Monday, August 29, 2011

warm figs, the market that wasn't and the wedding we weren't at

I nearly saw johnny Depp, sofia Coppola, francis ford Coppola , george Lucas and others on Saturday evening but unfortunately when we arrived in Bernalda they had all gone into the grand palazzo belonging to Francis ford Coppola and they didnt come out again , while we were there!

Apparently about ten minutes before we got there some of them had come out and waved but as usual because we never know what is happening ,and when, not that things happen when they are supposed to anyways, we missed all the excitement.

However we sat down to eat opposite the palazzo and according to the owner of the trattoria some of the guests from the wedding had eaten lunch there.

It was the wedding of sofia coppola and Tom Mars.

I have never seen so many people on the streets before. This was their feste week and it would have been busy anyways ,but it was difficult to make our way along the pavement where all the cafes had put tables and chairs out. Presumably there were a lot more people there to see what was going on with the wedding: like us.

We did see some papparazi (I think that's who they were) who were sharing photos by photographing each others screens. They also let other people have a few photos too which was very sporting of them. Not at all what I was led to believe they would be like.

But other than thinking I was eating in the same restaurant where someone famous had eaten , very recently, that was the closest I have ever been to anyone famous.

It was quite strange to think that "Hollywood" had come to Bernalda.

Eventually realising that we couldn't make our meal drag out any longer and having done all the jokes about our invitations being lost in the post,we went off for a passiegiata and a gelato. ( stroll along the street being looked at and looking at everyone else and an ice cream). (And I would not be at all surprised to hear that ten minutes after we left , the palazzo doors opened and every one came out and joined in the passiegiata)

Part of the reason we could not stay any longer was we needed to get up at 5am the next day to do a market.

So next morning we set off for the market, noticing not long after leaving that the car was not quite right. But being intrepid/stupid we carried on regardless to Martina Franca where to our surprise there was no market. So we could have gone home, the car was still struggling, but there was another market in Ostuni and having come this far, "the man was not for turning" and we set up an hour later in the park in Ostuni.

It's a beautiful setting. And yesterday when I was looking around I wondered if perhaps my paintings which I think are often more exagerated than real life are actually reflecting the different light here in Italy where things are more solid and in your face than, perhaps in Scotland. That is a bit clumsily explained, but what I mean is I often feel that I am in a film set and always thought that I felt like that because I was a little bit crazy , but maybe its just the light?

We were late getting home in the evening as we had to take a different road to avoid steep hills, so we got lost, but we made it home eventually.

And then I found the last figs. I thought the figs were all past but we have a tree that grows dark purple figs. And there were only three or four high up but with a little bit of tree climbing and some mild contortion, me and the tree , I got them. Warm ripe figs at the end of a long stressful day are just the most delightful treat. Walking round the garden in the sunshine eating figs picked straight from the tree, listening to the crickets, cats rubbing against your ankles and the prospect of not getting up at 5am the next morning, bliss!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August, sun,wedding, feste, market and coffee.

I will start with the coffee, because after all my adventures this month I was tired and it both surprised me, delighted me and reminded me why I love being here.

I was at a market in martina franca and wishing I had stayed home. So I decided to go get a coffee to wake me up. After wandering around for a while and discounting all the cafe/bars with too many men in them I went in the GOLD CAFE, in the piazza umberto 1. I asked for a cappucino and decided to have an appley pastry as well.(sunday treat).

I was so impressed by the cappucino that I asked if I could take a photo before I drank it. It seemed a shame to spoil a work of art. What a lovely gesture to decorate my coffee for no particular reason , just a little gift which is still making me smile now. The pastry was great too.

I wont forget it.

There was a good reason for being tired this month as I had a fantastic time in scotland at my son's wedding but it involved 2 journeys of 15 hours and a 3am start. It has been great fun showing photos of it to friends as I think weddings where guys wear kilts are normal but obviously not in Italy.

I was back for two days and then had a 2 day market in Pisticci where I didnt finish before midnight both days, but it was great fun and I sold 12 paintings and lots of prints , as well as getting enough commissions to keep me going for the next two months. It was so nice to be meeting people and just being in my adopted home town. Great social event!

Following that was the feste. (I missed the film festival again due to doing the market.)

This year I stayed in the studio and felt much more part of things. There seemed to be a brass band permanently marching round the streets, every morning fireworks went off at 6am, there were hundreds of people about and a general holiday feeling. And in the evenings there were processions, with saints and horses and carriages and decorations, and amazing street lights, and concerts, and street markets and then more concerts starting about midnight and then every night the most wonderful fireworks.

I realise you might be reading this and thinking I may be exagerating slightly but, you should really come and experience it for yourself. (15th ,16th and 17th of august every year.)

So that was why I was tired and I needed a coffee and I got so much more.