Last month, I attended the 2017 conference of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art in Amelia, Italy. Four of us shared a quaint and beautiful farmhouse on an olive farm as our accommodation for the trip.
On Friday evening before the weekend conference sessions, ARCA hosted a cocktail reception.
We attended the event and when we got back to our accommodation close to midnight, the electricity was not working, nor were the water taps. We were in a dark farmhouse on our first trip abroad together, in an unfamiliar and rural place and after a successful cocktail reception. Bless us.
We took a quick look at the fuse box inside the house using our phone torchlights, but that did not resolve the issue.
I am and always have been exceptionally lazy. Sunrise was around 6am in Italy during the week of the summer solstice, and our first proper day of this academic conference began the next morning. I thought to myself, 'we have enough bottles of water and torchlights functioning on our phones to go to bed, get up early and attempt to solve the issue in daylight.'
As it turns out, my friends are nowhere near as lazy when trying to solve problems. Kayla was attempting to get to the larger fuse box towards the farm entrance while Joanna was trying to contact the farmhouse owners whose place we were renting. I cannot recall what Richard was doing, but I remember him pondering beside me on the porch briefly before moving about the estate. Additionally, the wifi had not been working which complicated the matter of finding solutions or contacting people. Mind you, I had not moved from the porch the whole while.
This continued for (I think) half an hour without progress, so I just went up to quickly get changed. I got ready for bed and came back to wait on the front porch in case I could be called on/be of some use.
Perhaps they were inspired by my pyjamas or perhaps the mosquito bites started to itch, but thankfully everyone called it a night very soon after. Surely enough, our AirBnB hosts messaged Joanna to say that we must flick a switch in the large fuse box near the farm entrance. That fuse box had a padlock that clicked open with a tug. It was only placed there as a superficial deterrent. There was also a wasp’s nest inside that large box, which Kayla braved for us all. 'My mom is deathly allergic to bees and wasps, so I'm pretty used to dealing with them...little bastards.' - Kayla
Our first morning at the conference was salvaged, but imagining what could have happened with wasps, mosquitos and no electricity or wifi at midnight has made this anecdote that much easier to recount.