The company that is bulk-emailing you this article, runs the website, commissions and sells the many ebooks for learning Italian, and organises one-to-one online lessons for a lot of you, too, has its registered office in a small British seaside town.
Not its HQ, though. There isn’t one. Like a lot of companies these days, we’re online, working from wherever we may find ourselves.
EasyItalianNews.com for example, another of the company’s projects, is written by Italian freelancers, some of whom are in Italy and some not, formatted in Scotland, and read/listened to wherever its nearly nine thousand subscribers find themselves, mostly in the English-speaking world, so Britian, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and so on.
If you’d like to berate the editor, or gift the team a nice bottle of malt whisky for having done so much to help you with your Italian, don’t bother knocking at the door of the company’s registered office. All you’ll find there are the various files and folders that companies registered in England are obliged to make available (share registers, etc.)
Moreover, Perranporth, England is a hell of a long way from just about everywhere. So it’s probably not worth a five-hour drive from the London airports just to shake our hands, even if we happened to be there, which we mostly don’t.
Nevertheless, Cornwall is a famously beautiful part of the Britain, and our obligatory company red tape bits and pieces are deposited for the world’s inspection in a small seaside town, in a former tin-mining area, on a rugged coast, looking out over the wild and windy Atlantic Ocean.
Surf out far enough from the beach, heading north-west, and you’ll hit the Republic of Ireland. Or follow the sun, due west, and with a lot of luck you’ll wash up on the coast of the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Talking of beaches (Italians cannot say that word…), as a small child I got lost on Perranporth’s. It’s a long story so… But oh well, if you insist.
So that summer’s day, sometime in the early nineteen-seventies, the tide was out a very, very long way. But that didn’t put us off. I followed my two older cousins for what felt like miles, across the golden sands, to where the distant waves were. What excitement!
After a while getting rather cold spashing in the Atlantic, I abandoned my companions, who were still having a wild time in the crashing waves, and turned around to retrace my steps back up the beach, hoping for a warm towel, and maybe an icecream…
Only to be horrified to see that the beach was six miles long and had a million people on it! This distant but colorful mass of humanity was, on closer inspection, made up of innumerable families not much different from mine, all sheltering behind windbreaks or under towels. And there were no recognisable landmarks whatsoever! Just pink-skinned happy people in bathing costumes, as far as the eye could see.
In my memory, I wandered tearfully, later rather hysterically, through that beach-ball throwing, cricket playing mass of people for hours, possibly even days. Until eventually, without realising it, I stumbled, quite by accident, on my kin, long after having given up hope of ever doing so.
Amazingly, my mother and father seemed quite unaware that I’d even been lost to them, then recovered again only by pure chance.
To get to the point, though: Perranporth beach is ENORMOUS when the tide’s out. But when the tide has come all the way in, which happens every twelve hours and twenty-five minutes apparently, there’s basically no beach left at all. Just cliffs, stretching for miles on both sides, and a car park full of chilly but happy tourists, busy eating chips from styrofoam trays, watched by hungry-looking gulls readying themselves to swoop on the unwary.
Oh, was that the point, you’re asking? One moment, please. It’s coming. The tide is a metaphor, obviously.
It’s a force of nature, inexplicable to many of us, that changes everything. The regular rhythm (finally learnt to spell that word after 53 years!) of the lunar day. Beach, no beach (son of a…). Windbreak-sheltered masses strung out for kilometres, then nothing but a carpark full of chip-eaters.
And the metaphor is for? Well, website traffic, evidently.
It ebbs and flows like the ocean, coming in, almost enough to drown us, then going away leaving nothing but golden sand. It’s driven by the immense but distant force of search engines, particularly Google, which isn’t 384,400 km away, but might as well be. See?
All this to say that, right now, the tide is IN and the club website stats show we are wading up to our thighs in beginners or near-beginners, chip wrappers and lost beach shoes.
Where are they all coming from, you might ask?
And I would explain that it probably isn’t that there are more beginners than usual (though who knows, perhaps the pandemic…), but that the influence of the search engine, even though it’s orbiting at such an incredible distance, sort of ‘bulges up’ the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and then ‘lets it go’ again, every six hours and twelve point five minutes, the effect of which is to wash the drifting masses up onto our shores, then drain them all away again not long after.
So quickly, then: welcome beginners (assuming you happen to be reading this, before scratching your heads and hitting the unsubscribe link.)
We see there are loads and loads of you right now, and that you’re all looking at this page. So I did too, just to see what was attracting attention like gulls around a fastfood joint.
And wow, I’d almost forgotten doing the printable .pdf checklist, primitive though it is. Now that I come to think of it, I did one for each of the six levels. Long-time club members will have seen them, I expect.
And what, pray, will newcomers think of this odd article?
Well… I’m not sure that matters very much. Beginners come, beginners go, like swooshing seawater.
Whereas texts like this one are written for the human floatsam and jetsam (not the Arizona thrash metal band) that washed up on our beach but remained when the tide went out out.
Welcome beginners, but be aware: beginning a foreign language is the easy part.
Our club is about the part that comes afterwards, the sticking with it, the maintaining motivation, the gradual building of experience and competences.
The tide may be in or out, but around here we follow our own cycles: articles from me on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (not always as weird as this one); ‘easy’ news bulletins on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Which means there’ll always be something to keep you company on your language-learning journey, six days a week, every week, throughout the year.
For however long it takes.
Don’t forget this week’s HALF PRICE ‘easy reader’ ebook, Francesca Colombo’s original C1 (advanced) -level ‘La commediante‘.
Lucrezia is a young prostitute, whose real passion is show business! And because a troupe of players is in town, the local priest is going to have to wait a little longer to see her. Instead of working this afternoon, she’ll get dressed and go down to the piazza to see the show (for the third time!)
N.b. On our catalog page, you’ll find all of our ebooks listed by type and in level order, from beginner to advanced.
Tuesday’s FREE bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news is ready for you to read/listen to.