Il Cortile is ours!

The Builder & work guys have gone away. He said they will be back in two weeks. Shhh… we’re hoping they will be gone longer. We would like to have the place to ourselves & not have to trip over their construction junk. The Builder did promise to Clean & Straighten before shutting the gate of Il Cortile behind him. And, he did!!! Let’s enjoy the Beauty of His Work…
When The Builder & work-guys return… whenever… they will be messing-up The Garden side of La Casa Grande. First, they will re-build the last two roofs of the two largest rooms of the house, the future Salotto & Sala da Pranzo. Then, they will work inside pouring new concrete sub- & finished floorings & installing iron links from one wall to an opposing one, etc. Finally, they will have the pleasure to bring Order & Cleanliness to The Garden. WE CANNOT WAIT FOR THAT!!! Gads.

Ta-daaaah!

The roofs are finished on l’Esseccatoio & il Forno!!!…
view arriving at Il Cortile… the plants have assumed their former places…
the new gutters for the wood-burning Forno… in condition to make le pizze!!!…
details of the new gutters on l’Esseccatoio… my heart twitters over the copper, soon to turn a dark brown…
old coppi & embrici roof tiles saved & re-used for both… naturally distressed by age, wind, rain & occasionally snow…
the view from above… you can compare our beautiful roof with the one below sporting the flat marsigliesi tiles 
Ain’t the new roofs pretty? Gads.

Obsessive…

I wake-up in the morning… usually, after I have finally strangled the clock-radio, and really, who needs to have Italian DJ allegria at 7:05 AM, hmmm?… thinking about il Poggiolo and I go to sleep… normally, around 1 in the morning & after massive quantities of white OR red wine… thinking about it still. 
The other person involved in this adventure… who has fervently asked to remain anonymous… the lucky bastard… used to complain that we mostly talked about The Dog. Oh, my! Long gone are those Life & Times. We did occasionally intercept The Dog Discussion with other Pursuits & Arguments… movies, dinner parties, cultural excursions out of town & political rants against Silvio Berlusconi, a genius for getting on everyone’s nerves here. Our mutual burden was considerably lighter. Now, it’s Codiponte and nothing else. It is The Obsession which unites us. It weighs a frigging ton. 
Naturally, and as one might surmise, this singular Obsession is not good for SEX. How can one be in the mood, while mentally compiling new items for a Punch List, much less focus on Kissing & Stuff, if one must think how to program the cleaning-lady in between the painters & electricians, whose schedules varies as the winds do? And, anything beyond superficial Petting & Stroking is out of the question, when one’s thoughts automatically steer towards the financial, a sure blow to arousal, if ever one was invented. Little did I think unannounced Celibacy would be My Destiny when I bought a farm house in a out-of-the-way corner of Tuscany called the Lunigiana. Neither did the other guy. Gads.

A much needed yet, unexpected…

I was lead to believe by a guy wearing a white suit, who gives the new year’s horoscope on RAI 2 that My Life would be well on the Up & Up by now. All I have gotten so far are oscillations from panic to anxiety over il Poggiolo & what all it is costing me, a severe case of the flu and, on Monday last, the news that the scuzzy AUDI was in desperate need of repairs. The AUDI is our version of a truck. My car was still in the body-shop… finally… after a nightly assault two months ago. Huge metal staffs fell out of my garage’s ceiling scuffing My Cute Little Sports-car ALL TO HELL!!! We discovered later the car dealership on the floor above had dismantle a car-lifting crane & forgotten to tell anyone about it, i.e. like me!!! So, lacking transportation all this week, I couldn’t get down to Codiponte. May I say? It was an unexpected and a much need b-r-e-a-k!!! Gads.

The Builder…

The Builder is the guy in the center of the photo. He is surrounded by his work-guys.
This is what I know of His Story… and from his own lips too…
…he is a young man from the eastern coast of the island of Sardinia. If you have never been to Sardinia, let me recommend it to you. Think the natural beauty of California without the mess of -ornication. 
…he is a mighty good cook, specializing in barbecue boar. Is that a surprise? The Builder goes a’ huntin’ every Wednesday & Sunday, the only two days of the week you can hunt in season. I can’t call him on those days. The Builder, before he was A Builder, came & bought a restaurant in Bagnone, a quaint & pristine Medieval village perched on a hill in the neighborhood of Villa Franca in Lunigiana, that place several valleys & a river away from Codiponte.
…he met, fell in love & married a local girl. She was not restaurant material!!! However, his father-in-law owned a construction company. 
…The Math here said… he went to work for his father-in-law, and thus, became The Builder. 
Now, let me speak the praises of The Builder, if I may…
…he solves problems… they pop-up all the time too.
…he makes suggestions… this is of Great Relief to me. lightening My Work-load.
…he does his work without complication… something I have not yet learned how to do.
…he’s fast… but then, he does have all those work-guys to help.
…he’s expensive… though he doesn’t think he is… dammit.
and…
he’s saved il Poggiolo from caving in & me from saying bye-bye to the bucks sunk-in to buy & rebuild the place!!!
Oh! And he lives outside Soliera, that other place a couple of valleys away from Codiponte. 
Gads.

Why everything cost so much…

Il Poggiolo was originally constructed by local skilled-hands using simple manual tools. They built with river stones & felled trees. Gosh. How simple too. It’s not even 20 yards to the fiume. A little farther though to the nearest bosco. However, lugging a tree was done entirely down hill whereas, the stones had to be carried up. I bet they used asses for that!
What does The Builder do?…
Well, none of his work-guys hales from Codiponte. Nope. Not even close. None hale from any town nearer than 20 miles away. This is using outside help to a Codipontese. Yep, in this part of the world, saying you come from Soliera… only a couple of valleys away… is akin to declaring one’s home is on the planet Mars. Mentioning you come from Villa Franca in Lunigiana… several valleys and a river away, but still well inside the confines of the Lunigiana… is like saying your home town is hundreds of light-years away. Thus, out-stripping the Codipontese’s comprehension as to just where exactly do you call home. Yet, for the work-guys, none seems to mind all the road travel. They sort of car-pool-it too in a white van. And from guess where? Soliera!
And, the only simple tools used are my handy-dandy broom & rake-in-one, my hammers, my shovels and so on & so forth. All else belongs to The Builder and is rigorously gas-powered or electric Heavy Machinery. Equipment that can do more than maim. Lots of Black & Decker too. The electrical items require a complicated network of extension cords & electrical boxes to furnish a suitable UMPH!!! equal to running everything electric in your own home for hours & hours & hours at a time. I get the bills too for their power-grid pleasure.
As for the materials, The Builder, he don’t go down to no rivveh to get him some stones. Can’t get a truck to it. And, he surely don’t go into no woods to cut him some trees either. Wood’s for huntin’ & shootin’. Poor boars. Nope. None of the above. The Builder goes to the local building supply. It’s five twisty & windy miles away. The Builder makes the trip in either his big Mitsubishi flat-bed truck for getting around in or, his enormous IVECO flat-bed truck for hauling stuff in and, sometimes, he even goes in his gargantuan tractor & trailer for things the first two would shiver & shake to carry.
This is why everything costs me so much money and why I am spending more than I ever dreamed of spending or, have EVER spent in My Entire 57.88 Life!!! It’s why I keep wanting to Faint & Swoon. Gads. 

The Consequences of surgery…

Well… the flu has passed on. I am glad not to be ingesting those massive yellow torpedoes for an antibiotic. And, so too has some of my pessimism lifted though not to the point of singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah. Anyway… I don’t REALLY believe La Casetta wants me out. I do think it wants me up bright & early at 4 in the morning. Of the three nights I have made camp in La Casetta, I have awaken every time at 4 AM rearing to go!!! The Kitchen has benefitted the most from this pre-dawn schedule. 
But… My God, the poor house!!! It has had drastic cosmetic & structural surgery. It has been decapitated of its leaky old roof, relieved of a couple of ratty interior walls, stripped of its previous period plumbing, shorn of its 70’s wiring and divested of its mock-Victorian single-pane windows. No sooner were these indignities dispensed with, then, came a new roof, a soldered & cemented sub-flooring followed by terra-cotta floor-tiles, newly stuccoed walls, a re-worked staircase, submerged or imbedded plumbing & electrical plants and super-thick double-paned windows & shutters.
Houses get used to Decay & Discomfort. What else can they do? They try to endure. Just think… it’s like passing a summer of going barefoot only to ram your slouchy & widdened feet into new leather soled shoes in September. You look presentable but… damn… the aches & pains are hard to tolerate. 
About the only old thing La Casetta has left is its memory of the Comings & Goings of its past inhabitants… 300 years of hard working contadini… arising before the birds think to sing to get started with their giornate. So, the poor place has carried-on by kick-starting me at 4 in the darn morning. Gads.

A cold rejection…

I went to Codiponte last weekend to spend what I thought would be a pleasantly productive three-days nella Casetta. Too bad that I arrived with the beginnings of what turned out to be a virolent case of the flu. 
I managed to go hither & yon with the many errands & occupations on Friday, suffering the hacking cough at the furniture store, ignoring the sweaty fever whilst organizing plates & glasses in the Kitchen and navigating with a groggy head while watering the 70+ plants in The Scuzzy Garden late in the afternoon. 
The trick was Friday night. How to stay warm in a house without any way to turn on, much less regulate, the radiators. No thermostat installed. And, I lacked a tall enough ladder to climb up to the attic to turn-on the darn water-heater to send hot water to the coily things under every window.
Well, of course, there was the fireplace. Neighbors… thankfully… had given me a gift of huge & thick pieces of cut wood to burn the whole night long. However, since the fancy-smancy fireplace is one to be shut tight with a glass door, the heat created reduces to cinders in a matter of an hour anything put in it. I kept waking up terrorized to be cold, rustling myself up to continually re-stock the logs in the fireplace. At about 4 AM, I did wake-up cold and completely soaked from a ragging fever. I thought… This house doesn’t want me!!! Having no antibiotics on hand, I grab The Dog & we fled for Genoa & my well-furnished medicine cabinet there.
There is no better time to be on an Italian autostrada than in the pre-dawn hours. The only ass-hole from the standard ones in BMWs & ALFA-ROMEOs during Daylight Hours was a jerk in a new Bright White FIAT 500, who wanted to drive through me to get to the AutoGrill exit before I could. However, by 6 AM I was medicated, in the bed and worrying about my relationship with La Casetta. Gads.   

Stuff stuffed

I cannot wait!!! The stuff stuffed by Mr. Stuff… Sorry. An aside.. 
I am prohibited by AKA, Mr. Stuff, in ever using his real name in this blog or, on any other site on the Internet. So be it. If he wants to be remembered by Posterity as Mr. Stuff, then, he may be My Guest!!!
…will now be stuffed in Codiponte. Not so much a Victory but, it certainly will reduce the clutter in our Genoa home… thank you very much. We can now look forward to the photos of The Stuff stuffed nel Poggiolo. Gads.

Works in progress…

The first of three roofs of La Casa Grande is built. Done two days after the Easter Weekend. This roof covers the Upstairs Apartment. It will be outfitted with stucco-ed & painted walls… we are thinking of a BLUE-PETROL… a wood-plank flooring, a full bath… that means squeezing in a bidet… a kitchen of sorts… we found a stone sink tucked in a niche next to the large window overlooking the Garden. All we will add is a cabinet built within the traces of an old fireplace to the sink’s immediate right to house a small cook-top & a frig… and a terrace with a wrought iron railing. This fun is slated for September. Before then, during the rest of April and all of May, the following will be efficiently tackled by The Builder…
…completing the roof of L’Esseccatoio, currently de-nuded of its rafters…
…re-constructing the other two roofs of La Casa Grande… the future Salotto e Sala da Pranzo… The Question of Which will be Which is yet TO BE DETERMINED, thanks to a structural flaw discovered yesterday with The Builder & Our Geometra concerning the rotten flooring of the Portico, precluding putting a kitchen in the little room off it. Alarmingly, the originators of expanding a rustic stone box into a mock-Baronial manse put the weight of two floors above on two overly burdened beams placed on two pilasters with too much distance between them. In essence, one side of La Casa Grande is resting on thin air… for cryin’ out loud!!! But, back to The Question… I want la Cucina e Sala da Pranzo to be where someone else wants Il Salotto and visa-versa. Naturally, we will have a lengthy discussion…
…rebuild the Portico’s flooring… topping it off with stone… and the sub-structure of the under-passage below it which leads from the Ramp Entrance up to Il Cortile… once we have built another arch where the Thin Air is…  
…and new sub-floorings and iron rods to hold fast the walls of these stone boxes… called La Casa Grande… leaning on each other with only the help of Gravity and A Prayer!!!
So, let us pause & take a gander at the new roof… 
the new copper gutters above the untouched… thank you very much… cornice of La Casa Grande’s facade towards Il Cortile…

the wood overhang of the roof towards The Garden side of La Casa Grande…

more copper gutters & wood cornices over the entrance to the Upstairs Apartment. Here too will be a vine covered wood pergola… I envision eating out here under its shade on lazy Saturday afternoons in July…

the view from The Garden, which is still a dump… dammit.

and, for Compare & Contrast, a view of the Upstairs Apartment’s roof to that of the Sala da Pranzo or Salotto’s roof, depending on who you are talking to. Gads.