Attilio, class of 1927, is a living legend and memory-holder of the islands. His features will recur throughout my blog and are nuggets of information he tells me during our countless hours chatting.

It's the kind of September evening which feels like summer definitely doesn't want to go, and Attilio and I are going for a walk towards the Bue Marino area of San Domino.

"We used to take our animals here to graze. Sheep, goats, cows...The goats we used to take to the Bue Marino, or to the lighthouse. The goat herder used to take them from Punta Secca to the little caves just underneath your feet. It's all empty under here! it's all caves and holes."

"And have you ever been inside the caves?!" I ask.

"Oh yes, sure, but they're nothing much to look at. Just fairly low, nothing striking. Our goats used to go there to sleep for the night. You should have seen the goat herder! he would jump from one rock to the other, right on these cliffs."

Then he remembers an anecdote.

"I almost died on these cliffs you know! The goat herder said he'd take me with him as a young lad, but I wasn't as agile or confident as him, so he picked me up and off we went. At one point, we reached a rock where he realised he couldn't go any farther, but he couldn't turn back either. I was terrified; I was shaking! The only thing we could do was chance it. The goat herder said to me 'Close your eyes!', so...what could I do? I closed my eyes, and I was trembling. If he missed, we'd have plummeted onto the rocks below. He sprang with the biggest jumo he could muster, and grabbed onto the rocks right above, like from here to there!" - as he indicates a tree a couple of metres away - "and so we made it. That was terrifying."

I look at the sheer drop and it gives me vertigo just looking at the rocks suspended there magnificent over the calmest sea.

"At one point I had to put barbed wire around the top of the cliff here, to keep the cows from falling off. I'm sure there must still be bones at the bottom of the drop."

I don't much care to check that one out in any great detail, thanks Attilio!

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