Blog 37 - The Italian Job



Since the pandemic has struck I have studied Italian every day on DUOLINGO which is an online teaching programme. It is clever with a reward system, if one can remember to do it every day. I had managed to keep going for about 140 days last year when whammy! after a distracting day....and there have been many of these....it was a few minutes after midnight and I realised my lapse. Too late. I was back at Day 1 again. I have managed to pick up since then and am now on Day 182. In addition I have a weekly online Zoom lesson, Italian for Pleasure with four or five students run by the U3A and a very lovely patient tutor. I was supposed to have a family holiday in Bologna last May; hence my desire to be able to order delicious meals in passable Italian, and convince my children I am not ready for the old people’s home yet, having some worth as the family interpreter. I keep that dream alive despite Italy being in a complete lockdown again and at one time this week on the European rollercoaster of opinion on the Astra Zeneca vaccine.


Today, I have indeed chosen an Italian scarf, another vintage one which has seen better days. It has an interesting design as if the artist had trickled long rivulets of melted peach gelato and then got carried away with black molasses. It is silk with hand rolled edges. I know little of the Italian female designer Marcella Tanzi, other than she created scarves for the COURT shipping company, which went into airline package holidays in 1970. This venture was liquidated in 1974. My own family was hard hit at that time too but it would mean we would later seek our fortunes far from these shores and provide me with rich memories in later life. Probably my scarf comes from that era via a previous owner.


I have named the blog today THE ITALIAN JOB, which of course conjures up so many visions of the young actor Michael Caine planning a gold bullion robbery in the classic film with that title. I must try to watch this again, but I find it is not available on Netflix in UK. I would have to change my Netflix location to Argentina to watch it and I fear I might then get it in Spanish which would screw up my Italian studies further! My readers will know I gave up my beloved 1987 BMW Red Lady coupe for a slightly younger Mini Cooper S last year, just like the one used for the mad getaway chase in the film throughout the streets of Turin, taking flights of stairs in its mad stride. Last week we had a new Lidl store open in my neighbourhood which means my ascent and descent of steps from river to Richmond Bridge level a little hard on foot wheeling my own trolley. SCOOPY, my Mini has been furloughed to Wiltshire for the past few months. I wonder what my children will think of the idea of his returning to Richmond to help out with Lidl shopping and perhaps an audition for a film part? Must also check if they sell gelato alla pesca there, looking at the luscious pattern of my scarf.


The end of the the Michael Caine film shows the coach containing the gold bullion hanging over a cliff face. His famous one-liner “Hang on a minute, lads, I’ve got a great idea.” brings to mind an experience we had high on the mountain pass leaving Andorra, but that memory must be for another day.


Ps. I just never know where these blogs will lead me. When I got out of bed today, little did I imagine I would suddenly get the idea of making peach icecream. I have no fancy icecream maker, but I did have four nectarines, a tub of double cream, a bottle of liqueur, lemons and access to Jamie Oliver. The blog was already written. Now I have an end photo!


Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 37.

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