I was half hoping that the Canale Fiorito Festival might be better organised this year, given that I had actually been allocated a space (number 23). Typically though, when I went the previous evening to see where it was, (a spray-painted number in the road) the sequence went 20,21,22,24. An official I accosted said I could use space 22, but previous experience told me this meant trouble.
However, the festival was not to be. We arrived in pouring rain next morning and unloaded all my boxes of English things. Filippo brought me a table, but unlike previous years when chaos reigned, it was suspiciously quiet. Eventually we found out that it had been cancelled because of the weather but those who wished could stay. The entire numbered road was empty of stalls when in other years there were 30-40 along the canal.
Bill had driven the car away once we’d unloaded, so my friend Clare and I stood in the pouring rain wondering what to do. We gave up.
But all was not lost. I had a text message from my friend Paola who loves English bric-a-brac. In the afternoon she brought several friends round to the garage and they left clutching packets of tea, jars of marmalade, pieces of Wedgwood, plates and cutlery, so everyone was happy whilst waiting for the weather to change. Ironically the next day it reverted to its usual cloudless perfection.