The Big Tray Race, eating dogs and I have a JOB!


I’m so proud of Camerano!!! Every, EVERY town should have a Big Tray Race, otherwise known in Camerano as “Contesa del sacro Vassoio”. So that was Thursday, our Patron Saint’s day. In fact, it was more than a Big Tray Race. There was a Wooden Block Transportation race and Tug a Large Metal Wheeled Thing competition and there were other games too but hunger took over and I went to get something to eat so I’m not sure what I missed. Anyway in summary: there were 8 teams of generally young folk from areas in Camerano – my area is called “Oak” (La Quercia). There were 4 or 5 “games” with a complex scoring system which made no sense at all. All of it was presented by Eurovision song contest style hosts. The Grande Finale was the Big Tray Race which was basically a relay race around Camerano with a large metal heavy looking tray carried by 4 people at a time. We (La Quercia) won that race but overall we came second. The team that won the whole thing were ecstatic, I don’t think they could have been more enthusiastic if they’d won the Olympics.


“Tug a Large Metal Wheeled Thing”. The team that succeeds in tugging the large metal wheeled thing over a line on that wooden platform, wins.


Wooden Block Transportation Race – In fact, I thought they were really heavy these wooden blocks; after all, it requires two guys to transport them on that metal pole, but when the race finished, an old guy picked up 3 of them and moved them back to the starting position without any noticeable problem. That seemed a much more effective means of wooden block transportation. Clearly this race wasn’t an intelligence / logic test. The guys here were the winning team. They had their own gladiator so not surprising (bearded curly haired dude at the back – he was good…)


La Quercia! My Team!!! WE WON!!!!!


This is the kiddy version of The Big Tray Race

What else? This week I’ve been walking in Monte Conero – Passo del Lupo is a very pretty and easy walk to a lovely viewpoint overlooking the coastline and you can see the mountains in the distance too. I’ve done that walk a few times now with the school but it never gets old.


Taken from a particularly perilous part of Passo del Lupo

I had another dinner with the palazzo (the other people in my block of flats). This time, rather than making too sweet biscuits, I made overcooked potato salad (well, to be honest, potato mash) which was a big hit. Nobody seemed to comment on the overcooked-ness – I think I can pretty much get away with serving up anything under the guise of it being a “Traditional English Delicacy”.

After the dinner, I headed to Piazza Roma where they had a free dance show going on courtesy of our Patron Saint again. That was really good to watch too – a good mix of traditional and modern dance.


One group of dancers… very good…

Tuesday I went to dinner at a local cantina  (winery) – Angeli di Varano – and had a lovely meal there with some friends and family of Marco. The cantina mentioned there might be a job serving wine at the Rosso Conero festival next week – I’d be paid in wine. Seems alright to me. The latest cheap wine box purchase gives me a headache after one glass!

I had a new housemate this week for 4 days but I’m back on my own again now in the flat and really liking having my own space again. I think that’s it now in terms of housemates for a while – hopefully I’m on my own for a bit!

Ooo and probably the biggest news this week was I HAVE A BIT OF A JOB! Teaching 3 Italian girls English in a group lesson – in fact, not really teaching at all because their grammar is pretty good. I think it went ok – they want another lesson at least. They just want conversation practice really so if anybody has any ideas for good things to do to get shy teenage girls talking, let me know! I made a whopping 30 Euros for an hour and a half.


Post teaching treat… This was on a day where I was supposed to be eating only “500 calories”. Oops.

Il Polemico (“The Argumentative One” / my language swap buddy :-)) is back from holiday. We went for dinner yesterday and headed to see a band “Gli Amici Dello Zio Pecos” playing at the sports ground in Camerano. They’re a fab band – real characters and the lead singer was brilliant.  Here’s one of their songs on Youtube (*correction!  The song “Volta la carta” is Fabrizio De Andre’s song – see comment below for a link to one of their own). Il Polemico has given me some other songs to listen to now so looking forward to that (grazie!!!).


Gli Amici dello Zio Pecos

Ferragosto (the 15th August is Ferragosto but the couple of weeks after, nobody seems to go to work), has finished now and I should be able to get my health insurance. *Should* being the operative word. I will eat my hat if I actually succeed. If I get health insurance, I *should* be able to get my carta di residenza (as if… AS IF!!!).

This week’s “What’s a bit odd”: Noises and gestures! My all time favourite noise that Italian’s make is “boh” – it means “I don’t know”. It’s usually accompanied by a shoulder shrug. I could listen to “boh” all day… And they all say it. I don’t think we English people have recognised random noises like that. I use a combination of “huh” (how interesting), “pfft” (you’re being annoying), “meh” (whatever), “pah” (you’re wrong) but I don’t think they’re universal and there’s a chance I’ve just made them up. Certainly the Italian’s don’t know what I’m on about. And they don’t use the acronym “lol” (Laugh out loud) when they message, understandably, but there’s no alternative Italian equivalent – they write out the full laugh, but it’s “Ahaha” rather than “hahaha”. Who starts a laugh with a?! That just sounds like their making repeated discoveries – “Aha!” (Huh. I wonder what noise they make when they’re discovering something then…). On a separate noise related front – I can’t roll my r’s. You need to be able to roll your r’s here in Italy otherwise you sound weird. I’ve been practicing to no avail. It’s a particular problem when I say I don’t eat meat – meat being “carne” (carrrr-nay). Without rolling your r’s, it basically comes out like “cane” (ca-nay) which is a dog. Basically, I tell people that I don’t eat dogs.  Which I suppose is true. I’ve found a YouTube r-rolling guidance video. I’m going on a r-rolling mission this week.

Ok, have good weeks everybody.


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9 thoughts on “The Big Tray Race, eating dogs and I have a JOB!

  1. Mauro P.

    Errata Corrige

    First: you wrote “Gli amici dello Zio Pacos” instead of “Gli amici dello Zio Pecos” in the caption.

    Second: the song you linked, “Volta la carta”, is a Fabrizio De André’s song, it isn’t a song of this group. The masterpiece of this group is “Il beretto de paja”, all in dialect of their village

    Third: Ferragosto is only the 15th of August, and it isn’t “the couple of weeks where nobody seems to go to work”,

    • Il polemico 😉 Thank you for the corrections! Ferragosto, yes yes, tell that to the insurance agencies that have all closed! !!!

  2. Peter G

    Congratulations on your first work!

    I love it that the quirky town sports meeting isn’t the week’s odd event – I suppose we are used to that as well. . .

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