The tag-line for my blog runs something like ‘news updates and random rants from our gay B&B in Umbria’ and some of what I am writing about today has nothing whatsoever to do with the tag line, but I just need to get something off my chest.
Yesterday was an ‘away day’ from Bellaugello. A regular guest at Bellaugello has a love of all things Italian, a guy who back in his home country of Holland studies and reads Italian had enrolled in the University of Camerino in the neighbouring region of Le Marche
In order to get to Camerino in good time I woke early yesterday and as usual while faffing about listened to the news on the BBC. There was an item about the Synod of the Church of England, on whose agenda was the decision whether or not to permit women Bishops. Now as you might have just guessed I am in no way religious, but am a firm believer in equality, so the item was of interest to me. Interviewd on the programme were two women, one a priest, the other a lay person both with opposing views, interestingly the woman priest favoured women Bishops.
Anyway to the enjoyable part. I set off through the Apennines to Camerino, a delightful town perched high on a rocky outcrop deep in the beautiful rural Marche. It was about a one and a half hour drive, much through light rain, and on climbing into the ancient town, I believe the university is one of the oldest in Italy dating from the 13th. century, driving up through the narrow streets into the main piazza infront of the brick built Duomo the mist came down, it was all rather romantic.
I met up with my ‘student’ friend and we set off towards the Adriatic coast. En route we stopped in the delightful town of Macerata. I must admit, although only a couple of hours drive from Bellaugello Gay Guest House, it is a part of Italy that I do not know. I was entranced, it is utterly beautiful, and architecturally different to Umbria.
Calling in at the tourist office for advice on where to eat, yes it was 13.20 and officially the office was closed until 15.00 we were welcomed and given great advice on a choice of restaurants, the staff were so helpful and cheery. We had asked for local food or cucina casareccia, saying that we wanted a restaurant where the locals eat. The warm reply was that any restaurant would be good as ‘we have very few tourists here!’ We took the middle option and a short walk through narrow streets brought us to the “Osteria dei Fiori”
It was an excellent choice, a simple and charming osteria, with real local food. We started with an antipasto of local cured meats, a different selection to those in Umbria, but equally good, and a light sformatina, a mousse with truffles. My main course was of home made spagetti alla chitarra a speciality from the region and neighbouring Abruzzo. This pasta was made with a large percentage of chestnut flour, and accompanied with a sauce of porcini mushrooms and chestnuts and utterly superb.
After lunch chatting with the enthusiastic the proprietor she kindly gave me the recipe, I somehow doubt my skills will anyway match her light and deft hands at making such a superb pasta, but her warmth was highly encouraging. I came away with a great little recipe book of local cuisine.
I got home late last night and this morning before staring my chores, including unloading a pallet of wood pellets for our biomass boiler, and making hearty soup for friends coming over to help with the olive harvest I again switched on the BBC news to learn that the Synod of the Church of England had rejected by six votes to allow women Bishops. I was really saddened. It seems the leity were the ones that voted against the move and strangely the matter cannot be up for vote again for some years to come.
In my ancestors I count several remarkable women, a great aunt who was one of the first women doctors – she studied in the antediluvian days at one university where women undergraduates were admitted, but had to go to another to sit her finals as women were not allowed at that time to graduate from the first university – inconceivable today eh! During her long career she was awarded a gold medal for her treatment of Myasthenia Gravis, the basis for treatment to this day. My grandomther followed her sister and studied medicine and became an early general practitioner, that is until she got married. At which point she was forced to give up general practice as at that time (just after the great war) married women were not allowed to be general practitioners. How stupid was that what a waste, what dis-incentive.
Back to the C of E theme I remember in the 1990s attending a Chrtistmas concert of lessons and carols in the beautiful setting of Bath Abbey, England. The occasion was the annual Christmas concert of a local all girls boarding school. The headmistress, yes headmistress was a superb and enlightened leader, many of the teaching staff were female and to my astonishment the cleric leading the service was a woman priest. It was all so fitting and right.
I am left dismayed that in todays’ age a national/international business whose senior management (Bishops) sit in the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the UK parliament, they have chosen to deny the role to women. Just what world are they living in? Why? How out of touch and insulting can you be?
They cherry pick their handbook/mission statement, ignore or alter what is uncomfortable for them, so why not allow women bishops, other organizations/businesses.multinationals are successfully headed by women. Look at how great a make up free (now that is something I am real proud of) Hillary Clinton is doing on the world stage, Mary MacAleese, the 11th. President of Ireland, with her fighting for unity and fairness, Aung San Suu Kyi the determined campaigner of freedom and unity in Myanmar, and Julia Gillard inclusive policies in Australia, and of course the supreme example, the incredible HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Those great women of today together with my few humble ancestral examples show that there is no reason for denying women or anyone equality. To my mind the vote was a sad sad day for the ‘establishment’ indeed.