Thursday, December 13, 2007


Sorry, folks, I'm a bit late - or early, depending where you are and which way you look at it. I'm not going to change the date and time settings and even pretend it's still Wednesday but I had a whacky one!

First of all, I managed to get my cards for destinations outside Italy posted on Wednesday morning, at my third attempt to do so, and with "only" a forty-minute wait. Two weeks before Christmas and only one prodotti postali counter was open - grrrr! The little elderly gentleman sitting next to me in the post office seemed to regard it all as some sort of game and drove me crazy by reading out aloud every single number as it came up on the display board, then nudging me to ensure I agreed it was number C [for bill -paying] 9,122 , P for [prodotti postali] number 45, 960 or whatever.

I had so many errands to do in out- of -the -way places afterwards that I decided to hire a taxi to get around. You may not think this matter newsworthy, reader, but finding a taxi in Modica is no easy task. For a start, the [usually one-man] businesses don't advertise much, if at all, so you need to know someone who knows a taxi man. Then you call said taxi man. You explain where you want to go, as I did yesterday, and he asks you what time you want to make your journey. You say "9 am" and he says, "What about 10.30 am?" If you're me, you acquiesce because if you cannot find another driver this one may have changed his mind by the time you call back! Anyway, I am pleased to be able to report that he turned up on time, was pleasant, helped me so much with all my various packages and charged so little that I gave him an enormous tip.

My cousin from Australia, my father's cousin, second cousin or first cousin once removed [I can never get that right - to Italians he is simply un cugino] arrived this afternoon for a two-day visit. [He has been doing academic research in Venice.] This has been planned for ages and of course I didn't expect to be working fixed hours when he arrived. His bus was due in 15 minutes after I started work this afternoon and I was planning to despatch the above-mentioned taxi driver to the terminus to collect him and bring him to wait at the school but, as so often, my dear friend Marco came to the rescue. He not only collected my cousin but gave him the "grand tour" of Modica and generally entertained him till I finished work at 7.30 pm. I had cooked for the occasion [it will keep] but last night Marco rang me and invited us to supper at his home, and as cousin is a sociable sort of chap, I accepted. We all had a great time and I think a new student exchange between Modica and Oz might be on the cards!

Cousin leaves on Friday morning and we have worked out that he needs to catch the 1pm coach to Catania. "I'll phone Mr T the taxi man tomorrow so that he can take us down to the terminus in Modica Bassa", I informed him. "What? - A day in advance?!" asked cousin incredulously. "Oh, yes", said I, "pazienza"!
Posting patterns here back to normal by Friday evening, hopefully.


jmb said...

That post office! They need to start from scratch and reorganize things. Do the letters actually go anywhere? If just posting them is such a hassle what must the delivery part be like.
Do you remember when people used to say never post parcels to Italy, people steal the stuff?

Well that never happened to me but I did send one that took three months to get there and I had made a claim for insurance. The recipient emailed me to say it had arrived so I phone up and cancelled the claim. I don't know if it was this end or that end.

Have a good day tomorrow with tuo cugino

Rowena said...

I am beginning to enjoy your italian post office entries as much as your Simi ones! Quaranti minuti??!! Che pazzia!

Chelsea + Shiloh said...

We have a 'hippy' town (Belligen)near us where the folks are laid back and get around to things eventually, we make allowances as they are running on 'Bello Time' especially if they are late or miss an appointment.

Sounds like your taxi driver is running on 'Modica Time'...I loved this story Welshcakes have a good community around you...

and you have reminded me I need to get off this computer,and do my Christmas Cards...x

Claire said...

Personal tour for your cousin
just got to be the best way. Have fun together.

Leslie: said...

Sounds as though you had a very busy day. Have a great visit with cugino and we're all anticipating more adventures for you while he's there.

Deadbeat Dad said...

"the [usually one-man] businesses don't advertise much, if at all, so you need to know someone who knows a taxi man"

Not unlike the Valleys then ('Jones the taxi' etc).

Ellee Seymour said...

Sounds like you are rushed off your feet. It's always nice to have visitors and show them your favourite places. Don't worry about us, we'll still be around when you have a moment to catch your breath.

You've beaten me on the Christmas cards too, btw.

Crushed said...

Well, the post title reflects the subject, not the date of posting.

It really DOES sound like another worl.

marymaryquitecontrary said...

You are, busy, busy, busy. You have a lot on your plate at the moment,new job,a visitor and Christmas.

Gledwood said...

Yes definitely a day in advance! I wouldn't trust the British coach services, let alone the Italian ones!

Your local post offices sound hideously complicated!

O, I nearly forgot what I was going to say... o yeah! I've always meant one year to send my Australian Xmas cards by SURFACE... to achieve this you have to send 'em 12 weeks in advance and don't save THAT much money! I just thought it would be really entertaining to see if they ever got there... and how long!

James Higham said...

Busy, busy time for you, m'lady.

lady macleod said...

Delightful story! Do have fun with your visitor, and this could be the beginning of a whole new cultural exchange eh?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

They certainly do, jmb. I think that, once posted, the letters arrive fairly quickly! 3 months?!! Blimey! Thanks for your good wishes - we did. Hi, Rowena. Yes, utterly mad! Thanks for your kind words. Ciao, Abbey. "Bello" time sounds good to me! Definitely running on Sicilian time here! Thanks, kissa - we did. Thank you, too, Leslie. DD - I hadn't thought of that but yes, it is similar to how it used to be in the valleys. Thanks, Ellee. It's just that everything happened at once this week! Crushed, you have to experience the world here to believe it! Hi, MM. - They all just happened together! Ciao, Gleds. Now that would be entertaining! Why don't you try it and let us all know what happens? Buona sera, m'lord. Calming down now! Thanks , Lady M - could be!


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