Wednesday, 8 October 2008
A Broken Man
I went grape picking at the weekend; a chap I know was short of some people so I turned up on the Saturday. There were about ten of us, so pairs would work each side of a row of (what else?) Barbera vines. Most of them were locals and I imagine the average age was around 75. I was working with Bruna (78, still blessed with some of her own teeth) and I think I was in. I wanted to take her photograph but she was shy.
We started at eight in the morning, stopped for a light lunch (above, and that's not Bruna in the middle by the way but it is a woman) at twelve and then back to work at one. At four I had to throw in the towel, the seven hours of being bent over nearly double had rendered me utterly exhausted, had done for my back and my ability to see straight. They waved me goodbye all the Italians, still bent over, picking, laughing, chatting, sometimes singing*, scurrying around with their plastic baskets, in perpetual motion, the sun beating down from a cloudless sky. Bastards. The thing is I had done it a few years ago and hardly batted an eyelid. Time for a major review of my physical condition? Fat chance with Fred pitching up on Friday, bright-eyed and ready for it. I wonder whether he will have an, er, travelling companion?
*Sorry for the Under the Tuscan Sun moment.