John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Sunday 24 July 2016

[Saturday 23 July 2016]

Le Palme Hotel & Resort, Porto Cervo, Sardinia

It was Janet’s weekly “holiday from dieting” day, so despite her not sleeping well (still awake when I went to bed, and sleeping only spasmodically after she woke up ca.3.30pm), she nevertheless got up at 6.50am and went down for breakfast at 7.30am. I joined her ca.8am, but she remained when I’d eaten enough and left to have a walk. Janet writes, “We returned to our room”, but doesn’t say whether that was together at the same time. I held the door key, but on one occasion she did get a spare key from reception. “We… sat on the balcony for a while, then set off for a walk around the park. A very hot and sunny day.” After walking around, we went to Bar le Vele. We both had gelati — I had “pistacchio” and another flavour — then I had a Caffè Americano and later an Espresso. “I decided to risk a hot chocolate,” Janet wrote, “and it was the same as the one I’d had in Rome” — i.e. almost like a melted bar of chocolate, not like cocoa — “so I asked for some milk to thin it down. Still too rich for me! (“10:51” on the bar receipt). We had another stroll around the park. Not far from the beach, within the hotel grounds, was another bar — apparently independently owned, judging by the reasonable prices! — an open-air bar with tables and chairs under a wide rectangular canvas cover. Janet investigated what soft drinks they had in the refrigerator, and was shown among other things a fizzy lemon drink, which she tried and liked. In fact, she had two of them. (On her “holiday from dieting” day she didn’t want diet cola, but finds ordinary cola too sugary.) There was Ichnusa on tap (“alla spina”), so I had two large (40cl) ones. (Actually, the bottled Ichnusa at Bar le Vele was preferable: served cold from the fridge in a glass also from the fridge which was opaque with condensation.) Then we went back to the room, ca.12.30pm; I picked up the (inexhaustible!) bottle of water that I’d purchased on the second day; and we went for lunch. Back in the room, we lay down on the bed.
[i] When I woke up a couple of hours later, ca.3.20pm, it was pouring with rain outside, with thunder from time to time. Tried logging on to Gmail. I reached the inbox, but then there were reportedly connectivity issues, and thereafter everything I tried returned the message “This site can’t be reached.” I tried Facebook (15:37), but all I got was the blue bar at the top of the page with “John”, “Home”, “Find Friends”, etc.; nothing else would load. When I tried to re-load, “This site can’t be reached” came up for Facebook too. Completely fucking hopeless!… Janet wrote: “After this I sort of ‘dozed’ for a bit longer, then suggested we go out. I… put my trainers on, got my brolly, and we left the room around 4.15pm. It was still coming down in rods, and for some strange reason there was no one around or in the pool![ii] Everyone was indoors. We headed for the ‘gelato bar’[iii] and I had two scoops again, and [John] had a beer.[iv] Then we headed off for the beach bar. It was deserted, as was the beach (how odd!).[v] [John] had a beer[vi] and I had a lemon drink. I suggested we go as it seemed to me the people behind the bar wanted to close up and clear off. So we returned to our room.… It didn’t bother us that it was raining. We ‘pottered’.[vii] It’s now 6.15pm and still raining heavily.”
[i] According to Janet, we didn’t lie down at the same time. “It was around 1.45pm,” she wrote. “[John] lay on the bed and slept. I decided to have a ‘siesta’ too, so around 2.30pm I joined [him]. I must have dozed off because [John] got up at 3.45pm and it was raining very heavily. I’d opened the balcony door for fresh air. It had clearly been raining for a while.” My account says “ca.3.20pm” for when I got up, and the Google Chrome “history” entry for my attempted Facebook activity (15:37) bears it out.
[ii] I detect a little irony in Janet’s writing here.
[iii] Bar Le Vele
[iv] “16:54” on the receipt.
[v] I detect a little irony in Janet’s writing again.
[vi] 40cl Ichnusa, alla spina
[vii] Janet’s “pottering” takes the form of writing up her journal in the two photos below.

Sunday 24 July 2016 — 18:08:16
Our room and the “Juliet balcony”

Sunday 24 July 2016 — 18:09:44
Our room, the “Juliet balcony”, and the main balcony

Sunday 24 July 2016 — 18:11:20
Views from the balcony

Sunday 24 July 2016 — 18:11:54
Views from the balcony

Sunday 24 July 2016 — 18:13:58
Views from the balcony

Sunday 24 July 2016 — 18:14:38
Views from the balcony

“When we left our room at 7.15pm it had stopped raining and the sun was out,” Janet continued. “We went to the ‘gelato bar’[viii]. Most of the rain puddles had gone, so it was easy to walk outside with sandals on and not get feet wet. I was surprised how quickly everything had dried off. We sat at the bar[ix] and [John] had a Campari.[x] I had a couple of olives.[xi] I’d hardly had any thus far as most of the hotel food was ‘olive-less’. Yum! We went for dinner. We ‘escaped’ at 8.30pm…”
 Janet gives no explanation of the need to “escape”, but it was this: We’d both selected beef from the menu as main course. It was served red and rare, and looked appetising; but it was almost impossible to cut into pieces with knife and fork, and completely impossible to chew because it was so tough and gristly. I swallowed one or two pieces, but then thrust aside the plate in disgust with most uneaten. I’m not sure whether Janet attempted to eat any of hers, or whether she figured that if I couldn’t chew it with 31 teeth, she wouldn’t stand a chance with a dental bridge. When the waitress took the plates away I said that the beef was inedible, but didn’t make any further issue out of it. Janet could see how upset I was, though, and after a while suggested that we “escape”. I had ordered the cheese selection, but since I’d not really enjoyed that the last time I had it — and particularly having sampled impressive pecorino sardo yesterday — I had no qualms about leaving before it was served to me.
 Janet’s journal continues: “We ‘escaped’ at 8.30pm; I suggested that I’d change and we could go for a wander. It was an extremely pleasant evening. Warm. Not muggy. I changed into… trainers and we set off. [John] took a couple of photos of craggy mountains just outside our room.” As the sun was setting, everything had a rosy hue, but the camera had its own ideas about what was supposed to be white and almost completely “corrected” it.

[viii] Bar Le Vele
[ix] We sat at the bar — on tall stools at the bar, as opposed to sitting at a table.
[x] A pre-bottled Camparisoda — “19:28” on the receipt.
[xi] They were in a little dish on the bar.

Sunday 24 July 2016 — 20:41:18
Rosy hues towards sunset

Sunday 24 July 2016 — 20:41:54
Rosy hues towards sunset

Sunday 24 July 2016 — 20:42:24
Rosy hues towards sunset

Janet continued: “We discovered a place across the main road that appeared to have been abandoned by the hotel. There was a very pretty waterfall and walkways. We decided we’d explore that tomorrow afternoon ([after the] half-day tour). We returned to our room around 9.15pm. I had a shower and fell into bed just after 10pm. [John] followed not long after.” Actually, it took me a bit longer than “not long” to follow, for I finished writing up “21 July 2016” before shutting down the computer, ca.10.55pm, and getting ready for bed.

[Monday 25 July 2016]

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