Holidays are odd, aren’t they? When I was a child we had an annual holiday of a week by the sea. To begin with we stayed with my maternal grandmother – making accommodation free – three of us sleeping in the same double bed, swimming in the grey waters of the English Channel, sitting on shingle to eat our ice creams. Shivering all the while. Later, after my brothers were born, we stayed in slightly tatty holiday flats so the only difference was that my mother could make corned-beef sandwiches for our picnic lunch. However, these holidays gave me the material for a novel set in the 1950s, on which I am now working.
Today my lap top offers me a screen saver photo of a desert island beach with a palm tree. Done that too. The beaches were smothered with rotting bananas. We don’t do beach holidays.
So here we are, after 3 days of traversing Europe, in our lovely shared house in Italy. This house was bought with an unusual arrangement – 6 couples pooled their money to buy the skeleton of a building, still with rooms on first floor, workshop and barns on the lower level. Outdoor stairway – see picture below. We restored it. The group system, not a time share, works. The Italians are completely confused by 6 owners and since it’s so expensive to change the ownership of a property, all house bills are still addressed to an owner who died twenty years ago.
I digress. On our holidays we work. My husband prunes, gardens, shops and cooks, as well as do any admin on the property, while I write. Friends stay, family stay, we visit neighbours. Who are also beginning to die. Oh yes, and another previous owner has her ashes buried in an olive tree on the patio.
This piece is becoming gloomy. I will write about the writing process when I have put some new words on the screen.