Today was our first english lesson and I thought I could be clever and rather than downloading a lesson plan and putting it in Word, I would merely access it from the shop and run the lesson that way. Use technology I thought. I then found an alphabet site that with pictures and sound went through the whole english ABC bit. Oh boy these guys are going to be impressed with this old fogey and his dazzling display of computer gizmos . Of course in my enthusiasm I forgot where I was and also failed to read this mornings published report from the EU on internet access and transmission speeds. 30 Mbps is considered the fast internet speed and the EU, all however many countries have been enticed in, has an average of 15% of customers who enjoy this speed. Italy has been dragging it’s heels just a tad! It boasts 0.1% and that is the whole of Italy so the South being the poor cousin does worse though looking at that figure it is just safe to assume no one here enjoys fast internet. In fact some enjoy no internet. I set up switched on and no signal. Mobile phones work but not the internet in that part of Villa Castelli. The best laid plans of mice and men. Now I promised Geradine I will not have a rant about the internet on this blog. Suffice to say it is the single most frustrating thing about living in Southern Italy. You just feel so helpless and ripped off by the very same mobile phone internet companies that in Britain say, are fighting for your business. We use Tre ( Three) at the house. I have a key ( dongle) and a cube so I can download books etc to Kindles and laptops. Both are Senza Limiti which means without limit and are advertised as such on TV and in newspapers etc. However both have very restricted limits that preclude any downloading of TV series or movies without huge extra cost. In August the internet can go off for 5 or 6 days at a time. Hey the engineers need a summer holiday. The cube goes wrong do Tre replace it ? No they send it away to be “repaired”. It is away for 4 weeks normally and do they offer a refund on the charge. Good lord no. I know I am ranting I will take a blood pressure tablet and let’s have some Albinoni an Italian classical baroque composer.
Now talking of baroque, the historic area of Martina Franca is a living monument to the period with its buildiings. The biggy is the town hall and in July from 13th to the end of the month they hold a large opera and music festival that is in the inside courtyard under the stars. It is famous throughout Italy. This year they will of course celebrate the birth of Verdi ( born 1813 ) . It is called The Festival della Valle Itria and if you click on the name you will see on the left hand side of the page an english translation of the events if you are interested.
They move around the area during the period of the festival and this year they go to the famous Sassi area ( cave dwellers) in Matera as well as a couple of nights in Cisternino near us here. Martina rediscovers it’s old style and pomp during the festival and the place comes alive. Even if you don’t go to the opera strolling around the historic area especially as the music wafts over you is quite magical. You sit with a glass of wine nearby and have a free concert and I tell you what, you don’t even think about a ruddy internet connection!