Saturday, May 31, 2008

Soft as Sand

Good news for the Positanese ! It's said that the council will organize sand to be brought in from the neighbouring main beach at Positano to temporarily compensate the loss of the public beach at Fornillo. Something soft to put a towel on ? Lets hope it lasts till I get there.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Flippin' Jellyfish

It seems that the jellyfish are paying Positano a visit again this year. There have been reports of waves of unwanted floaters hitting our beaches already.

In Australia when I was young, jellyfish meant segments of transparent debris from the sea which were washed up on the sand especially for us to play with and squelch between our toes.

In Positano, it is a different story. It means entering the water with trepidation and looking down all the time rather than enjoying the swim. These jellyfish are rather insidious and difficult to see most of the time, even if the water is crystal clear. They are very small with long stinging filaments. People dive in with masks on to be able to see them under water and get stung all around the mouth. I have only once had the misfortune of being brushed by a jellyfish because I am usually over cautious. That was enough for me and I'd been only lightly touched.

The cry of 'Medusa, Medusa' leaves people scrambling to get out of the water and has little children running gleefully with their nets in order to scoop the culprits out of the sea. A jellyfish cemetery is created on a corner of the beach and all the gelatinous mass is left to dry in the sun. My third child, about five years ago when he was ten, was playing in the water. The cry 'medusa' came up, and my son got out his net. There were a few critters in the water so he fished them out. Then he saw another, further into the deeper water and dove in with his net. As he drew this one in, he didn't see a second jellyfish on his side and managed to squash it under his arm. He still bears the scars.

Local's reaction to a jellyfish sting is rather varied. Most say to go to the bar to have some 'ammonia' put on the area. Others grab a hot stone and place it on the burn (ouch ! ). There is a spray available to cool the sting a little. But they are mostly philosophical saying that if there are jellyfish it means that the water is clean. (I have seen the opposite on some days).

But the best jellyfish story I've heard, came from my husband's cousin . Years ago when her sons were young and two terrors, the same antics regarding the fishing of jellyfish went on. One day, they forgot to bring their net with them. The eldest had a pair of flippers on for snorkeling, so when the Medusa cry went up, he remediated as best he could and picked it out of the water with the top of his flipper . When he went to dump it in the delegated spot, the jellyfish stuck to the rubber and to get it off, he flipped it. The jellyfish went flying through the air and landed on the back of a poor unsuspecting lady who had been sunbathing on the beach. The screams as it stung her!! She had welts all over her back. It was some time before they showed their face on that beach again.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Criticize Not, Want Not

As a new blogger in town, I am still timid about what I publish. For heaven's sake, I still haven't learn't how to use it yet. (Does anyone know how to insert links in the text?) My views are only mine and although I don't want to harm anyone, I do like to voice my opinion about the way things stand in town. There would be no point in my having this blog if I wanted to be just another blurb, only advertising the town's merits and beauties and ignoring the everyday frustrations faced by it's citizens.
It seems that freedom of expression on the Internet is being censored again as was discussed by Niki a year or so ago.
Today Positano News published a letter by the Mayor of Positano, who threatened to sue if they didn't remove what he said to be a defamatory remark left by an anonymous commentator on the site. The comment was frankly ambivalent as it didn't mention any names at all. Angelica in her Italian blog was of the same opinion
I just wonder how long I'll be left standing. I don't intend to lick any feet.

Bad Hair Day

Going to the hairdresser for me, is almost as bad as going to the dentist or the gynaecologist. In Luxembourg, the bill at the end is probably higher than that of a dentist or gynaecologist. A sharp intake of breath is obligatory at payment. That said, as soon as I get home I brush it back to its usual style. I am not happy with my hair.
The last salon I went to in Luxembourg, dates to two years ago. I went to the salon JD for a style or 'brushing' as they call it here. That is, a normal blowave, as my eldest son had graduated and the ball was that night. The chap (very trendy, as this is an upmarket place ) asked me what I was wearing for the evening. I replied 'A tailleur'. He said 'Then I'll do something soft'. Well when he'd finished, it looked like I'd spent all afternoon gardening and had my hair caught in the trees. The 'Tossed salad' look comes to mind. 'Redo it', I commanded and I came out with a simple bob and was 80 euros poorer.

I usually take the opportunity to go to the hairdresser while I'm in Positano. My favorite bloke is at the top of the hill. I have been going to him since he opened and he always takes the opportunity to walk out and greet me by name if he sees me walk past. Prices don't come near those in Luxembourg, but the real reason I go is because he is very polite, professional and also unspeakably cute. My last visit dates to Easter this year. I told him that I wanted a shoulder length cut and he could do what he thought best suited me. I was suitably chastised. He started by cutting two great wallops off the side, then scaling it all. By the time he'd finished, I resembled my mother, where as before, I'd resembled my daughter ! It seemed that the more he took off, the more the years piled on.
When my sister saw my shorn look, she quipped: 'You were probably shrugging your shoulders when you said you wanted it shoulder length!'.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fornillo Beach

There has been a lot of talk lately especially here about the eroded state of Fornillo beach. Wild seas in March this year, as in any year, have managed to eat away at another chunk of the beach on the left hand side. Naturally the said part, is the public area . When I first arrived at Positano over twenty years ago, I, being used to the endless unpopulated beaches in Australia, was overwhelmed by the umbrellas placed sardine style all along the beach. I quickly found my more secluded niche on the extensive public side of the beach. Having young children at the time and not wanting to cart an umbrella up and down the steep Fornillo stairs twice a day, I adopted a rock which served for shade on both sides and under the noon sun. If I decided not to return home for lunch, it even had a space for shelter underneath. This rock for quite a number of years now has lain right on the edge of the water. This year it is in the water. The sea has come in several metres onto the beach. The private beach 'Stabilimenti' have compensated in their turn by slowly enroaching into the public side regardless of petitions. What used to be a walk across the public beach, stops abruptly and is impossible to do without climbing over boulders. Any sand left is covered by rocks.

It is difficult to imagine that anything will be done. There are so many real problems in Positano that are not addressed or skirted around. Lack of funds; lack of permits; too complicated are common excuses. Illegal buildings continue to be built. If someone reports them, the local police will come and put seals on them. Behind the seals, the work continues. Retaining walls in gardens are built. Once the important work is done, these walls sprout windows and doors. Too late. I have returned to Positano to see villas form on the sides of the mountain. Huge scenic windows put in where a garden wall once was. Why don't people say anything ? Are they afraid of retaliation ? Is Positano such as close knit community that people turn a blind eye not wanting to get involved ? Even if it is to the detriment of the place they live in ? Some of this illegality is in very public places -does even the Council turn a blind eye ? You only have to look at Fornillo beach and wonder why these eye sores are still left standing.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Flowers Twice Over

I really am very lucky. I get to see things come into flower for the first time twice a year. Positano precedes Luxembourg by two months in flowering seasons. These bearded irises flowered for me while I was at Positano at Easter this year, in mid March.

These flowered in our Luxembourg garden only two weeks ago.

My husband brought back fresh peas from the garden in Positano in early May. Here in my vegetable plot they are still looking like this.

But perhaps the best surprise for me in Positano, was to see our wisteria's flower begin to open at Easter, notwithstanding all the rain that we had had. I had always just missed out coming just after the peak of flowering. Needless to say, it is only just coming to the end of its flowering in Luxembourg.