End of the season…

and the start of a new. But, about the old one winding down now…

It was one of the hottest summers on record. During one scalding day in late July, the temp on il Poggiolo’s stone courtyard at 1:43PM showed 108F!!! Italy suffered day-time temps above 90F for 6+ consecutive weeks. NO RAIN EITHER!!! Thunder yes, water no.

My vacation renters were an interesting & friendly lot and ran the gamut of the principal European countries of the ineffectual Euro-Union: England, France, Germany, plus one family from Michigan. I hope this last group survived their Italian adventure, especially the “grandparents”. SEMI-TRUCKS FOR SUITCASES!!! Their son had programmed a change of residence every 2 days. And they practically did everything off their cellphones. Like the human digestive track, they were in Italy but outside it too.

2 different sets of adored cousins came to Italy in July to see You & me: one couple came to Codiponte and did not want to leave and the other arrived in Venice and I thought the 2 would melt & dissolve into a Venetian canal from the heat. They didn’t, thanks to judicious forays into places with AC.

You & I together or me separately hosted some terrific dinners on our aia but, sadly, NO PIZZA PARTIES!!! As the Italians say… c’e sempre domani.

Our Little Bean Man tended his bean-patch for what he described as a pessima stagione per il faggioli = poca roba. TOO DARN HOT!!! He harvested what he could. Most of the vines are now withered and curled upon the furrows of the bean-patch to fertilize next year’s attempt at a crop. Despite his own comment, Our Little Bean Man said he is mostly after the fun of it all. Good for him. At least. For 2015, the beans are kaput.

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So now for the new season, Fall/Winter, my mind is running helter-skelter with the many tasks of closing down il Poggiolo at the end of October… clean the houses, move plants, disinfect them too, shutter windows & doors, put out-door furniture in-doors and tell everyone we know… Ci vediamo nel 2016!!! Gads.


Nina at it, again…

This is going to be a short AND tragic story. You has been driven into silence and so unlike him too…

Falcon imbalsamatiA few months ago, You found a rare falcone… stuffed to its once ever-living-flying feathers… in his preferred mercatone del usato over in Savona. It is very convenient. He walks out of his hospital, crosses a car-clogged street and enters into Stuff Paradise. He acquired the noble creature for a mere $50 bucks. He preened. Naturally, the stuffed bird arrived at my doorstep here at il Poggiolo. What joy! More stuff stuffed.

You debated as to a perfect location for his falcon. The deliberation lasted most of a Saturday afternoon. 75% of that time was spent piddling with Other Stuff… unmarried-aunt-like fruit bowls, etc.  Finally, You found the embalmed bird A Good Home on an ex-roof beam-cum-pedestal placed in an anonymous corner of La Casa Grande’s Sala da Pranzo. And there it remained, quiet, in Peace, safe until…

AirFrance A-380 Atlanta Skyline Pinehurst NC 2

You & I hopped aboard AirFrance to Atlanta, GA USA for My Sister’s 25th Wedding Anniversary Party-hearty weekend shindig. The parties were great fun. No time to recoup. On the Monday thereafter, we drove My Ancient-but-still-cognisant 87 yr. old Mother back to her home in Pinehurst, NC USA. She alternated between doing the New York Times Crossword Puzzle and telling me how to drive. You napped during most of the 7.5 hour Interstate voyage. We promptly dumped her in her condo and headed to a South Carolina beach for some Sun ‘n Fun before returning to check on the ol’ lady and to catch our AirFrance flights back to Our Home in EEtaaalyyy.

IMG_5627I drove down to Codiponte the day after our arrival. No sooner had I opened the gate to il Poggiolo,  Our Neighbour and Dog-sitter came out to tell me something went missing in the house. WHAT? Robbers??? Snooping through La Casa Grande, I discovered to My Horror!!! the plinth was bare!!! Oh!… My!!… God!!… You will be distraught!!!!! Hearing a rather loud GASP, in came the Dog-sitter to explain…

Nina had had a Beeg Crisis during My Absence. A violent thunder-storm one Sunday niht did not help. Alone, forgotten, scared apparently and missing me terribly, she hunted, found and tore into the poor, stuffed falcon and mangled it into an ever-lasting Oblivion. All that remained for the Dog-sitter was the stand, the paglia stuffing and a few miserable feathers.

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Another victim to Nina’s ever-growing rostrum of carnage. Gads.

P.S. I found the courage to call you with The Bad News. He was speechless and hung-up. Then, counting to 10, he called back and continued to do so about every 5 minutes with questions, mostly hovering around The Question of… How could it have happened??? Silly boy… she’s a Huntress!!! On the brighter side of it all, less stuff!!! Gads again.

Sagra dei Pomi 2015… done deed

La Sagra dei Pomi 2015 is now History. Already this morning, a few of the more able-bodied ragazzi del villaggio have started to dismantle what all from the three-day festival. Seemed a great success…. from the Friday START to the Sunday FINISH. Lots and lots of people. And, Thank God, too!!! Everyone here worked their proverbial cullos off setting up. Food & drink mostly and the tents & decor.

Il Poggiolo was nightly illuminated with candle-lit lanterns in all the windows and the outside lights turned on. Felt proud of our small contribution. Otherwise, the village was dark. Dead. All lights & life were on full blast over at the sagra on the other side of the river.

The high point of the festival weekend was the Sunday Apple Cake Competition, the Float Parade and La Dansa delle Fanciulle. The last is an exercise in bad make-up and hair-dos. A Codiponte signora won for the best apple cake, though practically, she wins every other year. The boys dressed as can-can girls won the Float Parade… petticoats & wigs include. In the middle of the Float Parade, a woman fainted and was carried off in an ambulance. Very efficiently. Too much food & drink is suspected. But what else WAS there to do? No games, no sports, no tests of strength, beauty or intelligence. What was offered and in abundance was lifting fork to mouth with a luscious mouthful of asado meat or downing plastic cups of the local wine or domestic beer. Occasionally, you could dance or bop to the canned tunes of the moment. Not that I am complaining. I ate asado three times so good was it. And, I enjoyed touring the festivities, from the improvised piazza HQ to the frantoio… the olive press… saying Ciao! to those whom I met and knew while sipping a chilly white wine… in a plastic cup. Il pezzo di genialita’ was the Sunday evening concert given by a Lunigiana musician… Bugelli… nearly a cult figure backed with a small accompaniment of a banjo strummer and a guitar player. Hippie hair. Had Bugelli sung in English, I would have thought to be in the Tennessee mountains. Packed crowd of all ages too and right up to the Midnight hour.

Now, like all the previous years, the little community of Codiponte is thrown into the netherland between the August vacations and the return to work or school. I miss Summer already, hot though it was. Gads.

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