This morning I woke to thunder, lightning and rain. The thunder and lightning moved away quickly but the rain made it impossible to ignore the fact I needed to use the toilet so I got up.
When I returned to the bedroom, coffee in hand, the rain was still pouring down. I sighed and poked my head out as the sun started to rise in the distance. I was very surprised to notice it wasn’t actually raining even though I could hear it.
Then I noticed that next to the three turbo jets attached to the wall, the ones that keep going off every three minutes through the night, there was an outlet pipe. From this was pouring forth the torrent that I was hearing. The rain really had stopped.
It was not long after this realisation that the power went off in our entire block. Not our building, mind. No, the entire block. This caused all manner of screeching burglar alarms to spring into action. It also killed the modem for a goodly while.
There then ensued the continuing battle with the taxi hired to take us to the airport tomorrow. John booked it through easyjet because…well the word ‘easy’ implies something. The implication is actually not the fact. The name is clearly ironic. It should be called suckedInLoserCabs.
The thing is the booking facility wants you to input the flight number and then books a time it thinks works for you. Unfortunately this is three hours before flight time. This means up too early and arriving at the airport much sooner than needed.
And the problem seems to be that no matter what you do you cannot change the pick up time. I mean it’s not like you’re paying or anything.
The drama around the taxi has been ongoing and will probably continue for some years to come. Still, rather than let it interfere with our day we headed out for a wander.
We headed up Toledo as far as Dante’s Piazza then headed into the labyrinth that constitutes both book and Christmas alleys.
The crowds grew, disregarding the fact that the general space was already full. All of us were very careful to keep hands firmly attached to our valuable bits.
In fact, Darren reckoned he clocked a suspicious looking woman eyeing up John’s back pocket. John just thought his luck had changed.
But we managed to emerge unscathed and intact and headed up the long penitential stairs of John’s favourite monastery, St Gregorio Armeno.
It would have been very peaceful at the monastery had the kids not been busy with their lunchtime Noisy Lessons. (For the unknowing, Noisy Lessons are what prepares the little Neapolitans for life in the back streets of Naples when they are hanging around after school or work.)
Speaking of hanging around streets in Naples, I do wonder how businesses in Naples expect to do any actual business when nearly every doorway is filled with a bored looking male. No matter how appealing the window display is, the doorway does not invite purchase.
And why are there so many shoe shops? It’s like every second shop is selling runners. And undergarments. There’s a lot of undergarment shops.
Anyway, we walked around the monastery, not going into the chapel because of the nuns who were in quiet conversation with their boss, and emerged back where we started.
We thought we’d lost Darren and Anthea for a moment but they turned up eventually and we all went down to the church underneath.
I can’t speak for anyone else (though Darren may have been in accord with me) but I was more than ready for a beer. It was well passed beer o’clock and the constant scooter action had parched my throat something chronic.
While we did stop eventually, it was at an Irish pub and I think we drank Stella. Darren almost shrieked “BUT IT’S AN IRISH PUB!” But, like me, I think his thirst got the better of him and we sat and drank and discussed Chenobyl.
We then gradually made our way back, looking in windows, not buying a t-shirt because the neck was too small. (This was a real pity because it read ‘Anti Social Social Club’ and I really wanted it.)
Back at the flat, Lorna, Darren and Anthea went shopping for various leather goods while John and I sat on our balcony and watched a real human drama unfold.
It involved a woman who had fallen over or collapsed in the street who wound up having an ambulance, a police car, another police car, a second ambulance and two army chaps trying to put her together again.
It was extremely entertaining and kept us occupied for at least 45 minutes. According to Darren, who spotted us hanging over the balcony, we looked like Statler & Waldorf from the Muppets.
After much laughing and getting over the leather (apparently Anthea was much affected by the smell of the shop and the musky allure of the salesman), they all settled down and I went out searching for a t-shirt with a big enough neck hole. I did find one but not until after I’d popped in to see the Caravaggio in the Gallerie d’Italia.
It was one of his final works and is so incredibly powerful. I love it.
Back at the flat, we settled down to salami, olives and Viking beer, as you do, before getting ready to once more encounter the deliciousness that is the best restaurant in Napoli.
Mind you, before dinner we wandered down to the harbour to see the last of Vesuvius in the dying light of the day. Or the last of the day over Vesuvius.
Another amazing dinner later we headed off for a coffee before the slow, sad walk back to the flat where we polished off a bottle of wine and talked books for a few hours before all heading for bed.
It’s an early start tomorrow because of the stupid taxi.
This video will only be understood by weasels and therefore need not be watched by some else.