Back when I was a callow youth - as opposed to a callower old fart - I spent a few summers in Aix and the Provence area. After attending events at the Festival there I would head over to Salzburg for the Festival. I'm still wondering how I afforded those jaunts but then I was young, foot-loose, fancy-free and lived at my mother's home! Well there's the answer right there isn't it?
But I digress - that's the old fart at work - the first year I did the train trip from Marseilles to Salzburg (via Monaco, Milano and Innsbruck if I remember correctly)I recall sitting in a compartment with a lady who reminded me of Dame Mae Whitty in The Lady Vanishes; she was kind enough to put up with my bad French and we had a lovely conversation (or at least I think we did!). As we traveled along the coast the sound of what I thought were crickets - I told you I was callow - coming through the open window (no a/c in those days boys and girls and it was hot, boy was it hot) almost drowned out the clattered of the train. She explained that they weren't crickets, they were "cicadas" and they lived in the pine trees. She repeated the mistaken belief that they rubbed their legs together to make the sound but got it right about how it was all part of their mating rituals.
Okay so why this vague reminiscence about a train ride back in prehistoric times? Well the ferragosto quiet has descended around us here in Roma for the past few weeks (no traffic, few ambulances, neighbours all away), the temperature has been hitting the high 30s and we are surrounded by pine trees. Eccola!
There has been one over-sexed little chappie the last few days who's mating call has been particularly loud and particularly annoying. If someone doesn't come across soon he's going to drive us all mad!
24 agosto - San Bartolomeo apostolo