Oh, My God! Robbers…

The Lunigiana has been hit by a raft of robberies. Many were a quick Scout, Enter, Take & Flee. A few were of a more violent Breaking & Entering with the added touch of mace sprayed into the alarmed faces of folk caught at home watching TV. All are upsetting. This epidemic is the only topic of conversation here ’bouts. N’er a word about the COLD or, the possible forthcoming election for the Italian parliament after the grotesque election law of Berlusconi was over turned by the Constitutional Court two days ago. It don’t matter if you are out to lunch with The Girls gabbing over pasta & white wine, in the Post Office chatting it up with those waiting to pay, like me, the latest irksome trash bill… recently upped… or asking the butcher with the dippy hat at the Carrefour Express super-market for some tidbits for The Dogs. Everyone is re-hashing the Break-in News, asking if you are scared…
well, of course I am scared, dammit!!! I’m all alone. The Dogs don’t count. They sleep through anything unless Nina-Killer detects a cat in the vicinity. Can she smell them or is it solely an audible alert? L’Appartamento Azzuro is pointed in the opposite direction from the Codipontesi’s sight-lines from, for example, that Commie apartment-house across the valley, while the rest of Il Poggiolo is A Great Big Dark VOID, lights on or not. Nor can I hear a creak or crack from inside My Fireplace-heated Open-space Nook, even with a window left open. A great way to let in the COLD…
and to inquire just what ARE The Authorities doing to PROTECT Citizens & Property? The Nice Alimentari Lady said Additional Assistance has been brought in… i.e. more handsomely decked-out Carabinieri… to run more patrols in their stunning Carabinieri- colors SUVs, put up road-blocks and respond to calls of distraught citizens after a hit. Even the nearly non-existent Police were out in force. Practically the only time I see such a patrol is in the summer when caught in flagrante with The leash-less Dogs. Yesterday though, here in Codiponte, they had manned a road-block in front of the Church of Codiponte. There’s a convenient parking area for them to wave their red disks. I noticed them while out w-a-l-k-ing The Dogs. There was a clear view of the action from the usual end point of Our Typical Afternoon Excursion to the officina of the Local Car Mechanic… Posto Numero 2 for leaving My Euros, as per the latest of 80 Euros for a new battery of last week. Posto Numero 1 is the hardware-store down in Gragnola. The grease-monkey establishment is on the Codiponte Church’s property across a defunct church-sponsored soccer field and below the church’s Romanesque campanile. Defunct because the cinder-brick locker-blocks have asbestos roofing material, awaiting dismantling now for 40+ years. That’s Italy for you… church & bio-waste together. And, apparently, it is perfectly logical & reasonable that it be so. As Nina-Killer rolled in some horrendous bio- substance, the Police, in the meantime, had stopped a mono-volume… or, a van. From the noise, the stopped driver was more than just unhappy for being so inconvenienced by a Series C+ law officer. An argument ensued. I called The Dogs and we left. They probably upped the fellow’s ticket’s total by another extra 100 Euro for having raised his voice at an Ufficiale della Forza del Ordine.
Earlier in the day, the gentleman at the Post Office window, who had dealt with My Trash Bill, said these furti come around from time to time. These professional thieves know they have A Brief Window of Opportunity to hit as many houses/businesses/other as they can before the Local Authorities put on their pants and do something about it. Pants? Yes, he said. One Citizen, irate for the lack of proper initiative at Carabinieri Headquarters up in Casola when he called to report Suspicious Persons About, drove over to lodge a complaint…. in persona. After ringing, ringing, ringing the darn doorbell, a Carabinieri… supposedly… responded in an A-shirt, boxers & socks with slippers holding his Carabinieri pants slung over an arm. At this point, you can only laugh or cringe.
As for the Further History of the Heist Gossip, I first heard of a theft by Our Neighbor Below whose cousin, the Local Hairdresser… more the Local Hair-yanker and a formidable one too… left her home in Monchigoli… that’s pronounced Mon-cheee-go-leee… at 4PM to run an errand and came back at 4:45PM to find her house ransacked. Her husband heard & saw nothing out in the garden. The Local Hair-yanker is now full of Big Fears and is camping-out with her son + family in Codiponte. Then, a couple, who live in the apartment on top of the ex-Codiponte Post Office and across the State Road 445 from the Scuzzy Bar were hit. They were away at the same fascia d’orario… 4PM to 7PM. BAM!!! The Scuzzy Bar’s alarm went off two nights in a row. Hits were recorded everywhere else… in Vignetta, Pieve San Lorenzo, Gragnola!!! etc.
The Big Fear continues. I have to include myself from suffering its effects. Had I known of nothing, I would be sleeping easier. Not to be. Lights are left on… I lock myself in at night… and I shiver in my bed… and not from the COLD either. Obviously, The Big Fear has won.
And so, until the Forze del Ordine can wrestle these criminals from our villages & towns and render them swiftly unto Justice… a suspect ability in Italy… let me conclude by saying, I am so ready for 2013 to end. We can skip the holidays of the Immaccolata, Christmas & New Years and jump several spots on the Big Game Board and land squarely at, say, Easter 2014. Floods, earthquakes and now robberies. I want the time to run out… FAST!!!… for the worries of what else we might get hit with this year! Gads.

Flash! Flash!! Flash!!!…

Well, just as Hugh Grant quickly put aside his convertible peccadillo… on late-night TV… I might as well get this over ASAP at this late hour of 9:24PM…

The Veils of the Mystery are lifted!!! The Culprit is found!! Hopes of a long yet, excitingly drawn out investigation are dashed! However, what I am about to write is terribly embarrassing… to me…

First, the missing goblets were right behind the three I took for being what remained. And, secondly, I was forthwith informed by You, who physically demonstrated, that instead of six goblets, there are, in fact, eight. Two Mortifying Admissions are enough, wouldn’t you not agree?

These revelations makes it appear that… A) I am blind or, gentler to say, I cannot see… B) nor can I count when given the gift of sight, apparently, on rare occasions, which is oddly ironic since, I co-habitat with an eye doctor/surgeon. If any of you ha-ha-ha, you’re in trouble… and C) and worse still, I am incapable of caring properly for My Stuff, especially gifts from Dear Friends. I can already hear… for shame… for shame… for shame on you.

May I say? I totally blame this… this… this fuck-up on Il Signore Principe Dottore You. Had he obliged me in rigorously following My Explicit Organizational Dictates, previously agreed to… that in all situations, I MUST BE ABLE TO CLEARLY & QUICKLY SEE ALL MY STUFF OR IT IS OVERLOOKED & FORGOTTEN & I CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE… and I wouldn’t be writing that I have eaten My Hat!!! I am convalescing and prefer not to be encumbered to account for all My Stuff at this particular time. Well, until at least Jan. 1, 2014, as per My Surgeon’s Recommendations made early today. I am already carrying a heavy enough load of Guilt as it is… thanks to You not following The Rules. Must My Burdens be increased, I ask?

So, we can all relax, breath easily and strike-off from the Mystery Missing List the now eight Green goblets. However, I still would like to know WHO TOOK MY Car Key, The Doggie-cookies and the Wooden Stairs… AND, perhaps more importantly, WHO JIMMIED THE LOCK ON THE DOOR TO THE STANZA DEI TINI… I would so very much like to know. I am open to confessions/admissions/other.

I’m sorry. Carry on. This too will pass. Gads.

 

Poltergeist or thief?…

IMG_3952These goblets were a belated yet highly appraised house-warming gift for Il Poggiolo from A Dear Genoese Friend. I do not have the heart to tell her… nor will I ever… that, last weekend, You & I had the full set of six Green goblets. Now, as you can see in the accompanying photo, there are only three left. And, again for the nth time in My Recent Life, I have had to turn upside down AND sideways the entire La Casa Grande trying to find The Missing… and, to no avail, naturalmente!!!

I was in a funk. So, I called You for Moral Support. I should have known better. Moral Support is not You’s best forte unless… unless you happen to be one of the downtrodden with bad eyesight. Then, he is all quiet concern. He said, during Our Brief Conversazione TelefonicaSomeone has taken them. Don’t you mean Something instead? No. You does not share in My Belief in a Poltergeist co-habitatiing with us at Il Poggiolo. No. He DOES THINK there’s a thief lurking about Our Premises and, while I am o-u-t with The D-o-g-s for a w-a-l-k, he/she/’cause it ain’t an it… according to Dott. You… sneaks in & steals Our Stuff!!! This, probably, is to let us know who’s IN CONTROL!!! Who is THE BOSS!!! It’s an Italian Thing. Top on the List too right after… A) insisting on explaining something to you which exhausts your endurance to listen… B) bureaucrats & other folk, who sit behind counters… I cannot say work… purposely taking their merry time shuffling papers and other non-sense, while you are at your wit’s end from having waited for hours & hours!!!… and C) asking directions and what you get is a hap-hazard finger pointed, often, in the opposing direction ’cause THEY AIN’T NEVER GOING TO SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN!!!… they think.  Unfortunately, because you are dealing with an Italian and/or Italians, if caught… which I did to a stupid vigilli one fine day in Florence… they, being A Crafty Folk. Go & read what the Experts said in a US Defense Department study about The Italian Character during WWII… always seem to have A Winning AND Discussion Ending Reply… damn them. Anyway, a light blinkered OFF & ON inside My Sixty-one Year Old Drug Rattled Post-Hip-Op Brain… maybe it’s a Brain. I’m not sure anymore.. of a small detail I had notice earlier… the door to the Stanza dei Tini/Lavaderia/Bathroom did not shut AND lock when closed as it had before all these shenanigans of Our Missing Stuff began to afflict us. The Math was easy… Our Stuff gone + Door won’t shut & lock = THIEF!!! Now, I have to figure out who is The Culprit. Knowing You, as I do, he would never make An Accusation of Anyone unless absolutely 100% SURE-FIRE of all The Cogent Facts. However, he will have considerable divertimento hypothesizing who might he or she be. Oh! This would be D) on the above List. Watch out!!! I fire when ready, as is the Character of those in the United States of America. Of course, I am well aware that that land is several thousand kilometers away from Codiponte, Tuscany Italy. So, if you will excuse me, I must shut AND lock all the doors & windows. Gads.

 

 

 

Una brutta fine…

An ugly ending…

the person the locals told us was probably responsible for i tentavi di furto… or, thefts at Il Poggiolo and at other houses in the village, was found dead in his apartment above the scuzzy bar of Codiponte Saturday morning. It was a suicide. He was found by a sometime employer, when he did not show-up for an appointment… to work and bring in some much needed money.

I am very sorry for this tragedy. I do not wish upon anyone the downward spiral of desperation. The consequences call us to appreciate what we have. Often though, we are the authors of our own troubles. In the case of this unfortunate person, he just bound himself up… confiding in no one… until his only recourse was the length of rope.

I had actually forgotten about Our Pathetic Break & Entering until You & I took a caffe’ at Our Neighbor’s the previous Sunday and heard the local’s founded suspicions. The person was seen in parts of the village where he had no business being. I never imagined such a conclusion. I was selfishly interested in entertaining blog filler. Events took a horrible turn. What’s happened has happened. I am left to convey my hopes for this person’s Peace.

I am now more worried for the sometime employer. He’s una brava persona… or, a good person.  I sent him a text message of solidarity & condolence. He showed up at my door shortly afterwards. I listened to his hurt & anger & sadness. I asked him to head home, hug his son, stay close to his wife, be with his many friends & family. I wished him Peace too. That may require some time.

Gads.

 

Hints of a thaw…

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Punctually, the flowering-quints in Our Garden are the first sign Spring is approaching. How the season will arrive through what seems an impenetrable barrier of RAIN!… COLD!!!… and sometimes even SNOW!!! is…? Well…? Well, is one of those Mysteries of Mother Nature. I bet that gal is still wrapped in a thick woolen muffler.

You & I drove down last Sunday to find Il Poggiolo in its continued wintery state of lethargy. The sun timidly poked through the heavy dark-grey overcast from the sea to demonstrate that My Garden Task List will be lengthy, once the sun is given the chance to stay for a while. You grumbled. I made mental notes. On a closer inspection, the grounds looked unusually ragged from the repeated carnage of the terrific bouts of snows of February & March. The grassy terraces are littered with snapped limbs… and in one instance, an entire cedar-tree broken & felled by the crusty weight of the frozen snow. After a relatively brief Inspection Tour, we repaired to a neighbor’s for Company & Caffe’. The sun retired. The rains returned.

Sunday is the day to go visiting. While warm inside listening to the tin-tin of the water outside, You & I got caught up on the Local Gossip during Our Three Month Hiatus. The six chairs in Our Neighbor’s Kitchen were all taken by the Ladies of Codiponte, there to chat-up…

the elderly gentleman next door passed away at the ripe old age of 87. Another, 78, died in his sleep after a long illness. Ahhh, Our Numbers diminish. One of the Lady-attendees sighed after giving us these sad bits of news to say that Codiponte is lucky to have a 150 year-round residents. What? We were told nearly 400! Yeah, maybe ten years ago. But not any more. With folk dying or the young leaving ’cause there’s no work. We are few. Gosh…

that the owner of a stone building collapsed from the heavy rains of last October made an even bigger mess. Had this predicted event continued with some force, many residences of the village would have been obliterated. The owner is The Most HATED Fellow in Codiponte. Our Lady Neighbor lit into how he had knocked-down a quaint stone archway to the terraces belonging to the former owners of Il Poggiolo above us to gain direct access to cart-off his tumble-downed building. And, in his fury of work, the owner also blew-out a lovely moss-encrusted stone wall to pour part of the debris into a hole around the foundations of yet another one of his tumble-down properties. Our Neighbor Lady had not finished… most of the debris was spread above her home in a terraced garden of fruit-trees belonging to this HATED owner. It is now an eye-sore of some several acres. The other eye-sore is a mud-slide-waiting-to-happen of the originally collapsed stone building. Fine work said Our Neighbor Lady…

and…

several piped-up about who might have been the perpetrator of the two attempts at thievery at Il Poggiolo and around Codiponte proper. The rumors say it was the vile work of a local fellow out-of-work and on hard times. There’s no proof to these accusations. Pure gossip on the sad travails of another. However, I am glad it might have been a local character though sorry for him & his troubles. The idea of a band of thieves running at large in the Lunigiana to rip of copper, iron, etc. did not leave me especially easy.

So now, away, away dreary rains. Out, out, out, please, dear sun. I want to cut the grass!!! Gads.

An avalanche of other protections…

various types of security fencing

I am heartened by how many of you have rallied with Your Support over those recent & unwanted intrusions down in Codiponte. Facebook was rife with them. Thank you! So many clever anti-theft suggestions…

security lighting of blinding intensities and activated by sound AND movement… alarms of various sorts, ditto for their activation, and connected to the Carabinieri, which might just frighten those men in uniform… bells & whistles, and not forgetting the horn section too… massive bull-mastiffs to ferocious attack Shih-Tzus… Saint Francis of Assisi feeding the birds as a bid for Clemency & Forgiveness for those creeps… a Madonna, and not that vecchietta who sings in a leotard… and many, many other terrific ideas. I will gladly submit them all to You for his importantissima consultazione!

Keep them coming in! Gads.

 

 

 

Saintly protection devices…

The telephone rang last night, while You & I were watching a relatively entertaining German comedy on the only channel NOT BELONGING to Mr. Berlusconi OR, The State. It was too bad the wonder of their collective digital TV kept coming & going. We missed parts. It was My Mother calling, again…

Let me get right to the point… And, a Good Evening to you too, Mom… Not here, it isn’t. Forrest, I’m not sure a Virgin with her hands clasped with a housing is enough protection for you in Codipunt… Codiponte! And yeah, she probably has those hands full, what with the Pope fleeing… Exactly! A rat from a burning ship?… OOOOO, OUCH!!! I see you are still able to maintain a strict anti-Catholicism… Well, they make so easy. However, if the truth were to be known, I am not keen on the Episcopalians either, Dear… Sooooo, Mom, what’s on your mind?… I have decided to send you the Saint Francis bird-feeder. You need all the protection you can get. He’s lonely out in the garden. Don’t worry about the expense, Dear. I’ll take care of everything… I won’t, since you ARE NOT SENDING it over, thank you very much… He’s missing an arm… All the more reason to let him be where that Shih-dog roams… You mean My Precious-thing?… Oh, is that what you are calling the delinquent these days?… “The delinquent”, as you have so disdainfully referred to, happens to be A Superior Watch-dog! He hates garbage-men… Oh, well, in that case, send him on over instead!!!

Gads.

Mother Protectress…

IMG_2750My Dear 84-year-old Mother called me yesterday. She likes to “hit base” on a Sunday afternoon. Normally, the telephone rings while I am in a nose-dive into a profound & nourishing afternoon n-a-p upstairs from the telephone. Lucky for Dr. You… he has a door to shut out The World. Shhh… he also uses ear-plugs!!! Whereas, I have 1,800 square feet of unprotected loft-space to hear the thing’s SQUEAL!!!

Mom’s Standard Procedure for a Sunday Call is as follows…

if her hip isn’t bothering her, the dog IS eating or, she’s just back from some Highly Successful Sojourn West of the Mississippi then, she just rings my land-line a few times, hangs up and that’s that. She’ll get me later with a… I tried calling you but you didn’t pick up!

if her hip IS bothering her, someone who knew me when I was 5 and called me Frosty died three days before or, the animal… a stupid Shih-Tzu… shat on the Den rug then, she calls my land-line, letting it ring till blue. Remember, I am upstairs on the bed in a deep afternoon REM sort-of sleep. This is followed by attempting communication with her First Born Son by ringing my cellphone. Naturally, it’s far, far away from my 110 kilos seeking a well-earned rest on a Sealy mattress. Ditto for it… until blue. She counts to twenty and starts all over again. Oh, well, I guess a 9 minute nap is sufficient, I suppose.

now, if her hip AND knees ARE bothering her, several persons who once called me Frosty have pushed-on AND that Creature has decorated both the Den AND Living Room’s carpets with several donations of solid waste material, then, she calls every damn number she has for me AND Dr. You too!!! You could gladly do without this sort of attention on a Sunday PM. He requires the rest more than I do.

All that last stuff was yesterday’s episode. However, My Dear Aged Mother needed to express a concern…

Pronto… This is Your Mother speaking… Well, hello Mom!… I’m worried, Forrest. Yes, worried… Worried? About me? That’s novel… Do NOT joke with an old person. Your Mother wishes to express her concern about all those robberies down in Codi-whatever… -ponte, Mom, Cod-i-ponte. Is are Es in… Oh! Never mind. How do you know about the robberies? I haven’t said a word to you… I got it off your blog, dear… YOU READ MY BLOG???… Well, actually, no, I don’t. BUT, I have friends who do. By the way, Lee-anne Miller & her daughter, Suzanne send their love. Anyway, they & others who do read your blog keep me informed… Spies?… ESPIONAGE!!! Forrest! I think those Codi-people are out to get you!!! I had a dream about it. So, I want you to be very, very careful… Is that it?… No, but I don’t think you’d like any of My Suggestions… Such as?… GET A MADONNA!!!

Gads. 

 

 

 

Carabinieri-land…

Our Continuing Story of the half-assed yet still, annoying attempted robbery…
On Sunday, before A Luncheon Date with Our Friends in Codiponte, I drove to Casola in Lunigiana… Our Mother Village above Codiponte… to file a claim of the attempted robbery with the Carabinieri. I parked the car, strolled down the little hill to the Carabinieri station, rang the bell and got NO ANSWER! What? But, there’s the Carabinieri SUV parked out front. They must be in. I rang again. Still NO ANSWER! I strolled back up the little hill to the blue phosphorescent Bar Torre… where one can pay the equivalent of over $3 to have a bland cappuccino and a stale brioche which, I did not partake… with the hope of finding a familiar Italian face to ask how it works with the Carabinieri. But, alas, there was none about. I then popped my head into the alimentari… the local mini-market… owned & runned by the daughter of the former owner of Il Poggiolo AND recipient of 1/2 of the agreed-upon selling price. I have not heard if she promptly bought a place at the sea. I bet she stuffed that haul in the mattress… to ask her if she might know what was what. She kindly said the Carabinieri ought to be in yet, why don’t I ring the house next door where the Marasciallo lives with his family. Back down the little hill I strolled… I am already bored by this point… rang the Carabinieri, got NO ANSWER! And so, I stepped over and buzzed the house next door. A smiling signora opened the door and I was immediately awashed in the most invigoratingly delicious aromas of stewed chicken & veggies & potatoes & stuff… or so I imagined the menu. Instead of asking if the Marasciallo were at home when he OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN AT THIS COMMAND POST TO RESPOND TO MY CALL!!!, I asked if I might come for lunch. The friendly signora chuckled her thanks for the compliment and then punched her handy telefonino. When she got an ANSWER, the door of the station opened and out stepped the Marasciallo… in all his gloriously uniformed Carabinieri self!!! He cut quite a figure. There should have been musical accompaniment. There wasn’t. I was officially asked to State My Case… Someone tried to rob us! Prego, venga pure dentro. I thought as I passed to go inside… He was hiding all this time within? A chair was indicated. I sat down to be eyed by the Marasciallo with suspicion… or so I imagined that was The Carabinieri Procedure. In any case, I was politely quizzed for a few details of the Attempted Robbery, while the Marascaillo expertly typed one-finger on the keyboard. It was a boring slow go… until… as Officialdom is want to know… My Full Name was needed. No sooner had Forrest Charlton Spears been transmitted… Italian pronunciation too… did not the Marascaillo ask if Britney were a relation. This Question I cannot resist… an opportunity to give an expedient lie… Oh, yes. Britteny is my cousin. A huge smile erupted across the Marascaillo’s clean shaven under-30 face, the typing was rapidly concluded, I signed the three copies of My Statement… My Civic Duty complete by taking one copy in hand… and was graciously escorted to the door, given a warm hand to shake and a broad smile to send me on My Way. I left the contrail of My Convenient Lie to leave its happy traces upon the memory of the Marasciallo, who adjourned his morning to sit with bib & fork to enjoy that stewed chicken. Buona Domenica e Buon Appetito! Gads.

An attempted robbery…

IMG_2836

Sunnier times in the above photo, but last night, not so…

Our Next-door Neighbor called me early this morning, asked how I was and then launched into a garbled description of an attempted robber at Il Poggiolo…

it was a Dark & Storming Night down in Codiponte. Our neighbor, in the middle of the tempest… Mamma Mia! Che vento!!! Che pioggia!!!… heard out-of-the-ordinary noises emanating from Our Aia above… or, Our Courtyard… as if someone was using a pick to break down a door. She said she feared The Worse. Why she just didn’t call the Police, is a now On-going Mystery. Probably because she has no relation on the force. When daylight came, the fierce storm abated and Daughter #2 arrived and was promptly sent to inspect the Scene of the Crime, that is what appeared: someone HAD pried off their hinges the doors to the Esseccatoio, thrown them aside onto the ground and made a cursory invasion of the interior to old Chestnut Drying Shed… in the middle of a frigging thunderstorm!!! Times must be tough OR i ladri work under the cover of Darkness AND Thunder. Seeing such a sight, Courage took flight dragging the Daughter #2 behind it. Then, the call. Understanding little of Italian reduced to an incomprehensible dialect of vague indications & exclamations, I gently said Thank you and hung up to call Another Neighbor. A man. Spoke with the Other Neighbor’s wife, who relayed the message to her husband. 15 minutes later, The Husband called. As before, doors off their hinges, and pretty much all my Heavy Garden Equipment still housed within. Nothing taken, apparently. Stuff too heavy to carry in an escape over a rock wall in a down-pour. Good but still; what an annoyance.

You came home later in the afternoon and I recounted all. I had thought to add we might as well call Our Electrician and have him install movement & sound senitive HIGH INTENSITY SHADOW ELIMINATING LIGHTING & ALARMS WHICH FLASH & SCREAM & BLARE TO KINGDOM COME!!!, but You said it first. Gads.

 

 

courtyard and, this morning, she sent her daughter up to investigate, finding the doors to the Esseccaotio… or the old chestnut drying shed… had been removed and thrown to the ground.