I fell over two days ago. I actually properly fell over, in the street and all by myself. I was pushing my bike backwards on the pavement (don't ask) and managed to get both feet caught on the pedal. My bike, which weighs about twice as much as me, lurched out of my hands and I went crashing down on top of it - on my back. Right in the middle of town. Do you remember me mentioning that I'd like one day to be mistaken for a chic Italian woman? Well, we're still a long way from that day it seems. Chic Italian women don't walk around with grazed elbows and a tyre print on their backs.
My bike basket contained a huge bag of strawberries which I had just bought from a guy with a truck at the side of the road. They were totally crushed by the fall and some strawberry juice, which looked alarmingly like bright red blood, leaked onto the pavement. As I scrambled to my feet, thinking I had got away without being seen, a man came rushing out of a shop, saw the strawberry juice and started flapping around,
'Ah signora! Are you ok?' He gesticulated.
'Im fine, thank you,' I replied crisply (why oh why can I not be a signorina for a bit longer?). Then I saw the strawberry juice and tried to explain that I had a big bag of strawberries and that they were now all squashed but he just looked at me like a I might have knocked a couple of brain cells loose during my fall. I dusted myself off and rushed away as if I had a very important meeting somewhere. Oh, the shame.
The reason I was backing up on the pavement in the first place, was that I had spotted a nice shady road to cycle down, out of the blazing sun. Summer has arrived in Florence and it's HOT. It's also that time of year when allergy sufferers are trying to figure out if you can actually scratch the inside of your eyelids (you can, sort of, but I'm not sure it's recommended) and you can get sunstroke just walking to buy some milk. The mosquitoes are also starting to stretch their little wings, in fact, I can hear the irritating little whine of one right now. That whine will be our soundtrack for the next 5 months.
However, all that aside, the best part of this season is that for a couple of weeks, Florence doesn't smell of exhaust fumes and dog pee, but rather wherever you go there is the most amazing smell of jasmine blossom. This is what I tried to focus on after falling over and completely humiliating myself: the fact that no matter what pickles we get ourselves into, nature comes into its own every year and takes over the city with this great smell. I can't believe I'm ending this blog post in such a cheesey way, but there it is. Either I'm getting sentimental or maybe the fall really did loosen a few brain cells.