Italy today. Naples, and then the last boat to the island of Ischia.
Floored. This is how I have felt for the past few weeks. So tired I am in that wretched state of being totally unable to sleep, as though I am a ghost haunting my own life. I stood in Waterstones book store yesterday afternoon, searching for a book I wanted to read. Something strange with my vision, my hearing. There was a flamenco dancer in the store, whirling around in red, clicking the concave shells of her castanets. I left without buying anything. I don’t think I want to read a book. I just want to look at the sea, stretch my eyesight again to a broader horizon.
Upon a personal recommendation, we have booked a hotel in Sant’ Angelo Bay, a fishing village nestled beneath rugged hills and what I have read to be the westernmost active volcano of the Campanian plain. The cliffs are abundant with fig and olive trees. The sea-water is meant to be medicinal in the inlets & coves, the settlement situated on an ancient thermal spa. It looks warm and cloudy blue. I am craving the oblivion of fitful afternoon naps under lemon trees and wearing pale, ethereal dresses, the efficiency of Italian waiters and not having to cook, the numb blankness of a white hotel room, the whirring of ceiling fans and air conditioning. Being somewhere I have no connection to, no memories of, no expectation of, other than a beautiful view.
We left it to the last, abrupt minute to see whether our hospitalized motorbike would return, planning to ride down to Paris and then on, down the west coast of France. But biking is physically demanding. And once you are riding, you always want to move on again, to the next town or village or beach, strap up your packs, feel the hum and throb of the engine as it starts, the early morning light. Motorcycling is becoming addicted to journeying for the sake of the journey, visceral discomfort, an aching back, but the thrill of new land to be crossed, and perhaps, somewhere more beautiful, more untouched, further on, around the corner. It is grit under your fingernails and grease stains across your jeans, sweat, speed. And all we want is to lie very still in a luminous film of sun tan lotion. And order room service. And swim.
I am staring at my wardrobe, wondering what to pack… It is amazing how wintry my British summer apparel is, when faced with sultry Italian heat.
My sister, this weekend heading to the Blenheim Game Fair, exchanges me some dresses for my Barbour. Here’s what finally made it into my Longchamp Le Pliage bag: straw hats, vintage silk shirts, silk tea-dresses, breton, Jigsaw espadrilles, straw ballet pumps, Minnetonka mocassins, gladiator sandals, bangles from The Silk Road by Sally Dudmesh, jade bracelet, vintage cuff, ivory armlet, Tsubi shorts, Calvin Klein and Ray Ban sunglasses, vintage 1940′s navy jacket, mustard slacks from Comptoir de Cotonniers, gold hoops earrings from Jigsaw, woven straw bag. And not forgetting tickets, passport and Ambre Solaire!