Fire!!! Days Three & Four after…

IMG_5703Day Three of After Sunday’s Fire… the insurance adjuster came yesterday. He took a few interior shots while I kindly shined a beam up at the blackened ceiling and at the gaping hole too, took some rudimentary measurements, wrote out a “verbale” which was basically copied from the one I sent to the insurance company Monday AM, and he ended by telling me the work could begin!!!

“Gosh, that fast? But, don’t you want to see the roof?”
“No, your photos are enough. Send them to me. Are they in colour?”
“The last I saw, they were.”
“Fine. Arrivaderci!”
The End… but not really.

IMG_5703Day Four, today, Thursday, and yes, it’s the same photo from Day Three of After Sunday’s Fire… No-one wants to uncover the disaster. Or, my photos are so stunning and highly descriptive that the exercise can be dispensed with. AM appointment with our geometra. Google translates “geometra” to mean “surveyor” in Italian. I would say NO! It means “A Guardian Angle covering my back!” We went over stuff about the fire. Too lengthy to go into. The consequence of the appointment though was a PM appointment with the same geometra and the two builders… destined to do The Work… to really go over stuff about the fire. Took over an hour. The result is: the entire chimney and 24 square meters of roof will have to be entirely re-built, re-beamed, isolated, protected, secured, re-tiled, the flue cleaned & brushed and with the novelty of a NEW! NEW!! NEW!!! copper chimney-piece on top. Then, the entire ceiling and walls of the salotto will be re-appointed… detailed painting… followed by a couple of coats of paint… for the second time this year!!!… in our signature Sage Green. The attending three gentlemen’s eye-balls popped out of their sockets when I told him what just one gallon of the paint costs. Thank God, they know the store where I bought it. I often think Italians imagine Americans cart over in their over-head bags nifty stuff found ONLY in the United States of America. Ha!!!


Fire!!! Prop & Cover…


Il Poggiolo’s Fire: The Aftermath or, Phase 2… rains predicted for two days and, sure enough, they arrived early but, not too early before the local builder + crew could put braces up against the chimney piece… it risks falling inside La Casetta and/or down the roof before the insurance adjuster can come to inspect and assess the damages… and to cover all with plastic tarpaulins secured with stones from our vast archive to keep La Casetta dry. We ain’t rockin’ but we are rollin’… a bit.








Now the whole village knows something happened. Oh! And the last thumbnail shows my contribution. Gads.


A fire… I was awakened in the middle of the night last Sunday by a horribly acrid, noxious smell in my BR in L’Appartamento Azzurro, the top most portion of il Poggiolo, our house in the Lunigiana. I immediately thought of a fire in the apt.’s fireplace. Nothing. Got back in bed. The odour got worse. Sometimes the contadini burn trash late at night down in the river often throwing plastic into the flames. I thought that was what was happening. Sceptical, I looked out the window to see tons of smoke right below where I was. This is NOT happening in the river. I stepped out onto the terrace outside my BR to see the chimney of La Casetta wrapped in flames. I bolted to awaken the neighbors staying in La Casetta while their house is re-built. I ran into the daughter on the ramp. She had been awakened by the same nasty smell and called a friend on night-duty at the volunteer ambulance service to come with fire-extinguishers. Inside the LR danced more flames up where the flue passes through the roof. While the fellow tried to douse the fire with the synthetic spray on the fire-extinguishes, the daughter & I ran back up to L’Appartamento Azzurro to do a bucket-brigade to put out the flames with water. 30 minutes later all was put out.

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I have an idea as to how it happened. There is a lesson to learn, I knew it before but others did not but, I am mostly thoughtful of this…

lucky that the daughter awoke and called for help… lucky that the friend arrived with the fire-extinguishers and set to work. The nearest fire department is 30 minutes away!!!… lucky that I was roused into action too… lucky that no-one was injured or, worse by the noxious fumes… and lucky that the roof and fireplace were built out of fire-retardant materials. Had they not, in minutes all would have been for a total loss.

Monday morning, I got a local builder to come and check the damage and to tell me if he could repair all. Said the chimney was built properly and, sadly, too busy to help. Still in the phase of post-earthquake reconstruction. Our geometra arrive too. Said the chimney was built properly and made a call to a builder expert in chimneys to come make repairs. He’s booked. Called our insurance agent to have a claims adjuster come and inspect the situation so the re-construction can begin.

Now, if the rains can hold off, I will feel even luckier!

Memory Lane of reconstruction…

What a Climb to Calvary with these photos. I found slews on an old MacBook but, to get them to the newer one, I had to send emails… lots and lots and lots of email… with only a few photos in each. Most just would not arrive where I wanted them to land, i.e. the newer MacBook. Lost in some niche of the server, I suppose. These nine pics made a happy landing. How is a mystery but, I ain’t arguing. I would like to share them. Looking at them myself those months turned into four years of rebuilding il Poggiolo strike me as nearly Ancient History…

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Looking a bit Fall-ish…

Just got back to il Poggiolo yesterday and before the Heavens let loose its Globally Warmed load of thunder & lightning, heavy rain and even hale later in the evening and through all of last night. Took a tour around the garden this morning, an exercise in Damage Assessment. The persimmon tree had lost a limb. Poor limb could not resist the swaying and its burden of fruit. 2015 will have a bumper crop of persimmons. Not like last year, when You could only find 3 to pluck. Brought along the camera and here is a medley of Fall-ish photos…

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Olives besieged…

IMG_5642A friend gave me this little, tiny olive tree. It’s on the ledge outside the window at the sink in La Casa Grande. It gets sun for most of the day. Well, until we go on Standard Time and as the days shorten to zilch.

Washing dishes the day I got back to Codiponte from our USA TOUR 2015, I noticed there was this black thing nestled in the silvery-green leaves of the little, tiny olive tree. AN OLIVE!!! Hot-IMG_5658diggity-dog. You will beyond ecstatic!!! I’ve got to send him a photo. I was just plain dumb-founded. Dogs were super emozionated but they thought all my commotion meant there would a piece of b-r-e-a-d in their immediate futures. I went on with My Daily Tasks and gave no more thought to olives or trees, even the three at the Scenic Overlook of il Poggiolo’s Garden.

Then, this past weekend, I noticed another black orb dangling close to the one from The First Sighting. Rapt inspection produced the same effect as the other day. Dogs came almost immediately to hound me for a whole-wheat t-r-e-a-t. At this point, I marched out to the Scenic Overlook and discovered that of the three olive trees gracing said terrace, one showed fruit. How weird, but thank you. T’was the one next to the descending wall of the ramp and modestly full of these savoury fruits. You will be in olive-stratosphere!!! And, he’ll bother me too until we’ve harvested and put to salts these tasty morsels.

Italian House - Olive fruit flyEvery afternoon the Dogs & I walk to the local Codiponte olive press, a frantoio or, to many, simply called il Mulino, to kibbitz with the proprietress while the dogs are subjected to the verbal assaults of one of the nastiest Shih-tzu’s to afflict the Face of the Earth. Her phone rang. Someone asked when the Mulino would start up for the Olive Crushing Season. She said it would be later this year. Not many olives about. The other end agreed and then confessed he was besieged by olive fruit-flies. Oh, mio dio!!! said the mill’s owner. The fellow hung up. I thought what had devastated last year’s olive-crop was a fungus. Turns out that is only a general term the Italians use for anything bad to hit their agriculture, like the Scuzzy Bar Lady saying it was Germans who had walked off with my abandoned vintage scarf left in her dirty establishment yet, meaning anyone who does not speak Italian. No, the proprietress said, It’s flies and They’re wrecking havoc in the olive groves of Codiponte again this year. I feel lucky that we have the olives we’ve got. Gads.