gives you peaches, you have to eat them and make jam…
The cleaning done and a first-aid attempt made on the wild and tangled garden, we were invited to a concert. On top of a mountain, at 1,000 metres. That we walked to. Where a professional singer sang to the notes of a grand piano. Which had been transported up there in the back of a van. It was sublime and worth the two-hour walk, through woods and along mule tracks. We were interviewed for a local television station.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg9udBAQxoU
Sunset at La Spinella, after the concert, as we sipped wine.
Two days later, we were off to Ravenna to celebrate our forty-fourth wedding anniversary and to see the famous UNESCO mosaics again, dating from the fifth and sixth centuries.
“Mosaiced-out”, we wandered round the streets, drinking in the sights, sounds and delicious smells. We have found, as from last year too, that our Italian friends are very careful and wary of the epidemic. Masks have to be worn inside public places and proof of double vaccination shown to visit museums or to eat inside. It is called a Green Pass in Italy but so far our NHS Apps have always worked.
And then life gave us flamingos…
Grazing and flying wild in the salt pans outside the city of Cervia. We’ve seen them wild when we lived in Tanzania, but this is the first time in Europe. It was surreal and a magical end to our escape.
On the writing front, I have submitted my next book to my lovely editor at Bookouture. But as for the next project, my mind is not ready at the moment. Having just finished a gloriously picaresque novel, which I believe I was meant to read at this time (I believe in this kind of thing – call it serendipity) : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miss-Bensons-Beetle-uplifting-friendship/dp/0552779482/
I am not unduly worried. But I do yearn to write something different.
At the end of this novel, I read about the inspiration behind this unusual story, described as “charmingly eccentric”. The author’s lines struck a chord with my present mood:
“The reasons why you choose to tell a certain story are not always clear. I like to compare the first stages of writing to finding a house in the woods that has no windows and no doors. You long to go inside, but you have no idea how, so all you can do is keep circling it, trying to find the tiniest crack.” RACHEL JOYCE
I haven’t found that house in the woods yet. But I feel sure I will and in the meantime, I am circling with open wings; not forcing it. I shall let Italy sink into my soul and see what happens. Ideas are never far away. Plaques on buildings, notice boards – there is always something to whet my appetite and stir interest.
Wish me luck!