Milan, 5 September 2017
We had come to Venice to celebrate the 65th birthday of two dear friends. They had invited a number of us from their past to share in this celebration. So there we were, some twenty in all, all slightly geriatric, stepping off the bus-boat onto the island of la Giudecca and gathering at a restaurant by the edge of the wide canal which separates this island from the rest of Venice.
As we sipped our aperitifs and later seated ourselves around two tables ranged along the edge of the canal, vast cumulo-nimbus clouds hovered to the north of us.
By the time we had finished the entrées (tris of raw fish, chopped fine, with sauces) and were tucking into the risotto cooked in a shellfish sauce, the sky had turned dark and menacing and the restaurant owner was worried that gusts of wind would carry his shade umbrellas away.
By the time we finished the main course (tuna seared briefly in the pan), the epicenter of the rain clouds sat above the campanile in St. Mark’s Square.
Once coffee was served, after a pannacotta for dessert, the clouds were dissipating and sunshine was breaking out again over Venice.
We said our goodbyes, promising, as has been the custom with these birthday parties, to meet again in five years’ time (and ignoring the little voice inside us emitting the hope that we would all still be of this world then), and went our separate ways. Ours took us through St. Mark’s Square, where the rain clouds to the west still looked menacing
but no rain fell on us as we threaded our way through the alleys back to our hotel.
Photos: all ours