Milan is a deformed circle lying prone under a spiderweb of roads, radiating from countryside to centre. More grey than gracious, her smog spreads along the Padanian plains. Life is … Continue reading Start here: My Nonna’s Milan
‘And so, how did you all end up in Milan?’ ‘Ah, well. So, nonna was young and she was a beautiful woman, she started having men who were… hanging around. … Continue reading From small-holder to seamstress
But Gaia, you tell me to come to England, but I, you have to understand, I’m of a certain age. I need, after I’ve eaten, to have a lie-down, to… … Continue reading You have to understand, I’m old now.
‘So after my father come home from Conegliano, from the market, and he started feeling ill. Call the doctor. Pneumonia. We didn’t have the vaccine back then, capisci. So. Go … Continue reading The Owl and the Devil
So. Back to me. My father worked, you know, etcetera, and one Friday he goes to the market in Conegliano… well my father had got the mala…. that illness that … Continue reading The priests’ law.
My Nonna’s Italian is part day-to-day, part historical artefact. Her life-span travels from the dawn of the short twentieth century to the teens of the two thousands; her life’s geography … Continue reading Author’s note: translating dialect
There is no word for a badante in English. It translates as a live-in care aide, or live-in nurse. Overwhelmingly female, overwhelmingly foreign; often mistrusted. … it wasn’t like it is … Continue reading Badanti- foreign carers in an ageing place
Viale Bulgaria, Milano, 2013 – Nonna looked up from the dropped stitches – So, my father. We did alright you know, we had servants. Servants? Oh yes because… pick up … Continue reading That one, she’s in raptures
Gypsies: Duna Verde, 199(?) — 200(?) I have no idea what the current bogeymen of young Italian children are; they have no doubt moved with the times. When I was young it … Continue reading Of bogeymen and women
Viale Bulagria, Milano, 2013 She pauses, iron in hand, squinting at the brushed blue silk and its invisible tears. ‘You know I was only ten when they sent me to … Continue reading A stitch in time
London 2011 Striding along; it feels like summer and I am late. I am always late. Time seems to mean so much to others and so little to me. Checking … Continue reading Enter the silk dress