Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TEMPO D'ESTATE

Summer has at last come to Modica: the sky is a bright, cloudless blue, the orange blossom and jasmine are out, their heady scent accompanying you wherever you walk and balconies everywhere are a riot of colour:



The bars again have their own ice creams, made from only the finest natural ingredients [by law] and the granite have appeared:



Women have not yet put away their trouser suits and tights, but that will happen by the end of the month and soon school will finish and people will begin their annual migration to the country or the sea, where they will stay until September or even November.



Seasons change but the Post Office never does, it seems: yesterday Rosa and I gave up after three attempts to pay her electricity bill, for no conto correnti counters were open at all for a good part of the morning. Today I thought I'd cracked it, popping along there at 1.45 and finding only two other customers in the entire place. How wrong I can still be! I'd appeared just as the shift change was happening and this took so long that I sighed and sat down, as usual. No customers were attended to during this process and when a postal counter clerk had taken up position, counted his float, logged on to his amazingly slow computer, attended to several queries from colleagues and finally looked ready to deal with his adoring public, you may imagine my facial expression when I realised that the woman with the ticket before mine was posting several large, fresh cakes [I knew they were cakes as I recognised the name of the shop on the bags] and intended to pack them right there, at the counter! "I didn't know what size box to get", she explained to the clerk, who then disappeared for several minutes, returned with three differently-sized boxes and proceeded to try to jam all the cakes into the first one. "Oh, they might get squashed!" cried the customer and that would never do, would it? What would all the relatives say? So out came the cakes and then they were fitted into the second box. It looked fine to me but not to the seven or so new customers who had by now arrived and gathered round to see the fun. It was not a bad box, you must understand; it just wasn't perfetto. At last the third box was filled with the precious delights and declared to be perfetto. It then took another ten minutes or so for the recorded delivery forms to be filled in, arranged prettily on the box [for their positioning has to be perfetto too - this is, after all, the country of Michelangelo] and for the copies to be noisily rubber-stamped. To be honest, I thought it was quite sweet that the clerk had the pazienza to be so helpful in this instance - I can think of no other country where that would happen. I rather think I ruined his day afterwards, for he is used to asking, "Per la Gran Bretagna?" ["For Britain?"] when I take a package in and is proud of his memory. He looked crestfallen this afternoon when I told him it was for Italy this time! Do you think I should send some cakes off somewhere in atonement?

Summertime - Tempo d'estate [1955]

10 comments:

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Your "post office" stories make me laugh... I used to run a small post office at RAF St Athan camp for a few years, I can tell you I would not be that pazienza...sending cakes in the post and trying out boxes.. no way..ha ha ha

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Anne. I didn't know you ran a post office!

Lulda Casadaga said...

What a lovely place to retire to...and what a funny story at the post office. But, I wouldn't mind someone sending me a cake from Italy, I'm sure it's delicioso! :)

Winchester whisperer said...

I wonder how the cakes looked on arrival

James Higham said...

Memories ...

Michelle said...

Yes, please send some cakes to Memphis! I get a kick out of your post office stories.

jams o donnell said...

Oranfe, jasmine and ice cream... Does it get any better than that? I think I could forgive the Post Office and it's err foibles!

Liz said...

That balcony is so pretty.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Lulda and welcome to my blog. Glad you liked the story. I'm sure the cakes were delicious, too! I'd love to know that as well, WW. Hi, James. I hope you have some happy memories of that time. I do. Hi, Michelle. I'm pleased that you like the post office stories. I wish I could send some cakes over but apart from the timeit would take for them to get there, I think your customs officials would disapprove! Hi, jams. You're right. There are compensations! Hi, Liz. I love that particular balcony - it's elegant as well as pretty.

jmb said...

I can't believe that someone would actually mail cakes. Well maybe a fruit cake.
The post office never ceases to surprise you, does it?

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