There’s a praying mantis in the corner. She regards me. Her head swivels unnervingly as I move around the house. I sit so I can keep an eye on her as I type. In silence, we look at each other. The heat builds. I’m reluctant to move while she’s staring at me so intently. I should thank her for making me sit still long enough finally to write something.
Sardinia, part 1. Ancient, wild Sardinia is the jewel in the crown of the Mediterranean. The most northerly part of the island – the bit which almost touches Corsica – has kept its ancient name, Gallura. This is an area composed entirely of rose-gold granite rock. So in the evening, rich pink infuses the honeyed light of the lowering sun, and the maquis releases its heady perfume of herb and brush and pine.
The sea rushes at its endless process of transforming the rocks into the fine sand of beaches, or destroying them altogether to create inlets. Some of the beaches are kilometres long, backed by regal forests of Maritime Pines. Their broad tops shine emerald against the azure sky, and provide cool and shade for shuffling tortoises.
It’s a strange time. Covid ravages the globe, so overseas visitors are very few. Yet Italians are holidaying here in large numbers. Indoors has everybody wearing a mask, whereas, on the streets and beaches, the world goes on in its usual way.
As for me, I find myself enjoying an extended stay here, to the amusement of many. I am here with a purpose, but I can see how everyone else thinks I’ve just taken the bold move of extending my family holiday. A bit of me time, right? I see those Mums and Dads to whom I have tried to explain it, calculating how they can pull off the same trick.
A number of things. Since my last visit eighteen months ago, I’ve become an Italian national and I need to collect my carta d’identità in Valtournenche. But that’s just life’s admin. Of more interest, I have some winery visits to make – here and on the mainland. There are new hotels to visit, and old ones with whom I want to renew acquaintance. There are new walking and cycling routes to measure and write up.
I can’t lie – although I miss my family already, it’s raining back in England and I’m looking forward to this.
You can read letter 2 “Tenuta Matteu” here.