Category Archives: Belonging

Belonging in Anghiari: Merryl Drakard

For the past couple of years, I have been conducting interviews with people who live in Anghiari. Some are conducted in Italian, some in English, and they are all published in both languages on this blog. I am in Anghiari at the moment, and have been doing more interviews which will be posted in due course. This interview, however, was done last year, but the editing has only just been completed. In the light of my most recent post, it was a coincidence that Merryl insisted I take photos of the library rather than her.

Belonging in Anghiari: Merryl Drakard

 Merryl comes from England and has been living in Anghiari for over 30 years. She is highly respected for her voluntary work in the library, which is located in the renaissance part of town. The library is an important community centre, hosting events which include talks by locals and others from all over Italy about their writing and research. And every week Merryl runs a tandem there, in which Italian and English speakers have conversations switching between languages. I interviewed Merryl in the library, in a room with walls covered in fresoes. The interview was conducted in English, and Mirella Alessio transcribed it and translated this edited version into Italian.20190522_102353_resized

 I grew up in southern England, in the countryside just north of London, in a Roman town called St Albans, and I went to a girls’ high school. My father had a family business in London and he commuted; my mother did voluntary work. I had 2 older brothers… grandparents, family around, normal happy family …. I went to art school for a year, then I dropped out and went to work for a graphic designer. Then I worked free-lance for a while, in London … it was really hard.

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Meeting

 

During my stay here in Anghiari, I am learning anew the significance of Martin Buber’s claim that ‘all real living is meeting’. On reflection, what makes life here meaningful for me here is the quality of the encounters I have. It’s what I often write about in these posts. When an encounter has the quality of a meeting, I come away from it feeling quite simply happy and alive.20190511_114413_1558160478716_resized

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A Day of Sun

Everyone had something to say about it. The sun had appeared, it felt like spring today. This, after days of extremely cold weather, winds, rain. Anghiari has not had the extreme weather that has hit much of Italy, because it is sheltered by the surrounding foothills of the Apennines. However, people say they have never experienced weather like this before in May. And, they have been unable to do the spring planting in their kitchen gardens.20190516_120307_resized

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The artisans’ show and market

 

Everyday life continues well for me here in Anghiari. Every day, I have engaging encounters and conversations, connections become deeper. I am meeting new people, making new friends; and, I have begun interviewing people again, on the theme of belonging. People give so generously in these interviews (which will appear at a later date on this blog). Of course, many of my interesting conversations happen because I am a visitor, but I would describe some of them as truly ‘everyday’, happening with people whom I see in an everyday sort of way.

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Holidays

We are in the midst of what here is referred to as a ‘ponte’ (bridge), a series of holidays. There has been Easter, and tomorrow, Liberation day, and then, next week, May day. And for a week, in Anghiari, starting today, there is the annual artisans’ show and market. People are on the move around Italy, and, here in Anghiari, there are quite a lot of Italian tourists. Café Garibaldi has been busy, and this is a photo of the proprietor today, cleaning the tables outside in preparation for another full day.20190424_090952_resized

 

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La creanza/manners

A letter to il venerdì, the Friday supplement in the daily La Repubblica, spoke of the loss of a respectful way of life that valued manners. In a state of distraction, people forget the ‘easy stuff’ (‘roba facile’), the simple gestures of ‘buongiorno’ ‘grazie’, and a smile with whomever you meet. The author used a number of different words for manners and courtesy, but the one I liked best, (for its etymological resonances?) was ‘la creanza’. In an office, in a shop, in the street, these small things make a difference. Without ‘good manners’, a community doesn’t live well, he said. Angela

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Welcome back to Anghiari

Yes, this is the same title as my first blog last year, because, again, the welcome I have received has been so warm. It is such a distinctive experience, and, this time, even more extended with the deepening connections I am making here in Anghiari. I run into acquaintances and friends in the street, in shops, in church, in the bar, and am warmly greeted, frequently with hugs and kisses. None of these meetings are planned – they just happen. As soon as I set foot in the street, I enter the life of this place.anghiari 13 aprile

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Belonging in Anghiari: Silvia Dressles

In 2017, I began conducting interviews with people who live in Anghiari. Some were conducted in Italian, some in English, and they were all published in both languages on this blog. While in Anghiari in spring this year, I continued this project. These interviews are also being published in both languages.

Appartenenza ad Anghiari: Silvia Dressles

 Silvia e il marito Gianni sono i proprietari del ristorante Da Alighiero che si trova nella parte medievale di Anghiari. Silvia cucina e Gianni si occupa della sala ed insieme accolgono calorosamente i loro clienti. Ho intervistato Silvia nel ristorante, un pomeriggio sul tardi. L’intervista si è svolta quasi tutta in italiano, con alcune parti in inglese, ed è stata trascritta e tradotta da Mirella Alessio. Questa è una versione editata.20180412_181958_resized

 Sono nata in Germania nel 1966, a Werne, in Westfalia, e ho vissuto e sono andata a scuola a Hagen, vicino a Dortmunt, in Westfalia. Sono andata a un ginnasio artistico.

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Belonging in Anghiari: Filippo Borgogni

In 2017, I began conducting interviews with people who live in Anghiari. Some were conducted in Italian, some in English, and they were all published in both languages on this blog. While in Anghiari in spring this year, I continued this project. These interviews are also being published in both languages.

Appartenenza ad Anghiari: Filippo Borgogni

Filippo lavora con la famiglia nell’agriturismo/ristorante “Mafuccio”, sulle colline vicino ad Anghiari. Mafuccio faceva parte della cooperativa agricola Montemercole, una comunità basata su principi religiosi ed etici di rispetto per gli animali e l’ambiente, ma la famiglia Borgogni sta per diventare indipendente. Ho intervistato Filippo in una bellissima mattina di primavera. Ci siamo seduti sulla terrazza, ad uno dei tavoli di legno costruiti dal padre Francesco, che è il cuoco del ristorante. C’era anche la sorella Carlotta che ha partecipato all’intervista, con i suoi commenti e precisazioni. L’intervista in italiano è stata trascritta e tradotta in inglese da Mirella Alessio. Questa è una versione editata.20180406_113210_1523283972817_resized

Sono nato a Grosseto e ho diciannove anni. Nel 2005 ci siamo trasferiti a Montemercole, dove è cominciato tutto il progetto della cooperativa… che è stata fondata nel 1984. Ho due fratelli, Tommaso e Taddeo, e una sorella, tutti più grandi di me, io sono il più piccolo di casa.

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