Our Oven..

Il Poggiolo has an oven. It’s the only one on Our Side of the village. Codiponte has three. One is in a courtyard of a house on the other side of the stream in a labyrinth of alley-ways, yet to be explored by Yours Truly. And the other is up at the Borgo Castello high above il Poggiolo. Geographically, too far away. Back in the olden days, neighbors would bring what was needed to be cooked to the nearest oven… from breads to potatoes to meat. The daughter of Our Sadly Deceased Neighbor told us that practically everything or anything could be pushed-in raw & pull-out cooked to perfection in Our Oven, well beyond the above mentioned array of meats & potatoes faire… from savory pies, to cakes, stuffed veggies, sausages and so forth.

This was Great News to You’s Current Codiponte Court. This font of folk-followers sprung spontaneously from a collective visit these Folk had made to said Doctor in his private studio up in Genoa one fine Saturday morning. Seven Folk suffering from one eye irritation, malady or another, seeking succor from il Dottore You. From that moment on, he was theirs. They were his. What bed-fellows. Let me say… if I haven’t before…

when you are IN with any or all Italians YOU NO LONGER BELONG TO YOUSELF. You’re their personal possession. Nothing more to do but let whatever flow…

anyway, the Folk’s affection does not include me. You’s un dottoreun essaltato dottore. I’m merely in the way. The Folk call me only to know when You will next be in Codiponte. The Folk call You to invite him to dinner one fine Saturday night and in the last seconds of the call haphazardly add that I would be welcomed too. I’d be less bent-out-of-shape if they’d just included one of The Dogs in the invitation over me. And, the Folk stop by to give me a plastic basket filled with some ghastly vegetable You said he adored, asking me if it wouldn’t be too much trouble to burden me with it. Seriously friends, I’ve serially risked the contemplation of dumping the entire lot in the river. So, you see, I am violently offended!!! Up until that one fine Saturday morning, I was the King of the Roost here. People sought me out and not Il You. I have been side-lined. It hurts. I am unused to these feelings. These Folk climb over me to get to You. I may resign. No chance of that though.

One special aspect of these Folk… all women and a few inconsequential men added for color & balance since, none can cook, clean, do ironing or, sew… LIKE I DO!!!… are nearly competition-level cooks. Another reality show in the making. When You invited the Team Leader Folk to make pizzas in Our Oven a month ago… BOOM!!!… she & her cohorts arrived pronto per farle!!!… the dough, the fix-in’s and the toppings too! The success of that evening spawned last Saturday night’s 2nd Invitation for A Pig-out At The Ol’ Poggiolo Oven. At six in the afternoon… I hadn’t even thought of taking a shower, much less thinking I’d see 9 persons gaping at me… and which, at that hour, I am normally foraging nel frigo for something to assuage My 6 o’clock Hunger Pangs, so conditioned am I from 30 years of living & eating in the US of A… Team Leader Folk and her two burly assistants & wives & children had arrived to begin shoving in… pork sausages, basted ribs… a pork roast!!!… potatoes, stuffed vegetables, savory pies… and lasagna… to pull them out an hour and a half later for a sit-down orgy of eating for 20 + children.

I can admit, You set a splendid table…here is a pre-orgy shot of You & a few Folk… please note The Dog Numero Uno spying the b-r-e-a-d… Oh! And You has already sent me a text message to remind everyone to pay special attention to il centro tavolo….


Being of minor importance, I was NOT ALLOWED near the Oven Work Zone so, the only thing I could ferret from the proceedings was that it is mightily important to keep the casings on the sausages, so the fats… I can hear My Mother grown… will burn off and the meat will set nicely. Personally, I HATE the casings and never miss a moment to cut & tear them off. Not anymore. There’s A Good Reason that they are there.

The food was spectacular. Nothing else to say except there was too much! And the desserts were equal to the taste, variety & quantity of the main meal… 2 ice creams & cookies, a semi-freddo, watermelon and a cake.

And, to add misery to injury, the Folk did an amazing clean-up job afterwards. I hardly lifted a finger. How pleasant it was to wake-up Sunday morning… birds chirping, puffy clouds moving towards Parma to dump their rain, motorcycles growling as drivers & their WO-MEN wove their leather-jacketed way up to the Carpenelli Pass, to know that there would not be a dirty dish or a bit of clutter to attend to. Maybe it’s not so bad to be over-looked? Gads.

All’s well that ends well late…

Dear Friend,

I too have tons to write. Building, constructing, erecting a website is only for the young. They probably do not need Drink to see them through. I spent the day editing what I wrote the day before. Typed and typed and typed, saved and saved and saved, only to discover that I had edited and edited and edited an old & non-existent page off the site. I was so shocked AND demoralized, I could not even muster a Shit! I got up, grabbed The Dog’s leashes… and The Dogs too… and we went o-u-t for a w-a-l-k. But the day’s deeds were not done. No, no…

1) while wrestling with a very recalcitrant Dog Numero Uno, who felt that once he had peed on the fig tree at the end of the Medieval bridge, his work was completed so, he turned to go h-o-m-e. He’s old and is of the head-set that when he does not want to go further, he don’t!!!… a house-bound inquilino of Codiponte strutted up to me like a miniature Napoleon during the ensuing physical negotiations with said Dog, to complain that I had not sent her my new email address. I had. Not my fault she can’t pull it up. So, I bit her head off. Stunned, she then proceeded to RUIN kid’s fun playing in the river below by upbraiding their attendant mamme… DON’T YOU KNOW IT’S POLLUTED? It’s not. There are fish. Blessedly, she moved on…

2) still reeling from recent encounters, Our Dutch Friend came up to say Hi!… she had missed… or might have just plain ignored… all the clues that this was not The Time to even acknowledge My 110 kilo Presence, so foul was My Humor… she happily gave me an update of her B & B bookings until November next. I have only one week booked between Now and Kingdom Come. On this, I managed an inaudible Shit! of competitive jealousy… and, all the groovy initiatives of hosting painting, cooking and probably, paper-folding classes too… while children of her current Dutch renters hovered adoringly around The Dogs #1 & #2. It irritated me no end to see human faune with negative body fat in wet bathing suits. You may not know but, Dutch children, on vacation or not, are incessantly curious creatures and are amazingly energetic too. They are worse than 2 Weimaraners going for some schifezze at the garbage containers. Just ably stand aside and let them have go.

3) then You called. When it rains, it pours? Detecting that all was not right, he shot to the fore with A Commandment… Go forth to the concert! What concert? The concert I told you about two weeks ago. Don’t you remember? Choosing not to take up the option of arguing with said You, I said OK! And boy, am I glad I chose the Pacifist’s Option! The Dogs were taken h-o-m-e, I shaved & showered, dressed, snatched car-keys & wallet and off I drove. I stopped for a Capricciosa pizza at a pizzeria down in Aulla way… t’was lovely to look at, all sheered veggies arranged in a trompe l’oeil pattern of flowers and a figure… pale green of zucchini, pale yellow & nearly rose of the peppers and the translucent pale white of cooked onions… dancing around the addition of an egg in middle & on top but, sadly the art stopped there. A bit bland, you see. Undaunted by these evening’s prospects, I paid and headed North for music. Top flight concert of string pieces from Kodaly… ever hear of him?… Prokofiev & Sibelius in a restored 17th Century church below an equally old convent. Its interior had the identical colors of the pizza an hour before. What a coincidence. Life was looking up, when I ran into two separate sets of friends. I am now booked for other excursions for this weekend! The night’s fun finished up with a glistening glass full of vodka & tonic & lime in a minimalist writer’s apartment in the village below the concert’s locale. Got home at 1:30AM. The Dogs were in deep REM sleeps.

I am now slogging on the laptop.

Love, F

Pergola in progress…

While Our Bean Man, Tonino, is erecting his bean-patch architecture, You has commanded me to do a bit of ours up at Il Poggiolo. Architecture, that is. I don’t do beans. From some source… I believe it was our sadly gone neighbor down below us… from whom he had heard of a once-upon-a-time pergola built above the ramp leading from Il Poggiolo’s aia… or, courtyard… up to what is now the Appartamento Azzurro. Seeing that our architectural material of choice is iron rods, You spoke… Let there be an iron rod pergola!!! The Word given, I had to leap into action. The iron rods are quiet long… 6 meters long, to be exact, and we would need nearly that length to construct the pergola over the wide grassy ramp… and yet, too long for carrying them back home even with the top down on my ancient FIAT Barcchetta sports car, the rods straddling the twink car from the front fender to the back. A local builder kindly brought them for me from the ferramenta… or, hardware store and The Most Wonderful One In The Whole World too… down in Gragnola, literally. You came to supervise the pergola’s construction. But, he was just a bit too bossy for my tastes and, during the ensuing argument, I inadvertently bent two of the iron rods, and thus, striking them from use. I have not had the heart yet to pull them up. Please note the catty-whompus ones in this conveniently provided photo documentation…


And, that is as far as we got. Afterwards, You drove off for Genoa during last Sunday’s afternoon thunderstorm. I trudged up the hill in the downpour to La Concia to watch the 6PM World Cup Soccer match between Holland & Mexico. Half the assembled were Dutch. Blessedly, their team won.

So, when I feel like bending iron again, I will return to finishing the project but, not before. Gads.


Bean-patch,1st week in July…

IMG_4586IMG_4591 Ahhh, the shadow of the early July morning still holding onto Tonino’s bean-patch. The architecture continues daily… sticks & sticks & sticks stuck into the ground, so the vines can twist & twist & twist up their heights. New plants will soon need their bamboo supports. It’s a constant operation.

I ran into Tonino the other day while out waling The Dogs on the new bridge of Codiponte… well, it’s newer than the really old one… and he said he’s watching these posts too! Hope he is admiring his gardening handiwork. IMG_4589

Personally, I’d like to know how he keeps weeds from taking over all. Neat rows of plants, with water canals in between and n’er a blade of a weed in sight. Amazing. Gads.