John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Monday 18 June 2012

[Sunday 17 June 2012]
Slept relatively well, though by morning my right foot hurt: one position would give a few minutes’ relief, then another position. We went down for breakfast just after 8.30am, and initially sat at the wrong table till the waiter moved us. I had red orange-juice; what Nanny Cooper used to term “pobbies” (I selected puffed rice (labelled “Rice crumpies”!), but it wasn’t crisp like Rice Krispies are, and was sweetened); salami and another meat, and a slice of cheese which proved tasteless, on slices that I cut of a tasty not-quite-white bread; and a number of cups of coffee. The two older ladies, Doreen and Anita (we couldn’t remember the latter name at the time), had already been. We went for a stroll by the lake in a northerly direction, stopping for a Coca Cola Zero under an umbrella on a lakeside boardwalk café. A gang of swifts screeched by, this way and that. They were bigger than our swifts. The swallows, too, though about the same size as ours, had pale rumps and not-as-forked tails. There were the ubiquitous sparrows, only these had brown heads (ours have grey), and a pair of mallards, but no starlings. We turned right a bit farther along, and went uphill to a nearby supermarket for bottles of Coke Zero — a 1.5ℓ bottle cost marginally less than a 330ml can at the hotel — and two postcards.
Thence, back to the hotel, passing another supermarket that we’d failed to spot on the way out.

Monday 18 June 2012 — 10:46:56
Swallows’ nest, with neat pile of discarded droppings below

Views, while walking back to the hotel

Views, while walking back to the hotel

Hotel Drago, to the left

We emptied the fridge of the various relatively expensive drinks in there, and put our bottles in. We had a meeting with the tour rep, a Welsh woman with red hair called Mair, in the bar at 11.30am. Venice had been swapped from Wednesday to tomorrow. After that we went out again; but we didn’t get far before we sat on a bench in the shade of trees by the lakeside, because Janet was too hot. A woman perhaps in her forties was sunbathing topless nearby, and walked about once or twice. She was watchable too — slim, nice figure — unlike some of the gross specimens, seen elsewhere by the lake and by the hotel pool, who, while covered up in the strategic areas, nevertheless bulged obscenely out of their swimming costumes. We bought more 1.5ℓ bottles at the supermarket (cheaper than at the first supermarket) before they closed for siesta, on our way back to the hotel. I transferred the photos to the computer system, edited them (15:47–15:55), started a PowerPoint show (15:20), and did some diary update, but joined Janet on the balcony and read Leaving Alexandria when the room-service women arrived. I resumed diary update and Janet lay down and had a siesta. Ca.4.15pm we went out again. We wanted to find the church that was pictured at the bottom left of the post card. No need to ask where it was, because looking at the computer I noticed that I’d inadvertently photographed it while snapping Monte Baldo (10:47:35, above). Still hot, but the breeze was cooling. The little church was open. What I noticed first were the now fragmentary frescoes on the walls. I found the place very “spiritual” and moving. We lit two candles (I put more than the €0.50 each that was asked for in the box), before a framed hologram which alternated with Jesus and Mary when you moved. Perhaps because of reading Leaving Alexandria, perhaps out of a spirit of “when in Rome…”, I mouthed a “Hail Mary” before we left.

14th century Church of San Nicola in Assenza, with walls decorated with the remains of frescoes






Church of San Nicola in Assenza

We walked down a narrow lane off the piazza on which the church stood, to its end, then crossed the main road, and walked back along the lake. We sat for a while in the same shaded location as this morning, and watched the activity on the lake.







View south

Monte Baldo to the east

We went back to our room, and I transferred the photos off the camera and ran them through Photoshop (17:56–18:12). At 6.15pm we went down to the restaurant for dinner. Not sure whether this, or tomorrow, was the evening when I asked for a glass of tap water. The waiter misunderstood and brought me bottled water, which I refused. I wasn’t going to pay €2 for something which could be had in my room for free. His boss came and told me, “We don’t serve tap water”, and removed the glasses from the table. If it be true that “if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward”, then may those bastards utterly lose their reward! Afterwards we had a stroll to the boardwalk café we were at earlier; Janet had two Coca Cola Light and I two weissbiers. Then back to the hotel room. After Janet went to bed I lay on my bed and continued to read Leaving Alexandria. It was very hot in the room, so I slept without covers, though it did cool down somewhat overnight.

[Tuesday 19 June 2012]

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