Carol Forster column

Carol  in Barletta.
Carol in Barletta.

Arriving in Italy in January, the thing which immediately strikes you is the light.

December in England is like permanent midnight on a loop where guessing the time creates hours of fun as it could be any time – literally.

The gloom makes us Brits predictably morose but then, as a nation we quite like that too, as we are a queer beast of contradictions.

The quality of light in Italy after the murk of the British latitude is like emerging from the catacombs onto a sunny street.

You remember that there is a strange rotund object lurking up there in the sky that can even warm the skin, rather than the oppressive ceiling effect we have to put up with in good old Blighty.

In Italy I really like the balance of light and dark too.

Just to confuse the issue, I cannot bear those June evenings that go on endlessly in England, with eternal light and no covering of the evening mantle.

It is so uncosy and I am the world’s biggest fan of candle lit evenings.

I realise that many a reader will love said infinity of light in June and can’t understand what I’m wittering on about.

Never mind. I’m used to that.

At least hubby agrees.

Anyway, to get back to my original point, in Italy it goes dark at a suitable time such as seven or eight.

Very civilized in my opinion – a nice sunny day, followed by a snug dark evening.

It’s a bit like merging the two countries - Engltalia.

Also, Italy gives me the excuse to dig out my sunglasses.

I am the biggest fan of the old eye brollies and like to whip them out of my handbag any opportunity I get.

In an English January if I donned them as much they’d be escorting me away to the ‘funny farm’ I’m sure.

So, Italy wins hands down in the January stakes.

Give me a sunny day and a pair of sunpeepers and I’ll ignore the nip in the air – thermals notwithstanding – and say goodbye to that December gloom.