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22/08/2011: The Forcchinelli Family, Luigi and Luigia with their first-born, Gina

Listening to the lovely Maria Callas singing Gounod's Ave Maria on the Farkham Hall Phonogram earlier brought to my mind a couple of people who inhabited the Hall in my early days. Luigi and Luigia Forchinelli were in service to my family for quite some time. It all came about when Luigi was brought here as a POW during World War 2 and put to labour on the Farkham's farm. Well, it seems that being a prisoner in dear old blighty was a better option than his former life as when hostilities ended, he stayed on and sent for his wife to join him.

The couple was highly musical, with Luigia playing the piano while Luigi sang, although she had a beautiful voice herself. Her favourite song was the arforementioned Gounod piece. Even though Luigi's voice was not quite out of the top drawer, she deferred to him. I remember so often seeing my father's pained expression at not being able to go into the family music room. He would sit there just repeating the words "Forcchinelli's singing again", I think.

We lost our cook and gardener when they moved south west to open an ice cream parlour in Swansea with their children Gino and Gina.

The latter revolutionised catering by opening two separate counters. One for ice cream and one for coffee so that the endless perfectionist adjustments of the Baristas didn't hold up the queue for ice cream, while they laboured in search of the perfect Crema. The counters universally became known as Forcchinelli's Hot and Forcchinelli's Cold.

My lifelong pal, Dimitri and I were thrown out having pinched the serving fork from the hot counter. Old man Luigi looked fit to burst when he shouted out "Whose got Forcchinelli's Hot fork in fork in here" (he stammered). Honesty prevailed and I confessed "Varkov and I". At this point Forchinelli Senior swore some terrible oaths and threw us into the street before we could even finish our Cassata for two, with the instruction never to come back. Shame really.

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