New Year’s at Il Poggiolo…

IMG_1064I hope 2013 isn’t going to copy Our Plans for New Year’s Eve 2012-2013. Here’s the distressing run-down…

Our Dear English Friends here in Codiponte, during a lovely & slightly drunken sit-down Santo Stefano luncheon… the day after the 25th of December is a holiday in Italy to recuperate from the assault of way too much Family & Buffet-eating on Christmas Day… happily offered to host Our New Year’s Party in their lovely home. The clear advantage here is they have a traditional and LARGE Living Room anchored with a HUGE open fireplace. HEAT & SPACE. Wonderful! However, because no-one in the Lunigiana, much less in the rest of Italy, wants to pay the exorbitant gas bills, it’s A COLD & CHILLY Walk to the Dining Room for Nourishment. The reward though is to return satiated with pate’ & pasta to resume warming one’s sedere at the blazing hearth. Our Friend’s Proposal quite effectively resolved The Nagging Question of How & Where to hold Our New Year’s Eve Party at Il Poggiolo, so compromised by either the lack of HEAT, SPACE, or both. Sadly though, the day after, once the effect of the red wine had worn off, the offer was rescinded with great apologies. Oh, well. Back to The New Year’s Eve Logistics Question at Il Poggiolo.

Hung up the phone only for it to squeal again. Our German Friends from Mannheim… the Special Guest Stars of Our New Year’s Eve Party… called & cancelled their participation, thanks to An Unalterable Deadline with work. Again, more great apologies.

Meanwhile, closer to the ranch, The Nice Pharmacist, who rents La Casetta, told me he would be gone for New Year’s, choosing to spend it, and justifiably so, with his Family & Friends in La Spezia where he lives most of the time. Then, word came through the pipe-line that… no… instead… he would bring Family & Friends to La Casetta for a New Year’s celebration. It is his Right to do so, however, I was planning on housing some Other of Our Friends in the Guest Bedroom for a couple of nights… you see, the place as steam HEAT… so they could help us drag in The New Year. Oh, well. I called Our Other Friends, and with great apologies, cancelled them off Our New Year’s Eve Party’s Guest List.

In a morning’s transit, we had descended from 10 to 4… Us Boys and Our Dear Dutch/Milanese Friends over at La Concia. Maybe. Once I have finished this posting, You & I are going to take The Dogs for a walk to La Concia to see what is what with Our Friends there… and to shore up any communal plans for A New Year’s Eve Party. Gads.

 

The Christmas forecast…

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This photo looked a lot nicer as a micro-thumbnail on My Pictures File. Seeing the image now enlarged here, Codiponte, the Medieval bridge… blessedly still standing after risking destruction several weeks ago during that period of flooding… AND Il Poggiolo behind that utterly crappy house with those diarrhea painted shutters… whew… all look a bit marginal. But hey! It’s winter. Or, so we thought. The RAI-TV Capitano del Meteo keeps pummeling us with predictions for Big Chills throughout the Italian Lands until Christmas, when, with the flip of the ol’ temp dial, a heat-wave is to hit. Gosh. I mentioned this to You before he sped-off to another in an exhausting series of update seminars. He grumbled something about… Eeet cayn dooo whut eeet wantz teeel Creeestmas. Aphtr tat, Iye want warrrm… before shutting the door. I concurred which, is helluva lot easier to spell & write than the speak-ese of Dr. You. Rather than being cooped up in the Appartamento Azzurro with two crazed Weimaraners whilst continually stoking the fires, I can happily see myself draped in a deck chair on one of Our Grassy Terraces wrapped in one of those nifty IKEA light-weight-but-oddly-warm boucle’ blankets digesting some tome imported from Amazon.com under a bright yet mild sun.  Where is all this nonsense leading? Big Emotions for Our Dopo Natale Escape to Codiponte. And, right up there with the Weimaraners anxiousness is Dr. You. Never ever did I reckon to see, feel or hear him express, in relatively direct Italian, an enthusiasm for hitting the countryside… ASAP!!! Must be the Mystery of the Season? Gads.

Dispensing with the holidays…

There is this darn holiday in between me and being at Il Poggiolo on the 26th. And, I am not sorry in… the… least… about being a Christmas Humbug. I just dare a Ghost of any Christmas Past from the last sixty to come & scare me out of My Bah-humbugness. But, if I must, I must tolerate the cheer and fix & serve a Christmas Day pranzo to You’s assemble family members and be done with it.

Yet, there are other distractions. Yes. A discussion for You, a debate for me. From a far… where You & I should hold Our New Year’s Eve Dinner & Dance. Not sure about a lot of it. Nonetheless, leaving behind the doubtful dance part, a major pre-occupation is what will The Cold be like at after-Christmas Time in Codiponte. Not bad as a song title either. However, not fearing the COLD, we do have options where we can Dine & Dance in comfort. Here’s the line-up…

if it ain’t COLD, then, I think, with a modest digital paraffin heater, we can party down in La Casa Grande. I noticed, before departing My Adored Poggiolo several weeks ago of a modest… a detectable… yes, even an acceptable level of WARMTH within the Casa Grande’s confines senza qualsiasi riscaldamento… or, no HEAT. And this, after many nights of bone-shivering Siberian winds following the rain we had.

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if it is truly COLD, then, perhaps… and it will be tight… we can party up in the Appartamento Azzurro’s open space. All it will take is 24 hours of stoking a fire in the marble faced fireplace and great quantities of Champagne to survive. As You might say… Eeet weeell beee vewry inteeemit. Fine. There is one minor drawback… the apartment’s kitchen appliances are… being kind… rudimentary. And, I don’t do micro-waves. Thus, if the menu consists of any dish requiring an oven… potatoes, roast beef, quiches, for cryin’ out loud… then, someone, and I already know who that someone will be… must commute between the two culinary poles of La Casa Grande & Appt. Azzurro. I hope the weather remains dry. I’ll get You to light the way with a flash-light since, he refuses to cook.

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And, if it is really, really COLD, then, I think we can party way down in La Casetta. Our tenant won’t mind. He’ll be away. And, it is only for one night. The house has central heat galore, a fireplace too AND a fully installed array of kitchen appliances. Might just be the locale for dragging in 2013.

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Come what may with the Cold, we are blessed with options. On another front, the RAI-TV Weather-Capitano is indicating a mild Christmas to New Year’s. Great! Bring on 2013!!! Gads.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blocked by snow…

The well decked-out in a double-breasted military suit with shiny brass buttons RAI-TV Weather-Capitano… don’t you just love a man, an Italian man, in a uniform?… had said neve and that is what exactly You & I woke up to yesterday morning! I did not believe him. Genoa under five inches of white soggy stuff from Our Apartment’s balcony. The Dogs, sensing what lay in store for them on their Morning Constitutional, continued to sleep, their Weimarner heads buried in their soft-pile blankets, obviously hoping for better climatic conditions. None were in sight, nor would they be until, at least, Saturday afternoon… late.
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The Dogs & I were scheduled to leave for Codiponte. You for Palermo, Sicily. Both for a long weekend. I checked the weather report for Sicily… the nth time for Dr. You… the Genoa airport’s website about a possible closure and the autostrada folk about getting out of Dodge. Good news for You… sunny & warm & breezy in Palermo and the airport WAS operating… a miracle. Bad news for me… several autostrade closed due to excessive quantities of snow & ice… Gosh!… and the necessity of either snow tires or chains on the car to enter any autostrada in the Ligurian region. Gosh again! Dogs, guess we ain’t going to Codiponte. Too bad. The beat-up ol’ AUDI’s packed with all of You’s Goodies from Udine, My Clean Laundry and The Dog’s stuff too. Not to be. You trudged off to catch his taxi in a terrifically bad humor, His Standard Policy, when the weather is anything but sunny & warm & breezy. Took him 20 minutes to find a pair of shoes appropriate for the weather and to Fayeshion Dictates for a convention of eye-surgeons. We non-combattants may think these medical shindigs are serious affairs but, they ain’t. Shhh… they are more a poppycock’s parade. I bade You a warm farewell, obeyed his order to shut the door to Our Apartment so it wouldn’t catch a cold… ???… and repaired to My 16th Century Piedmontese Walnut Desk with a piping hot Japanese mug of caffe’ to see what e-mails I had received while it had snowed the night before. Nothing of note. I sent a bunch of text messages to Our Friends in Codiponte asking what it was like down there. The gist of the replies was… Pissing down rain! Not what I had expected. No sense in spending a shortened weekend stuck with two crazed Weimaraners though all would be warmed by a fire in a downpour.

A bit saddened this weekend’s No-show, I pondered Our Next Programed Visit to Codiponte for the week after Christmas. So far…

we will have an appointment with Our Geometra about the copper facing on the Appartamento Azzurro’s roof. It is threatening to rip-off, taking victims too, in the next wind-storm…

we will pay the final construction bills… minor yet irritating financial conclusions… before the bells ring in the last of 2012… and let me say, Good Riddance!

and settle in & prepare La Casa Grande for Our New Year’s Eve Celebration. HEAT is Numero Uno on The List.

I miss il Poggiolo. I miss Our Friends in Codiponte. I miss evenings before a fire. Gads.

Vacation rentals…

A happy reminder that il Poggiolo is available for vacation rentals. For further details, please click & go to: http://forrestspears.com/ilpoggioloacodiponte/benvenuti/.

La Casetta…                          La Casa Grande…                 L’Appartamento Azzurro.

The Goodies List…

You arrived last night all in a huff. He felt it was highly remiss of me not to have listed the prices he paid for all the Goodies in the latest blogs. So, in an attempt to respond to his exigence, here they are as I can best remember…

An acid Yellow Urn w/ top for 20 Euro. LARGE item, LARGE flea-market price… a large Sicilian candy box for 10 Euro… a smaller Sicilian candy box for 5 Euro… the 40s Madonna statuette, which sounds less bric-a-brac-ish than figurine, for 3 Euro… the large pottery well w/ bucket for 2 Euro.. two porcelain salt sellers, again as quaint wells, for 15 Euro, a seemingly exorbitant price but, they’re pretty fancy… a book on English country homes, in English, for 50 cents… a book on English painting, again, in English for 50 cents… two 100 year old English paperbacks with their own slip covers. I suppose that’s what they are called. And bought for 50 cents like all the rest. All a decided bargain, don’t you think? And, I chalk these finds up as quite a feat to find English books in Udine. You was on a roll. Thoughtful of him to have considered my preference for reading material too… three large wooden bread boards w/ handles too for a total outlay of 3 Euro. So large in fact, I thought they were cocktail tables for il Salotto… a pair of wall sconces, each with two holders for candles and made from beaten-into-submission tin which is not hard to do, in the form of herons climbing for altitude for 12 Euro… Grant Total 41.50!!! I’d say… gads.

More Goodies for il Poggiolo…

You arrived early for a Monday night… at 6:55PM. We sat down to watch Ugly Betty, recently imported & currently aired on Berlusconi’s Canale 5… Ick-phooey!!!… to eat a stunning dinner, if I may say so myself, of a bistecca alla Fiorentina, creamed spinach with concomitant fumes of Brandy to boot AND French fried potatoes & carrots. Yeah, like WOW!!! Chocolate-chip ice cream for dessert. Double WOW!!! At 7:50PM, Ugly Betty speed away after a gale of stupid ads… Oh! TV in Italy NEVER falls into the conveniently created time-slots of the hour and half-hour. Nope. Well… about the only show which starts on the hour is Telegiornale... or, the News. Yeah, whoopee. By 7:57PM, You, wrapped for Arctic blizzards, and me, in a scarf & cotton jacket, we set upon Our Way Down to the depths of Our Apartment Building, to the Garage, for The Official Unveiling of The Goodies. Yes, the beat-up AUDI’s way-back was full of stuff in tacky plastic sacks from You’s spectacularly successful Flea-market Tour of Greater Udine. Do I need to remind everyone about Udine? Quickly, it is a Terrestial Paradise for Junque. There. The Official Unveiling met its conclusion around 8:43PM. We then repaired above to eat bowls of ice cream… again, in front of the darn television set… while some ridiculous movie played about a guy needing to marry within 24 hours so he could inherit a fortune. In between gulps of chocolate-chip ice cream, all I could manage in the way of a Comment & Feedback was… Too much stress and all for what? A Million $$$s??? You piped-up with his… Welllll, hee coodd shp weeth mee aynd steel hav sum muney tooo buyee aye neuw macchina. That’s car in Italian parlance. Oh! And, Renee Zellvegger was the True-love Intended. Yeah, big wow. So much for Our Evening’s Schedule… onto The Goodies…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do we have?…

Top Left… a 60 year old hand painted sweets box from Sicliy. Top Middle… a 40’s Madonna figurine. She’s sweet too. Top Right… a close-up of that Sicilian sweets box.

Bottom Left… very little ol’ lady-ish ceramic covered dishes for anything from salt to sugar or sweets, again. You occasionally falls prey to bric-a-brac alla signora, yet with taste… Bottom Middle… a large hand-painted Sicilian sweets box. Pretty darn colorful, isn’t it? And here is an interesting aside… Dolce & Gabbana, both Sicilian, designed their S/S 2013 Collection from just such Sicilian hand-painted shenenigans. The clothes were beyond awesome, whatever that might be. Quadruple WOW??? And, Bottom Right… an urn in Our Signature Acid Lemon-yellow Green. Please note the “Our”. I am to believe You has embraced what he said only attracts bugs.

And, la piece de la resistance!!!… a cache-pot as a well with bucket. How charming? And, how convenient too. The real rope has long since met its Maker. Gads.

Have your Taste-buds for junk kicked into High Gear? Yes? Good. More Goodies later. Gads.

Early Christmas Goodies?…

I would like to share with a couple of items You purchased at various second-hand emporiums in the greater Udine area. Udine? Yes, it’s the large & thriving capital of the Friuli-Venezia region of northeast Italy. Practically, not on anyone’s To Visit List. A pity though because, You tells me it is charming and is A Veritable Paradise of junk-stores, etc. You was there for a ten-day surgery training in the hospital. Latest techniques for saving folk’s eye-sight and so forth. He was on the 7 to 5 shift. POOF!!! At the strike of 5, off You would go to Stalk & Snoop for treasures. And, here are the two he pulled out of the beat-up old AUDI. More joy awaits me to night. I am to understand the car is quite packed!!!…

And, just what a boy needs… a bird lamp and a parrot figurine. Well, in this case, un figuraccio! Reminds me of a bar in Verona with a live parrot to greet its caffe’ starved habitues. Do parrots live long? Not sure the creature is still with us. Anyway, a ring of the door as you entered or left would get you a Buon Giorno! Mine, thankfully, is mute. Gads.