The Kindness of Strangers

Category: Wendy's Wanderings 01 September 2011

After our last trip in Italy, shooting the insect world we aimed to take the ferry over to Corsica. Why we had never been before?. We left Livorno in Italy a quiet forgotten place the night before we asked the hotel reception where to head for our evening meal before the 4 hour crossing the following morning a taxi appeared with a ‘Sylvester Stallone’ sized driver with similar slurred speech to match, just like ‘Rocky’. It cost us £12.00 for the short 12 min journey.
Photo : Wendy Noton Photo : Wendy Noton

We had a pleasant meal in a 'hippy type' cafe but were bemused to find no one else about. Afterwards we had a short walk to the Piazza Republica, being the main square we were sure to pick up a taxi there.... weren’t we? Wrong, no sign of a taxi anywhere and as the night was breezy and cool and the walk to the hotel outside the confines of the town thru some industrial estate we felt the need for a lift back.

We entered a small bar with 4 locals in and in my best Italian I asked where we could catch a taxi from to get back to our hotel for the night. There was much discussion amongst the guys and bar lady, 3 of them attempted to phone for one on their mobiles..... out of politeness we bought a drink each, alas no taxi arrived so after a conflab one of the ‘Cheers’ bar locals slunk away... we continued to discuss our next option. Twenty minutes later the disappearing guy appeared with his private car, a very battered fiat. He offered to drive us back to the hotel and all the customers insisted on shaking our hands as we left. I tried to pay Pietro £5.00 for the trouble but he would not hear of it. He described how ’visitors’ went to Siena/Pisa but ignored Livorno which as it is described as little Venice seemed frustrating. He was so pleased to see us enjoy their town and only too happy to accommodate us. We dropped the money in the car as we disembarked so he could not return it as we left.

I was blown away by this kindness and as my Mother has been taken very ill recently I continue to meet strangers who cannot offer enough to help. I have been reading excerpts too of ‘Ground Zero’ on the anniversary of 9/11......it makes me feel that a sense of ‘family’ and care goes well beyond family as we know it.....the key is not to baulk at the offer but show trust, with distrust we leave ourselves vulnerable to isolation thru not enjoying another individuals sense of sharing and care.

I have been observing clouds this month, 2 of these pictures were taken in Corsica, the skies unreal, maybe because it is a small island. The other 2 are of flowers taken in the garden when I have had a minute to stare in awe at their shape and form....the kind of poppies that have appeared this year are very unusual, maybe it had something to do with the local manure I scattered everywhere!

I hope you have not all blown away on the back of ‘Irene’, great weather for movement or panning shots though!  Enjoy.

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