Signed the contract while smugly congratulating myself on my technical savvy under confirmation from the cute guy with a welcoming command on English in the Firenzian Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) store ‘Yes madam! You can make cheap calls home and hotspot all devices from your iPhone with this 1G SIM’.

No Signora!’ Said the non English-speaking cute guy in the TIM store in La Spezia following a desperate train journey from the Cinque Terre to find a solution to my 20130629-093930.jpglife threatening failure to connect. Si! ‘Sufficiente per il vostro bisogno!’* Type this into trusty Google Translate and one MiFi purchase, SIM transfer, new 10G iPhone SIM for critical ‘Where the fuck am I?’ Google Maps and ‘No I didn’t ask for a washing machine!’ Google Translate later, problem sorted. Happy days. Then my mouse died.

Gesturing with a click, click motion, asked for two size A batteries for the mouse while feeling immensely proud of my clever use of sign language in lieu of Translate app. ‘Si!’ Said the insouciant woman behind the counter in the small Tobacco shop lined with curling postcards and old chaps fingering betting sheets and cigarette papers. ‘Vibratore bisogno di quattro!‘* Hastily type this into trusty Translate and giggle – that bitch has a sense of humor! Five pairs of rheumy old eyes now fixed firmly on my face, smirks from weathered lips clutching smoldering roll your owns, seems laughter works in all languages. Haul myself back up the steep drive to my home clutching a fist full of batteries, pour a well deserved wine and settle in on my little terrace to admire my clever command on Google Translate. Then the peaches beckoned.

The blossoms have finally morphed into lush golden globes ripe for the plucking but there’s a slight inconvenience – the branch protrudes over the terrace below mine. Not to be thwarted, I carefully prize the bough within plucking reach then hear an almighty commotion. Seems I’ve dislodged a whole cluster over the unsuspecting elderly chappie sitting quietly in his usual spot below. Didn’t know he was there. Heard him though as the peaches slopped his coffee, smacked his noggin and trashed his paper ‘Che Cazzo!* Madre di Dio!’* Type the words he’d screamed into trusty Translate and realise that although my neighbour and I haven’t yet met I may need to turn up the charm should our paths cross on steps leading down to the village. Oh and speaking of steps!

20130629-094215.jpgAfter huffing up and down all 179 steps from back door to the village below and back for 10 days straight, I stumble across a crooked little street that leads to a steep but short walk straight up to my front door. Che cazzo? Seems I’ve a Stair Master’ to the back door, ‘Treadmill’ on incline 30 to the front, peach stealing for stretches, backpacked groceries and wine bottle per hand for weights. Madri di Dio I smile – sufficient per il vostro bisogno for negating calories from a diet consisting almost entirely of pasta and Caprese salad (and peaches).

*Madri di Dio (Mother of God) I’m enjoying my newly learnt expressions! Suspect I’ll have quite a number of opportunities to perfect the enunciation as the months unfold too though *che cazzo (what the fuck) is that about *vibratore bisogno di quattro (vibrator need four)? Suspect I now have *sufficiente per il vostro bisogno (sufficient for your need) to last a lifetime!

Stay tuned for a few of those Ligurian recipes from the recent cooking class!


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