Saturday, 31 May 2014


I'm waiting on a number 6 vaporetto from Zattere to Ferrovia, and it's taking a bit of time to depart.

The marinaio is remonstrating with a couple on the pontoon, and it's clear that all is not well.  He's putting them off and getting them to fill out a form. Presumably they haven't bought a ticket. It seems they're being fined. The woman is doing most of the talking. Her partner just stands and glowers, although the marinaio is being firm, but not aggressive.

Eventually, they're finished. He takes a copy of the form for himself, and begins to cast off. The other man sees a chance to look like a big man in front of his wife. Risk-free. Take a swing at him now, just as the boat leaves, and he won't be able to retaliate. The boat starts to move and then, just before the gate is closed, he shoves him and swings a punch. The marinaio staggers back from the the force of the push, and the punch misses.

Immediately, the capitano shoves the boat into reverse. People start shouting abuse. The marinaio takes a few steps along the pontoon, after the retreating couple, and then thinks better of it. If he reacts, the guy will have an excuse to make a complaint. It'll be his fault and he'll get into trouble. He shakes his head, gets back on the boat, and we begin to move off.

This hasn't gone unnoticed. A couple of men on the pontoon are now shouting and pointing at the aggressor; whilst his wife looks on with a mixture of resignation and disgust. The boat starts to pull away from the jetty, as the two men close in.

The marinaio looks back to the pontoon. He sees his assailant backing away from the two men, still shouting and pointing, and pursuing him on to the fondamenta. He gives him a cheery wave and beams a broad smile as we move away, leaving the unknown pugilist to an uncertain fate...

Friday, 23 May 2014

Home Alone

Caroline is on a girly night out, so I'm cooling my heels with a pizza and red wine. Time to write.

Work/Life has kept getting in the way over the past six weeks, so no time to blog. So, where are we now...? Well, first of all, let's roll out the welcome mat :-

I returned to the UK over Easter to arrange the transfer of all our stuff from the UK to Italy. A strange feeling in some ways. There really can be no going back now. This is it.

I was taken to task over a recent post for suggesting that some things in Italy do not work as well as they might. Well, I stand by my comments. They don't. But what has to be said, in Venice at least, is that they can move the contents of a house with surgical precision. The doorbell rang at 8.30 one Friday morning, and within two hours everything...*everything*... had been installed. But why should we have expected anything less? The Venetians, after all, have been doing this for a thousand years.

Painless then. At least until we found ourselves, having returned from IKEA in Padua, having to drag five back-breakingly heavy bookcases over the Calatrava bridge; a process that - without our brilliant Aussie friends Pete and Lou - would have been impossible. But all this is another story for another time...

It's a bad thing to define yourself by your possessions. Yet, after two years of living out of the contents of ten suitcases, there is an inescapable thrill of seeing our CDs, books and art in place again. It feels, properly and finally, like our home.

On the day we moved in, we propped our favourite painting on a chair, put an obscure Wendy James / Elvis Costello album on the stereo, and just sat, drank wine, and stared at it.

After more than two years, Lucy Gray has come home again...