All good things come to an end and our week of August style temperatures is to finish this weekend and we return to more Spring type weather with showers and rain. We get 1,400 mms ( 56 inches) of rain here per annum and it doesn’t really follow a pattern but somehow it always drops about the same amount on us. April this year was dry but one of the next 3 months will make it up as sure as eggs are eggs. Still the tan is topped up and the toiling tilers have finished in record time with our patios now looking great.
There will without a doubt have been a travel writer down here in Puglia this week. It never fails. He or she will be busy writing the most amazing story about the area. It will be full of superlatives about the undiscovered region basking in hour upon hour of sun filled days and nights mild enough to sit out after dinner listening to the crickets. It will wax on about no need to go as far south as Egypt to find the sun. He or she has done the ground work and found the tourist worlds best kept secret. The story will be syndicated around the world plus several other travel writers will change a few words and claim it as their own.
Next April the piazza in Martina Franca will again be filled with shorts clad, blue kneed tourists trying to find clothes shops that sell woolen jumpers and anoraks whilst busy composing a letter to their favorite newspaper’s editor about the appalling inacuracies written in the paper.
But as the song says we are heading for summer.
So Il Cavaliere seems to have woken up to the spoof our leader played on him and the PDL by merely stopping the IMU primary house tax payment for June. Yesterday the papers were full of pictures of our leader with Frau Merkel in Berlin who told him of course he must go for growth but not at the expense of austerity and our leader smiling in Brussels with old Rumpy Pumpy who told him growth was hugely important but not at the cost of losing the huge benefits austerity had bought to Italy and its people. Berlusconi has now said no repeal of IMU no government for our leader to come home to from his tour of European capitals.
Unemployment amongst 15-25 year olds was 20% in 2008 and was considered one of Il Cavaliere’s failings. In March this year the figure is 40% and here in the south it is estimated to be 60%. The government debt to GDP which Monti supposedly was brought in to cut has risen from 120% to 129%. I wrote sometime ago about the steel works in Taranto that was threatened with closure because it was belching stuff out that had cancer rates soaring way above the national averages. Last week a referendum was held to ask the people if they wanted it closed. The turnout was 14% and in the area where cancer rates were highest and therefore where in a normal society and in normal times you would expect a high turnout it was just 8%. The people didn’t dare go out and vote for their health because the alternative was worse, unemployment and no hope of a new job even by traveling elsewhere in the country. Some legacy Mr. Monti.
On a lighter note my son is off this weekend for a country house weekend somewhere in Wales. It reminds me of a nice story about John Mortimer, he of the Rumpole of the Bailey stories and TV series. He was constantly invited to country house weekends and like me was a great fan of the war film The Dam Busters:
He would always take a copy of it to the country house and at dinner on the first night he would announce that he would be viewing it the following afternoon. If the host said no worries I already have a copy he knew he was in for a good time with his type of people , if there was a good response to his suggestion he was happy to stay . However if there was a silence he packed his bags that night and left the following morning.
Meraviglioso ! Though I doubt very much my son has the DVD in his bag.
John Mortimer also said “the only rule I have found to have any validity when writing is not to bore yourself.”