Me and old Sandro went out for another passeaggiata today. I don't use the term 'old' lightly. He's eighty two.
Today I was to meet him in Santa Margherita Ligure, a bus trip away, because he had some sort of eye test (or maybe ear test) in the morning. Obviously he didn't trust me to get on the right bus because he posted a little letter through the door which included an itinerary and a bus ticket.
We had a very romantic day, walking up to il faro (light house) in Portofino, walking across the mountains and stopping at lots of park benches en route. I found it easier to speak to him today, perhaps because he was speaking at the same rate you would speak to a puppy you're trying to train. That was until he suddenly became very impassioned and started speaking very quickly - something about his wife, being young and lots of belle donne (beautiful women). I just had to nod and say si and hope he wasn't confiding something terribly serious, like that he's a serial polygamist and had lots of affairs with beautiful women in his youth.
I've also realised that he's trying to set me up with his twenty five year old grandson. He keeps asking me why I don't have a boyfriend, which obviously makes me want to shout 'ITS 2016. DESTINY'S CHILDS' 'INDEPENDENT WOMAN' IS MY MANTRA' but then he calls me a bella donna and I'm too flattered to say anything.
He knows everybody in Liguria and we spend a lot of time kissing people's cheeks and going through the rigmarole of introductions. All of his friends are quite confused as to why he is spending so much time with a 24year old, particularly since my role in the family is quite blurry. We've started to go with 'G's friend', which obviously confuses people because I'm almost fifteen years her senior. Personally, I like to think of myself as a sort of 'companion', much like Jane Eyre. I think thats what I'll put on my CV, when I eventually go back to London.
Back in the car Sandro puts on his favourite CD, a compilation of his favourite music from films. It's a surreal moment when you find yourself driving around mountains with an elderly gentleman to the sound track of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, and finish off an eight hour walk with a rather spectacular duet of 'Something Stupid like I Love You'.
Am starting to feel much like Kate Winslet in The Holiday.