Simple Gifts

Fine, but windy weather after the deluge and we are back to the exercise program. John swabbed the decks, I ferried washing back and forth and then we both went to the shop. They must have lit the fire in the cold weather yesterday, because there was a tray full of smoked mozzarella for sale. We added it to the lettuce and tomatoes to make lunch. The older lady also sold us on a large punnet of apricots and then the younger one came in from the back with a sprig of basil from the garden, a gift to compliment our purchases.

With bedding and towels to hang as well as our dirty laundry John needed to string up three lines between the foresail and the shrouds. It was such a windy day, we threaded on as much as we could and just pegged the sheets. It all billowed together like Monday mornings in the terrace houses where my Grandma lived when I was small. As we finished pegging out a man on our neighbouring yacht started to sing the verse of O Solo Mio to us in Italian and made us all laugh. There were three men on the boat next door, all busy doing something mechanical to it, involving a rather handsome wooden box. Later as we sat out eating our salad lunch our serenader came over and asked if we had garlic as they had forgotten to bring some. John went below and checked, but the girls had used it all in the feast. We were sorry. He shrugged. We finished our salad and were trying to decide if we had room for some apricots when he came back with a plate of pasta for us. He hoped it would be good without the garlic. It was more than good, the pasta perfectly al dente and tasting of sardines with a good kick of chilli. We must learn how to make pasta that seems to have no sauce, but actually has absorbed all the flavour and has some bite, but no chalkiness. I felt we should offer them something in return and washed some of the apricots and took them round. They acted really touched and our singer shook my hand, introduced himself, Bruno, and bid us welcome, as though we had not been moored beside them for two years.

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