Sunday, December 20, 2009

August bank holiday and no waiters (16/08/09)

No one is happier than an Italian on the beach on Ferragosto (Feast of the Assumption) with the towel stuck next to them of the next person on the beach. They all moan and pretend to be annoyed that the beach is so crowded but they love it really. Like those postcards of tacky resorts on the Costa del Sol. Oiled men and women wiggling around in skimpy bikinis and tight Speedos, all eyeing each other up and down to see who has the best tan and best boobs, remade or natural. All the usual useless beach chat, I so totally cannot be bothered with it. Mio marito likes it though and seems to need these social occasions outside of work and thinks they serve to ensure people come to us.

It is true we have become the place to be for the summer two weeks … packed out and exhausting. We have worked three weeks non-stop without closing even a single night, in 40 heat. It is too much. It was never part of the deal that I would work through August! But it would be hard not to come in, with his mother on duty in the kitchen every night and the father on the till, but physically and mentally we are both exhausted.

Many compliments last night for the cooking and desserts. Our aiuto cuoco has handed in his notice, he is gong off to do a course in September. WE are relieved. Mia suocera is also leaving to accompany her daughter up north where she has a new job, and the granny is required to look after the children. We have even found a new aiuto cuoco already, with experience in London, so hopefully he will be a bit more international. Mia suocera has worked out that she knew his family and told us the following background: his grandmother was a gentildonna, a real lady, always polite and kind. But his father was a bit crazy, and known as Il bruciato because he had had his face burnt by the mafia (mia suocera told this with utmost normality like it was a regular occurrence). Anyway, all through school the father courted a girl who was friendly with ma suocera, they were like Romeo and Giulietta she said, only the balcony was missing said mio suocero, joking. He failed his final school exams because he was a rebel but his girlfriend made sure he studied and got them second time round, and then they talked of marriage but her family was completely against it. In the end he got another girl pregnant and so they married instead. And this was the aiuto cuoco’s mother. A good woman says mia suocera and a hard worker. But now the father has got back with the original love of his life at the age of 60 - she never loved another man and was ready and waiting for him! Like Garcia Marquez’s ‘Love in the time of cholera’.

During our brief hour of relax on the crowded beach we got an urgent phonecall from the kitchen to say that the waiter had fallen and hurt his hand at home and had turned up with a sling to work. Our only proper waiter. So we had to leave the beach in a hurry and find a solution. We thought of getting the dishwasher to serve tables and get his mate back to do the dishes but he was in a religious procession for the Assumption. I suggested calling his sister, but my proud marito woudn’t call her. Ferragosto and we have no waiters! Unbelievable. It just seems that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong …

Lola

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