A sad day as I say farewell to a good friend, I suppose you could call him my Italian Dad, Gianfranco Meucci.

Gianfranco died of a heart attack last night and will be missed by all those who knew him and remember being entertained by his stories. My heart goes out to his lovely wife Gabriella. However I am glad that this funny, vital man did not have to suffer a long and drawn-out period of illness. I wrote about him in the prologue of "A whisper Around the Mediterranean" and used some of his hysterical stories within the book. I will never forget his expression when I gave the left-overs of his favourite dish, pork and beans, to the dogs at the boatyard when he and Gabriella had stayed overnight onboard with us. I thought he would wrestle the bowl away from the dogs! Here is the snippet from the prologue for you all to read;

"There is a dream of adventure in all of us and the sea has a magical lure all of its own. You don’t have to be the sporty type to harbour dreams of life on the ocean wave. Even hapless dreamers, like our friend Gianfranco, respond to the siren’s song at some point in their life, although his love affair with the sea was short lived. He bought himself a small motorboat, with the idea of idle days fishing from it, in the lee of the coast. On the second day as proud owner of his vessel he found a tempting little bay in which to settle down for an hour or two, with his captains hat set at a jaunty angle and his fishing rod in his hand. In his fertile imagination he saw himself as a cross between “The Old Man and the Sea” and Captains Ahab, Bligh and Findus but his dream was shattered when he threw out the anchor, forgetting to let go of its rope and took an unexpected plunge."