Monday, January 23, 2012

Amalfi, day five

It was all grey skies this morning, and the rain came down. We, as you know, have been almost strangely blessed with good weather and this is the first day we have really seen proper rain. We have struck rain at other points – our last day in Paris, our first in Carcassonne – but nothing that had really prevented us from doing things, and no rain that had really kept us indoors.
This rain did. It was belting down, really pouring from the skies. At points, we couldn’t even see the sea from our windows. The sky was determinedly grey around us; deep grey with black patches, but further out to sea, it was a lighter grey. It sort of looked like a theatre curtain, the way it reached down to the ground just around us. We thought we should try to get out (but as you know, the fatal flaw of the non-waterproof puffy jacket was a problem) so we made it down to the car in the vain hope that we might try for Ravello. But it was truly raining and it became less the problem of waterproofing and more the problem of driving on roads that are barely useable in bright sunlight. I kind of thought it was a death wish. Paris was worried about us meeting the SITA bus on a wet road. Everyone else was silent. We sat in the car as the engine idled. Then Myles turned it off. The day trip was over.
But we did consider that being house bound here for twenty-four hours might need provisions. So he turned the car back on and we gingerly drove up to Furore Alto for supplies.
It was treat Friday too, so we had to consider the treat factor. Paris opted for a stew (weird, no?) so we found some beef and vegetables and whatnot, and then cakes and chocolates, and wine and song. We left with our parcels and settled in at our house.
And then proceeded to get cabin fever in no small way. Just a reminder. There is no internet access here in the house or anywhere around us. The TV only works sporadically (and, apparently, when it rains, not at all, so we couldn’t even watch the BBC World News channel), the heater is a blow heater so while it has warmed the house, it is also slowing drying us all out to a quasi mummified state, we have limited books (just what we have bought with us – and I have read them all – and the pot boilers on the shelves). Niccolo can’t read independently. And the house is very small.
So we cooked lunch together. Paris and I did the lion share, Zelda and Niccolo organised the chocolates and the treats. We managed to make a half way decent stew with our limited resources. Myles cooked rice for the mop up (though most of us chose to use bread). And the cake and chocolates were fine. We cleaned up and then looked at the rain with some hope. It was belting down. Myles retired to his book (he is deep in the Millennium series), Niccolo found some games on my computer and got down to business, Zelda, Paris and I had a round of gin rummy. Now, when we play a ten card hand, for some reason, I can win quite easily, but the seven card hand defeats me every time. This time, we were playing ten card hands, so I was winning like mad. But before long – about seven hands – we were losing momentum. The rain had eased a little, though not enough for driving; you could at least see the sea. Myles proposed a stairs walk. We all said no. So he walked the stairs up to the road that takes you to Furore three times. This is quite something. I can make it once, but it is a serious haul.
So it was to reading. The shelves contain – in English – only really murder mysteries set in England. They are full of gruesome details and lots of plot twists (very clever too), but also full of details that just makes me think if Enid Blyton which seems to take away the tension somewhat. Cups of tea and cake for instance. It just the way the English express it that makes me think Blyton. It is wrong I know, but I can’t help it. And it was across all kinds of murder mysteries – one called ‘The House at Midnight’ a kind of English version of ‘The Secret History’; one called ‘Trick of the Dark’ which made Oxford look like a hotbed of pyschos (perhaps it is …); one called ‘The Reckoning’ which was all gender problems in the police force and the issue of ‘innocent’ or ‘guilty’ victims.
I began to wonder if England couldn’t do worse than name a town Blyton and we could all go there and have our very English experience of ginger beer and tea, and cakes and softly boiled eggs. I guess there would need to be some kind of magical element too, where chairs fly unexpectedly and trees have lands at the top and there are individuals with weird heads. Hmmm. The cabin fever was bad.
We began to wander the house and get in each other’s way. Things were not going well. Then Paris opened the fridge and smashed a bottle accidently. After cleaning that up, we all went to bed. Seriously. There was not much to do.
There is no doubt the weather has been kind. If it had been any other way, the trip might have been a series of days in which we plotted the demise of those around us.

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