XI: When Glenda Fell off her Chair

Still in Marettimo… the island is too lovely to leave just yet & we have decided to stay until the end of January. I love Italy, it’s like a bath of the soul, when the mind becomes de-cluttered, the heart becomes inspired & the body becomes healthier. I’ve even gone on a mad health drive, packing in the smoking, booze & caffiene & feel great for it – you could say I’m addicted to breaking my addictions. Been writing some poetry about the island, & am currently translating it into Italian as a gift to the locals, helped by a couple of guys on the island, including the local butcher Pino, who gives me free sausage. I share this with our new doggy-friend, Frodo. He just latched onto me one day & moved in with us – a friendly little thing with white fur, speckled Dalmatian style. The festive season is now over, a much mellower affair than the beer-food-party fest that is the British one. Christmas Eve was exciting enough, with a trip to the mainland to buy gifts – including a joint fishing rod to catch the delicious local squid (calamari), the main evening past-time round these parts. I’ve had no luck as of yet, but G has caught a couple & is always on the blag for a freebie whenever fishermen return from the seas in their little blue boats. There was also a parcel for me at the local post office, sent by my sister, which included, among other things, the xmas Viz – great for those moments on the loo. Glenda went to a midnight mass in the local church, which I cunningly avoided. Apparently the elderly vicar was trying to chat Glenda up, but that’s another story.

I’ve never really dug the religious side of Christmas. During my literary studies, I discovered that the Jesus story (virgin birth, star in the east, 12 disciples, death & resurrection) is based on many precursors such as Perseus, Krishna, Dionysus & Mithra. The astrotheological explanation then slams the nail in my belief coffin. The star in the east is Sirius, & on December 24th the ‘Three Kings’ star system align with it, pointing at the place where ‘The Sun’ is born on December the 25th – for the sun read Jesus Christ! As all this happens under the star sign of Virgo (the Virgin Mary), I remain very dubious now as to the factual source of Christmas.

Xmas day really lasted a couple of days, thanks to the MDMA that Glenda had stashed. Suffice it to say I didn’t get round to cooking Xmas lunch until 11 AM on Boxing Day – but boy was it good. New Year was a blast, we got whisked off to a real Sicilian family do on a farm out of town. The car was packed so I had to hang on to the roof – cue legs streaming in the air & me clinging on for grim death. There was wine, some delicious vino, the obligatory countdown (in Italian) & then the double-cheek peck for every family member. A very drunk Glenda (who had fallen off her chair not long before, much to the hysterics of all) got everyone to sing Auld Lang’s Eyne, arms crossed & waving, & it was all very merry indeed. We were then we whisked off by the young uns to a house party, & ended up dancing in the streets with some guys who had parked their yachts up on the island for the night. It was the most excitement we’d had for weeks, & we took a couple of days to recover. The festive season was brought to a close on the fifth of January, in the Catholic festival known as the Epiphany, where some woman dressed up as a witch gave sweets to the kids. There was also a procession to the local church led by the three wise men, & we sang along to Silent Night & other tunes, altho’ only in English.

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A couple of days ago our ‘landlord’ took us on a boat trip round the island, beneath the prehistoric dolomite cliffs, riddled with rainbow-coloured grottos. As sunset came on, with a 360 degree horizon one continuous swathe of pink, we began to fish for calamari. Instead of tossing our fake fish into the shallow waters of the port & slowly reeling it in (to simulate a real fish), we simply dropped a weighted line twenty five foot to the bottom of these deeper bits, with a few fake fish tied to them. Then we bobbed them up & down until lo & behold Glenda caught a beauty, who wasn’t that pleased seeing as he proceeded to squirt me with ink! In revenge, for running my white shirt he was fried up, guts n all, & consumed within the hour, served up with boiled artichoke hearts – another local delicacy – the leaves of which you dip into garlic butter. Tasty.!

Glenda got me an acoustic guitar for xmas, a great move. With all this creativity kicking in I’ve began writing a musical. It’s called Alibi & is funny as fuck, a perfect home for all the scattered songs I’ve written over the years, that with a bit of tweaking rest easily in the format. I have also been enjoying composing poetry in Italian – with a little help from Pino the butcher with my grammar. I have spent a month or so composing a number of haiku to encapsulate a tour of the island. Once I had completed the poem I printed off a few copies & distributed them to various people around the place, from the bakers to the local library, including a reading in the local bar. I mean, it might lose something in translation, but it has been quite an experience & personal accomplishment to write in a foreign language & get positive feedback. Happy fuckin’ days!

Marettimo
12 / 06 / 07

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