A Tale of Two Families

It was the best of times , it was the worst of times. How right Dickens was, he knew something about writing that lad, could have been a blogger . This weekend being Ferragosto down the driveway came the grandchildren from hell for their first visit of the year. It seems our neighbour’s wife La Mia Maria as he describes her needs more rest and can only do short spurts with these appalling kids. I fear I would now be languishing in Taranto jail  on a quadruple murder charge if I had to spend two days under the same roof with them.

We tried hard as they unloaded their gear to give ourselves reasons why it wasn’t going to be too bad this year. They are a year older we said they must be better behaved, why the little girl is now 10 years old and the boys are 7 and five. There’s only the little one and he must be four now. It won’t be too bad. Ho ho ho.

Up the road from us the French families have kids almost the same ages as these monsters. They are also here for their usual month in the sun. The girl is now a little woman very sophisticated and un child like, the boys play happily on their peddle bikes roaring around the quiet country lanes and leaping in and out of Granny’s big pool when hot. Even the little one is happy pushing himself around on his small tractor tricycle. Brown as little berries all of them ( no British beach burkas for these French kids) clothes off and in the sun is the order of the day, they are a joy to have about the place.

Our neighbour’s girl, now 10, cycled down the driveway to near our gate and  then turned to cycle back and as she did she let out an ear piercing scream that would wake the dead. She then did this 4 times until an adult appeared and rushed to her to kiss her. The three others seeing this show of affection let out similar screams. Let the games begin we said those bloody parents have done nothing to stop their kids screaming. On went the two stereo systems , on went the outside speakers, on went the outside radio and we were back to our usual August days. Give ’em AC/DC hell.

Why don’t Italian children grow up ? Why do they stay halted at the terrible twos level until well into their teens ? Well they are spoilt rotten with no semblance of rules or social responsibility which carries on into adulthood. Just down the road is a 29 year old still living at home. She works in Martina Franca and four times a day Mamma  appears and opens both the garage doors and  then the gates at the end of the driveway. The daughter saunters out gets in her car drives down the driveway and with a toot is gone. Mamma closes everything back up and awaits 1.10 p.m. when she opens it all up for he daughter’s return. This she does everyday rain or shine. The Italian kids are also dead tired. The French kids have set bedtimes that are rigorously enforced though down here the parents say they are so tired they can’t wait to hit the hay. It is though not at all unusual to find 3 year old Italian kids in Martina Franca in  August running around at 2 a.m. The six year old son of the bar owners still, when he feels no one is showing him enough attention, will lie on the floor and scream the place down like a two year old. He is at school now and yet is still running about the bar at 11 p.m. with the school bus at 7 a.m. Yes he is supposed to lie down in the afternoon but really he watches TV while the parents doze.

Let us give thanks to the guys who invented Bluetooth that gives me wireless speakers in the garden to drown them out. Thank you Jaap Haartsen and Sven Mattisson from Sweden for dreaming it up. You have saved my sanity and probably saved me from a life sentence too !!!

 

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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.
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