Supermarket Sit-Com

Honestly some days you couldn’t dream it up. If what happened today was put to paper for a TV script no one would believe it.

I’m standing in a queue at the supermarket checkout, there’s three people in front of me and the cashier runs out of change. So he leaves the till to fetch some from the office and the man in front of me shouts out, “Hurry up my friend’s outside waiting for me.” The cashier shoots him a glance but doesn’t respond. Upon his return he gives the lady waiting her change and starts to scan the next customer’s shopping.

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The action is paused again as the apples won’t scan, so the lady offers to fetch some more. She leaves the queue and goes to the fruit section and the man in front of me says, “Where’s she going? I’ll be late.” She returns with a new box of apples and they scan perfectly. The cashier leaves the till to put them aside to be returned later. “Where are you going now?” The man in front says, “I’ve already told you my friend is waiting for me outside.” The apples lady goes to pay with her card and puts in the wrong pin number. This causes more annoyance to the man in front of me and again he’s vocal, making sure everyone in the vicinity knows he’ll be late.

His turn comes and his shopping is scanned, the cashier asks for payment when the man suddenly leaves the queue to go back into the store as he’s forgotten to get ice cream.

Oh the irony.

The rest of us in the line start to snigger. He returns with his ice cream and as it’s scanned he remembers something else he’s forgotten. More sniggering takes place from the now bemused customers behind me. He returns with his forgotten item and as it’s scanned he goes to the exit door and waves to his friend who is pointing to his watch.

The man goes outside to briefly speak with his friend and the automatic doors close behind him. He then waves at the cashier asking him to open the doors. By now the cashier is laughing too and so waves to the man indicating that he must come in through the entrance and walk through the store again.

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The man is not a happy man when he arrives at the checkout again and he literally throws his payment at the man behind the counter, who with a devilish glint in his eyes says, “Wait here please while I go and fetch some more change from the office.” I glance over and can see that he ample coinage in the till, needless to say the man in front, tells him to keep the change and stomps off.

Seafood in San Vito

Living so close to the coast means there’s an abundance of seafood available all year round and one of the most popular places to eat it, is the town of San Vito Chietino. This small town has everything from inexpensive outdoor eateries, to top class restaurants where you need to check your bank balance before you book a table. There’s even two trabocchi that serve dinner; but to be honest I think they’re more suited to the tourists who don’t mind paying over the odds for the same quality fare they can get up the road for just €5.00.

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My favourite place to eat there is the small roadside restaurant called La Locanda Del Mare. Each course is cooked to order; unlike some places where it’s sat waiting for the customer under heat lamps and a course costs just €5.00.

Over the last few weeks I’ve frequented the town more often as I had friends Becky and Matt come to stay and my cousin Alfie dropped by for a week too. I believe it’s always a good day when you can enjoy a leisurely lunch with friends with some delicious fare from the sea and a cool glass of wine.

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Alfie like myself loves nothing better than picking mussels and clams from their shells and devouring them with chittara pasta and tomato sauce. No one minds that you end up with a few splashes of red on your T-shirt and that your fingernails are stained with sauce, as long as there’s a plate filled with empty shells at the end of the course.

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Becky is a different type of diner altogether, she’s more cautious, but at our first lunch she threw her caution to the wind and ordered what Matt and I had. So the primo was a risotto with clams, mussels, monkfish liver and octopus and despite not wanting to try the octopus tentacles she ate the lot. The secondo was probably the most popular Friday fish dish, frittura mista, deep fried anchovies, small white fish, calamari and prawns. Another good secondo is baccala and potatoes. Baccala is salt dried cod that’s rehydrated and served with potatoes and black olives in an olive oil based sauce and there’s nothing more satisfying than the empty plate afterwards.

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My only criticism of these food outlets; like many over Italy is the use of plastic plates and cutlery. I shudder to think how much plastic waste the Italian food industry generates. Sadly it’s not only catering establishments that add to this, the population are bombarded with plastic dinner ware. Stores and supermarkets sell vast quantities of it, everything from plastic espresso cups to wine glasses and dinner plates to soup bowls. So much so that a large amount of this plastic dinnerware is used for large family gatherings.

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Following lunch and just before the stroll down to the beach there’s the matter of dolce to contend with. San Vito Chietino has two main pasticceria (cake shop) on the main street both of which sell ice-cream, however the gelateria that always gets my Euro is Pasticceria Iezzi Rossana, the reason being the staff are always polite and friendly and more welcoming than the other store.

So after all this activity, all that’s left is to dip ones’ toes in the Adriatic before taking a nap on the sandy beach.