Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Lightning doesn't strike twice

I worked very hard today. I mean really hard. Like, I arrived in the library at 9.30, stayed until they kicked me out for lunch at 1, went back an hour earlier than they actually reopen for the afternoon (they let me in early) and left when they kicked me out at 6. And even then I brought the book home with me I was reading because I was damned determined to finish it with just 12 pages to go! I had earned myself a treat, no? Especially since my lunch consisted of a pretty rubbish sandwich, albeit eaten on a pretty little piazza I found near the centre of town.

Oh, and I should add, that the weather broke, or rather, it fragmented into a million tiny little pieces. I had planned to go to visit the church where Deledda is buried before going back to the library until I heard what I initially believed to be bin men. Oh no, no! That inredible rumbling sound was in fact thunder, rolling all around the hills of Nuoro. To be honest, I found it all quite exciting! Every clap got louder and louder, and this continued throughout the afternoon, climaxing at a point where we lost power in the library, and I'll admit it, I freaked out a little bit at that point! But everything was fine.

So when I hit 7pm this evening and (carefully) tossed the (fragile) library book to one side, I decided to treat myself to another lovely dinner out with a glass of wine and my book. The problem is, I soon discovered that most restaurants here don't appear to open until 8.30... So I wandered around for a while and finally stumbled across a pleasant looking, inexpensive trattoria. Now, thus far I've quite enjoyed the time spent by myself. I haven't felt awkward and actually relished the opporunity to people watch. The problem this evening was, there was noone to watch. I mean not a soul. The man who greeted me was the doorman, waiter and chef!

I walked in to find an enormous spread of food on a large table, which I assumed was for a reservation. He offered this to me as a starter! Thrown, I just asked if I could have a main course. He seemed offended. Once again, I was offered no menu, but was somehow expected to have memorised what was written outside! So I ordered pork, roast potatoes and a glass of red wine. I settled down to my book and waited with great anticipation (my experiences of this combination of food in Italy in the past have been nothing short of amazing!). He brought me a mini jug of wine, an enormous fried pork chop and the saddest looking roast potatoes I have ever seen. Disappointed does not cover it. To give those of you who know me an idea of how terrible this meal was, I ate the raw tomatoes in the plate, with enthusiasm! The only saving grace of the meal was the bread. Traditional Sardinian bread is flat and thing, much like a papadum. Imagine the best parts of a crisp and a very good naan. That's what I ate this evening. That's pretty much all I ate this evening..

I thought it couldn't get any worse, but then a family arrived at the door, greeted me with an awkward "Buonasera" and proceeded to stare at me awkwardly. I have since deduced that they thought me to be a member of staff eating dinner on my break! They were seated and treated with the same coldness as I was by the manager/waiter/cook man, perhaps because they too turned their noses up at the endless array of antipasti. They then continued to sit, in silence. This was very difficult for me because I was trying not to laugh out loud at my book, a challenge rendered more difficult by the fact that I had drunk all of my wine and eaten very little of my food... I finished as quickly as possible and hurried out to the square.

There was only one thing that could fix this... coconut gelato. I'm sorry to all of you who are fans of American ice cream, or French ice cream or whatever other kind of iced goodness is made in this world, but they cannot make this flavour anywhere as well as they make it here (with the exception of mainland Italy, of course). So the day wasn't a total disaster. But tomorrow, I'm ordering pizza!

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