Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BOH! Ramblings of an Elderly Curmudgeon!

Well this coming Friday is going to be pretty exciting - all sorts of wonderful things happening this weekend. Yes, you guessed it! We are finally heading up to Siena to spend the weekend in one of the glories of Renaissance Tuscany. Strangely despite the fact that it is a major tourist destination there are no direct trains from Roma - you have to change from an EuroCity to a regional train at Grosetto. So we will get to see the stations in Citavecchia, Grosetto Montepescali, Sticciano, Roccastrada, Civitella-Paganico, Monte Antico, Buonconvento, Monteroni D'Arbia and before arriving in Siena.  On the way back on Sunday we'll add 12 more stations to the list.  Strano as they say here. Molto strano!
Used by permission: Boston Public Library, Print Department
Now apparently by being in Siena we will miss a few things that have been making the papers lately.  Friday is some sort of nuptial things for the Windsor-Mountbatten family in London- yes I am a royalist but frankly all this carry on is starting to get on my nerves.  I remember the last big one and getting up at some ungodly hour to watch it.  We had mimosas and blueberry crepes with the whipped cream done in the shape of the Prince of Wales' three feathers - no I'm not making this up!  I remember that our friend Jim wouldn't let us touch the champers until the magic words had been spoken by the Archbishop of Canterbury:  Those who God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.  Well we all know how that turned out don't we?  Several men and women were putting things asunder all over the place.  We should have started drinking earlier!

The New Yorker can still, on occasion, come up with a witty observation of world events - and for me this week's cover by Barry Blitt pretty much sums it all up.
And there has been so much publicity of the tabloid sort - even on the BBC - that the whole thing could be mistaken for a popularity grab by a moribund institution or a tourism campaign during a period of economic decline.   So I will not be taken in by the "night before" interviews of the happy couple, the breathless description of the wedding dress or the red carpet gushing over the guest list or whatever else the media has up its sleeve.  I wish them all happiness and sincerely hope it is a good and successful union - I just don't particularly want to be caught up in it.
I think, like the ceremony itself, I'll give this John Paul II Beatification souvenir T-shirt a pass.

And being in Siena also means we will be missing the Beatification of John Paul II  this weekend here in Roma.  Posters have been appearing all over town, I spotted a group of giddy nuns putting one up on a wall in our neighbourhood yesterday.  It is expected that several hundred thousand people will be crowded into Piazza San Pietro for the Mass on Sunday.  There have been some rumbling about the rather unseemly haste in process in making J2P2 a saint but that would appear to be a minority opinion at both the Vatican and in Roma.  The hotels are full, the restaurants are doing a thriving business and the souvenir sellers are smile beatifically.  Again one would almost think that it was a popularity infusion for a troubled institution or a jolt of prosperity for a slightly flagging tourist industry.

Or perhaps I am just turning into a cynical old curmudgeon who finds little joy in another Royal Wedding or the smells, bells and dreadful singing in the big church in the country across the river.  I'll leave these events to those who do find joy in them with all my best wishes.  But this weekend I think I'll just make my way through Castelnuovo Berardenga, Sinalungo and other equally exotic sounding towns, climb the Tour di Mangia, gaze in awe at the frescoes of The Good and The Bad Government and drink some of the remarkable local wines. That will be enough excitement for me.

27 aprile - Santa Zita


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4 comments:

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

I'd give my left little boob to be able to go to Tuscany.sigh*

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I laugh at the apt parallels you've drawn for both troubled institutions and flagging tourist industries! And that New Yorker cover is hilarious -- have not seen it before!

yvette said...

Quite right! Best prospect : tasting the local wines! Cheers!

David said...

Much wiser. Here it's quite possible to ignore it all - and I have no strong feelings either way, except that this and the nonsense Obama has just been putting up with distract from dynamically awful situations in the rest of the world (like a bomb going off where we've just returned from and half the Middle East still going berserk).