Winter Task of Others…

The Stone-mason Guy called this afternoon. The new wall is done!!!
Get ready for another More Before & Afters. I have anticipated the event by starting with the Before. I am so excited. However, he mentioned that there is some work to fill in behind the wall. Who cares? I got a new concrete re-inforced stone-faced wall, where previously, there was just ad hoc junk stone work. I love the activity of erasing the cheap construction of the previous tenants/owners. Progress with a capital “P”!!! Gads.

Paint Jobs…

These painted boards for the color trials were nicely arranged in an “upright” position for a photo session until I notice the paint was slowly oozing down them. Now flat and taken with an auto-flash… blasted digital camera!!!… the five examples look pretty much all the same. Well, one is brighter and is actually destined to be A Candidate for what will be either a kitchen or my bedroom in La Casa Grande…
we must find another name for this part of the house. The current one sounds like a retirement home in some grotesque urban sprawl of Southern California or, an I-talian restaurant on Hwy. 41 outside Marietta, GA. I am open for proposals, folks.
We are still debating the issue about this Little Room. Well, Mr. You is debating. I am refusing to talk about it at all. That is my New Tactic. I hope to one day be victorious though ONLY if I can learn to keep my Big Mouth shut when the other one opens his. It needs two to debate. Ha!
The inspiration of the Acqua-marine Blue comes from the old trim in the Debated Little Room… or, D.L.R… once painted in a similar color. Personally, it works ONLY as a trim color. The walls ought to be Toast. Nevertheless, if I win and the D.L.R. becomes my cozy night-time harbor of repose with bath, I envision a bright Geranium-red. And why not? Mr. You has a Terra-cotta bedroom so, I ought to be able to have a bright Geranium red one. Oh! How about if I were to threaten a color… say, Mauve… maybe he’d leave well enough alone for me to decide the outcome for the D.L.R. What do you think, folks?
The blue examples do not render well in this photo. Sorry. The one I prefer… standing it in front of me… is in the middle row, on the right, next to the bird-houses. It’s not too dark, not too Purple, not too Blue-green, not too dull. You’d never know that from the photo. All of boards could do with another couple of coats of paint. Thickens the impression, you know. Well, that and standing them upright. Walls are upright, aren’t they? Gads.

More Before & Afters…

This Before photo is looking up at the upper terrace and the Madonnina… a little sanctuary to the Virgin Mary on the path up to the Castle of Codiponte. It was taken right after the guy had blown away The Jungle with a gas-powered saw… or two.
An After view of the upper terrace taken from the Spianata… or, grassy plateau. The Madonnina is slightly hidden behind the branches of the nocciola tree in the foreground & to the right of some cement blocks.
Ahhh… the isolation ditch. I do not have fond memories of this scar in my Garden.
An After shot taken last week when the fierce NE winds had abated. Better, no? Gads.

Mr. You-know-who…

Here is Mr. You working in The Garden… back when it was nothing more than a scuzzy, disorganized & ugly construction site. Ditto for what plants were left after the guy came to clear out The Jungle… lo’ those two years ago.
Another fan asked me who Mr. You is. Well, he’s Mr. You-know-who. Simple. And, that is as far as I can go with it. You see, Mr. You has vehemently PROHIBITED me to EVER divulge his Name, Rank & Serial Number… ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, ANYHOW!!! Oh! Come to think of it, I’ve never seen his Serial Number. Gosh. And I have seen him in his Birthday Suit!!! He’s got lots of Ranks, for sure, but maybe, he has no Serial Number. The other two I cannot write about. This is thanks to the stringent Privacy Laws the European Community has written and seeks to enforce with vigor. They have a partner with Mr. You-know-who. He wants to be anonymous. I told him that would be impossible. Especially, if he continued to Speak His Peace about The This’s & That’s of Il Poggiolo. Mostly the location of the Kitchen in the heart of La Casa Grande and the arrangement of the Bathroom in the Upstairs Apartment. Those two are enough. So, as a compromise… though Mr. You has yet to sign a written agreement with me & tough beans to him… he is & will be always referred to as Mr. You-know-who. Mr You, for short. If he doesn’t learn to say… Yes, Sir!!! Anything you say, Sir… to my splendid ideas for renovating Il Poggiolo, he may become just You! Anonymous and impersonal. Gads.


I put it down as stress. Blocked Stress. Acute Blocked Stress. About the house. Last night, I dreamt about Jamie Lee Curtis & Roberto Downey Jr. Two people I do not normally think about during my day… at all… EVER… practically. And, they wouldn’t go away either. I’d wake-up. I’d go back to sleep. And guess who I’d find galavanting again in My Dream World? Jamie & Robert.

This night-time aggravation is like The Wait for Our Geometra to compile Our Builder’s costs for a detailed estimate to fit-out the Upstairs Apartment. If & when, then… you knows?… we might begin the work. I have given over the floor plans, electrical plans, even the schematics for the Kitchen & Bathroom et al, yet, in the meantime, I am passing my time waiting with nifty little pass-time projects… painting bird-houses & putt-zing in the Garden.
Since September, have I seen anything like an estimate? Yes, well… there was that dinky one I did A Happy Dance in Our Geometra’s office. Mr. You was present too. He gave me his… Sit-down Now Look. It was ONLY for Euro 13,000. I was elated. A big shift from spending Euro 137,000 for roofs & things. Does anyone need me to translate these figures into $$$s? It’s a lot more in our decrepit currency. We did have had a Big Meeting about the Plumbing Plan. I’d kind-of-like to REALLY know now what all I am going to have to spend to have running water, working toilettes & serviceable kitchens throughout Il Poggiolo AND still be alive to enjoy the seeming luxury of them all.
Still No Word as yet. Gads. 

Rock Thief…

Shhhhhh! Don’t spread this around but, I have taken to stealing stones & rocks. Well, no boulders. I can’t lift those. And, Mr. You would raise a beeg steenk, if I were to destroy his beat-up ol’ AUDI hauling anything larger than my Scottish cullo… or, butt. Think bread-box size. 
Besides the above mentioned dimensions, the other criterion is the shape. Very critical. I need nice, regular AND rectangular shaped stones for the two impending wall projects on the docket. One I will do, which I have not spoken of, and the other is, hopefully, going to be built by the local bravo stone mason + helper and just posted on this blog.
Now, the word out about stealing rocks is NOT TO EVER STEAL THEM FROM THE RIVER!!! The local environmentalists would raise Hell. And, one signora too, who lives in a house with a fantastic view of the Aulella…
By the way… I was grossly misinformed and, I do apologize. One, I’ve gotten the spelling all WRONG!!! It’s NOT Aullela, but Aulella. Wouldn’t just one “l” in each place do? Then, it ain’t a river. NO!!! It’s a torrente. That means the water goes real fast down hill and it gives the impression… to one who understands Italian… that flooding is a key element of all that rushing O2. This is true, in light of our torrential rains of the past six months. Oh! See? Torrente… torrential!!! I FOUND ALL THIS INFO ON THE FRIGGING INTERNET!!!
The Signora has not one, not two, but three high-powered binoculars on her kitchen counter. I learned about this equipment when Mr. You dragged me to have tea with this Signora + her husband. He was a ship’s captain. It was nearly the first thing she showed us in her house. The first was her fireplace that has a motor to suck-up the smoke. Quite a novelty. Anyway… she spends much time spying over to my side of the Torrente Aulella. There ought to be Privacy Laws against that. Often she follows up with a telephone call to the local Carabinieri, up in Casola in Lunigiana, when she spots subterfuge, delinquency, theft!!!
I will ONLY be able to steal from the torrente by cover of darkness, UNLESS, I discover she has infra-red binocs. Then, I’ll stick with hunting along lonely mountain roads in the AUDI. Gads.

Italians Don’t Rake…

I have yet to find an adequate rake in Italy. Thank God, I’ve not had to spend lots of bank-unstable Euros with this adventure. Yet, ought it be so difficult to manufacture & stock in any local ferramenta… or, hardware store… a rake that functions? You know, the leaves go & gather with each stroke of the rake AND NOT remain where they were before!!!
My latest purchase… said tool is elegantly propped against the wall of the Upstairs Apartment… the rake part was sold separately from the long handle part. I had to take a saw to the rod-of-wood when I got home. It works… mildly. 30% goes along and the rest stays put… damn-it. I need better.
The previous acquisitions were deplorably worse. First, plastic does not a good rake make. Lo’ the Chinese adore the material, raping the Middle East right after us thirsty-for-oil Americans for every ounce of petroleum to stamp-out an unlimited number of plastic rakes at Euro 7.30. A waste of money. The darn plastic is too stiff to rake. I can still hear the leaves laughing with glee. But then, neither have I grabbed a metal Italian rake from the rack with the proper length AND tension to the tines. I had to look up that term up on the frigging Internet!!!
By the way I am sitting here typing with one hand and in the other holding a piece of potato bread slathered with a creamy white cheese, called Crescenza, and a tuna-fish & white beans in a light savory tomatoe sauce. May I say? It is a Divine. What a fine way to pizzicare… or, nibble… with a very dry pro-secco. Sorry. It was too much not to share.
Since I cannot find a decent rake, I have concluded that the Italians NEVER rake. I have made a recent study of this. And, lo’ & behold, I have discovered that there is never an oak, elm, willow,  much less a larch!!! planted within the confines of a house, apartment house, other residential establishments.  It occurred to me that there are ONLY furs, spruces, cedars & such. You know, those non-leafy flora, which do not drop there non-leafy needles about the time we are sitting down to a Thanksgiving dinner. Well, Hell!!! That explains why there ain’t a rake worth its Euro on sale in this country. Yet, in my case, some previous tenant/owner cleverly thought of planting a persimmon tree and two willows in what is now the confines of My Garden!!! It’s Fall-out every November. I need a good rake. Gads.