Green thoughts in a green shade…


16 JULY 2009

• I’m sitting in the garden of the ostello per la gioventù (youth hostel to you). It’s 1.05 pm and the temperature is serious – well over 30 degrees, I’d say. Yesterday in Firenze it got up to 38). However I’m in the shade with a small warm breeze making things manageable. I can hear the laughter and bell-tinkling coming from the adjoining city wall, to a background of constant cricket leg-rubbing (I think that’s what crickets do with their legs). People here seem to ignore siesta time and the danger of sunburn. The ostello garden isn’t too spectacular flowers-wise but it’s hot shit in terms of closeness to the wall and the constant stream of walkers, cyclists and joggers. It’s like taking in a village street life scene, only better.

• I’ve just come from the area of the bike-rentals, which was teeming with young men and women – especially women – jumping on bikes, pushing down hard on the pedals and giving yips of delight at being alive and mobile. Further down the sun-hot street I located a yoghurteria (sic), where the cheerful man sold me a beauty in a tub topped with uno piccolo of fruit cocktail for €2.20 . Pricey but delicious. I hurried back and we devoured it between us. Culinary orgasm.

• And having used a sexual metaphor, why not a religious simile? It strikes me sitting here in the garden, taking notes and thinking, that this is a bit like a secular version of a religioius retreat. No wonder monks and nuns were able to turn their thoughts to things spiritual, when they were able to adjourn to gardens like this.

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