A week after our move into Villa Caterina we
went to see our friends Silvia & Angelo, who both worked
at one of the local hotels - Silvia as a receptionist,
Angelo as a lifeguard. The hotel isn't 'frontline',
it is set in secluded gardens back from the main road through
Santa Maria. It's not as popular as the hotels down
in town & near to the beach but it did have one couple
staying in what was to be the last week of the season.
|The lovely Silvia|
This was the evening before the signing of
the contract when Il Sogno would finally
become ours. Silvia had acted as translator
during our negotiations over the purchase
but she wasn't coming to the Notary's
office in Salerno with us the next afternoon.
We wanted to see her to thank her for all
she'd done for us up to this point.
Antonio, the general handyman & shuttle
bus driver was still at the hotel when we
arrived; not officially working, just reluctant
to go home to a house full of women -
one wife, 3 daughters. Besides,
he wanted to be able to say he'd spent the
evening with the English couple who'd given up life in
the UK for this magical part of Italy.
Antonio is Cilentan through & through - he
speaks the dialect, which makes it almost
impossible for an outsider to understand, and
he has practically no English at all. Suffice to say
Silvia's translation skills were required lots during
our conversation. After a while, Antonio suggested
that we share an impromptu meal together; it was
a balmy evening, what better way to spend it than
having a barbecue by the pool? So Antonio &
Angelo set off for Perdifumo to bring back
freshly harvested chestnuts, strong Cilentan
sausages & a salad (shredded lettuce, nothing else).
Oh, and a disposable barbecue, of course.
And a bottle of locally produced vino rosso
to wash it all down with.
And as we sat watching Antonio cooking the sausages & roasting
chestnuts, laughing & joking with each other in a mixture of
Italian, English, dialect & hand gestures, I suddenly
felt as though I was a character in a book - the
type of book expats are renowned for writing,
where surreal experiences happen & new
memories are made.