There was a wedding. Not a huge one, nor too boisterous. It was a little stiff, with much joy however, on a cold crisp day.
There were exes present. Plus fluffy new partners. Kids darting off. Teetering heels getting trapped in the cobbles.
A certain young soprano we all know sang an aria beautifully, in a frescoed chamber.
Later, at the other end of the day there was a big dancing party at the ranch here. My homie DJ mates delivered us into soul heaven and I swapped my spiky boots for some chunky heels and grooved.
But as we danced and recovered and cracked walnuts the day after, there were other, larger events happening along the peninsula.
Way down south, near an Italian island that lies not far from the Tunisian coast, people were crowded into a leaky vessel that would soon find its way to the bottom of the sea. Three hundred lives were lost. It has been said that a fire was lit to attract attention when engine trouble slowed the boat. The fire took hold and people pushed to one side of the vessel, causing it to capsize. The boat was within sight of the shore. Despite valiant efforts by locals and coastguard, most people drowned.
Days afterwards, when bodies were still being recovered, another disaster occurred. More drownings. More coffins lined up along the shore, teddy bears for kids who've probably never held a teddy bear in their lives.
Once I employed a West African guy, a friend of a friend, to help me plant a row of trees. The guy was a rascal and we got talking. He'd come over in a boat. Twice in fact. The first time the boat broke down and they were sent back to shore - Libya it was, before the war. He lost his money and had to work as a labourer for another six months. Oh, and before that he said he'd crossed the Sahara (don't know if I believed that, but it was easier then). The second time he said they made it. I don't remember whether to Lampedusa or all the way to Sicily. On the way there were bodies thrown overboard. The sick, the weak. This guy was tough. He dug deep holes in moments, swinging the pick with huge muscly arms. He was a survivor. A rascal, but a hard worker. I'm sure he's flourishing somewhere.
The saddest story to emerge from last week's events is a mother and her newborn son discovered in the shipwreck. Why did a seven-months' pregnant woman attempt this journey? To rejoin family members? To give her son an easier start in life? To escape a war-torn country?
We will never know. The divers who found her - grown men, heroes - broke down when they found her.
Our masks were full of tears, they said. Our masks were full of tears.