Monday, December 4, 2006

Travels with Cadfael: Images Regained

(continued from TWC:The Camera, below.)

Roman cab rides, unlike their London counterparts, are one of the great cheap thrills still around. Cad and I were back at Santa Sabine in a flash. Running back to the cloister, I really thought I would see my camera sitting in the far corner of that ageless enclosure.

But no. It wasn’t there. My disposable camera was gone.

There was a caretaker of sorts lurking about—he had been moving around flowers from a recent wedding when we were there earlier. I said to Cadfael, “Go speak Italian to him.” Cad explained the situation, while I beamed hopefully. But no, no. He hadn’t seen any camera—-no one had turned anything in.

Hmm. He was looking nervous. I was not convinced.

Cad, let’s ask at the rectory. (S. Sabine is the central church of the Dominican order.)

Yes, but they will likely all be at dinner.

We clanged the huge brass knocker on the enormous wooden door (which felt like Kong’s gates on Skull Island) several times. No answer.

We were walking away, when we heard the door open behind us, and out stepped a stunning figure in gleaming white robes and Billy Idol hair. He was Gandalf after Moria.

Yes—Yes, Can I help you? Cad spoke Italian, with a monk inflection—and the brother insisted we all go back together to look for the camera. We looked in the church, we swept through the cloister. Nothing. Then we encountered the shifty-looking caretaker. The brother spoke to him out of ear-shot, and then shifty went behind a room screen in the corner and came out with my camera. He could lie to the two Americans, but not to that force of goodness.

Brilliant. Two days of memories returned. We thanked the vision in white profusely, and headed for the Piazza Navona for dinner.

I noticed 4 more pictures had been snapped. When I had it developed, it was pictures of the floor of S.Sabine, and of the caretaker himself.