Since Thursday we have had rain everyday and it is to stay with us until Wednesday. It is the middle of July and the high today was 21C in Martina Franca. So I guess it was not surprising to read in the paper this morning that tourism numbers are considerably down for June compared to last year in Puglia.
Hoteliers are bemoaning the fact that July is is already showing a similar downturn and they are now pinning their hopes on an upturn in August. Some blame the bad wether in the North of Italy where flooding has prevented people from daring to venture away perhaps. But the others highlight the poor weather here in Puglia. Northerners can look at the weather forecast and decide either to stay at home or go further afield to find sunshine said one hotelier in Lecce. Puglia is about sunshine he said and without it they won’t come.
Others looked to last year which while the locals all loved it, was cooler than normal with rain and cloud. We had loads of tourists here last June and July both foreign and from Italy and the weather wasn’t great the hoteliers say. Maybe they haven’t come back.
Certainly around us in Martina Franca it is noticeably quieter . Many of the rentals that were busy each week last year are empty and many of the houses owned by Northerners are still empty as they have stayed away or gone elsewhere. This weekend last year I was at our favourite butcher’s shop restaurant near Cisternino and took a photo of the tables all of which were taken. Yesterday at the same place we chose the table we wanted and it was less than half full all night.
So the World Cup finishes tonight. It was announced yesterday that an Italian will referee the game , Nicola Rizzoli. With him as his linesmen will be two other Italians.
The other man on the shortlist was Howard Webb of the UK. Not my favourite referee actually, very much what he is in his occupation, a police officer in South Yorkshire. He officiated at the 2010 final in Jo’burg between Holland and Spain. He gave out 14 yellow cards a record by more than double the previous record of 6 and sent a man off. However I suspect that FIFA probably had the Falklands issue in mind too as Argentina are one of the finalists. Imagine Mr Webb sending off a couple of Argentineans in the first half.
But have FIFA shown impartiality by choosing the Italian trio. Well 24 million Argentineans have Italian ancestry and 1.5 million Argentineans have Italian as the language they speak at home. It would be much higher except most migrants to Argentina between 1880 and 1940 and there were millions and millions of them didn’t speak Italian but had their own local dialect which often was quite similar to the Spanish dialect spoken in Argentina.
Apart from steak the dishes most eaten by Argentineans are pasta and pizza . There are many famous Argentineans who are very proud of their Italian ancestry. One is a footballer called Lionel Messi no less !!
I have made mention of my aging iMac before but I am now having trouble with the keyboard. Too many toast crumbs in it I think and the keys are sticking. Maybe Marmite doesn’t do it the power of good.
Quite by chance this morning I was reading an article on a website called Today I Found Out which was about the QWERTY keyboard on typewriters. The first typewriter appeared in the USA in 1868 with the keys in two rows in alphabetical order. Users quickly found that when typing at any kind of speed the keys jammed as so many letters used most of the time like ST were too close together.
Amos Densmore came out with the new keyboard which as an aside allows you to write typewriter on the top line alone. By 1872 the first commercial typewriter had the new keys. It was produced by the Remington Rifle and gun company because amazingly the workings of a typewriter are similar to the workings of a rifle. Smith and Corona the other big company were likewise gun makers. Remington invented the shift key a few years later which literally shifted to allow either lowercase of capital letters.
Remington when they produced the first typewriter never saw the potential to market it to businesses. They thought it would be used by people who wrote a great deal. Indeed Mark Twain was the first author to submit a manuscript written on a typewrite.
There is even a symphony written around the typewriter as the main instrument