Between her bejewelled fingers sat an antique pen, its nib suspended over pages of die-stamped stationary. Below that, a mahogany dining table, its top covered in invoices held down by weights of volcanic stone. In her other hand, an old mobile phone was held to one ear. Suddenly, the pen shot up and began to draw tight circles with every animated reason given to the other end of the line. Conducting myself, the yachts moored behind, and, quite possibly, the Aeolian Sea beyond. With no hint of affectation or rehearsal.
In the last of the evening sun, I sat on a dining chair of sun bleached french polish and velvet, considering the practicalities of this alternative office. What if there’s a strong gust of wind and all the paperwork blows away? What does she do when it rains? I wonder when she last paid any tax? Looking back along the pontoon I had moored to, with every berth occupied, it was clear- the conductor of this marina operatic had no such mundane concerns. To my left, on an old chaise-long, a marinero dozed, his VHF radio discarded to one side. No wonder my calls had gone unanswered. To my right, a beautifully groomed Irish wolfhound appeared from nowhere, beginning a sedate patrol of the pontoon.
As the phone went down on the desk, the woman’s wine glass simultaneously tipped up until emptied. Suspended from her wrist by a strap two links too big, was a heavy mens Rolex, clanging on the thin glass.
I presented my passport to check us in for the night. Rejecting it with an amused look and twist of the wrist, she began a long dissection of restaurant possibilities for my crew, her finger indicating the location of each behind her without turning around.