Least dear readers you think this life down here is just day after day of idyllic bliss living amongst a group of food loving. wine drinking , fun loving locals under a bright sunlit sky let me just bring you down to earth.
There is most certainly one aspect of life down here that I find impossible to enjoy namely Italian children. From aged 1 to 14 years they act like petulant children with unbelievable terrible threes type screaming fits when things don’t go exactly as they want and then from 15 years until about 18 as sullen teenagers . The parents pander to this behavior with what must be the most confusing system of discipline. They shout at a misdemeanor and then rush to the child who starts to look upset and shower the youngster in kisses or even worse one parent shouts while the other rushes to comfort the child. Screaming fits are always rewarded with hugs and kisses normally by the entire family present at the time.
We are fortunate that our local friends are of an age where their kids are through both stages but have yet to start producing their own off spring. Not so our neighbour.
He and his wife live in Taranto and keep the house that she inherited for reasons best known to them. Once a month in the winter they come up to check it is still there and in the spring they attempt with little success to grow a series of vegetables . On August 3rd at 4.30 p.m. and you can set your watch by it each year, they arrive to take up residence for 6 weeks. They bellow at each other as Italians of a certain number of years of marriage do but keep themselves mainly to themselves. However on August 11th all hell lets loose.
Down the joint driveway comes two cars and out spill 3 children 10, 5 and 3 years of age. The two cars then drive away and the fun starts. These are the beloved nipoti (grandchildren). The first screaming fit is normally 10 minutes after arrival and my two stereo systems kick into action to drown the noise.
Each child seems to need to out do the other in volume of scream and normally succeeds but then again so do Status Quo.
From Aug 15 ( Ferragosto) until Aug 25 the children are joined by the parents plus the other surviving grandmother. So into this one bedroomed house with no inside cooking no inside water and no inside dining area 10 people now squeeze.
We are not alone in living with this nipoti problem many houses are the same in the area. Indeed the ultra wealthy Doctor who owns an huge clinic in Taranto and has a monster of a house just down the road has 6 grandchildren that could and maybe do wake the dead but certainly his neighbours.
When things get too bad I ring a large ship’s bell I have installed and the message seems to get through but we would never dare have guests during this period nor could we ever sell the house. So those of you looking down here be wary when people say they can’t show the house during August and never decided to buy a house during term time if you have neighbours close by but are unsure if they have children. 18 years is a long time to wait for them to grow up !!!
Oh well back to the music lets see how they like AC/ DC