From inside locked-down Italy, reflections on family life in Verona
Wake up bright and alert. No problem getting out of bed these days. I'm sleeping less than normal but hop out of bed anxious to know what's going on.
The house is still and quiet. I open the shutters. It's already bright outside.
I spend half an hour catching up on the news and social media. Confirmation that yesterday Italy recorded it's slowest rate of new coronavirus infections since the outbreak began last month, hopefully a sign that the isolation measures are working? A tiny glimmer of hope for a nation that has sacrificed so much in the last week or two. On the other hand, notification that the army is to be deployed on the streets of Verona to enforce the lockdown is a sobering indication of just how seriously the authorities are taking the issue here in Verona.
In better news, MOTD have announced the launch of a new podcast. My appetite for football has perhaps understandably waned of late but perhaps this is just what I need?
Sebo (5) wakes. Introverted and self-contained, I get the feeling that he quite likes the lockdown! Mrs H. goes for her morning workout. We're up and running!
First task of the day is some emergency repairs on his Panini sticker book which has seen better days. Must remember to add sellotape to the shopping list!
My eldest (Leo, 11) has got an online maths lesson at 14.30, so I wrestle with the passwords for the platform that we'll need to access the lesson. His school were completely unprepared for a crisis of this nature.
Coffee and cake on the balcony. We're lucky - it's east facing and we get some glorious sunshine in the morning.
Ten minutes behind schedule, School of Dad is up and running. History of Art for Leo to kick things off. Sebo is happy browsing our Tintin collection, so we leave him to his own devices, while we familiar ourselves with the key features of Gothic design and architecture.
Sebo joins us for a short video that summarises the Odyssey. Leo then reads him a synopsis of La Maga Circe, a fleeting moment of harmony, coherence and endeavour that teachers must live for!
We take a thirty minute break for coffee and snacks. I try unsuccessfully to entice the boys onto the balcony for some sunshine, but they're quite happy with the Tintin library on the sofa. I reflect on a missed trip to Berlin (I should have been taking the train tomorrow). We've provisionally rescheduled for October, but that seems like a very long way away.
Maths (never my strong suit) and the multiplication of fractions. I'm a bit rusty, but with some prompting it comes back to me. Leo's maths teacher is the most proactive of his teachers and the only one who has scheduled video lessons with his class.
Technology - the history and properties of paper (!). Sebo is quite happy doing his own thing (and who can blame him?).
With lessons finished for the morning I enjoy the last few minutes of sun on the balcony before it passes over to the other side of our building.
Mrs H. prepares lunch. All culinary tastes and dietary requirements are catered for, with a choice of vegetable risotto, pasta in bianco and tortellini in brodo. To satisfy the current appetite for the plucky Belgian reporter, we watch Tintin in America as our lunch hour draws to a close.
A few anxious moments waiting to be sent the meeting information for Leo's online lesson with his maths class scheduled for 14.30. It's only the second time he's had contact with his classmates and a teacher since the school holidays on 20 February (nearly a month ago), so we're all anxious that he is able to participate.
While Leo's doing his maths lesson, Sebo and I sneak off to watch another episode of Tintin.
As Leo's lesson is winding up, we have a tidy-up and prepare to head outside for the first and only time today.
It's shorts and t-shirt weather today as we catch the last of the afternoon sunshine in our communal garden. We've come to an arrangement with the other families in our block to ensure that the kids aren't in the garden at the same time, in order to comply with the prohibition of children congregating in public spaces.
Perhaps it's my imagination, but I notice an occasional expression of sadness on Leo's face - and who can blame him? He'd much rather be playing with his friends than with his old dad and five-year-old brother. I remember how important my friends were at that age and feel really sorry for him. Despite everything, he's behaving with admirable good humour and grace (most of the time anyway).
Our match is interrupted with an inevitable tantrum (another marginal offside decision), perhaps a necessary release of pressure, but we leave the garden in good spirits.
I prepare for a quick trip to our local supermarket to pick up a few provisions. Leo settles into an online game with a friend who has contacted him out of the blue. It's something I would have normally frowned upon, but in these circumstances, I'm just grateful that he has the opportunity to play with someone!
The short cycle to our local supermarket is a surreal experience. The cycle path that passes between playing fields and vineyards and connects our street with the neighbouring village is deserted. At the supermarket there are few customers. The shelves are incredibly well-stocked. Even the meat counter is full of freshly prepared produce and I exchange a few pleasantries with our butcher who is curious about how the UK is dealing with the crisis. It's a small family run supermarket. They are tired, bewildered even, but stoically provide a crucial lifeline service.
Back home and it's time to start thinking about dinner. I wait anxiously for news of the official casualty figures for the day. The news isn't good. Today's death toll is high (475), the largest daily coronavirus death toll anywhere in the world, bringing Italy's grim tally to 2978. Sad news also from Parma, where there have been 34 deaths in 24 hours. A sliver of hope is that the daily upturn in cases is just 13.4%, compared to 25% a week ago.
Chips and cotoletta for dinner. Sebo's not a big fan of chips so he gnaws on a massive carrot with a remarkable gusto. For our daily dose of adolescent nostalgia, we watch an episode of The Wonder Years.
The kids adjourn to the sofa for Guess my Age (another family favourite).
With barely a whimper the kids go off to bed. It's time for a glass of wine.
From inside locked-down Italy, reflections on family life in Verona
It is a peculiarity of the current crisis that mundane chores, things like putting the bins out or going to the supermarket, take on a massively disproportionate significance. One friend who lives nearby captured the mood thus:
“when you take the rubbish down to the bin there is a little bit of excitement and when you go to the supermarket you feel like a British spy in East Germany who's about to go over the wall!”
Putting the rubbish out has become a rare opportunity to escape the confines of the compound, to pass through the courtyard and out onto the street beyond. A task that I would normally put off until our recycling bins were full to overflowing, I’d then struggle down with all three bins simultaneously to avoid having to make two journeys. Now I relish the trip, not waiting until the bins are full, taking my time as I pass through our open courtyard, pausing to stop and listen, to take in the complete silence of our familiar neighbourhood in these unfamiliar circumstances.
But the silence is not absolute. While we have been confined in close quarters for the best part of a week, the first days of spring have taken us almost completely by surprise.
Tobias Jones this week observed that the natural world seems brighter or emboldened and I know many others have made similar observations. As ridiculous as it sounds, my trips to the bins have been accompanied by a heightened state of sensory awareness. The birds sing louder than before, the sky seems bluer, the heat of the early spring sunshine that little bit warmer. Perhaps there is a rational explanation for this phenomenon, as emissions data shows that concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere has plummeted above northern Italy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
For now, northern Italy remains at the epicentre of the global crisis, but here there is also a growing sense of foreboding for what lies ahead elsewhere, in particular in the United Kingdom and America, with whom we have such strong links.
While the numbers coming from our neighbouring region Lombardy are truly horrifying, the situation in Verona is less grave. As of 14 March, there have been eight deaths in city, with 19 people in intensive care. But we know that worse is to come. The city is bracing itself for more fatalities. High-profile figures including Giampaolo Pazzini are imploring people to stay indoors, while crowd funding pleas are circulating to bolster the city’s intensive care facilities.
Under the Italian social isolation measures (introduced nine days ago), you can only leave your house: (i) to go to work (if have to), (ii) for health reasons (for example to go to hospital) or (iii) for other essential reasons, which include food shopping. As all shops, markets and retail outlets except supermarkets and pharmacies are closed, a trip to the supermarket is one of the few permissible reasons for leaving your house (running and cycling is also permitted, as long as the 1 metre rule is respected).
Of course, in normal times, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but these days even a simple trip to the shops requires a degree of forethought and planning hitherto unimaginable. Aside from a shopping list, compiled with more care than usual, there is the added need to complete the autodichiarazione, the Ministry of the Interior form without which you cannot leave the house. Although I didn’t observe any checks in place, violation of the rules is punishable with three months’ imprisonment or a fine of up to 206 euros. I also thought about whether to wear a face mask, out of respect for those I come into contact with rather than any undue concern for myself.
The roads were noticeably quieter than usual, as all shops, bars and offices on the usually busy main road were closed. Ahead in the distance I noticed a conspicuous gathering of people outside the post office. As I drew closer, I realised it was a queue at the bus stop. About 10 or 15 people, mostly wearing masks, waiting in line a metre apart. It was a strange disquieting sight.
Although the supermarket car park (with space for perhaps 80/100 vehicles) was quite full, I didn’t have any difficulty finding a space and soon joined the line of about half a dozen or so shoppers queuing a metre apart at the entrance. Some, not all, were wearing masks. The mood was subdued, sober, calm. The entrance was manned by a supermarket employee. The queue wasn’t caused by a high volume of customers, but was instead to manage the flow of people inside the store and to ensure a safe distance was maintained. After a short wait, I found myself amidst the well-stocked fruit and veg aisles, desperately trying to remember what I’d come for!
Inside there were absolutely no shortages and absolutely no panic buying. The shelves were well-stocked with fresh fruit, veg, milk, bread, fish and meat. I had the booze aisle to myself. The toilet roll aisle was an oasis of calm, as I swithered between two-ply and quilted. Italians, of course, were more concerned with which cut of meat to buy or which brand of passata to choose for their weekly batch of ragù.
After a week in isolation, top of my shopping list were a couple of bottles of amaro and some football stickers for the boys (everything else was a luxury!). Conscious that we’d be shopping less frequently than normal, there were some bulk purchases (the first time I’ve bought a litre of honey!), but no panic buying.
Based on what I’ve seen so far, I have absolute confidence that supply chains will remain open and that people will behave in a responsible manner.
There were plenty of staff, in fact more so than normal, and while we are rightly recognising the extraordinary work of our health care professionals, we should also be grateful to the more mundane service provided by our supermarkets, who are providing an invaluable service in the most extraordinary circumstances.
After a short wait at the checkout and a quick dash to pick up Harry Potter book (a late addition to the shopping list), I was back in the car park, the morning queue having in the meantime completely dissipated. On the short drive home, I gave a cheerful toot to a lady who had emerged from her balcony to give our health care workers a prearranged applause, in one of many flash mob events scheduled over the weekend, and then headed home and back to the lockdown.
The weekend passed in circumstances quite unlike any I’ve ever experienced. But there was also a ring of familiarity to it. On Saturday afternoon the boys had popcorn and watched a film as my wife and I enjoyed a spritz. We had pizza for dinner and my youngest put on a show (100 greatest guitar riffs has become an instant favourite). On Sunday we enjoyed a coffee on our sunny balcony. After lunch we played football in the garden. As I write this late on Sunday afternoon, the kids are bickering in their bedroom and my wife’s washing the car (in our cavernous subterranean garage). What could be more normal than that?
From inside locked-down Italy, reflections on family life in Verona
Since my last post (only two days ago- seems like a lifetime!), we have now settled into a way of life that just a week ago would have seemed unimaginable.
We are almost entirely confined to our own apartment.
While its a longstanding joke amongst my friends and family that I've been on an 8-year sabbatical here in Verona, as anyone who has kids, work, hobbies and a life will tell you, events can sometimes pass you by in a bit of a blur. Getting the kids out the door in the morning, rushing to work, rushing home to get the kids, trying to squeeze in an aperol, football, music, writing, pub, bike, gym. On any given day, I have four different bags on the go, depending on where I'm rushing off to next.
For a moment, that life is on standby.
We’re now on day 4 of our home-schooling regime. The kids have quickly adapted to their new reality. Our youngest (5) has tended to drift away after an hour so, but that’s fine. He’s made great progress with his numbers and I’ve really enjoyed helping him. It’s amazing how the mechanics of learning to form numbers and letters comes back to you after all these years – we must have had some amazing teachers! I can even remember some of the rhymes they used to recite to us as we learned to write - “top to bottom up and over” (that’s an ‘r’ by the way).
With our eldest the situation is slightly more complex! While I’m conversant in some of his subjects (history, geography, English and German), maths is a different story! I remember doing Lowest Common Denominator at school, but the Least Common Multiple! Is that even a thing!
Anyway, there’s a free lunch in Verona for the first person who can come back to me with the LCM of 288 and 512 – and, as the legendary Mr Woods used to say, “I want to see yer workings”.
We’re lucky to have a communal garden where our kids have been able to play for a couple of hours every day. And of course, we’ve got each other. Some of my friends live alone and that can’t be easy.
On Wednesday, conscious that I hadn’t been beyond the confines of our compound for a few days, I went for a run along the banks of the Adige. My route took me down to the river and then out of town towards the damn at Chievo. Traffic was lighter than usual, but there were some people out running and dog walking. A few were wearing masks. Most initiated some kind of body swerve as we approached each other to avoid passing too closely. Whether such excursions are even permissible now under the new regulations is not entirely clear.
Just after dinner on Wednesday came the news that there would be a further statement that evening from Prime Minister Conte. We already had a sense of what was coming and so we sent the kids to bed and fortified ourselves with a rather nice digestivo from Lucca.
The news that further restrictions would apply was met here with a degree of resignation. Everyone in Italy understands the gravity of the situation. The latest official statistics show 12,839 confirmed cases and 1,016 deaths in Italy.
As far as I am aware, there has been no resistance or opposition to the draconian measures that have been implemented in the last week. Italy has placed its public health above all other considerations, including economic and personal freedom, and that is a position that most Italians have endorsed.
From the epicentre of the crisis, we look on in bewilderment at what’s been going on elsewhere. But then we remember that just a couple of weeks ago we too were sceptical, blasé, cavalier even. Images of hundreds of thousands of people gathering for Cheltenham, lingering comparisons with the flu and a conviction that because I’m young and healthy I don't need to be concerned.
You only have to look into the eyes of an experienced triage nurse as she is asked if she is afraid, or observe the exponential growth rates of the virus, to appreciate the nature of the crisis we are facing.
Remember, the purpose of the lock down isn’t to protect yourself, it’s to protect the most vulnerable and to shield the hospitals from the catastrophic onslaught that even just a 2/3% shift in ICU admissions would cause.
In Italy, Social distancing is seen as a necessary act of community solidarity. But as Prime Minister Conte reminded us last night, we will not know for a week or two what affect the restrictions have had on containing the spread of the virus.
It’s going to be a long two weeks.
Today (Thursday) we have seen signs that the global response to the crisis is shifting. Actions that would have seemed absolutely unthinkable a week ago (America’s European travel ban and India’s ban on tourists) now scarcely raise an eyebrow, while the UK government appears to be sticking to its light-touch approach.
As this most surreal of weeks draws to a close, my thoughts turn towards the weekend.
The kids won’t be at “school”. I won’t be “teaching” and my wife won’t be working. (Did you notice I didn’t use parenthesis for my wife? That’s because she is actually working, albeit from home).
Ordinarily we’d be going to the football, or taking a day trip to the lake, or going out for lunch, or sneaking out for a cheeky pint (I’m beginning to think the recent closure of the Celtic Pub was a necessary training exercise for the social distancing that we’re now facing).
None of these normal activities will be possible this weekend.
Instead we’ll be stuck at home. Together. For the entire weekend!
What the hell are we going to do???
I’ll let you know next week!
Amended on 16 March 2020 to reflect the fact that it was the Cheltenham races (not Ascot as originally stated) that hundreds and thousands of people gathered for.
From inside locked-down Italy, some reflections on family life in Verona
21 February 2020
It was Carnival season and in Verona schools were closed for a few days holiday. Taking advantage of the break, I travelled from Verona via Manchester for a family get together in Kendal with my eldest son (11).
My biggest concern at this point was the severe weather warnings that were in place across northern England and the rapidly rising River Kent, which seemed to be encroaching on the bedroom window of the riverside hotel where we were to spend the weekend!
That all seems like a very long time ago now.
The following day the Italian government announced the suspension of all Serie A matches in the Lombardy and Veneto regions, including the game between Hellas Verona and Cagliari scheduled for 23 February, the first tangible indication of the disruption that was to follow. While of course, at times like this football is hardly the most pressing concern, it nonetheless provides a useful bellwether from which we can extrapolate the mood and response of a nation
At this point the virus was contained to 10 towns in northern Italy, where there had been approximately 50 reported cased and two deaths. Those towns were the first in Italy to experience the lockdown. While the Italian stock market plunged, speculation began to mount that Serie A matches would be played behind closed doors. Verona, at this point, wasn’t directly affected.
By 25 February the number of confirmed cases had leapt to 300, with 12 reported fatalities. While a large-scale testing operation had been initiated, the identity of patient zero remained a mystery. Despite the rapidly escalating crisis, mixed messages continued to cause confusion and frustration. The seeming incapacity of the football authorities to come to a clear and coherent decision about the forthcoming fixture list was a particular cause of frustration in a nation where football is a religion.
By the time we travelled back to Verona on 26 February, I was anxious to be reunited with the rest of my family after what seemed like a very long time apart. My youngest (5) had been spending a couple of days with his nonni in Tuscany, while my wife had business commitments in the UK that were subsequently cancelled because of the unfolding crisis. The flight back to Verona that day was half empty, a further indication of what was to follow. As we disembarked the plane, our temperatures were checked by red cross volunteers and as we travelled through the city on our way home that afternoon, the mood seemed quieter than usual.
The next day I took a walk around the city. Without the usual throngs of tourists, the streets of Verona were deserted, but the locals were quietly going about their business as best they could.
The next day the football authorities circulated a revised fixture list for the matches scheduled for March. Finally, a decision had been taken. The crisis was escalating, but at least we’d have some football to keep us entertained.
That weekend (29/30 February) we travelled down to Tuscany, passing through a blizzard on the high mountain pass that would take us into Garfagnana. Rumours were circulating that schools in Lombardy, Emilia Romana and Veneto would remain closed for a further eight days. Across northern Italy parents waited for news with bated breath.
When the decision to close the schools was confirmed, my wife and I decided to travel back to Verona and leave our kids with their grandparents in Tuscany. Meanwhile rumours and counter rumours continued to circulate. Monday night’s game would go ahead as planned. It would go ahead but behind closed doors. It would be cancelled. A meme even circulated suggesting that the match would go ahead with the fans but without the players!
In the end, the game between Sampdoria and Verona was cancelled at the very last minute, causing Verona’s captain to describe the situation as an embarrassment and to accuse the football authorities of treating players like playthings. His complaint wasn’t that the game was cancelled, but that the authorities waited until the very last minute to make a decision.
That week the situation in Verona seemed surreal. The city desperately wanted life to continue as normal, but something wasn’t quite right. With all my teaching commitments cancelled, I’d planned to do a few days writing at the library, but by the end of the week even the library was closed. With my coaching commitments also suspended, I wandered somewhat aimlessly around the city (so what’s new?). At Juliet’s balcony, a place I would normally avoid, I had the whole courtyard to myself!
By Friday and Saturday that week (6/7 March), Verona seemed to be back to its sunny, bustling best. On Friday night I went out for a few drinks and was pleased to see the bars were busy and people were in good spirits – an air of high-spirited defiance! The situation with the fixture list was looking increasingly shambolic, but I was optimistic that we would at least have some football to enjoy in the coming weeks. Indeed, on 6 March (just 4 days ago), a fixture list which involved Hellas Verona playing four games in 15 days looked viable.
On Sunday our plan was to travel down to Tuscany to pick up the kids. Regardless of whether schools would open on Monday, our intention was to be reunited as a family and to give the nonni some respite after a couple of weeks with their hands full. We made plans to travel down to Tuscany on Sunday morning (it’s about a 3 and a half hour drive from Verona to Corfino) and to travel immediately back up to Verona that afternoon, keeping our contact with my mother and father-in-law to an absolute minimum, after all we were travelling from a high risk area and they were in a high risk category.
Late on Saturday evening came the most (in fact probably the only) traumatic moment of the crisis so far for us. As we were preparing for bed, news began to circulate of an imminent lockdown of northern Italy. Without clearly understanding what the practicalities of this meant, we immediately decided to go and get our kids. We hastily packed a few items for the journey, made a few phone calls and set off into the night.
By the time we crossed into Emilia-Romana, we had the absurd notion that our path out of the region and into Tuscany would be blocked and that we’d also be prevented from returning to Verona. Visions of military-style roadblocks and weeks spent in quarantine in some remote community hall crossed our minds. With tears in our eyes, we decided to turn around and head back to Verona before the lockdown came into force, trying desperately to come to terms with not seeing our kids again for a month.
As we came off the motorway to turn around, we noticed a police patrol car at the tollbooth. We explained the situation and asked the machine-gun totting officers what we should do. They left us with the distinct impression that we need not worry about roadblocks and quarantine, for such measures were not anticipated to be implemented during the night. And so we set off again, toward the snow-capped mountain pass that would take us to Corfino.
We arrived at about two in the morning, ushered our confused kids into the car and immediately headed back towards Verona, this time taking the longer route that would take us towards Lucca, then Firenze and Bologna, avoiding the treacherous mountain pass.
On that long drive back to Verona, we tuned into Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s sobering press conference in which he confirmed that he had signed off plans to strictly limit movement in and out of large areas of Italy, including Venice and Milan, for nearly a month. By now there had been 7,000 confirmed cases in Italy and 360 fatalities.
It was nearly 6 am on Sunday morning when we arrived back in Verona. Exhausted but together.
Perhaps it was an over-reaction. We could, in all likelihood, have travelled on Sunday without the need to take our kids away from their nonni in the dead of night. But for a few hours that evening, I caught a glimpse of what enforced separation from your kids might feel like.
Back in Verona, the mixed messages and confusion continued. Some matches in Serie A and B went ahead that weekend, as well as Monday evening’s game between Sampdoria and Verona, but in the surreal surroundings of an empty stadium and against the backdrop of a country in crisis.
With all further teaching commitments cancelled and the boys at home until the 15 March, I was anxiously contemplating the two weeks of home-schooling that lay ahead. For now, though, we took some comfort from the fact that we were at least outside the red zone and that the most draconian restrictions didn’t apply to us.
The following day (yesterday) we began our first day of home schooling. To my eldest son’s chagrin, I had prepared a detailed timetable of how we would spend our time. His teachers had helpfully provided some instructions on the online register, giving us a framework around which to focus our studies.
While I would never have chosen this outcome, the circumstances have conspired to create a situation in which I could put all my other commitments and preoccupations to one side (teaching, coaching and writing) and concentrate entirely on just being a dad. Perhaps things wouldn’t be so bad after all!
And so, the first day passed productively and in good spirits (aside from the tantrum during a kickabout in the garden - I was never offside). The kids have worked hard and got involved in things they wouldn’t otherwise have done (preparing and serving lunch for example).
Then late on Monday night Conte delivered another emergency statement. All of Italy was now a “red zone”. Schools across Italy would be closed until 3 April.
That night I had a moment of doubt as I played out in my mind the worst case scenarios for my country, for my city, for my family.
But by morning my doubts had subsided and the rationalist in me once again resolved that we would pass through the crisis unscathed.
And day two has proceeded much the same as day one. My eldest has plenty of work to do in subjects as fascinating as verb conjugations, river flow, romantic art and the books of the bible (I directed him towards Psalm 23: 4, which seemed appropriate in the circumstances). And I’ve enjoyed spending more quality time with my kids, helping my youngest form numbers and letters, painting, reading and playing – things which would ordinarily have got lost in the daily demands of life, school, work, after-school activities, etc.
And while they spend an hour or two in the garden, playing with the other kids from our block, I have a moment to catch my breath, and to reflect on these grave days that we’re enjoying together.
Although I’d heard rumours, the official notification, when it arrived last week, was a shock.
Like any loss, the announcement that the Celtic Pub would be no more will take some getting used to.
Adjusting to life post-Celtic will not be easy.
When it comes to pubs, I’ve only ever had three true loves (if you don’t count the long-distance relationship with my granddad’s social club).
It is said that you never forget your first love, and that is certainly the case with the Manor, a sprawling suburban establishment that gave its youthful clientele their first intoxicating taste of pub life.
Ten years later, I fell for the more sophisticated charms of the Cameo in Leith. A stone’s throw from home, it had that eclectic blend of attributes I find so alluring in a pub – homeliness, character and spirit! [I visited the Cameo recently and was distressed to see how it had become a bland, bloated and soulless shadow of its former self.]
Finally, it was in Verona of all places that I fell in love again.
It’s difficult to explain that strange mixture of contentment, calmness and homecoming that overcame me that warm May afternoon when I finally crossed the unassuming threshold on via Santa Chiara. I experienced what can only be described as a moment of divine rapture.
The snug interior. The quirky blend of trinkets and wall-hangings. The astute attention to detail (like the hooks under the bar - always an indication of a well-run establishment).
The easy, relaxed ambience, the handful of amiable locals, the barman - efficient, convivial and welcoming. And finally, that first pint of Tennent’s Export Strength Lager. Mouthwatering!
Without realizing it, I had stumbled across what I’d been searching for since moving to Verona two years previously - community, friendship and somewhere to watch the football!
These days, I generally ply the quiet early evening shift. I call in a couple of times a week. I’m proud to call the Celtic Pub my local. Privileged to be considered a regular.
Of course, institutions like these don’t happen by accident. They take vision, passion and hard work to create and maintain. So Corrado’s decision to walk away after six years at the helm is a brave but painful one. One that will create a massive void in the lives of all those of us who have enjoyed his hospitality over the years.
This weekend, amongst music, laughter and tears, we’ll drink our final pints together in the Celtic Pub. Of course, there will be other pubs. But there will never be another Celtic Pub. Not for me. And not for those of us who drink there.
Cheers Corrado. Thanks for the memories! They’re gonna live forever.
Available now on Amazon:
A short collect of reflections on family life in locked down Italy
Disclosure. This blog may receive a small commission for purchases if you buy something after clicking one of the advertising banners or links. Products are carefully selected in keeping with the ethos of the site.