Wednesday, February 14
Depositing Skye at school I realise that I have nothing to do until I pick her up at lunchtime. No meetings, no shopping and the housework can wait.
The sky is clear and the sea sparkles behind the church but I won’t be going to the beach today. It is Valentines Day and the last time I took a stroll on the beach on Valentines Day I found myself surrounded by couples, dressed up for a romantic day out. Arm in arm, kissing, smooching and rolling in the sand together. I felt out of place.
I check the post box, 3 envelopes! But no, they are not cards from lovers or secret admirers, they are not to be opened for a few more days. I stuff them in my bag and walk down to the piazza in the hope of getting a lift up to the bar at the top of the village.
Hitching a lift in Positano is a completely acceptable way of getting around town, everyone from school kids to headscarfed grannies do it. I only flag down people I know but I am not very good at it. The trouble is the reflections on the car windscreens as the car drives towards me. By the time I have figured out who is driving and raised my hand, they’ve driven past already.
But today there is a man I know, standing nearby and he’s waiting for a lift too. There’s not much traffic on the road but eventually a car comes along. I wait as the man raises his hand and makes the ‘going up?’ gesture, the driver nods and pulls over. Now is my chance, if I don’t butt in I could be standing there for ages. I run over, ask if I can come too and climb in the car.
I sit quietly, letting the men exchange pleasantries, and wonder if the driver thinks I am a tourist. But as we go past the road leading to the cemetery I see Carlo's parents walking down, the driver turns to me and asks if I wanted to get out here. Maybe he does know who I am. This is confirmed a moment later when he asks me if I ‘have nostalgia for England’. I have no idea who this man is, but he, like many here seems to know me.
In the bar I order a pot of tea and an apple Danish. I sit and watch as people drift in and out. A man I know shares the table with me and when I get up to pay for my breakfast I find it has already been paid for. I walk down the road, through the town wondering what to do next and my phone rings. Carlo is working in the small cemetery in the hamlet of Nocelle, high above town, which has recently become full and needs to be…reorganised. The owner of the only restaurant in the village also doubles as the graveyard caretaker, and has invited us to lunch.
So I fetch Skye from school and we catch the bus that winds up the mountainside to where the road ends and the small village sits serenely with its incredible views. We find my MIL on the bus and she decides to come too. Arriving at the restaurant we find it is closed for refurbishment. I step inside anyway and find Carlo talking to the workmen. A woman steps out of the kitchen and announces that lunch is ready. We are led into the house of the restaurant owner and sit down to eat with the family.
Later, we all take a ‘digestive’ walk, up to the highest part of the village where silence reigns. An occasional rooster crows, a dog barks far down below and the wind whispers through the olive trees. It is a completely different world from the town that lays beneath us. There are no cars, no roads, no shops. There are however views, all the way to Capri, peace and quiet, and as always, steps, lots of steps. This is possibly the best Valentines day I have had so far.
at 6:18 PM