Sunday, October 31, 2010


I am sitting on the balcony of my hotel in Taormina writing this post. We arrived here yesterday to run a conference begininng next Tuesday. This is a magnificent part of the world and indeed a perfect time of year to be here as the weather is still wonderfully warm, the summer crowds have dispersed and the crystal clear water is remains a superb temperature for swimming. It is work we are here for, and indeed once the conference begins the work is extremely busy, but in such a magnificent location the lines between work and pleasure can become blurred.
Raking the beach was a morning ritual which took several hours

The travel from Australia to Italy is no doubt long, but if you want to be here there is no alternative - and 36hours in transit to reach this southern island is worth the effort. So today, we are taking it easy, organising a few things for the conference and catcing up on lost sleep. This morning after a long walk, we sat on the terrace of our hotel, languishing over a beautiful breakfast. I was rather transfixed watching the hotel beach attendant going about his preparation of the beach for guests - he spent about 2hours raking the stones to ensure they looked perfect and manicured, then used a finer rake for more detailed areas, then a broom for the pathways between the sunbeds. It was quite cathartic to watch the precision he took in the task. I feel this detail makes the whole day at the beach into an event to be savoured – and sits with the Italian philosophy of truly enjoying the simple pleasures of life.