Being ill in Italy certainly was not on the itinerary but as Lady Helen explained to her worried friends and family – it was better than the alternative! Stuff happens so when life hands you lemons make limoncello.
On one particular day Her Ladyship was feeling pretty exhausted and only left her room after 9. She made her way to the breakfast cafe and to her surprise found a farmers market set up in the hospital courtyard. Wow. So she bought some lovely Rossa tomatoes, a crisp lettuce, baby marrows and a punnet of strawberries. She took them back to the hotel and put them in the fridge – now she had lovely fresh ingredients to add to her meagre suppers.
After her usual Italian Colazione of and Americano and Croissant al cioccolato she took the Earl a yogurt and some strawberries. Lady Helen was and still is a strict Banter which means carbs are not part of her diet. But when travelling she has a rule – Do as the locals do, dress as the locals dress, Eat as the locals eat, When in Rome etc. Otherwise you just make life difficult and it’s bad manners to offend your hosts.
She thought she was acting exactly like an Italian should until she complimented the assistant in the cafe. “Italiano caffe – buono” Italian coffee – good. The reply – “Si Italiano caffe – buono – Americano – non e buono.” Oh dear – that’s why she’d looked at Lady Helen with an expression of disapproval every time she ordered. L.H. did indeed enjoy the odd espresso – but for breakfast she preferred to linger over the longer drink. It was part of the relaxation she needed before spending the day nursing a sick husband!
As she was to stay longer in her Spartan Accommodation than planned she decided during her break to go in search of some things to make it more comfortable. There weren’t many shops close to the hospital so she hoped the supermarket would be able to accommodate her needs. A young boy of about 14 asked if she needed help. She said, “Palare Inglese?” “Yes he replied, “I am not Italian. I am Romanian. I speak better English than Italian.” How lucky was she! He helped her find eggs and wine but said they didn’t stock things like soap dishes and towels. “But,” said he “if you exit the market and then turn left and left again, you will find a Chinese shop. They will have what you want.”
She hadn’t realised there was such a shop so close by – and what an amazing place – better than The Crazy Store. It had absolutely everything – clothes, kitchen utensils, crockery, cutlery, electrical goods – you name it they had it. She browsed for ages and then left with a beach towel, a porcelain bowl to use in the micro, a shower thingy to hold her soap and shampoo, a sharp knife, a proper glass for her wine and a small chopping board so she could make her own salads. It only cost a few euros for the lot and it would make her sojourn there a tad more comfortable.
She told the Chinese owner, “Tuo negozio e buono” your shop is good. He beamed at her and as she was leaving called her back and gave her a small tube of toothpaste as a gift. How sweet!
That evening The Captain and his Admiral came to bid their friends farewell as they would be going on to their next destination – Diamante. “Hopefully you will be able to join us soon after you’re discharged.” they said.
Although the hospital food was good The Earl had been craving chicken wraps – not on the menu and not easy to find. But The Gooselinis, however, found a place and brought him a takeaway.
When L.H. returned to the hotel she met a young man who was in a leg cast. He was to have surgery the following day. He could speak English and they had a lovely chat in the kitchen. He too was due to go to Diamanté with his wife and 2 kids but had to cancel because of his soccer injury. So they commiserated together😢. After sharing with this young man, Lady Helen felt better – she was not the only one with problems.