We chose to live in this neighbourhood because it’s a place where normal life is still possible. Within a half mile radius we can buy our daily necessities which means we’re a deal better off than friends with ritzy San Marco addresses. But Dorsoduro is changing too. It seems like every time a lease expires a Chinese businessman is waiting on the doorstep with a fist full of cash and a warehouse full of cheap souvenirs.
Walking through Campiello San Rocco this morning I was saddened to see the local boat chandlery has closed down. Not being a boat owner I wasn’t a frequent customer but many of my friends were and indeed it’s where I purchased the very affordable rigging for the good ship Leaky Lil when we staged our production of Dick Whittington in 2008.
It was good to know there was a place just round the corner where I could get a tube of deck caulk or a new pontoon fender, should the need ever arise. They say Venice is sinking. Where am I to go now for a pair of waders that come up to my Plimsoll line?
What are we going to get in its place? Another bar? Another made-in-Taiwan mask shop? Watch this space. And now I’m fearful for the hardware store next door, a family business where they are genuinely interested in what colour you should choose to paint your door. Because when one trader quits the others seem to tumble like dominoes. Next thing you know you’re having to catch a bus to buy a quart of milk.
Sad day, friends. A sad, sad day.