It's been a long time since I updated, but I haven't had an awful lot to say...
Today was really nice.
I've been feeling awful, still - nauseous, exhausted, slightly feverish - so I just went out 'for a while' to drop of Ella's birthday presents at Coffee. Of course, even though I'd cancelled on Natalie and her housewarming - Jason and I both pulled out because we were generally not up to it (I'm not sure of his exact reasons) and I felt quite bad - 'a while' meant several hours.
On our way to Russell Square, we stopped at a shop called The Olive Trail, and ended up doing an olive oil tasting. Neat olive oil, in wee little cups. Drinking it. Sniffing it. Finally, mixing it with 15 year old Balsamic vinegar and discovering that it was delicious. I spent £35 on the stuff.
I bought a bracelet as well - brown leather thong with two olive wood balls on it and a sliding-fasten, to adjust the size. I put it on my wrist over my maple leaf (which still needs touching up), to complement another side of my heritage (granted, the olives are Greek, not Sicilian, but my family own an olive grove that my siblings, cousins and I used to play in, as children).
Ella, Elise and I then went on to a small Italian restaurant and sat outside having a light meal, while England flunked out of the World Cup. The owners brought us lemon liquer to make us feel better when we lost.
After that, Elise and I wandered down Charing Cross Road to Trafalgar Square. On the way we encountered the entire Metropolitan Police Force and some defiantly cheerful football supporters, who none the less seemed rather keen on terrorising passengers on passing buses, by pummeling the sides as they went by. There were also a lot of Pride people around - and a few Canadians as it is Canada Day, but being Nice People, the Canadians celebrated yesterday, so as not to interfere with the procedings. We made the realisation at this point that if terrorists wanted to make a real impact an awful lot of their favourite targets were in the same vacinity.
Anyway, we walked down to St. James's Park, sitting first on the grass opposite the home of the Household Cavalry, and then by the lake where lots and lots of very stupid ducks were loitering around, trying to scab sandwiches off of the tourists. A couple had even brought the kids to cute it up, like the Hovis advert.
Also discovered, was a really cute restaurant and bar on the bank of the lake. It has outside tables, sells cocktails, and has lanterns and blankets on the grass for those not eating.
I need to go on a date there. It was such a beautiful and romantic setting. No offence to Elise, but I'd rather have been there with Philip, who is my second ever watercooler crush. :) It's not even that badly priced - £15-23 for a main isn't that bad. I was expecting closer to £35.
After about an hour sitting by the lake, we returned to our respective homes. Spurred on by the olive oil and thoughts of my grandparents, I called my dad. He was so pleased to hear from me. He's trying to run a restaurant and help raise four-month-old twins - and a five year old, and has been so busy and exhausted. He's never been very good at keeping in touch, although I know he doesn't mean to be - I'm just the same as he is - and we talked for a while. I called him at work, and he took a break to call me from his car where it was quieter. Then his battery ran out. Apparently, he kept talking for ten minutes before he realised the phone was dead (evidently, my smarts do not come from his side) and then called me back from inside again.
He's talking about us going to Sicily, next year. My grandad (Nonno) has Parkinson's and both he and Nonna are getting old - we all need to go out there and see them before one of them croaks it. They always phone, begging me to go to 'Casa mia - vostri cugini li aspetta!' - or something in correct Sicilian dialect (Italian, Greek and Arabic hybrid - technically a language in itself, Sicilianu, but generally accepted as a dialect of Italian) - in a peculiar, sing-songy tone. Well, I say 'they'... Nonna does. Nonno says, "Ciao, ciao. Come stai? Benne? Bravo, bravo... Ciao... Ciao..." and that's it.
It's lucky, really - my Italian is so limited, these days... I used to be fluent. I keep meaning to learn again... Sometimes, I find myself surprised at how conditioned I was by attending Sunday school and stuff in that sprawling Catholic village halfway up a mountain... I kept wanting to buy a cross pendant in the olive shop, today... I'm not even Christian.
But yeah, my dad wants to get all six of us under the same roof, at some point. Which would be nice, except Berti is a borderline psychopath, and the issue of my mother will inevitably come up at some point and then there would be violence, and I don't want to have to kill him... Still, I'm apparently making progress with Cristian, because he asked to visit me - which dad was pleased about.
I hope we do get together, soon. It feels like I'd have a bit more of a family if we did.
I will leave you with this... :Collesano (the first house I lived in, in Sicily, and the place where my dad was born is circled):
The local beach and fishing village - Cefalu. Yes, Thelemites - the same place: