Rupert’s Trail

11 DIVEMBRE 2016 Amalfi Rupert’s Trail seconda edizione

Il Rupert Trail è una manifestazione sportiva che nasce per ricordare il nostro amico Rupert, scomparso prematuramente, un anno e mezzo fa, a causa di una terribile malattia.
Rupert era una guida turistica, e percorreva da decenni la Valle delle Ferriere, i vicoli e le stradine di Amalfi per far rivivere ai turisti la storia della nostra cittadina e mostrarne le bellezze nascoste.
Gli abbiamo voluto dedicare una gara Trail su un percorso che lui faceva spesso, cercando di coinvolgere atleti professionisti e non, per una giornata di sport, di divertimento, di aggregazione e di raccolta fondi. Tutti i proventi di questa manifestazione, infatti, vengono devoluti all’AIRC (Associazione Italiana di Ricerca sul Cancro).

Dealing with grief

When someone you know suffers a bereavement you might find you’re one of those people who ‘doesn’t know what to say’.      If you know them very well, they may not need your words, it’s enough to give the lightest touch of your hand, against theirs, on their shoulders, their knees if they’re sitting and simply add the words ‘I’m sorry’;   that’s all it takes.   As someone who has recently experienced bereavement, I have felt surprised and sometimes upset by occasional glib reactions which lead me to want to convey as best I can, what those of us in this position would prefer to hear. For example, we would ask you not to say ‘give me a ring, anytime’ – that will be interpreted as ‘I really can’t be bothered’ and from my experience it comes from those who tell everyone else – ‘well, I said to give me a ring any time – but haven’t heard a word’, perhaps followed by – ‘I’m so worried.   She/he must be feeling so awful’.   Of course, it may be well meant, but I can assure you that the person concerned will not find it easy to knock on your door, looking sad and in need of company.    More likely they will be looking for the expression on your face that says ‘Oh no, not now.   I’m really not in the mood’.    If you sincerely want to help, make contact, telephone and chat about the one they’ve lost.   Instead of ‘ring any time’ it’s so much better to say ‘why don’t you come round for a cup of tea, a drink, a meal, this afternoon, next Tuesday, tomorrow evening?’.   That way you make someone feel that their company is wanted because they’ve been specifically invited.    

Do not ring with the pretext of wanting to give your condolences if you then suddenly ‘must go, my other ‘phone’s ringing’ or ‘must go, my husband’s just come in’. I’ve had those calls from one-time very close friends, who made unfulfilled promises to ring back. Certainly, they will never hear from me again. Instead of such calls, I fortunately have other friends who invited me to join them on a walk, simply knocked on my door and spent an hour or so with me, or those who are not close by, at least phone regularly.   Equally, taking a drive somewhere can be distracting and helps take the mind  off other things.   Again, if you also knew the person who had died, any photographs or videos, perhaps their favourite piece of music, are wonderful things to receive, in an envelope, or more likely, on the Internet.

When you are grieving, you do not know what to expect;  apart from the obvious emotions,  you might also feel exceptionally angry and that heavy emptiness inside will certainly mean everyday tasks and problems can become impossible to handle.  Perhaps you simply want to sit and cry;   perhaps you cannot cry.    But some form of normality has to be observed.   You still need to eat, which involves leaving the house to buy food, possibly bumping into people who do not yet know and might cheerily call out ‘Lovely day isn’t it.   How are you? Off somewhere nice?’.    Should you say ‘No, I’m going home to cook something that I really don’t fancy eating, then I’ll probably sit on my own and cry’ ?   No, of course not;  you probably will do your best to give a smile, perhaps make an effort to ‘be in control’ and answer ‘Well no, I’m afraid not.   You see I lost my husband, (wife, child, best friend, whoever it may be) and I actually don’t feel too good.   Never mind, life goes on’.    Once the news is out, the ball is in the other court and then you know whether or not you’re speaking to a friend.   If they say they’re sorry, followed by ‘must rush, give  me a ring some time’ they’re certainly not a close one.   Happily, most people will manage to stop with you for a few moments and perhaps say something that will be helpful in some way, but although we must make allowances for those who really do not know what to say, overall, that attitude leads me to feel they just can’t get away fast enough and are far too ‘busy’ to give a second thought to another’s near despair.When a true friend makes a point of ‘phoning, popping in to see you whenever they can, perhaps invites you to eat and generally manages to truly care, that is such a great help.    

Neverthless, despite it’s being difficult not to feel bad about some of these attitudes, it has to be admitted that none of us can know how we might react to losing a loved one, so how can those who’ve not had that experience easily find the right way to act?


Hallo again

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!


My Magic Window

Some of my warmest memories of Amalfi come from remembering the many times I would sit at my window looking towards that enchanting view.

In the morning, the sea below was always crystal clear with the waves washing gently on to the beaches.   Quite often I would be brought out of my sleep by the gentle putt-putting  sound of fishing boats returning from a night at sea.  I loved to watch them land with their catch, a few locals would come to meet them to have their pick of whatever fish they had caught, but disappeared when they saw the local fishmonger arriving in his little ‘ape‘ (the three-wheeled vehicle whose engine sounded like the humming of bees –ape in Italian).   As the sun reached its Heaven, our most important visitor was the Faraglione, a sleek, white ferry boat come to carry travellers along our coast to Capri.   This boat always gave out a long call to Amalfi on its deep horn and often I would see neighbours leaning from their windows to wave hands and handkerchiefs in welcome.    Another sound came from some women who  laid out their bedding from their windows or balconies and then beat the sheets and blankets probably with a wicker instrument.   More music came from the buses, with their unique baba-baba-baba as they made their way from the piazza along the coast road.

At night, my children asleep and my husband working late, I could then look down at the evening passeggiata (walk), with groups talking and gesticulating in animated fashion, couples strolling hand-in-hand, while others less energetic, would sit and gaze, possibly gossiping about the passers-by.  The sea would be dotted with little boats carrying lights to attract shoals of anchovies for the fishermen, while more bright lights twinkled on distant shores across the Bay.

In my  imagination I return there most days, but nothing can give me back those never-to-be-forgotten moments.Picture 043

Entertainment in Amalfi

We always had something special to look forward to.    The pavements were always busy for the evening passeggiata and then there were the historical processions, the annual Regatta end even celebrations for seasonal fruits and vegetables.   I was delighted when I first saw the pumpkins and long, rounded squash, not only displayed on stall counters and tables, but also sculpted by local craftsmen into houses, animals, all manner of different items.  Other festas celebrated the harvest of chestnuts, cooked in various different ways or simply sold hot from the fire.  Pasta could not be forgotten and was very good to eat hot on a cool autumnal evening. There was all the colour and pomp of the annual Regatta, as well as equally colourful religious processions.   During the Summer season we could take ourselves to the Piazza Duomo to listen to popular singers,  musicians and dancers, who would entertain their enthusiastic audience seated around them on the steps, standing or sitting at the bars.   It felt so good to be part of that crowd having so much fun.

I would never miss what for me was the most moving of all these events, the celebration of Good Friday – Venerdi Santo.    They begin with Mass in the packed cathedral at the end of which the doors are thrown open wide and in my time in Amalfi, there was usually a man representing the Christ figure and carrying a heavy wooden cross on his back.   Today they seem to use different symbols each time, but Ialways remember the man with the cross.   There is a hush throughout the town and all electric lights are closed – replaced with burning torches in holders on the walls.   My memory is that it always rained on Good Friday – symbolic tears from Heaven.