Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Italy 1 - England 0

Hurrah! AC Milan won the football. In the city where I used to live, I can imagine the scene. The thronging piazzas and bars, the hugging, the kissing, the jumping up and down, the beeping of the car horns, the grid-locked traffic now filling what, a few short hours ago, would have been empty streets - everyone glued to their TV screen. In my head that's where I want to be right now. In my sixth floor apartment in my handsome brownstone Rinascimento building, peering down on the rooves of cars, the tops of heads, seeing the lights, hearing the voices, feeling the energy and smelling the air. This is Italy. A land of optimism, passion and football mania. In England the same passions are more devisive, less endearing. I'll never forget when friends of ours visited. He was a dyed in the wool Chelsea fan. I took them to lunch on the Navigli (canals) - a little bar, some football memorabilia. We sat outside in a weak sun, me enjoying sharing with them these lesser known spots. Paul went to get another drink. He came back, a little giggle in his voice: 'I think I've just seen Cesare Maldini'. He was Italy's national coach at the time. I felt good that I’d provided, unwittingly, a little football high-point in the weekend for our friend. When we finally dragged ourselves away from an idle lunch, I showed them round a few more places, then we went home. That evening we decided to pop over to a restaurant just a stone’s throw from our flat. A simple pizzeria restaurant, full of buzz and chatter and the smells of a wood oven. We sat ourselves down. Ordered our bottle of red. There was a big party of people celebrating a birthday. A classic Italian family gathering. Paul started chuckling. It was Maldini again, this time with his famous football playing son, Paolo – star of the AC Milan squad and captain of Italy. Twice in one day. Of all the bars and restaurants in Milan, both places at opposite sides of the city. And both times without pretence or celebrity. Just getting on with their lives. It made Paul’s weekend. It made me think, ‘God, I love this place’. It’s hard to be unhappy in Italy. There’s always something to put a smile on your face.

I’m tired of England right now, you see. This fight to save our school has, to date, been all-consuming and exhausting. And ultimately so senseless. I’m tired of talking about it, thinking about it, worrying about it. The children have become feral, feeding themselves, taking themselves to bed, practically driving themselves to school. After the ‘big meeting’ last night with the Idiots in Suits where the parents and Village Hall Trust gave a presentation in front of 200 people, followed by questions, we went to the pub. Drained, still reeling from the surreality of it all. From the short notice, from the short-sightedness. The children got to bed at 11pm. One had to do SATS this morning, unbeknownst to me. Amidst all this chaos and uncertainty, their tiredness, the children still performed exceptionally well. Their performance a direct reflection on their teachers and their environment. The very environment the Suits are trying to destroy. I could weep. But I won’t. Instead I will fight. I needed a day off today though. A day to sort the laundry. Make sure the children have socks again and I have pants. To put a little order back into our dismantled domestic life.

14 comments:

JacquiMcR said...

Well done to you for everything that you are achieving. I know a little of what you are going through. In June our school will close and after the holidays the kids will move to a joint campus (if its ready). Although the old building is falling down, it is too small and there is just no room to expand. The other school is the same and so a new (sort of flat pack looking )building is the answer.

I am chairperson of the PTA and my hubby is chairperson of the school board. No we aren't desperate to control everything, its just that few parents want to get involved. Its the same few faces, over and over for whatever we try to do.

Sometimes it makes my blood boil, but what would be the point. Keep fighting your corner.

Take care and good luck - Jacqui x

Woozle1967 said...

So sorry to hear of your frustration. I can understand your love of Italy - my friend was going out with an Italian a few years ago and we spent a riotous 2 weeks driving the length and breadth of the country and popped over to Elba too. Wonderful! All of it - country, people, food, wine....... But the grass is always greener on the otherside (well, probably browner in the summer!) and your passion for the school is because this IS your homeland. If you were in Italy now and forever, then something there would eventually fire your passion because that is obviously the tpye of wonderful "sort it" kind of person you appear to be. Keep at it kiddo - without people like you so many terrible things would be allowed to happen through others' apathy.xx

Her on the Hill said...

Thanks so much Woozle and Jacuimcr for your encouraging words. I think now the adrenaline rush is over, I'm just feeling so tired and therefore a little dispirited. But I shouldn't really because there are a lot of people out there working on the cause with us. But we still have quite a short timeframe (July 6th) to get all our arguments, fully supported by facts and figures and submitted (and all the letters people are meant to be writing) to the Powers that Be. I hope I will come back in a better frame of mind after a break in France! Take care. x

elizabethm said...

sounds like you need a break. enjoy it, eat and drink well and forget about things at home for a few days. sounds like you are doing a marvellous job.

mountainear said...

Keep fighting for what you believe in. You're doing a great job - it's hard, hard work, no wonder you're exhausted.

Mark said...

Hi Carah. I'm sorry to hear about your trails with the school, but I must confess I dont have an insightful contribution to make, as I havent had time to read much of the blog (a 10-week-old baby will do that to you). But if you're who I think you are, do send me a mail: mark@markporter.com xxx

countrymousie said...

The suits seem to rule these days -in education, health - I suppose we all have to keep fighting until we are heard. You are doing wonderful things. Try and rest this weekend and fight on in clean knickers. love mousie

annakarenin said...

It is hard work fighting the system. We chose this village because like our old one the school was still here and still viable. If we had bought in a town closer to my husbands work the school would have been huge and I didn't want that for my boys by 11 they will be older and it won't be such a problem. What alternative are they offering you? and not to sound too pessamistic but can you see any benifits to it if it does have to happen? Like you I tend to go on the attack and fight my corner but I am trying to step back sometimes because it can be very hard and stressful like you say and sometimes you perhaps have to look at the alternatives for your own sanity, not easy though I admit.

Suffolkmum said...

Am out of date already with the blogs, desparately trying to catch up tonight. I can feel your frutration, and I can share it. Keep going, give yourself a treat from time to time.

Pipany said...

Hello again, HotH. Long absence but good to be back and reading your blogs again. I know exactly what you mean about being weary of England - though living in Italy sounds like the stuff that dreams are made of to me! Over-run by petty beaurocracy here and all the good things disappearing until we are one homogenous mass whereas other Eropean countries seem to retain their identities. So sad. x

Exmoorjane said...

What a lovely tale - why is it we're so consumed with celebrity in this country? james was pleased with the result too - he's a Newcastle fan first and then an AC Milan fan (why? No idea!). How wonderful that you lived there! I had the most furious row in the world with Adrian outside Rinascente (sp?) - it was so ferocious that we had a little group of spectators who cheered when I finally stalked off in fury!
Now I want to know more about Italy and your life there.....
So sorry to hear that the school fight is taking it out of you so much. It does indeed make the blood boil, as Jacqui says....
janexxx

Grouse said...

I was sure I'd left a comment here but just popped back to see if there was any news and there is nothing there.
Never give up! You must have such mixed feelings about Stoney Middleton.....at least it can be done but why them and not you? If it all gets too much you can come over and sit in my kitchen and rant over a coffee. But never give up. If the school doesnt make it you will know you did everything you could.

Cait O'Connor said...

I know how you feel as I think I mentioned in an earlier comment re. the libraries, our local quarry, our hospitals, our county's public toilets even! Schools are on the agenda again now. No wonder you love Italy so.
Very best wishes to you, keep up the fight.
Caitx

Woozle1967 said...

Just popped in to see if you are back - we miss you.x

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