In the aftermath of Cyclone Cleopatra Olbia, Sardinia, is mourning eighteen deaths including four Brazilian children drowned in an illegally-constructed  basement flat.  We are still drinking EU- donated milk stamped non-commerciale.  Men in fluorescent jackets clear mud from the roads and pump water out of one of the largest hotels.  The pavements are littered with washing machines and other electrical appliances rendered useless by the deluge.  The Rumanians, squatting by the river in an old army barracks, spread out their mattresses and paltry possessions to dry in the December sun.
On Christmas Day, citizens waited nervously as dark clouds loomed;  torrential rain fell on Boxing Day beating a staccato rhythm on the red tile roofs.  No one actually said it but everyone wondered morosely if Cleopatra could make a come back. Only the Senegalese pedlars, flogging umbrellas, felt optimistic.  Then on the 27th, a misty rainbow appeared in the brooding grey skies promising sunshine.  Everyone perked up enough to contemplate fireworks, barbecued horse meat and capodanno celebrations in nearby Golfo Aranci, a little seaside resort with a funfair favoured by local Sardos (the rest of Costa Smerelda is monopolised by Eurotrash who pull up in their yachts for lobster and Krug). Like Noah parking his ark,  Olbians could relax, have New Year’s fun and start rebuilding their town and their lives.
As a writer with, of course, lots of New Year resolutions to finish my crime thriller, start a new sit-com script, write more performance poems,  generally be more full-on-all-pistons-firing-all-systems-go in all genres and  creative forms in 2014, I feel I could learn a lot from the Sardinian clean-up-and-party people.  Let’s get  started and get busy.  We can find the creative sunshine behind the clouds. Happy New Year.
Ardella Jones, Sardinia, Italy 31 December 2013