Sunday, 12 September 2021

What the summer gave me

 Now that summer is over and autumn weather is looming, the garden gets dark after seven, though flowers still bloom, I am looking back and I realise that I had a good summer.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t travel to Italy but I visited my family in the north of England, had trips to London and worked on my writing and paintings. The procedures and restrictions to travel abroad were too complex; I was supposed to have certified Covid tests before leaving the UK and before coming back. I was also supposed to quarantine for five days when I was in Rome. The most difficult part was to fill an online form and print it 24 hours before leaving Italy after a certified test, which had to be booked in advance and only a few places in Rome delivered it. My mum has no internet and no printing facilities, so I had no clues how I could accomplish all these procedures. I was so sorry I couldn’t see my mum but we kept in touch by phone and WhatsApp video calls. She especially enjoyed seeing my granddaughter Violetta; she watched her for more than one hour and enjoyed every moment of it. I can’t imagine how happy she will be when she will finally meet Violetta in person. I hope we can all go to Italy at Christmas and have a big family party all together to catch up the time we lost. 

We saw Violetta quite a few times in July and August as my son and daughter in law came to visit us and we travelled north to see them too. It was fabulous, we had a great time with them and with my other son and his girlfriend who live in Newcastle. We had good Italian food in a Sardinian restaurant, Pani’s, visited parks and castles, immersed in the northern landscape and experienced the unpredictable northern summer weather. I spoiled little

Violetta with new toys and new clothes, small chewable books and cushions.

Most of my time was dedicated to reading, writing and painting, as well as crocheting and cooking. When family and friends came to visit us, I prepared my top Italian dishes: lasagne and pasta al forno, tortellini with cream, caponata, ciambellone, almond biscuits and different side dishes with the harvest of courgette and French beans from my trugveg garden. Luckily, both my daughter and my daughter in law helped me preparing lasagne, supplí (balls of rice with tomato sauce), parmigiana and brownies. My daughter’s lasagne is a special recipe with olives and her supplí are exceptional. My daughter in law made a delicious parmigiana and her brownies are the best I have ever tasted. I have the recipe but I can’t make them as good as she does.

My garden bloomed this year, luscious morning glories, marigolds, geraniums and begonias; they overflew the pots invading a good part of the back garden, a phenomenon. Maybe it was the weather that this summer alternated rain and sunny spells. It wasn’t too hot but warm enough to make them flourish. It was an ‘English summer’, a bit grey and showery but I preferred it to the hot and humid weather my mother was experiencing in Rome. She constantly complained on the phone saying she only went out in the early morning and that during the day she felt down because of the heat. 

In July I was able to book visits to museums again and caught up with a number of exhibitions in London that were closed during the lockdown. It was emotional and inspirational to go back to the British Museum and to the V&A, have a day out, see things in front of me with my eyes. I reviewed some of them, here are the links:

Nero: the man behind the myth 

Alice: curiouser and curiouser 

Bags inside out: 

Paula Rego: 

I also visited the exhibition ‘Epic Iran’ and the room dedicated to the Raphael cartoons at the V&A, Turner at Tate Britain and ‘Thomas Becket: murder and the making of a saint’ as well as the free exhibition in rooms 90 and 91 at the British Museum dedicated to contemporary art of the Middle east and North Africa. They were all enthralling experiences I will probably go back to in future articles and blog posts. I especially enjoyed the exhibition ‘A fine Day for Seeing’ at Southwark Park Galleries where I also had a workshop with the Poetry School led by Tamar Yoseloff, here is the link to my review: 

Last but not least, I took part in the doodling activity on the floor of Tate Modern contributing with a red heart and a green flower. It was great fun being immersed in art again; it boosted my creativity and inspired new artwork. I was lucky I had such a relaxing and fruitful summer, sometimes cloudy but with special sunny moments.

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