Sticky Fingers

The son in law of Pinguino one of the locals in the bar ( no I’ve never asked why he is called penguin so I can’t help you there) has landed a job in the cantina in Martina Franca which is good news for him and means we have switched allegiance to his place. I am cooking tonight and was dispatched this morning to get the three litres of wine for this evening.

The cantina is a simple place, 6 huge steel barrels each holding a wine made from a different grape and each with  large hosepipe attached. You bowl in with whatever receptacle you had to hand before you left home and they fill it up with the wine of your choice. My choice today after a couple of tasters was the negroamaro rosso  at €1.15 a litre. I tried the Primitivo but tipping the scales at 14% means it is not a gulping wine . The negro is 12% and once chilled in the fridge most definitely quafable .

Before hitting the cantina as I didn’t want to seem too eager and be seen lobbing down glasses of testing wine too early in the day I popped into a cafe opposite for a cappucino. They had the usual assortment of Italian newspapers and I picked up one.

Now when I was about 9 years old I discovered the delights of model making. Let me say straight away I was no good at it but clearly my mother realised that if nothing else it kept me busy for a period of time. But I found them quite fiddly and seemed always to end up with more glue on my fingers that on the piece I was applying it to. I also never seemed to get those transfer things on to the right bit of the model and certainly never found the time to paint all the different parts. Airfix was the go to brand and their little planes like a Spitfire or Hurricane was about 2s/6p old money. However there was an American brand called Revell that produced bigger models and were a great deal more expensive. Don’t quote me but I think around the mind blowing ( for a 9 year old) 5s – 7s/6p level maybe even more. I, of course set my sights on one of these and because I wanted to go into the Navy I wanted a ship. In fact I wanted the biggest ship ever built the U.S.S. Forrestal

Revell Forrestal



I saved my pocket money for weeks and nagged my mother every time we walked past the toy shop where it was displayed. Finally the nagging and the saving paid off and the ship was mine. The lifts for the aircraft worked, the guns moved around ( mine didn’t as the glue was too copious) and the little airplanes moved too. Problem one was to mount it on it’s display cradle Revell had cut two holes in the hull making it useless in the bath and I quickly realised that I had bought a pup as far as a decent toy was concerned. My U.S.S. Forrestal quickly ended up in a toy bag never to see the light of day till dispatched with three bangers inside it one November day in a Pearl Harbour type action.

On page three of my newspaper this morning I read in Italian that the real Forrestal had been sold for one cent to a scrap merchant in Texas yesterday. Hang on I thought I spent 7s/6p on that and mine was a model. In 2013 I could have bought the real thing for a cent and had it towed to Bari. In fact I read later that the story was wrong and the U.S. Navy actually paid the guy a cent to take it away. What is even more annoying is if I had kept my model unmade and in it’s box today I could have sold it on eBay for US$189 and had the real thing plus a profit of US$189.01 . Life is unfair sometimes isn’t it.

Yes I know you are only here to read part 2 of Roy’s diary so here it is :


Misty morning . Went bread shopping  followed of course by
a small cappuccino. Rosa came to show us how to make “little ear” orecchietta pasta.  Looks easy but isn’t! I struggled though Judy quickly got the hang of it. Then a full Italian lunch with a fair amount of wine.

Planning last few days with a visit to Gargano area in
north east Puglia. Weather looks variable. After the lunch we spent a quiet evening watching “Two for the Road” with Audrey Hepburn and  Albert Finney.

Visited Rosa at her place for coffee when she presented us with a sample of her olive
oil to taste in comparison with our usual Greek supply in Cerne. Also her home
made pepper preserves. Sadly left Mike, Geraldine and Rosa to drive to Gargano
area. 4 hours later we arrived after an “interesting” drive following blue signs
to Foggia and being cut up by cars and very large lorries who seemed to have no
concept of traffic rules! Things got better when we found the almost empty
autostrada which was well worth the 10 euros all the way to Gargano. Peschici is
a very old village crawling over the side of a steep cliff overlooking beautiful
bays. Doubtless hell on wheels in season but very relaxed in October. Found our
pre- booked Albergo Celestina ( 2 nights B&B for 100 euros), with a great sea
view and small balcony.
Enjoyable stroll around centro historico and drink in the square as the sunset. Temp
still 21C at 1830. Dinner at Celestina well cooked, good value spag with cozze
And tiramisu.
Tuesday 8th :

Heavy rain during night but sunny with some cloud. Quite warm
again so set off after breakfast on coast road for Vieste. Stopped en route on
large but totally empty beach surrounded by deserted bars, restaurants and
campsites which only a month ago would have been packed. Refreshing swim in waves then
on to Vieste for lunch in a small square. Met our first English tourists there- a
young couple doing their own thing. Took the high road back to Peschici where we
explored the large beach then took a short siesta. Another lovely dinner of
stuffed squid at Celestina. Very heavy rain,thunder and lightning during the
Wednesday 9th:

Leisurely morning before leaving to take the high road over
Gargano to Mont St Angelo, through impressive beech forests. Long and winding
drive but eventually arrived at St Angelo which seems to be the Italian version
of Lourdes with lots of tourist and catholic kitschz. Didn’t hang around  as everything was closing for lunch at 1230!
Drove on via the autostrada and arrived Bari airport to return car to Firefly at
1600. Then took train into centre to avoid Bari traffic.
B&B Dolci Notti. Very central in an apartment with 4 rooms. Dinner at Il
Hipopotamus was just ok .Very poor breakfast spoilt the B&B experience but what can
you expect for 69 euros in a city centre.
Thursday 10th:

Departure day warm and sunny so enjoyed a stroll around Bari,
coffee and croissant then train to airport. We made the right decision not to
take car into central Bari as parking is impossible. EasyJet to Gatwick as
expected – needed to be endured!



About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
This entry was posted in Bari Airport Connections, Brindisi Airport, Driving in Italy, Expat Italy, Puglia, Puglia Beaches, Puglia Cooking, Puglia Food, Puglia Guide, Puglia Lifestyle, Puglia Living, Puglia Travel Information and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sticky Fingers

  1. Jaynie says:

    Now Mike, you know it’s really cheating to fill up your blog with the thoughts and experiences of others….. I wait for better effort tomorrow – or later today, as it now is.

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