The heat bore down on my head as I crossed the car park of Il Redentore. The door handle to the hire car was almost too hot to touch and the seat burned the backs of my legs as I sat down. I cranked up the air con to full blast, letting the coolness fill my lungs. Then I began to feel excited.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I wasn’t enjoying the festivities. After all, it’s not everyday you get invited to a traditional Sardinian wedding with all the wild boar, seafood and herbaceous liquors you could ask for being (literally) handed to you on a platter.
However, I was finding the 40 degree heat a struggle and the continuous effort to communicate as the only foreigner at the party was a strain. I needed a breather and the only escape was the road in this part of the island.
I took a right out of the gates and quickly realised I had made a mistake when the road veered towards the motorway. I imagined being forced miles away from my only reference point, before a slip road funnelled me, panicked and sweating, into the indistinguishable landscape.
Thankfully, this being the Sardinian countryside, I was the only car on the road so I casually swung it around and cruised off in the opposite direction.
No sooner had I passed by the venue than all signs of civilisation dissapeared. On either side of me, burnt yellow fields rose up towards the hilltops. Tufts of greenery still peppered the scenery, however, and great bushes of magenta flowers were bursting from the roadside.
Further on, the road opened out on to a spectacular straight, its vanishing point nestled far within the hills. I considered I should probably turn back at this point. It was hardly the most sensible idea to be driving away from the only place I knew, alone, in a foreign wilderness. But I also knew that adventure doesn’t often come from being sensible. So I put my foot down.
The grandfather clock had long since stopped, but now I missed it’s ticking.
On summer visits it had kept a stern watch over us, while we stuffed toasted cheese and biscuits into our mouths. I wondered now if it had simply been counting down towards the inevitable, a faithful minion to the God of time.
I turned my head slowly, letting my eyes fall on the pictures. As sure as her familial stories, the faces stared back; Dad at Bunesson, Muriel as a girl guide and the fallen film-star sister, beauty preserved before her marriage to alcohol.
I waited for a trembling finger to rise and the breathless stories to come. But only silence pervaded.
In her chair, the cushion sagged with an invisible weight.
For my great-aunt who passed away last month, aged 95.
Bristol’s talking cranes are getting some new conversation in July to coincide with a summer exhibition on Children’s TV at M Shed.
Although children’s TV programmes was a more specific subject for scripts than last time, I was able to find numerous facts and catchphrases to draw from as well as details on all the objects in the exhibition.
The first draft is now ready to go. Be sure to come and listen to the whole thing from 2nd July! For now, here’s a little taster:
Jacqui: I learned a thing or two today.
Hev: Blimey, that’s a first.
Jacqui: Quiet you. Listen, back in 1947, only 15,000 households in the country owned a television. Imagine that. All those people without any Corrie or Eastenders.
Hev: I can imagine that just fine, thank you. I’m more of a documentary type. So, what changed?
Jacqui: Well, apparently lots of people went out and bought a TV just so they could watch the coronation of our Liz in ‘53.
Hev: Is that right? It was her 90th in May and all. She’s been around even longer than us!
Jacqui: Can’t beat old queenie. Anyway, after the 50’s, television came along in leaps and bounds. Nowadays, there’s catch-up, Youtube, streaming off the interweb, I can’t keep up!
Hev: Between you and me, I don’t think we need to. We’re just a pair of cranes, after all. Better off enjoying the view.