So on Friday I had a bit of a dilemma.
I was still feeling rather weak and sorry for myself and the hole in my abdomen was still somewhat painful, but we also had tickets to fly on Saturday morning to pay a whistlestop visit to my relatives in Italy.
In the end I decided to ignore the commonsense option and go to Italy. I hadn’t been for three years and my elderly aunt and cousins had never met the Minx, and I really wanted them to do so before we left for Seattle.
My relatives live in Cuneo, a largish town at the foot of the Alps, equidistant between Turin and the French border – a couple of hours’ drive from both the beaches of the Riviera and the slopes of Mont Blanc. With its spacious squares, colonnaded avenues, baroque palazzi and Art Nouveau patisseries, it is light years away from the typical Tuscan hilltop town of crumbling stone and fading paintwork which springs to most peoples’ minds when they think of Italy. The region is richly agricultural and renowned for good food and fine wine, and the town has a well-fed, contented, self-satisfied air, with none of the danger and excitement of say, Naples or Sicily.
I just about made it through the weekend on adrenaline and painkillers, but was so glad we went because Cuneo is where I always feel closest to my mother. She died twenty years ago of breast cancer but was born and spent the first half of her life in this town near the mountains and everywhere I look I see vistas she would have known and loved. I still think about her everyday and have missed her enormously since the Minx was born.
I chatted a lot about my mother with her sister, my aunt, who is now one of the few people who remember her well. We spent an afternoon in Arione, a stunningly beautiful Art Nouveau pasticceria which doesn’t look like it’s changed since it opened in 1923 and must have looked exactly the same when my mother lived here.
After being spoilt rotten all weekend, we left feeling well-fed, contented and self-satisfied, and although I’ve been feeling very tired since we got home, it really was just what the doctor ordered.
I didn’t take my camera out and about with me, so you’ll have to make do with not very good images found online. Off to get my staples out this afternoon. I think I can finally say I’m on the mend.