Last night we went to Mimma’s in Ceglie Messapica with four Italian friends. We found this pizzeria by accident last October and have been using it ever since. We think the pizza is great , thin crust slightly crunchy on the edge and loads of filling. It is all cooked in a log oven.
We were delighted that our friends found it good too . We had starters then a huge pizza each plus a couple of litres of red wine, some bottled water and then coffee, grappa, and amaretto . When the bill came I remembered why I love living in Puglia. Six people, a great meal in a noisy fun-filled restaurant cost €56 inc the tip. Just about £8 a head in UK money. By the way the tip is in fact the cover charge. Italians don’t leave tips.
The beauty with Puglia is that going out can be so reasonable . A pint of beer in my local is the equivalent of £1.30 which I remember paying in the UK in 1990 and a 300ml of wine about £1.10. Then pick your restaurants carefully and you can always eat out for less than £10 a head and you are eating a high standard of fresh food as well.
Now all this talk of Cyprus haircuts made me realise this morning that I needed an haircut though luckily not at the bank. We still own a couple of acres in Cyprus and had planned to make it our retirement home but for all kinds of reasons we gave up there and came here to Puglia.
Anyway to the barbers shop I went in Villa Castelli
Now Italian men take their appearance very seriously and so this isn’t a quick in, cut and out exercise. Cutting hair is an art here and not to be rushed by either party. You start with a hair wash so Franco or Rocco the owners of the shop can cut wet rather than dry hair. The cutting is only with scissors no clippers electric or not see the light of day here. Snip snip study result snip snip study again, layer then snip some more. Twenty minutes goes by as the creation takes shape. After about thirty minutes Franco appears happy and then starts on any wild growing facial hair like eyebrows too bushy and nose hair protruding etc. More trimming follows and then out comes the cut throat razor to do what we used to call bum fluff at school for some unknown reason but is in fact the downy hair on the nape of the neck plus he levels the sideburns.
Now everywhere else I have lived in the world a mirror would be produced. You would study the back of your head for some reason and then off to pay. But not here. With a flourish the cape is pulled away and an hairdryer blows away all or any stray hair that has found its way on to you and then you are off for another hair wash, After that back into the chair you go replete with a clean cape. More trimming and then the blow dry followed by a little more grooming then a spray then a rub of aftershave and you are done. No mirror to study your head, It is perfect because Franco knows it is. He doesn’t need your opinion and nor should he. You have had a maestro cut your hair. That is Franco in the picture above.
Little Tony in fact made his break through in the UK after a BBC producer saw him in Rome in 1958. He starred on several pop shows in the early 60’s in the UK and had a release make number 19 in the Melody Maker chart in 1962. In October 1962 the Beatles released Love Me Do and Little Tony like other solo singers with any sense hit the road. He returned to Italy and had a string of hits including this one which means The Boy with the Quiff. It was his first number 1 here. He also had a movie career as well. Despite an heart attack in 2008 he is still performing here in Italy at the age of 70. The mind boggles a bit doesn’t it. Not sure about these elderly rockers. I travelled one time to New York with Keith Richard in the seat on the other side of the row, To say a lived in face would be an understatement he had more crags than the Alps. Unlike Mike Jagger who I also flew with as well on another flight and who drank tea all the way, at least Keith lived up to his reputation. He told the stewardess who bought his pre takeoff Jack Daniels and coke that he wanted no food and no special service but when his glass appeared either to the side or the top of the seat she was to refill it instantly. This she did every 30 mins or so all the way to New York where he got off looking – well just like Keith Richard !