After reading something this morning I have been questioning what I am doing here. It has been 15 years and a lot has happened.
I lived with James in the country. I learned to ride a scooter and drive an ape’. I became ” officially ” an artist. I learned some Italian and a whole lot of other skills, such as strimming, olive picking, setting up a market stall , framing paintings…….
Then I lived in Pisticci in a little house by myself and bought another house and rented it to holiday makers, artists, writers and musicians. I took part in exhibitions and had my own in my house.
Then James died and I moved back to my first little house and tried to sell my rentable one. I sold my scooter when I couldn’t afford the insurance. I painted more and more and even liked some of my work.
All the time I enjoyed Pisticci. If I got a bit down I would go out for a coffee and would almost always find someone to chat to or at least greet. I enjoyed the scenery and the weather which made up for having not a lot of income. I almost enjoyed the adventure of selling a painting the day before the electric bill arrived. I had some help from time to time but mostly I survived.
I ate very healthily ( and monotonously) as my plan was not to need to ever go to the doc. No transport to go to appointments out of town. And being a bit lazy a whole day back and forwards on buses and waiting around didnt appeal. ( It took 6 hours including buses etc for a normal check up ) I cleaned my teeth a lot and virtually cut out sugar so I wouldnt need to go to the dentist.( almost worked.)
And I tried to make every day count.
Mostly it was ok. I had expected to have sold my little house ,which would have made a big difference, but am not alone in having that problem. I could have had a pension when I was 60 but am not alone in that either ….and I would rather be not so well off in Pisticci ( with sunshine) than Scotland.
Then there came the virus. I had just got my little house ready to rent again. I had one booking already.
And that was that.
I was ok during the lockdown. ( thanks to family and kindly strangers.) It was my chance to paint what I wanted to paint . And I did. I was in touch with lots of people. I started writing this blog so that I felt as if I had someone to tell how my day went. I enjoyed a lot of it.
But since life has become the “new normal” it is getting more difficult.
Today I wondered what I was still doing here. So I got a notebook out and started making lists.
The main point I think is that I have not taken into account how much the virus has impacted my life.
I was a bit ” teetering” before it , but there was always the genuine friendliness and outgoing people who live here. I think I have always been a bit of a loner and got by on a minimum of relationships. And here in the old normal it was perfect. If I needed a little friendliness or human contact I could just go out for a coffee , or to the supermarket or even ( though not often ) for a walk. And I would come back energised and ok.
But not now. It is hard to describe the difference , and it is maybe only 25% different. And that is also down to me. I don’t go out so much. I don’t always know when I am supposed to wear a mask and when not to. It’s not a big , big deal but to a” teetering” person it matters. My italian is even worse while muffled by a mask so I don’t talk as much. Just lots of little things.
However there is nothing I can do just now. And it is a relief to have a reason for feeling like this.
I have made a list of what I can do for the forseable future . And who knows by next summer , theoretically I could have a pension, have sold my house, there could be a vaccine and I could have painted a masterpiece and sold it for €1000 and actually published that book I was going to write. Finally , next month I might find out that I can stay here in Italy. That would be a good start.
Tonight I am drinking the good wine.