As the clock strikes 9pm we've reached that time of the week to pause and take a snap-shot of where we are, what's been going and what's about to happen. So with gas heater turned on, (1 bar for the record), scarf wrapped around neck and blankets putting the icing on the warmth cake, I shall commence with this week's Ischia on Sunday Blog.
As I've already discreetly alluded to, we're not enjoying the warmest spell of the year right now and the weather has largely dominated proceedings over the last 7 days leaving those of us who travel around on two scootered wheels somewhat restricted. We've had lots of rain, storms with spectacular bolts of lightning and even hail-stones at one time or another but the great news is that we seem to be over the worst of it and the next week should provide us with lots of sunshine, even if still feeling cold in the evenings.
For an island that lives and breathes tourism during the spring, summer and autumn, the winter provides a welcome break for its inhabitants and it's during this time that many Ischians decide to broaden their horizons, either by travelling or looking for inspiration closer to home. In terms of cultural activities it's a really interesting time to be in Ischia and to understand how the people fill their time during the off-season. Rather than simply idling away the time with the comforts of home, the people here tend to be more socially active, looking for interesting ways to entertain themselves and to feed their souls.
This tendency towards seeking new ideas and ventures has seen a surge amongst the island's young and middle-aged people to look at some of the ways in which things were done in the past and to learn how to apply some of those skills in their modern-day lives either for practical or cultural reasons. One such example of this is the "Borsa Verde" (Green Bag) project which allows people to barter for and exchange food and other goods. The idea is that you can offer any surplus food that's been grown in your garden or unwanted items that you have in the home to other people on the island that may be looking for those very things. You may for example exchange some vegetables that you've cultivated in your back yard for a piece of jewellery that you've seen on the list of available items. You negotiate or barter with your opposite number to come to an agreement that's acceptable to both parties and then the exchange is made. The project which was started last year is hugely popular as it allows people to make interesting new friends and learn all kinds of new skills such as how to make traditional recipes or create some hand-made item of clothing.
Apart from the Borsa Verde project there are dozens of other cultural initiatives that aim to ensure that the past traditions of the island are handed down to modern generations. Skills such as basket-weaving, pottery and the teaching of viniculture are all widely practiced on the island at this time of year which is so important in the annual cycle of life here. One of the most fascinating and fun initiatives has been set up to share the wonderful tradition of folk music and dancing that exists in Ischia with weekly classes aimed at inspiring a new generation with the effervescent roots of this important part of Italian life. La Tammorra is a style of folk-music that can be heard from Naples right across the southern regions of Italy with hundreds of local variations and styles in evidence. The dancing that accompanies the music is stylish and captivating, rendering any new observer hooked and eager to learn how it's done.
All of these cultural projects and initiatives are a great credit to all involved and highlight the special nature of the island and its people. We live in modern times and while Ischia does have the modern facilities that visitors require these days, it hasn't forgotten its roots and this just adds to the charm which oozes out of every one of the island's corners.
Looking ahead to next week we've got Valentine's Day coming on Saturday and there is simply no excuse for forgetting to treat you're loved one with every bar and shop filling their shelves with chocolates and all the little lovey-dovey nick nacks that ensure the day passes safely and without incident ;-) Following on from that there's Carnevale ("Mardi Gras" or "Shrove Tuesday" in other parts of the world) on Tuesday 17th February and I'll be explaining a little bit about how that all unfolds on next week's blog.
Anyway that's all from me for this week, I'll be on weather reporting duty throughout the week and of course here to help with any queries or questions you may have relating to your visit to Ischia and I look forward to hearing from as many of you as possible.
Sunday 15th February 2015 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Today's Saint's/Name Day: San Girolamo Emiliani, Giacomina, Jacqueline, Onorato.
Today in history: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is proclaimed Queen two days after the death of her father King George VI (1952)
Born on this day: American actor and star of the film "Avanti" which was shot in Ischia, Jack Lemmon (1925), actress Lana Turner (1920) & actor James Dean (1931)
Sun-rise (alba): 07:05 Sun-set (tramonto): 17:29
Hi, I'm Dion Protani, the creator of Ischia Review. I'm here in Ischia to tell everybody about this wonderful island and the weekly blog is designed to give you an insight into the culture and everyday life in Ischia.