This evening I’ve found something I wrote a long time ago – and just for fun decided to put it on my blog –
Yes, he is special. You cannot fail to blossom in his presence; at last here is a man who appreciates your womanhood, the real you that none of your English boyfriends ever seemed to have discovered. Never mind if you are ‘Miss Fatty of Newcastle’, or ‘Skinny of Cheam’, but it does help if you are not ‘Miss Anybody’s’. He has a line to sell that he works on lovingly through the long Winter months and it would be a pity if you were to acquiesce before he had the chance to reveal all the little tricks he has up his sleeve (and elsewhere).
When you reject him (as you must at first), he will assume the appearance of a Spaniel pup who has been unjustly punished, deprived of his food and kicked into the rain. He will haunt your doorway, your telephone, your peace of mind, until you wearily (though probably quite eagerly) give in, pat him on the head and give him the comfort he so longs for. He will do anything to win you. Be warned though, he can never grow up. You are the prize in the shop window. Once he has won you , he will promptly put you on the shelf alongside his other trophies and rush off to the shop around the corner, where there is another prize to be won.
Do not marry him. Have a wonderful holiday. Give yourself some unforgettable romantic memories. Then go home and find yourself a tall, handsome Englishman who will be your companion and friend (and with some luck, a great lover too).
Glad to say that for the first time in over a year, I’ve been writing again. Think my Amalfi book is finished, although editing is always necessary. All I have to do now is decide whether to self-publish or really get down to agent hunting. Really don’t know at the moment.
Feel relieved to have got this far but now need honest criticism and some directions re the publishing problem.
Wish me well!
Anyone who has looked at my Blog will by now have realised I haven’t written anything for a while; that’s because I spent over three months in Amalfi at the end of 2014 until February of 2015, during which time I lost my very beloved son, Rupert.
I cannot say enough about the wonderful support that he and I were given by his numerous friends during that time. So many came and I do mean many, every single day; they chatted and joked with him, brought food, drinks, anything they thought he would particularly like. When he didn’t want to eat, there were the girls who gave him a kiss and asked him to eat something to please them and he always did. His men friends shaved him, washed him, shared the task of lifting him – in fact all his friends did everything they could to show how much he was loved and how much they cared for him. I was not allowed to say ‘thank you’ because every time I did, and there were many, their response would be – ‘You don’t have to thank us, we do it because we all love him’.
When we had to say goodbye to him Amalfi’s beautiful cathedral was absolutely crammed with colleagues, children who had come to him to learn English, ex-school companions, his brother Vincenzo, his cousins in Italy and English step-brothers and sisters, all who could manage to be there. I have printed here two of the newspaper tributes that were written about him. It has been some help to me to see the proof of this great feeling for my first-born and to know that he saw it as well. It means so very much because it came only from friendship, no other form of interest since he was not a wealthy businessman or of any apparent importance, only that of being a great friend to so many.
This means that my book will now take on a different aspect and I need to rewrite certain chapters, which in due course I can talk about.
I’m putting here another tribute to my son Rupert – not for vanity of any sort but because he deserves to have people know how much he was respected – this was printed in another local Italian paper – have translated as best I can –
Amalfi says goodby to Rupert Scarfe, son of the Pink Floyd cartoonist (?).
The news of his premature loss has shocked the entire community of Amalfi, known and highly respected in all of the Amalfi Coast.
At 47 years of age he had to give in to the invasive illness against which he had battled for some time.
Rupert worked as a tourist guide in Italy and abroad; everyone remembers him as a person always helpful and sunny, a friend to all. It was in fact his friends, as well as his family, who never left him alone until yesterday.
He is the firstborn of Gerald Scarfe, satirical cartoonist from London, world-famous, who knew success during the 1970s, collaborating even with Roger Waters, singer and bass player of the Pink Floyd, producing the animation of the tour of “Wish you were Here” and for the film “The Wall”.
Born in London, Rupert during his adolescence (this is incorrect, he was 4 years old)
came with his mother Maureen who, after separating from Scarfe, established herself in Amalfi and created another family.
The final farewell to Rupert tomorrow, Saturday 7th February, with funeral rites a noon in the Cathedral of Amalfi moving from the house of the Deceased in Piazza Municipio.
The Vescovado shares the pain of the family and wishes to express his deepest sympathy.
Sitting at my computer reading through my messages from Italy and looking at those always delightful photographs, I’m thinking about what will be happening in Amalfi to prepare for Christmas. There you really know something truly important is being celebrated and I’m wondering – is the tree yet lit up in the piazza? are the little carved Nativity figures already placed in the fountains with the tiny cribs still empty, waiting for the birth of Jesus? Certainly shops shelves will be heavy with the panettone, lights will be strung along the streets and on the tall Christmas tree on the seafront, all the bars decorated, music playing. Christmas Eve is the day of celebration, with fish being the main ingredient for a very special lunch, all-day activity in the Cathedral with the evening candle-lit service for children, the youngest of whom will, back at home, carry the tiny figure of Jesus through each room ready to place Him in His crib as midnight strikes
New Year is welcomed in with more excellent food, music and dancing in the Piazza and the famous firework comet sent down from a mountain top to the Cathedral steps. At midnight there is always yet another stupendous Amalfi firework displays, for which people leave their hotels, dining rooms or restaurants to watch from the beach. Many then go home, while the younger ones walk round to Atrani for more music and dancing in that delightful little piazza. The following morning now weary revellers stage a procession from the back of Amalfi down to the main Piazza, with traditional musical instruments and an elderly man carrying a young child, he being the Old Year and the child the New. Festivities are wound up with more music on the Cathedral steps and then life returns to normal.
The rituals surrounding Death were yet another revelation to me. Unlike the UK where funerals usually take place at least a week after the event, in Italy people are despatched within 24 hours. For any relatives living at some distance, it might not be possible to arrive in time; where it was quite unexpected, the rush to prepare everything can be exceptionally stressful for those who were close. The first sign is the notices which are posted on the relevant boards throughout the town, with name of the Departed, their family, time and place of the funeral. When my father-in-law died, I was surprised by the arrival of sympathisers with their traditional packets of sugar and coffee. a symbolic nourishment. He was taken to the smaller of two cemeteries in town, but for those who wanted to join their family in the larger plot, it was necessary for their coffin to be carried uphill for some considerable distance. As a result,occasionally a bearer or follower has been known to suffer a fall or other such injury during their climb. When my mother-in-law died some years later, I was expected to sit in a very cold little room with her body for several hours so that she should not be left alone; her sons of course, were busy elsewhere. There were also rituals which kept children away from school and not allowed to play outside, whilst some families would not even hang out their washing. However, when my own mother died, far away in London, not one of these rituals was expected to be followed.
the cemetery, with all the arches along its walls, can be seen dominating the town.
I was tickled pink by the way children had to dress for school; the little ones still at nursery school wore a white smock, pleated down the front, belted and with a smart white collar, the primary school outfit was the same, but blue and the older children also had the same outfit, but in black and always with the white collar. To see the little ones pouring out from school at the end of the morning, was a colourful sight. The older ones were certainly less colourful, but always looked smart. The advantage of these outfits (called ‘grembiule‘) was that they were drip-dry and could be worn clean every day. I remembered my early school days, when some children were embarrassed by not being as well-dressed as all the others and how difficult that must have been for them. These attractive little outfits meant they all would look the same and for a very low cost – very democratic!
Our little ex-pat group liked to take advantage of our few free hours, before our children came home at lunchtime, by enjoying a morning coffee together at our favourite bar in Piazza Duomo and maybe a short walk, before preparing lunch. At that time the schools closed somewhere between 1 and 2 o/clock, (no full days then, it was home to eat, usually followed by several hours of homework) but whenever there was some afternoon activity for the children we usually would all meet up again. Happy days!
Every time I left the house for whatever reason and whichever direction I took, it was inevitable that I would meet someone who would want to stop and chat. That gave me a feeling of security and of belonging. It was clear that everyone knew everyone, having always shared the same schools, outdoor actitivies and families. Nevertheless, I spent a couple of years in Amalfi with no-one telling me that there were a few other English women also living there. The fact that I might be interested to know about them was totally ignored. It was someone from one of my tourist groups who first told me he’d met a local man who had an English daughter-in-law. For a while I couldn’t find out who she might be and then we bumped into one another quite by chance. Still today, we are the best of friends. However, it wasn’t easy; within a short time there were three of us and it was such a treat be able to speak English together, have afternoon teas, share a sense of humour, have our children play together and also share their knowledge of English. Unfortunately, for our husbands that was not pleasing and they each did their best to stop our frequent meetings. It apparently didn’t occur to them that they had never lived abroad and had always been close to everyone they’d known since birth. So that was one of the negative sides of local attitudes towards we foreign women, not at all what any of us would have expected.
“Although Ravello was mentioned by Boccaccio in his ‘Decameron’ – it’s nice to know that two men from the UK were responsible for keeping the town high on the list of European cultural pilgrimages by attracting so many famous visitors and artists over the last two centuries. Neville Reid, the Scot whose beautiful garden so enchanted the great composer, Wagner, that he can be considered responsible for today’s highly regarded international music festival – and Lord Grimthorpe, the Yorkshireman whose own ‘Shangri-La’ became a place of refuge away from curious eyes for Sweden’s great actress, Greta Garbo and her secret lover the conductor, Leopold Stokowski, as well as providing a magnificent setting for countless others who have continued to enjoy its beauty over so many years.”