In transit

An interim posting while I stop briefly in London en route to Scotland… Have now left Parma after a week of turmoil and transition.

Yesterday was tiring. I had a couple more parcels to send, one 10kg and the other 5kg. I put the larger one in my suitcase and trundled heavily off with the smaller one perched on top, which occasionally flung itself off into the road from the sheer joy of cobblestones. I got to my destination, the post office on Tommasini, where I took my place in line and after a little wait was told that they were out of the forms to send things superficie, and that it would cost 95 euros to send the smaller package by the much speedier method dictated by the forms they did have.

So off I trundled to the main post office where I took a number, joined a queue and waited my turn. Only to find that they too were out of superficie forms.

Off I trundled to the third post office on via Verdi, where I joined a queue, waited my turn… and they had the forms! So that was that.

I found some tasty treats for lunch, washed them down with a little lingering Barolo (from dear Michele Chiarlo) and commenced packing the giant suitcase. Alas, it was too heavy for my friends at Ryanair, so I decanted a bag of surplus and set off for the only other post office open in the afternoon, way on the other side of town, which I very much hoped could supply me with both a box and a superficie form. And indeed it was so.

Meanwhile, my phone had died and I expended some time and effort cruising Nokia support forums for a diagnosis. Which was no answer at all once I realised that in my zeal for postal services the receipt I would need in order to get anything fixed under warranty was probably in a box of paperwork winging its way to Canada.

So I enter the communications void: no phone, no internet for the next month. I’m sure I’ll be sneaking away to the library from time to time, but if things go quiet here in the caff, don’t be alarmed.

I had, over the previous couple of days, discovered that for reasons I have either forgotten or never intended, I’d booked my travel to Edinburgh for Saturday instead of Sunday, when the residency actually begins. Which meant either changing the el cheapo ticket (which was not all that cheap, at least not in dollars) or spending about the same on overnight accommodations. But an emergency call to Scottish cousins yielded happy results and I’m one less problem to solve and looking forward to minor family reunion tomorrow afternoon.

This morning was just a quiet time of packing and discarding. I got myself a taxi to the airport when the driver asked if I knew there was a sciopero. I did, I said, my Italian skills growing ever more marginal, but I can still fly to London, no? He wasn’t sure, he said, as it affected trains and planes. Perfect. Just what I wanted to hear, having cleared out of my apartment, left the keys behind, arranged travel and accoms for the following day.

But he pressed on to the airport where all was, thankfully, as usual, and I stepped up to the check-in. The attendant looked distressed: it’s over weight! I know, I said, the tyranny of Ryanair’s 15kg limit never more acute than to someone leaving town after a year. She was as generous as she could be, but I had to cough up a few more euros before I could collect my boarding pass. Then I discovered (with the help of the security guys) that I still had the forbici that I’d taken to the post office yesterday stuck in a side pocket of my purse. And my belt and boots set off the alarms. And I’d forgotten to take the plastic bag of liquids out of the other bag. And I nearly left my laptop behind. But other than that… a piece of cake!

So, after a mercifully uneventful flight, landing and trip across London, I am packing and re-packing with post-Bonfire Night fireworks crackling around the neighbourhood, and there’s still too damned much stuff to take for a month in the castle. But I will get there. Ciao for now!

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