My secret place

Mo, 29 May 2017
My secret place
As a young boy of about 11 years of age I entered a writing competition. It meant I had to do "composition". As a child of the 1950's in those days this meant creating a story or composing a piece about any subject you wished to.I can vividly remember the subject I wrote about mainly because I was c..

As a young boy of about 11 years of age I entered a writing competition. It meant I had to do "composition". As a child of the 1950's in those days this meant creating a story or composing a piece about any subject you wished to.
I can vividly remember the subject I wrote about mainly because I was chosen as the winner of a prize given by a then, and still popular today children's television programme. To those English people reading this, when I say the prize was a Blue Peter Badge many of you will instantly understand how proud I was to have been the recipient of such a revered reward.

The title of my composition was "My Secret Place" It told of a small village in the middle area of Wales which was home to several members of my family and to where every year we would go to for our holiday. A place where time seemed to go by at such a pace that every minute of the day appeared to last so much longer than when at home, all the people were calmer and had time to spend, the views were breathtaking and appeared to change in front of my eyes and I found something different to look at every time I scanned the horizon, the air of tranquility was all around, the weather never disappointed me and it was always hard to leave there. The end of holiday feeling was only tempered by the fact that I knew I could return again and again.
The closing lines of my piece did disclose the name of the village, but I pointed out to the reader that having decided to expose "My Secret Place" I did so hoping that not too many people would find it and therefore I could keep it as mine.
Little did I realise that those childhood feelings would stay with me and that one day I would find another secret place. By now a married man, my wife and I were lucky to find Lake Orta in 1989 and we have visited it several times a year since then. We were even fortunate enough to buy a nice home there and enjoyed 10 years living our "sogno" with friends and embracing as much of being Italian's as we could.

Having recently sold our property, and not wishing to return to the regime of hotel life again as we had done for many years before owning our own home, we still had the desire to return to Orta, but wherever we were going to stay was going to have to be a very special place.
One of our previous neighbours introduced us to La Darbia and we arranged for some local friends to visit Angela and Matteo and report to us their findings. We were advised we would be happy at La Darbia and knowing us they felt it would be a perfect replacement for our continuing enjoyment of the jewel that is Lake Orta.
The first time I spoke to Angela over the telephone to arrange our visit, it was as though we had known each other a long time. Nothing was too much trouble, the advice about which apartment would suit us best was freely given with such a genuine understanding of what we wanted. The reservation was made and quickly confirmed, good caring contact was maintained by Angela up until we were about to leave the UK for Italia.
Stupidly on arrival I did not pay the correct attention to the instructions and we missed the entrance. A quick call to Angela was greeted by "no problem I will send someone" Gian Carlo arrived and guided us the short distance to the steepest driveway imaginable. WOW!! was the reaction of my wife as the driveway gave way to the parking area.

At first glance everything appeared just perfect, and our stay at La Darbia proved to be exactly that. During our time there we were met by and treated as part of the La Darbia family.
I am no longer 11 years of age, I am 64 and even though I don't wear my Blue Peter badge I still have "My Secret Place".

We wish La Darbia every good fortune for the future, and to all who visit there enjoy your time, but don't tell too many people!
Grazie Angela, Nonno Mario, Gian Carlo and Matteo

Arrivederci, Hugh & Lynn

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