Sunday, May 28, 2006


Cardiff, UK
I can’t believe I am doing all these things: I couldn’t have done any of them without a remortgage and release of some of the equity on the house, I hasten to add. After much humming, ha-ing and further research, today I made yet another decision – me, the great procrastinator! I decided that, although kind friends and neighbours have offered to put me up during removal-packing-days and for the weekend after – and I am very grateful for their thoughtfulness - I will need to be somewhere by myself. – I guess I am so used to being by myself that it should not surprise even me! What I think is this: I don’t want to hang around the house once Simi is picked up [23/5]; the house without her means nothing to me. And then the removal men will be in the next 3 days; I don’t want to hang about here with the house totally empty, emotionally and sensuously – as it will be, without Simi – and also materially, as it will begin to be, once the stuff begins to be packed. And ‘er-next-door would be sure to say, “Oh, I bet you miss your dog”! or “Oh, I bet you miss your mum”! [which I could not cope with in the circumstances]. So – and I am quite chuffed with myself for having done this – I have found an exec-let apartment that I can rent, in town, from 23/5 evening till 10.00 am on 30/5 [the day I go to London on the 11.35 am coach]. So took it. It’s extravagant but the only time in my life I’ll do anything like this. I’ll be able to wash away the cares and dust of the days somewhere new and different and I can go to bed at 6pm if I need to! It’s cheaper than an hotel, I’ll be able to cook meals there and I can even watch satellite TV in the nude in the unlikely event that such a fancy should take me! The only extra expense would be the phone but I’ll use my mobile. I suppose I just don’t want to relinquish my independence at that stage of the move – I shall be dependent on friends the other end for quite some time, in various ways. Anyway, it would be kind of neat to end the [adult] Cardiffian phase of my life close to where I began it – downtown!

Today I did my shopping and thought, again, how strange it is to be riding on a bus through this city and thinking, “I might never come back”. It even occurrred to me that this leave-taking is a bit like dying. It is so odd to do the daily routine against the background of this life-changing step that I'm about to take!

My Mum always said, “Moving is like grieving”. Did she get that from somewhere or did Dad and I make her so insecure that that is how she felt? I think she had a basic truth there! Yet how can I compare it to the plight of some ladies I have taught, who have had no time to “grieve” for the familiar and have had to leave husbands and even children behind in their war-torn countries? How paltry my problems seem in comparison; yet few of us, I feel, are able to think so altruistically for long. Our own concerns and expectations will out.

Back to the practical: tonight I am celebrating because I have finally managed to co-ordinate the final part of our [ie Simone’s and mine] journey: It has taken a week of searching the internet and asking Ital friends if they know anyone who would drive us from Fontanarossa airport to Modica [on a public holiday] and I sent off and phoned enquiries but no one got back to me. Then, just as I was about to despair, at 5pm last evening, the phone went and it was “Holiday” and they will do it for £110! Said “yes” to the quote there and then and, as I don’t know the address of the “casetta” [“little house”] I gave Linda Churchill’s address again – then phoned her quickly! Again, bless her, she said it is fine. So the taxi can go there first and someone will take us to the casetta. I sat here with a G & T and told Simi all about it. “Simone Welshcakes Limoncello de Beauvoir”, said I, “your mummy is a clever girl”. “Welshcakes Limoncello”, said I, “you are a clever girl and I drink to me.” Though I say it myself, it is no small feat to have arranged a private, chauffered car from Catania airport in Sicily, Italy to transport a mad British woman and her dog all the way down to Modica at 5pm on a public holiday! Some of my friends here have been saying, “But surely there are mini-cabs” or “Every airport has long-distance chauffered cars”. They have clearly never landed in Italy on a bank holiday, much less at Fontanarossa, Catania! It is actually a much nicer airport these days than when I first used to go there: I can remember once waiting at a departure gate for over 2 hours in the heat and there weren’t even any seats, let alone access to refreshments. It was very crowded and we were packed into the gate area like sardines. Then the American woman next to me sighed, “Man, this is some airport” and I thought, “I’ll go along with that!” As I say, the place has improved but it is not LHR or LGW!

A few days later, my dear Sicilian friend Gina phoned, to say that she and her husband would pick up Simi and me from Catania. I thanked her but told her I thought it best to leave the arrangements as they were at this stage. It was incredibly kind of them as it would have been a long round trip for them both. It was another example of the warmth and kindness of all my Sicilian friends.

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