In the days of my youth (ho-hum), at Rugby School Christmas celebrations used to include a Christmas dinner at which the established order was reversed. House staff and pupils were waited on by those who were usually in charge of them : matron, stern house master (in a kilt) and his beautifully bohemian wife, and various other people who normally wielded the rod. I understand this is part of an ancient tradition in which those elevated to the highest positions in society change places with the ordinary people, at least for a brief celebration in the midst of winter darkness.
Yesterday, a similar event took place at Cannobio's scuola media. More than 100 pensioners and people who would normally spend their Christmas alone were invited to the beautifully decorated school dining rooms for a lavish lunch cooked by Chef Gianni Albertella and his team from the Hotel del Lago, Carmine Inferiore (assisted by a motley crew of amateurs in flowery aprons, including yours truly). The meal was served by the willing hands of the Cannobio giunta comunale and members of the Croce Rossa Italiana, with mayor Antonello Viviano and deputy mayor Pier Angelo Ferrari firmly in the vanguard.
I understand this is the fourth such event organised by this administration, and by the looks of those present as they finally supped their caffe', digested their pannetone, and contemplated the tombola prizes, I have no doubt that it was a worthwhile way to spend St Stephen's Day.
PS By 8pm on the 27th, we were looking at minus four outside the bathroom window...
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