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Well here I am again in Offagna with my beautiful wife again and on my unprecedeted 3 week summer holidays. Life is good.
Wednesday, my last day of work, went about as well as could reasonably be expected. Half an hour before home time, I ran out of work, not a particularly frequent occurrence in itself, and especially handy given that I was planning on getting up at 5:30 to catch the train from Sassuolo. I was playing it rather safe, but better that than risking missing my connection.
Obviously I was knackered, but the journey went very well. My seat was at the end of the carriage at a table with some girls and a woman, and though I had feared a boring, insular journey (3 of the 4 of us had our iPods out to start with) I cunningly managed to strike up a conversation with the one who was reading the book of the film of Robin Hood (with Russell one-face Crowe) in English so we ended up chatting for most of the journey. I like talking to people on trains. I know that in theory, you can end up cornered by a bore, but it's never happened to me.
Offagna's changed a bit. The manky old bus stop that I used to wait in for the coach/bus to my Italian for foreigners lessons has been replaced with a little bar in the centre of a new roundabout. A big improvement. I popped there after dinner with Giancarlo, who approves of the coffee. It's not as if I've become a connisseur or anything (indeed, I'm not even sure how to spell it) but I would tend to agree.
It was a long day, the day I arrived. As I mentioned previously, I got up at 5:30. Once I was starting to settle down in Offagna after the ample meal which always awaits me here (what a thing it is to have Italian in-laws), Monica had rather a shock. She said that she felt her heart stop, and then it began to beat very strongly. She panicked, got to her feet, and then she lost her vision for a moment. Monica, as you may know, can get very anxious, and if that happened to me, I'd be pretty anxious too. We went to the pharmacist's for some advice, who advised us to go to the doctor's. Monica does not hold Offagna's local doctor in high regard, so she probably wouldn't have gone except that the usual doctor was away and there was a locum (is that right?) covering his holidays. Whether or not he's a good doctor, he has an inspirational Mussolini calendar and a little bust of him behind his desk, so I think I'd probably avoid him too. The doctor though it was probably a reflusso (update: Neil says it means reflux) which was aggravated by the fact that everything in Monica's upper body is a bit closer together now she's pregnant, and further exacerbated by the fact that she got up suddenly in panic. So we decided to go to A&E to get a check. This is something I've done myself actually. When I was working at the Exeter RD&E hospital, I had a pain in my chest and had it checked out (rather oddly meeting my old Exeter University Choral Society conductor, who was working at the reception) because it doesn't pay to ignore these things, even if it does turn out to be nothing. I won't go into how it happened, except to say that we went to the wrong hospital, and from thereon in, the whole process was dealt with very badly, but we were there for about four hours, and only left after midnight. In any case, Monica's fine, but she'll have to pay attention to not eating big meals, and eating frequently instead.
My sausage was a bit cold by that point.
One of the other things that's changed is that my little niece Beatrice has got bigger. I understand that this is in accordance with the general trend. Monica had been telling me for weeks on the phone, but she is a very happy baby. She's always laughing, and I should hope so too, because she cerainly eats enough to be a very happy baby. She was a little wary of me at first, because I haven't seen her for some time and she's forgotten who I am, but she got over it pretty quickly. We took her out for a stroll the other day, and saw another of Offgna's little novelties, the Mary Poppins bookshop. Nice. Bought a couple of cards at exorbitant prices.
Other than that, not much to report. Brought a few books with me: A Concise History of Italy, which I'm rereading because I've forgotten most of the contents, Learn New Testmant Greek by John Dobson and The Two Towers in Italian. It's something of a celebratory time here in Offagna, because Fabrizio the deacon has finally got his upgrade to priest, and is celebrating his first mass in Offagna tomorrow in the Church of the (really) Blessed Sacrament.