Days have been mostly sunny recently, but evenings significantly cooler and so today was the first outdoor supper of the year. Timings and temperatures were just right, the sort of thing one can’t really ever organize, and we three neighbouring terraces were ready for a Friday aperitif all at once.

Communal aperitif-ing, at a distance, Roman style.

I also had two perfectly ripe avocados so made guacamole, some of which went in a bowl to the folk next door, some across the pulley in a Tupperware (well Ikea) dish across the narrow street. We chatted, M popped back inside to get on with his world-class carbonara, and I carried on the conversation with the five neighbours. We mostly talked about food: three are from what was once Magna Grecia, one is Roman, and the other from the Veneto, how could we not? 

Carbonara should always be served with mezzo maniche (as here, by Felicetti’s Monograno range, v good), or rigatoni. Fact.

M and I sat down to our carbonara and were wished “buon appetito”; the communal conversation naturally fragmented into smaller nuclei; we two followed our excellent carbonara with agretti – saltmarsh grass boiled for a moment and dressed in lemon and oil, one of the joys of a Roman spring – before coalescing once again into a final burst of communal chat as we ate our remaining Easter pastiera for pudding.

Agretti, which is basically grass. Delicious.

It was informal and perfect, the ideal terrace dance: everyone with enough space to go about their own business in peace, but unfettered conviviality when the moment is right. I think we could all do with a little unfettered conviviality right now.