Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Sea pictures in a Cannobio car park

A bright, warm and sunny autumnal day. For two weeks now, no rain. Watering like a mad thing.

This morning in the car, once free of the children and their obsession with 'The Five Findouters' audio mysteries, I'm listening to the immortal Dame Janet Baker sing Elgar's Sea Pictures Op. 37. I pull into the car park as she starts in on the sublime 'Sabbath Morning at Sea', from the poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (how much more English can you get?), and I can't tear myself away. I am immobile in the driver's seat, windows open, ancient cassette player vibrating (not quite, but almost) like the drum-&-bass trunk of some city pimp. I am gazing across Lago Maggiore, which glitters in a very Italianate way in the morning sun, and I am dreaming of the sea, as sometimes we English must.

In the parking space beside me I notice with the small part of my being that's not drenched in musical salt spray, a dark blue Twingo has arrived. In the driver's seat is a short man in his mid-60s, who glances at me with a twinkle that gives me to understand he was not always pear-shaped and male-pattern bald. I also shortly become aware that instead of immediately going about his business, he, too, has become caught up in the drama of Dame Janet's ineffable mezzo and is soaring with her across the lake, so to speak. 

We reach the climactic "He shall assist me to look higher, he shall assist me to look higher", and now the tears are streaming down my face (note to self - must stop being moved to tears by great art in public car parks). He glances at me, can't fail to see the tears, and smiles a gentle smile. As the moment dies away, we are both still for a moment, and then the man leans slowly across.

"Una meraviglia," he says, quietly, "Una meraviglia!" 

He twinkles again, then gets out of his car, and disappears from my day.

And I am left with the strange sensation that something has happened, but I can't quite put my finger on what...




7 comments:

Vanessa said...

It's a short story. Write it up. Now!

ladyfi said...

This was fabulous writing - it moved me profoundly - almost to tears.

What happened was a miracle - a connection - the perfect coming together of nature and song and humanity.

Karin said...

Beautifully done - ditto what ladyfi said! Thank you so much for sharing!

chrysalis said...

What a heavenly voice - don't think I ever appreciated it before. Certainly on a par with Kathleen Ferrier my all time favourite. PS What does the italian mean in your story?

Louise | Italy said...

The Italian means something like 'marvellous!' or, 'what a marvel!'.

Ilse said...

A meeting of souls in a car park - a marvel indeed.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

a moving piece of wrting about a special experience, thanks for sharing Louise.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Sea pictures in a Cannobio car park

A bright, warm and sunny autumnal day. For two weeks now, no rain. Watering like a mad thing.

This morning in the car, once free of the children and their obsession with 'The Five Findouters' audio mysteries, I'm listening to the immortal Dame Janet Baker sing Elgar's Sea Pictures Op. 37. I pull into the car park as she starts in on the sublime 'Sabbath Morning at Sea', from the poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (how much more English can you get?), and I can't tear myself away. I am immobile in the driver's seat, windows open, ancient cassette player vibrating (not quite, but almost) like the drum-&-bass trunk of some city pimp. I am gazing across Lago Maggiore, which glitters in a very Italianate way in the morning sun, and I am dreaming of the sea, as sometimes we English must.

In the parking space beside me I notice with the small part of my being that's not drenched in musical salt spray, a dark blue Twingo has arrived. In the driver's seat is a short man in his mid-60s, who glances at me with a twinkle that gives me to understand he was not always pear-shaped and male-pattern bald. I also shortly become aware that instead of immediately going about his business, he, too, has become caught up in the drama of Dame Janet's ineffable mezzo and is soaring with her across the lake, so to speak. 

We reach the climactic "He shall assist me to look higher, he shall assist me to look higher", and now the tears are streaming down my face (note to self - must stop being moved to tears by great art in public car parks). He glances at me, can't fail to see the tears, and smiles a gentle smile. As the moment dies away, we are both still for a moment, and then the man leans slowly across.

"Una meraviglia," he says, quietly, "Una meraviglia!" 

He twinkles again, then gets out of his car, and disappears from my day.

And I am left with the strange sensation that something has happened, but I can't quite put my finger on what...




7 comments:

Vanessa said...

It's a short story. Write it up. Now!

ladyfi said...

This was fabulous writing - it moved me profoundly - almost to tears.

What happened was a miracle - a connection - the perfect coming together of nature and song and humanity.

Karin said...

Beautifully done - ditto what ladyfi said! Thank you so much for sharing!

chrysalis said...

What a heavenly voice - don't think I ever appreciated it before. Certainly on a par with Kathleen Ferrier my all time favourite. PS What does the italian mean in your story?

Louise | Italy said...

The Italian means something like 'marvellous!' or, 'what a marvel!'.

Ilse said...

A meeting of souls in a car park - a marvel indeed.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

a moving piece of wrting about a special experience, thanks for sharing Louise.