June is the first month of summer. We all know that in the northern hemisphere. But sometimes it can be more summer than you expect. This June has been hot and I mean hot. I said last month that May was warming up nicely. Little did I know that it wouldn’t stop. Officially the weather apps said 38°C but our car thermometer has stated 44°C and the thermometer we have on the terrace in full morning sun reached 54.2°C and it is only June. Apparently, there’s an anticyclone from Africa hovering over us. A lot of countries worldwide have also experienced this intense heat. Well apart from the UK. I guess the jet stream flows over the UK, keeping them cool.
Food Tasting Night
We attended the tasting night for our friends’ Cimalonga restaurant. They invited local people for a free taster and asked for their opinion. They decided to do 11 tasting dishes to showcase what to expect when it does open, as they are doing international food the locals will not know the dishes. John and I went to help them out with setting up and offer moral support. I also helped to create the menu cards with a scorecard on the reverse. Around 26 people showed up. The evening was meant to be from 6pm until 10pm (curfew time), but people didn’t show until around 7.30pm onwards. Italians eat late because they finish work late. After waiting around hoping people would turn up, the restaurant got busy very quickly. Angela realised that they were running out of clean dishes and cutlery so had to do some washing up as the night went on. So, they were a waitress down and Denisa asked if I could help. Of course, I did. It was complicated at first to know who had what but I think it was OK and the people who arrived were friendly so that helped. By the end of the night everyone was extra full. 11 courses might have been a bit excessive, but at least they didn’t go home hungry. The food went down well, different people liked different things more than others. Overall I think it was a successful night. The Cimalonga team were very tired, they worked very hard and I don’t think they will do 11 courses again. A very well done to all, it is good to know that it will never be that intense for them again.
Swimming in the sea
As the temperature has warmed up, so has the sea temperature. This means I should get in the sea. If you do not know already, I can’t swim. So Denisa and Angela decided they will help me to learn. So, one day I bought one of those foam pool noodle things (I know, a technical term that could be made into a loop and went in. There is a spot in Scalea’s long beach that has large rocks and pretty much acts as separate natural swimming pools and does not get too deep too quickly. Funnily enough it is called the Natural Pools of Ajnella (Piscine naturali di Ajnella). So, I have been there a few times gaining confidence in the water. I am really enjoying being in the water, I wish I bought a noodle sooner. As the weather has got hotter, it is too hot for me after 12pm. Therefore, John and I have been going in the morning before the major heat of the day and before it gets busier. Scalea has more visitors now and the free parts of the beach is getting busier especially later in the day.
I have also been in the sea in another beach. One morning we went to a beach in San Nicola Arcella called Baia Azzurra. It is quite near to us and has a Blue Flag, so we were interested. We have been on this beach before about 2 years ago, but only walked on it. It is a very nice-looking sandy beach with small boats a little way off. It is very picturesque. On the way down, there is a carpark which you pay to park (an obvious sign it is summer) and then walk down a good number of steps, passing what looks to be old beach sheds. The views going down are amazing and the sea looking very clear. We arrived at around 9.30am so it was still quiet which was great. The sea was warm, but unfortunately the seabed drops quite quickly which knocked my confidence, I still like to feel the ground when I put my feet down – it is early days. But I kept at it, not going out too far and enjoyed floating and trying to swim to shore. There was one problem with it being quite steep. As I was going backwards towards the shore, the shore comes too quickly and I found myself basically beached. I wasn’t sure how to get up as my feet were deeper than the back of me. John being the gentleman he is, pulled me up, but a bit too quickly as his foot slipped, so I let go as I thought I would fall forward into the sea. And John splashed into the water – oops. But I worked out how to get up when it happened again – ha-ha. When time went on, more people arrived and the sun was getting hot, so we left, but we will return.
Thought I would take this opportunity to say that the whole of Italy is now in a white zone, hence more visitors to Scalea. This means there is no curfew and everything is open. The only thing we must do is wear masks inside, like shops, supermarkets, restaurants and bars (but not at the table) and also if outside when you cannot keep 1 metre distance from other people.
John is covered
John has received his vaccination. He had the Johnson & Johnson (Janssens) one, people seem to like to know. This mean he only needs the one dose, so he is fully vaccinated.
We went to Diamante and when we arrived there was a lot of people around, no real queue apart from at a desk. So we went to the desk and John checked in and was given a ticket. Now he had to wait until his number was called. As John can be an impatient person, he sort of pleaded ignorance to the man at the door. I think it worked as he was let in. I had to wait outside.
John said later he was told to sit and he had to wait. After a while he was called and sat to complete a lot of forms asking about allergies and the like. Then he went to a separate area to receive the vaccine and then waited for 30 minutes to make sure he didn’t react. There was an ambulance outside if anything major happened which was assuring. So all in all it probably took about 90 minutes. It felt like ages for me waiting outside. I walked towards the door a number of times to see where he was. I saw him in the first chair, then a little while later sat going through forms, then I couldn’t see him. So I went by the sea to have a sit down as I was tired of standing and bought a couple of bottles of water. Several minutes later John called to say he was out.
John was told he had to see his GP the following day, thinking it was for another jab but I told him that it should be only one dose. Maybe he needs to get the paper he received stamped or something. We were confused. We asked Ivan to call the doctor as we don’t have the number (we have now) and he can ask properly in Italian to ask if he needs to do anything. But he said no, it is only 1 dose. So we have no idea what that was about.
Being fully vaccinated means that John can have a Green Certificate as proof of his vaccination, so he can travel throughout the whole of the EU. It also means if Italy returns to having multi zones he can still travel within Italy. We thought he may need to see the GP for that, but we would wait a few days to see what happens as the certificate wasn’t available until mid June. But we had nothing to worry about, it was very straightforward. A few days after receiving the vaccine, the Italian Ministry of Health sent him a text with a code, to go on to a website and complete the form and download the certificate.
If you are wondering I have mine booked for early July, I don’t know which one until the day.
A birthday to celebrate
June is Tony E’s birthday month, so of course we got together celebrate. Tony made a curry as that is his speciality and Tony N made a moussaka for anyone who doesn’t like curry. To go with that, John and I made a chutney and onion bhajis. It was all tasty and it all disappeared. Tony had some lovely presents. A truly nice moment was that everyone sang Happy Birthday to Tony, which of course is normal. But this time it was sung in different languages, English, Italian, Swedish, Slovakian and German by the people originally from those countries. It just happened with no planning so it was a lovely touch.
Produce growing and not
I thought I would share what we are trying to grow in our little garden. I always buy seeds to try and grow with various success. Last couple of months I sowed tomato seeds, chilli seeds, basil seeds, coriander seeds and bought herb plants to grow bigger. The tomato plants seem to be happy. I chose the large salad type tomatoes. The plants are now taller than me with quite a few fruit. We did have strawberries but their time is now over and they were very tasty. The chillies are growing nicely but not flowered yet, hopefully soon. The basil seeds didn’t really grow but we have bought plants so that was not a problem, just disappointing. I decided to plant 5 lemon seeds from local lemons that Miro harvested to see what happens. I was expecting nothing but they sprouted in 2 weeks and seem to be growing nicely. Oregano is doing very well. But the rosemary plant died for some reason, so we bought a new one to try again. I enjoy trying to grow herbs and flowers, but frustrating when it doesn’t work. I also tried chive seeds but they didn’t sprout at all, maybe a dodgy batch or something. I will try again later in the year after the intense heat of the summer.
Hopefully, we will be able to eat the tomatoes next month once they are ready and the chillies decide to flower. It has been difficult to keep the different plants watered how they like in this heat as our garden is basically a large pot, so we’re watering daily but trying not to water the drought hardy herbs so much, because they like to be dryer.
Our cat Freddie is struggling with the heat a little bit. He basically searches for shade in the day to sleep and then is out all night when it is cooler which is still mid-20s. Luckily there’s plenty of places for him to go. He moves from place to place. As we face east, we get the sun in the morning, he stays out somewhere until about lunch time. He then sleeps around the house and garden. He cools down on our floor tiles in the apartment. He seems to like drinking out of my little watering can that I use to water small pots. I fill that up and leave it out for him in a shady spot. He still has water in the house he just prefers to drink out of a tiny watering can. He sleeps next to it too, probably cooling himself down. I do ensure I change it at least twice a day, because mosquitoes are rife now and apparently, they lay eggs in still water. We definitely don’t want more.
I thought I would leave you with Freddie just sleeping as that is all he does in this heat, which is the best thing anyone can do. So, if you are in a hot zone take care. If you are not, of course you take care too.
See you next time.