A Time To Reminisce

Due to Covid and the fact that travelling overseas isn’t possible, I have been reminiscing about some of the wonderful times I have experienced.

This time last year (August 2019) Rick and I, and Millie our miniature schnoodle, were setting off in ‘Priscilla’ our caravan, to explore north Queensland and return to the places we had visited when we lived in the Gulf Country.

This was a trip with a purpose as we were promoting my first book ‘Back of Beyond’. Whilst travelling I was finalising my second book ‘Innocent Nurses Abroad,’ with the plan to market both books in time. This was a very enjoyable and rewarding time.

Six months later we were on the Spirit of Tasmania, heading off for a fabulous two months in this beautiful state of Australia. The climate didn’t allow for a great deal of networking and marketing due to the chilly conditions. Everyone tucked up in the warmth and comfort of their caravans by early evening.

Then Covid 19 struck, meaning the cancellation of the launch of my new book ‘Innocent Nurses Abroad’ at Mount Gambier Library. I was very disappointed, but philosophical. What could we do? Our plans to travel around Australia promoting my books were cancelled. We headed for home to sit this thing out.

This is when I began to reminisce and recall some of the wonderful experiences over the years.

Without a doubt one of my favourite holidays was spending two months in an authentic Italian village called Corfinio in Ubruzzo. My supportive husband agreed that he could enjoy being in a non-English speaking village on the condition that I could converse and understand!

The reason for choosing an authentic village was to help my Italian conversation. I have been learning this beautiful language for ten years with a close group of friends. Being of a ‘more mature’ age, or ‘’anziane’ as the Italians would refer to us, it has been a slow road! However, residing in a village where I was forced to speak the language was confronting, but a joy as the locals took it upon themselves to help me. They enjoyed my efforts with great enthusiasm and a great deal of hilarity.

Our ‘casa’ for our stay was on three steep levels, with the bedroom and bathroom on the top of very steep marble stairs which we managed by crawling. It was close to the main piazza, with coffee shops and bars which were frequented by the men of the village at all times of day. The ‘donne’ were all busy doing household chores and cooking up a storm for their menfolk, who appeared to do nothing but gossip, smoke and play cards!

Rick does not speak Italian but managed to do very well with charades, which endeared him to the locals.

I was living my dream. Each day we drove to a new area, along little laneways and roads away from the madding crowd, consuming delicious meals cooked and served by the owners of the tiny ‘ristorante,’ often with a multitude of courses served with the local wine and a complimentary Limoncello to follow. Then we set our GPS to ‘home’ with a necessary visit to the piazza to report on our daily activities. This was extremely helpful for my Italian conversation, but the grammar deteriorated dismally. My friends exclaimed that, ‘grammatica non e’ importante,’ which made me feel better.

Ubruzzo is an incredible area of Italy. The mountains were awe inspiring and quite spiritual with their rugged beauty. Tiny villages were perched precariously on a spur at the top of a winding, narrow road. Rick loved the challenge of conquering the top of the mountain where we would eventually chugg into a piazza where the residents could be seen sitting in the sun. I loved to speak to these ‘anziane’ but it was often difficult to understand the dialect. How did their ancestors ever manage to build these villages in these precarious positions? It was incomprehensible to us. I stood in wonderment at the view across valleys and mountain peaks with no indication of any habitation to be seen.

When I think of these remarkable people who live in the remote parts of Ubruzzo, I’m reminded of the hardships they have endured at the hand of the fascists, the starvation and deprivation, grief from the loss of loved ones and the fear, and I remind myself how lucky I am to live in this great country.

With the withdrawal of some of our liberties due to Covid 19, we can be grateful for what we DO have.

As I reminisce, I am reminded of the importance of memories which must never be forgotten. Writing a biography is a wonderful way to leave a legacy. The following generations need to understand what went on beforehand. I loved hearing the stories the locals in this village shared with me (some were horrific), but it was all history.

Our life stories are history as well and need to be recorded.

Please stay safe and well, and my special thoughts go to our fellow Australians in Victoria.

With gratitude,

Jenny Old

www.jennyold.com

jenny@ausit.net

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