To Villa Castelli this morning for an haircut . Regulars will remember that I started teaching Franco and Rocco the two owners some basic English in a series of lessons held in their shop during the siesta time. I tried to include some useful phrases like ‘short on top’ , ‘just a trim’ , ‘sit down here” etc as well as the usual first lessons in English which you can find on the British Council website and lesson plans which abound on the web.
I arrived busy practising my Italian for ‘no I insist on paying it is your business and it is only right I pay’ as I was pretty sure I was not going to get charged for the haircut as I do the lessons quite happily for free. In fact as I walked in both guys gave up on the customers they were working on and rushed to tell me their news.
Yesterday Mike they chorussed guess who came into the shop? No idea I said. An American who spoke no Italian at all. This guy , Bill was his name, is a 747 Captain flying the Boeing parts back to the USA from Grottaglie . How on earth he found his way to them I have no idea nor were they able to ask him. However when he asked if they spoke English when he poked his head around the door they were able to say ‘ yes, a little, how are you, it is a beautiful day ‘ which it seems they did in unison.
Imagine their delight when in he walked and Rocco said ‘ sit down you want a trim’. It seems Bill wanted ‘short on the sides and a trim on top’ and then proceeded to chat happily to them . They understood not a single word but were just so delighted that 6 hours of lessons had resulted in a customer. Franco even dug his notes out and managed ‘I do not understand please talk slowly’ and much to Bill’s credit he did just that apparently but unfortunately my lessons seemingly didn’t cover any of what he was now speaking probably excruciatingly slowly . They did get a card from him that gave his name and job and the fact that he lives in South Carolina.
To say they were happy is an understatement they were ecstatic and are now really keen to get going again in September. Suddenly there is purpose and a belief in the lessons and they managed to converse in English to a complete stranger. I felt like a million dollars too . Oh and I wasn’t allowed to pay for my haircut either.
Okay, I know the headline is plural and the other one is a follow up to Monday’s post on the seaside monsters. The Mayor of Ostuni, Domenico Tanzarella , has been stung by the press criticism that he has been dragging the heels in chasing down and sorting out all these half built ruins that are a blot on the landscape near the coast. He has found the owner of the bar that was stopped from expanding and has plonked a €30,000 fine on them. Not a great result but he has said if the fine is not paid ( dream on Domenico) then he will be hiring a company to raze it to the ground.
The newspaper is getting plenty of photos it seems from concerned residents on the coast and highlighted another today . It is a 40,000 cubic metre concrete building half built in 1980 just metres from the beach. Domenico was on to this in a flash. Yes, he was aware of it and the owners had been taken to court in 2003 to knock it down. They had lodged an appeal in 2005 and the case was yet to be heard. Hey give the judiciary a break here. Only 4 months holiday a year and far more exciting bunga bunga cases to be heard .
However Dom hasn’t sat on his hands, well certainly not since the paper called on Tuesday anyway. He has talked to one Angela Burbanetto at the Puglia Regional Council and she has now told the paper that this has gone on long enough and that they have the power to move on this and to knock it down. In what year the reporter asked ? In the next 3 months she replied. So another result. Buona giornata . A good day.