You sit reading the paper idly flicking through pages that just a few days ago you found riveting. Berlusconi ducking and weaving his way out of going to jail, the President of Italy ducking and weaving to keep Berlusconi in parliament, the Prime Minister saying he cannot allow Berlusconi to stay, the same Prime Minister saying that there will be a review of the judicial process and reforms will include Berlusconi being kept in parliament and you just shrug your shoulders. The steel works are a disgrace, the oil refinery bosses corrupt but it is August and by Friday the factories will be idle the politicians will be at their huge beachside villas bought by the electorate and we shall be busy eating large lunches and dinners with lots of very nice people from Turin.
The mercury is at 38C ( 100F ) and really what the papers are interested in is what Italians take to eat on the beach. Well 17% take the full nine yards packed lunch with tables stools and 3 courses, 11% take nothing and head up the beach to the nearest restaurant and the remainder take a real mixture of stuff. What does amaze me about these surveys is that there is almost never any don’t knows. Now Italians aren’t known worldwide for their decisive nature but clearly when it comes to surveys they, especially on food, are pretty clear cut, Of course they lie like billy o. Fruit was cited as by far the most popular dish they take with the panini languishing in a distant second and a vegetable platter ( give over ) hardly in the race in third. No mention of focaccia, no ice cream, no chunks of salumi with doorstep size bread slices.
So playmates at great sacrifice I went to the beach today to check it out myself. Let first declare that my party of 4 all had focaccia. With that out of the way I strode the beach and saw 6 people munching water melon, loads eating panini and not a veggie platter to be seen.
However there was an old man of the sea who had caught three octopi in the rocks some 500 metres out to sea. You need to bash them like crazy on the nearest rocks for about 15 minutes to tenderize them before you take them home and this he was busy doing. The kids playing nearby immediately wanted in
quite soon each had an octopus and were merrily thrashing away.
After my hard work with the survey I took a well earned rest and in-between possibly a little dozing in the sun I watched a guy selling beach gear
Now that is how I would like room service to deliver my tea. Anyway this guy must be loaded up at some point of the beach and then walks down. I am often tempted to call him over and ask for something right in the middle but he seems to walk at a furious pace as if to prevent that and indeed any sale at all.
Rosa told us that all these guys on the beach are illegal sellers and that if the plain unclothed police in their budgie smugglers we talked about on an earlier post see you buy something you are whisked away to jail as well, so all the more reason not to buy the chinese radios, the african rugs, the african baskets and the other assorted gear that are peddled up and down the beach. So I was able to go back to dozing without feeling in any way guilty about not aiding the Italian black economy with a purchase.
My best ever school holiday job was as a beach sand raker in Corfu. A rake a pair of swimming trunks and an hat. Each morning rake the hotel beach, then set out the beach loungers and then rake every couple of hours to keep it looking nice. And they paid me to do it. It only lasted a day and then the speedboat driver teaching water skiing ran off with one of the female guests and I got promoted well above my station and way above where I wanted to be. I was sent to the Club Med for a crash course ( 2 hours) in the art of teaching water skiing when you have never done it by a Frenchman who spoke not a work of English. My French was non existent and all I learnt was arms straight let the boat do the work. Still I never had a failure.
The song Lazy Bones was also written by Hoagy Carmichael and he of course wrote one of the greatest songs of all time Beautiful lyrics.
and each kiss an inspiration. How wonderful.