Ironing the tarmac

I’m in Sicily. That enormous island that the toe of Italy is trying to kick.. I’m here to do some voluntary wildlife conservation work, but had the opportunity to check out Palermo yesterday.

Like all Italian cities, there were endless quantities of beautiful historical buildings. Some in good condition, some being restored, and some extremely shabby or tumbling down. The cathedral was spectacular.
There were a lot of horse and carts ferrying tourists around. No matter how healthy the horses looked, seeing them belt along city streets at full throttle, their iron shoes hammering the tarmac – well it just didn’t seem right to me. The guys driving these carts were all quite young, and a bit chavvy. It felt wrong. It looked wrong. And it sounded wrong.

My over-all lasting impression of Palermo, I’m sad to say, was filth. Litter and debris was everywhere I looked. It could simply have been worse than usual as nobody collects the refuse or cleans the streets over easter weekend. But this didn’t look like it had happened in one weekend!

We went for a wee walk through a park where we met a few cheeky monk parakeets. That cheered us up lots. Oh and the train station dogs too, flat out snoring in the sunshine, scattered around the platforms.
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About Olivia N Masi

From art college drop-out, to office space-planner, to back-packer, to air stewardess, to brolly babe, to model agent, to wildlife conservationist. How? I've always believed in jumping at every opportunity that comes my way. This has taken me along some bizarre career paths. None of which I regret. I have been to amazing places and met fascinating people. And having worked in the motor sport industry I've sadly experienced too many beloved friends take one adrenalin step too many. I think of them always. I've hung out with pop-stars, sports personalities, and millionaires. I reached a point when nothing but VIP would do. And then something happened. My pops passed away and I felt the need to reconnect with my Italian side. Whilst in Italy, I learnt to be resourceful, to recycle everything, to listen to the valley, to grow my own veg, to catch and tame feral cats, and to follow my heart. My heart led me to a desire to save this beautiful Earth, and all the wonderful life upon it. And so I read, and then I studied with the Open University. I suddenly found myself accepted on a BSc in Wildlife Conservation, having left school with pitiful qualifications. So here I am. A qualified Wildlife Conservationist. A scientist I suppose. I love nothing more than to listen to birdsong, and watch, learn and photograph wildlife. So here is to me getting the perfect job where I can contribute to saving one of Earth's beautiful species. Do I miss the glamour of the old life? The VIP lifestyle? The petrol-head adrenalin? The buzz of being a successful business owner? Only occasionally. Though it seems more like the distant dreams of a previous life.
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