After breakfast and while I was writing, the sound of chainsaw resumed in the distance, the guys were finishing yesterday's job in the garden on the south side of the church. This time, lots of cutting up to do, to get manageable chunks of palm trunk down from the terrace to where they could be loaded on to a truck. They'd gone by the time I went to the shops to find those last minute things that Clare will appreciate finding when she arrives tomorrow.
I chatted with my usual veggie trader, enquiring about his two varieties of smaller fruit of the orange variety. Were the clementines or satusmas I was wondering. I bought the ones he recommended, but he threw in three of the smaller ones. "Per se educare" he said with a smile. A vendor with a vocation to teach about the produce he sells - great! He noticed my cross, and asked what was I. I explained I was the capellano anglicano di Sant Giorgio. He smiled and corrected my fudged pronunciation of 'Giorgio'. "I belong to the other lot" (in translation) he said, "But I don't go." How very Established Church of him, I thought.
It's been another rainbow day, sunshine and showers and now this evening wind and rain. The apartment is unusually hot, however, since the wind that howls tonight doesn't chill the house, on the north side of the church, as much as when I first arrived. The outside temperate is 11-12 degrees, warm enough to stroll without a topcoat, unless it rains.
On examination I discovered that notices distributed on Sunday advertising Christmas services omitted the Christmas Day celebration. After an exchange of emails with a church warden and secretary plus a couple of phone calls, a corrected file arrived, and I headed off to a place in the Piazza San Antonio where I was advised I could get copies printed and decent internet access at a price.
I've been nervous of this up until now, and as a result accumulated some 274 photographs to upload to my Picasa website, having been scared off the possible cost of uploading by mobile broadband, by stern notifications giving no idea of what the actual cost to end users of uploading or downloading data really means. At least with phone services you get an intelligible notification with prices. But how do I know exactly what a megabyte of data consists of, whether uploaded or downloaded? How many web pages, I can visit, how often, how many photos I can upload, and how many I can view? Please, service providors, tell me the bottom line, not in abstractions but in the real pages and files I want to shift.
Should I be bothered? A guy about my age in Edicole, the newsagents cum internet shop, was laid back and welcoming. I'd heard that i/d is requested, on counter terrorism grounds, thought not in my case. Silver hair and a european accent are passport enough of their own. It woudl be different too, if I'd been younger and browner skinned with an oriental lilt to my voice. It took a few minutes to print my poster copies. I paid €4 for 14, quite decent really - I was told it'd be expensive.
The half hour internet access slot I bought for €3. It took thirteen minutes to upload fifty megabytes of photos. I then spent the rest of the time writing captions and sending a few of emails, delighted to have decent speed internet with no latency in viewing or accessing files.
The other half of the downstairs part of the newsagents is given over to arcade gaming and slot machines. Thankfully it was a quiet time of day and only one person was playing slot machines. With half a dozen going at once it would have been unbearable.
Today I took a brolly for the first time, and joined the masses in using one. Here (probably) Tamil young men cruise the streets with an armful of brollies, hoping for custom from visitors caught unawares. They are bright eyed and charming, willing to put themselves out to earn a few euros. They fit in well to the Sicilian ethos.
This evening I'm cooking for tomorrow evening, as I intend to be out all day.