It’s been a good few months since I’ve written a non- histro-detective blog, but I guess a Mayday is a good time to start a new course of chiccachiare – that means ‘chit-chat’ in Italian & indeed that is the land from which I have only just returned, landing in Edinburgh airport yesterday afternoon & apparently bringing the sunshine with me. On my arms was my beautiful new muse & girlfriend, Miss Elinor Dickie, my constant companion for the previous two weeks as we took advantage of the cheap Ryan air flights between Edinburgh & Cagliari (£40) in Sardinia. This, combined with the out of season price-plummet that occurs across Ausonian shores, meant that we only paid a tenner a night each for lovely properties. The first one was a villa in Flumini, a tranquil seaside village a half-hour’s bus-ride from the Sardinian capital. We were sharing it for the weekend with Victor Pope & our name drummer – Jonny – who had brought his girlfriend, Dee, a long for the ride – here’s a shot of us in recent action as THE VICTOR POPE BAND.

We had a cracking four nights, perched on the beach, or barbeceueing in our lovely garden; drinking beers, our sun-starved skins soaking up the rays as if we were fledgelings leaving the nest & encountering a little gabble of grubs. Cagliari really came alive on Saturday night, with the beers full of the dapper-youth, & us guys ending up in a mad disco-pop karaoke club til 3. The night ended with jonny accidentally smashing a window in our apartment which, good on him, he became pro-active about the next morning, removing the frame, finding the Italian for ‘glazer’ (vetraio) & pointing me in the right direction – it only cost a tenner to replace the glass so no harm done.

The Sardinian flag - the four heads are decapitated sacracen pirates

On Tuesday, the guys returned to Edinburgh, leaving me & Ellie to our own devices for a week. We moved 100k up the island, to a wee village called Massama just outside the compact, bustling city of Oristano. It was here that we tasted the real Sardinia, mingling with the locals far from the tourist trail in off-season tranquillity. Indeed, our arrival coincided with an annual festival to Saint Mary, of which we made a wee film using our camera-phones. Which as you will see was pretty good fun!

Me & the Lass

During the dancing we got chatting to this lass – Julia – who is off to Edinburgh herself on the 17th May. This began an exchange of tour-guidism, for the next morning she whisked me & ellie on a tour of the coast line to the north of Oristano, a wonderful mix of breathtaking views & fabulous beaches, including the remnants of a Punic-Roman city called Tharros. Talking of history, on one occasion we caught a train to the treeless yet evergreen Sardinian hinterland, where near the town of Marcomer we came across the fantastic remnants of a Bronze-Age civilisation the Sardinians called Nuraghe. While observing the still intact towers I couldn’t help but notice their similarities to the brochs of northern scotland… a comparison which has been noted by scholars. Then getting out my Ptolemy I found the tribes that dwelt in that part of Sardinia were known as the Corsi and the Carenses… The tribes in scotland who lived in the broch areas were given by Ptolemy as the Cornovi/Cornavi and the Cerones. It seems now that the Sardinian Corsi also settled in Scotland as either the new -novi- cor the sailing -navi- cor.

So all in all, a lovely trip to Italy & a great way to start the summer of 2013, which seems like its going to be fun. Indeed, it heralded the commencement of my first period of personal poetic composition since I completed Axis & Allies two winters ago. I have lain fallow for some time now, in which several seeds were planted which I shall cultivate throughout the summer. So far I have completed four poems of a series concerning the death of Garibaldi, who died in Sardinia. Here’s one for starters;

And so he sleeps…
Snow-white poncho drapes his heavy corpse
As if he were the highest of the Alps
Gravely honoured by pickets in silenzia
Who feel this is the honour of their lives

To see this tender Chapelle Ardent
It seems the whole of Italy has come
& will come yet
O noble Mecca of the brave Risorgimento
An Augustus of Rome
Alighieri of Ravenna
A demagogue dutifully deified

Night falls
Urania rises, & the stars
Shine happily tonight
For as each soul on leaving mortal clay
Bright star becomes
Come seldom-times, those rarest of the rare
There shall commence a lustre yon compare
It happens once a century or less
& this today, by Italy’s slender moon
Guissepe Garibaldi ever shines.

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