Before I chat about the weather this past March let me wish you an happy Pasquetta. Today is Aprils Fool Day as well this year and Italians also spend the day playing practical tricks on people. It is know here as Pesce d’aprile because school kids used to pin a cutout of a fish ( pesce) on the backs of unsuspecting fellow pupils and then laugh at them. I am sure it is no longer allowed !. The media too get involved and run all kinds of stories here that everybody takes seriously and then realises they have been had.
I remember the furore created by this one in the UK way back in 1957 when it was run on a Monday evening by the then very respected BBC on their flagship serious news programme Panorama.
Ah, black and white TV those were the days.
Pasquetta is in full swing as I write . Walking at midday today most of the houses have crowds of people already there and my normally quiet back roads were busy. If I see on a average day 3 cars it is surprising. Today I must have seen about 30 on my roads.
Now in the past the Pasquetta lunch was always eaten sitting outside throughout the length of Italy. So either they were a hardier bunch in those days or the weather is cooler or probably a little of both.
Which leads me to our March weather. The weather is an hobby of mine though my wife calls it an obsession. I have a small weather station for this hobby – okay obsession, so I can tell you that March was cold down here in the heel and wet. We had 179mm of rain fall in my garden or 7 inches in old money. The wind blew like billyo’ with an average daily windspeed of 21 kph and 29 days when regular gusts were above 35 kph . Houses in Puglia or certainly this part of Puglia should be self sufficient in power with wind turbines in the winter and solar in the summer but the government still owns a big share of Enel the only real supplier of electricity so is loathed to move that way. It was, as I said, cold too with a mean of 8.9C which is 2C below the normal. Now Al Gore got a Nobel prize for forecasting weather of +2C so it is a notable difference in temperature.
There you have it, a cold wet month and I have got a little of my obsession ( hobby) off my chest for this month at least.
So lots of rain which must lead us into a song . Lacrime di pioggiaa ( Tears of Rain)
Antonelo Venditti was born in 1949 to rich parents in Rome. His father was a politician and here in Italy they are the highest paid legislators in the world and we are not talking about by a few percentage points but by a country mile. We also have more of them per head of population than any other country in the world again by a country mile. So when people ask you why Italians resist with all their being paying tax this is without doubt one of the main reasons; the money merely goes to making the politicians even richer.
Anyway back to young Antonello, he quickly became very left wing and was known early in the 70’s for his protest songs and extremely anti religious views. However with the emergence of the extreme left wing terrorists in the late 70’s he had a bit of a road to Damascus moment and found both religion and big band ballads. Now to complete the circle back to Puglia the priest he most admires and follows is Father Pio ( 1887-1968) who is our only saint down here in Puglia. Almost every house and most shops and bars have a picture of Pio somewhere on a wall and indeed our wealthy neighbour ( he is a politician too) has a bronze full size statue of him in his front garden so I see Father Pio everyday on my walk.
Well we are off to our Pasquetta lunch, so please enjoy yours.