Last week, we had Liberation Day, this week we have May Day, both of which are National holidays, and this gives the perfect excuse for Italians everywhere to take what are known as bridge days between the official days, so there’s a definite holiday atmosphere here.
Shorts and tee-shirts are now de-rigeur, except for one lady, who we call the Puffa Woman, who despite temperatures in the twenties, is insistent on wearing either her full-length black Puffa coat, with matching headband, or her lighter weight and coloured Puffa waistcoat, again with matching headband. She is a walker and walks regularly (to our knowledge) at least 4 kilometres up-hill, climbing nigh on 200 metres, in full sun whilst wearing a portable duvet. I, on the other hand being middle aged and hot, am trying to work out what are the minimum number of clothing items and coverage I can get away with, without frightening or upsetting the locals.
Today I misunderestimated (to quote George W Bush) the heat, and so ventured out in a glorious hot pink and orange combo with capris. After about one kilometre, that choice of body coverage was definitely hurting me, I was very hot and looked like a pig sweating in a pair of harlequin tights. I rolled the legs up, then looking like Compo from Last Of The Summer Wine, and rolled them back down again, as it was too embarrassing to be seen like that. I decided drinking plenty of water would be my cooling down plan. On the way down the Bendy, Scary Road, up towards me came the Hoxton Hipster cyclist, I can now confirm he is not 70, because I could actually see his full face.
Result! – he said ‘Ciao Signora’, my previous smiling and waving must have worn his resistance down. next my aim is to get a ‘Buon Lavoro’ (more or less good work) from him. We have to build these bridges with Brexit on the way.
Next stop, into the Royston Vasey cafe, where I bought my usual top up of water, it seems the sun was affecting everyone’s mood. I had to ask a young guy to move so I could open the door, but he said ‘Sure’ and smiled, then the male proprietor, who up to now has only at best grunted, said ‘Grazie Signora’.
Out of Royston Vasey’s cafe and down towards the fish shop village and I saw again the ‘comfortable cyclist’ this time he didn’t look in quite so much discomfort, but he didn’t say anything or even manage his customary mini wave. So if he couldn’t be bothered, then nor could I. I trotted on up Bin Lane, running to the welcome shade of smelly bins when I could, and finally made it to to the local coffee shop.
There Gio the owner, (he is lovely too) saw my face and without saying a word, got me a glass of water, selected my usual pastry and ordered me my cappuccino. Bliss. I rested a while, paid my bill and left for the 5km walk home up the bloody 200m hill. On the way, I saw someone else I knew – it was a member of Mr JCR’s cycling club. Nadia – she is also a lovely person, not least (in my opinion) because she is one of the few people in Italy to be able to pronounce my name correctly.
I have been called the following:-
- Jam (no I am not joking – that took about two years of correcting the speaker)
I did think it was strange that Nadia would be cycling on her own, but then she works in Retail and so I hollered ciao, to what I now know, was a complete and utter stranger, who looked somewhat confused when she said ciao back. Ho hum, well I can put that down to being social on a Sunday.
Finally halfway up the hill, in the opposite direction came our good friends M&G, with their children in the car. Very poshly dressed, I am guessing they were on the way to lunch, I however was on my slow trudging way to a much needed shower. We exchanged waves and smiles and I continued the plod.
Being social on a Sunday, helped me through every one of the 9km I ran today and also every one of the ‘warm down’ hike of 5km with the 200m elevation gain.
Rockferry – Duffy
She’s Electric – Oasis
Tesla Girls – OMD
Glory Days – The Boss
Disco 2000 – Pulp
Let’s Spend The Night Together – David Bowie
Mercy – Duffy
Let’s Dance – David Bowie
When Doves Cry – His Purple Highness
Everything Must Go – The Manics
China Girl – David Bowie
Locomotion – OMD
Barbara Ann – The Beach Boys
Enola Gay – OMD
Dance Away – Roxy Music
Girl From Mars – Ash
Cabron – Red Hot Chilis
Upside Down – Paloma Faith
Crazy In Love – Beyonce
Vienna – Ultravox
Time 1:07:49 (incl. Royston Vasey stop)
Average Pace 7:16 (mins/km)
Elevation Gain 36 metres
Kms Done 747.56
Kms To Do 1270.44