Irish Italian Maybe?

Two People Two People (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We told Tina about our walk to the top of the hill, and about meeting the rock chick and her son.

Tina gave a little laugh, ‘Sheila, innit.’

Jo and I glanced at each other.

‘Did you say Sheila?’


I turned to Jo, ‘Sheila is an Irish name.’

‘Irish Italian maybe.’ Said Jo.

‘Do you know her?’ I asked Tina.

Tina was looking around for a waiter. A ferry had emptied its load and the restaurant was filling up rapidly. ‘Sure, everybody know everybody. She works for my sister-in-law’

Another waiter came over. He bent down and kissed Tina on the cheek,huggiing her like a doll and whispering in Italian for ages. It was o t t, and I wondered why the theatrics. He stood finally and asked loudly in English. ‘So, bella, what would you like to drink?’

She ordered a vodka on the rocks, pretty string for the middle of the afternoon I thought.

The waiter then turned to Jo and I. ‘And for you two ladies?’
I sensed his mild antagonism, but couldnt work out why.

Jo – being the ice freak – requsted for a jug of beer with ice, i didnt really want lumps of ice watering down the beer, but I guess in the searing heat we needed all the help we could get.

Over by the jetty, another boat sounded its horn. We looked up and saw another bunch of tourists clambering aboard, like cattle. I put my shades back on.

We had all fallen into silence. The heat was relentless. Jo was soaking up the rays with her eyes closed and her sun hat drawn down over her forehead. Tina was checking for messages on her blackberry. I felt mildly hypnotised by the speed of the nimble digits fluttering over the keys. The girl seemed very intense, almost frantic, and none of what she said made any sense whatsoever.

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The Risotto Thickens

The trick with Chez Black is to look for the quiet table next to the kitchen, see what the chef and his son are eating; ask for the same.

Over a plate of fisherman’s risotto, a simmering feast of shrimp, crab, clams, mussels and lobster, caressed in garlic and basil sauce, we learned everything there was to know about Tina, everything she wanted us to know.

She said she came from a big landowning family in the Philippines, she was the only daughter. She had met and married her husband in Manila and they lived together in Ireland. Now they were intending to emigrate to Italy, so her husband had sent Tina to Naples to become fluent in Italian.  She said she was vacationing with relatives up on the hill, just outside of the town
I put two and three together, “you mean the Glenmora.”

She looked at me suspiciously,”yeah, how you know ?”

Chez Black, Positano

An event that changed our view of the world forever; it happened outside Chez Black, one of the town’s oldest restaurants, adjacant the harbour. We were sitting in the blazing heat, sipping iced lemoncello, and gazing at the tourist boats coming in from Amalfi.
Waiters flitted around the tables, dressed in Merchant Navy uniforms, schmoozing the clientele. The place was done out like an 1940’s cruise ship, with lacquered wood, and brass fittings.
It was popular with Americans, the sort of place you might expect to bump into a well-known actor or a rock star.  There was a guy who looked like Van Halen sitting behind us. He had one of those spoiled rotten little dogs, so he must have been somebody. As usual, the cafe was packed to the rafters, but not especially due to the food coming from the kitchen.
Tina grabbed our attention coming off the boat. We recognised her right away. The night before we had seen her coming out of a wine bar, looking tiddly.  She was some kind of mix, but we took her to be Japanese because of the small, cat like face.

The celebrity spotters glanced up eagerly as she sashayed over to the tables, wearing the same wide brimmed hat as she had worn the night before.

She sat down at a table next to ours. “Buona dia,” she said, “Americani?”
We nodded “Si ” It was too hot to go into detail.
One of the waiters ran up.  He whipped off her hat, wore it, and began larking about in a high voice.  We were surprised to see the short blonde hair revealed underneath the hat.

She said something in Italian, and the waiter went off again, laughing.

We watched her replace the hat, very delicately.  Then, for some unknown reason, she dipped into her bag and pulled out a passport; she handed it to me.

“Irish.” She said, proudly.

I looked at the passport.  It said EU Republic of Ireland. I checked the photo, she wasn’t kidding. I said to Jo, “I told you, everywhere I go, a curse.”

“So you were born in Ireland?” Jo asked.

Tina snatched the passport and stuffed it back in her bag.  “No, Philipines.  My husband is County Leetrngg.”

Jo frowned, “Where?”

“She means ‘Leitrim’. ” I explained. “Back home they call it the arsehole of Ireland.”

Tina burst out laughing. “The asshole of Ireland!!! Very funny!!”

I was mortified. Jesus Christ her English is good.

“So what’s a nice Irish lady from the Phillipines doing in Positano?” asked Jo.

“Learn Italian,” said Tina.

It was a good answer.

“I’m Irish too,” I said.

“You from asshole too?”  She burst out laughing again.

“We all are,” I said.