Saturday, 25 May 2013


Zefiro torna, e bel tempo rimena - Francesco Petrarca

"Zephyr returns, and brings fair weather". Well the zephyr has returned alright, although at higher speed than we might have liked, bringing with him not not so much fair weather, as weather that's all over the shop. Some days the sun shines brightly in a cloudless sky and I'm on the edge of deciding that maybe I don't need to dress in black all the time any more; and then the next day is just as likely to bring rain. Lots and lots and lots of rain. Followed by rain. Maybe the weather really has changed since Petrarch's day?

The passerelle (the walkways that allow you move around  the city during high water) were removed a couple of weeks ago. Which inevitably meant that we had more flooding last week. Zefira torna, e acqua alta rimena, you might say.

I have a rehearsal on Thursday night. Two notes on the siren mean we can expect a rise of up to 120cm  This really should be a signal to wear my wellies, but I figure that if we finish at 9.30, I can be safely home and dry before the maximum level arrives at 10.45.

When I arrive it appears that the coro is split between those who have decided to bring boots (they shall henceforth be known as "the sensible people") and those of us who think it'll probably be alright and we can get home before anything properly floods.

Come the end of the rehearsal, everyone makes their way to the front door, to find, inevitably, a good six inches of water lapping outside. The sensible people wade off cheerily, leaving the rest of us to ponder the best course of action. It's frustrating as the camber of the street means that the middle of the road is actually dry, but tantalisingly out of reach. There are a few sandbags lying around (presumably a precaution against more serious flooding) and someone suggests that we could use these to construct a bridge to the middle. Trouble is, that would mean somebody volunteering to be the last person, and dragging them back inside. And the caretaker, presumably, is not going to be best pleased when he arrives in the morning to find what's been done. No, this is not going to work.

So one of the tenors steels himself, takes a few steps back, and takes a flying leap over the pond. He makes it to the dry strip! And then his momentum carries him over into the pool on the other side...

Oh bugger it, there's nothing to be done except roll up trouser legs and stride forth. And it''s not that bad. I think I've got away with it. Until I reach the calle linking San Trovaso with the Accademia, which seems to have no way through at all. I hobble through on the back of my heels as best I can. It's not a dignified look, but my shoes are holding up and I think I'm going to be ok. And then I turn into Corte Vecchia, and the entire flippin' street is under water.  Stoically, I splash my way to the front door.

Caroline has a late class in Mestre, and texts me to ask if I can meet her off the vaporetto. So I wring my socks out and chuck them in the laundry, slip into a pair of stivali, and make my way back to the Sant'Angelo stop, Caroline's wellies in hand. It's only a two minute walk, but I could have sold them several times along the way. The boat arrives and we wade back home together. I may not buy her roses from street vendors, but sometimes I think I'm not such a bad hubby after all.

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