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Saturday 30 April 2011: GIOVANNI I FIORI

This is Giovanni i fiori, John the flowers, and he is called that to distinguish him from John, the red, John the loaf, John, the....you get the idea.

Giovanni started his business with a single plastic tent and the help of his widowed mother. He had a limited variety of plants. Now he has filled an acre with plastic tunnels and has more varieties of plants than all the other local garden centres put together.

Once when I was there I heard a man bellow "MAMA!" It was Giovanni. He is very tall, 1.92 m or 6' 3" and I was amused at the remnants of childhood in his voice. His mother emerged, a tiny woman, hands covered in compost. As she passed me she muttered, "Sono stanca di fare questo lo sai," I am tired of doing this, you know.

Giovanni married, his wife produced twins, and now she has replaced her exhausted mother-in-law on the shop floor. He talks to me in such rapid botanical Italian that I am left reeling.

I got some terrific shots of flowers but it was the people who interested me more. One of Giovanni's employees asked, shyly, if I would take his picture. His name is Aziz and he is from Pakistan, a fine looking chap. Here he is. Aziz He didn't even ask for a copy, just wanted to be photographed. (I made prints for him.)

And I almost blipped this picture of a couple in the serious business of selecting gerani. Tough choice.

For the record: +18 C. Cloudy. Humidity 74%.

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