Saturday, July 14, 2007

the day of nature

I've just been attacked by a wild carrot (or maybe it was the other way round, or a bit of both). Let me explain. Last week I was on a friend's garden and as I stooped down to pull up a weed (don't ask me why), the friend shouted 'Don't touch that' I froze in horror expecting... what? ..a baby viper maybe? (very dangerous this time of year).. but no, it's wild carrot friend said, can do untold damage to your entire nervous system.

'Come on', I say (in Italian) 'Pull the other one'. 'there isn't another one' friend says 'At least I hope not'
I sigh deeply at this linguistic chasm and listen to his boring explanation.

Wild carrots indeed. Next it'll be wild crisps, or wild hosepipes (talking of which, see below).
Anyway...I decide to cut what's left of the lawn during this torrid Saharan
drought; not really to cut the grass but a cunning way of dessicating the leaves which have been shed by our trees in their frantic attempt to survive. Then out with the strimmer to cut my ruined lettuce patch and then I attack the area around the organic bin and by this time I'm not seeing too well on account of sweat in eyes and clogged up face masked. Clogged up? with what? You guessed it... wild carrot! dessicated wild carrot, dessicated all over me, i.e. I'm green all over and my legs and arms are beginning to sting like hell.
So what do I do? Do I panic? Yes! You bet!
I rush to the house, shedding shorts and T shirt en route and dive into shower and start washing down as I await the closing down of my complete nervous system 'If I should die, think only this of me, that, slain by a wild carrot in this distant land...etc', I'm thinking poetry for God's sake when my body's closing down forever!
OK to cut a short drama even shorter...I didn't die (at least I don't think so), so let's move on to finer things.
Like Liliana's Hydrangeas. Just look at them , drought victims too they are

Or maybe let's talk about a bee!
Seriously..a bee.
In fact a bumble bee. Now I've never heard of any of these sweet chaps ever stinging anyone but maybe because this is the day of nature, maybe this one had to make a point...and he the top of Christina's thigh and what's more she ended up in hospital. I had my hand out of the window of the car, she says, to keep cool, and this bumble bee whams into it and then bounces into my lap and, yipes, stings me right through my jeans. Good job I wasn't driving. Phew!
So, if you following the drift here; heat, stroppy bees, wild carrots, baby vipers, gasping hydrangeas. What does this all mean? It means, dear reader, that the world of nature is upset. And it's withholding rain from us as a punshment. Instead we have torrid heat, no rain for weeks and guess what? The water in our reservoirs isn't for drinking. Oh no! What it is for is to drive our hydro electric system. Our drinking water comes from underground caverns which are fed by melting snows in Springtime, and this year we had hardly any snow at all.
On Tuesday we all received a letter from the Comune. It says there is an energy pack available to every family in Amandola; wondrous goodies like energy efficient bulbs and water saving gidgets, a pack of delights. Bernie is down there like a shot of course and he calls and says ya gotta get down here dude, this pack is worth a ton of bucks. Actually he didn't say that, it just sounded that way. So down I go, queue up, sign up and get presented with my pack by our tasty Vigilezza urbane with that certain smile she has.

Just sign here and take your pack, she says and I act as droolingly overwhelmed as a child picking up his present from Santa Claus.

This is what's in it.

Energy saving bulbs which consume 20W but give out 100W of brightness (use less electricity and save the water in the reservoir,neat!) and six fittings to go onto taps to aerate your water (and thus consume half amount of drinking water, cool!)
But don't you think this is just great? Actually giving you the wherewithal to save instead of telling you to shower with a friend or to clean your teeth with washing up water? I feel quite proud of our little town for this and you know they have calculated that they will save 13 million euros worth of energy if we all fit these devices. We will, we will!
In the meantime on this day of nature, Bernie's sewage removal truck turns up to clean out his septic tank. It's a very special truck because it has a video eye which travels done tubes to spy out blockages. What a wonder! And off it zooms to deposit Bernie'e sewage into a methane gas producing factory.

And to cap it all on this respect for Gaia day, two Oz friends tell me of a way of saving even more water. You take a bucket into the shower with you and save all the cold water that comes out before it gets hot.
(It's best to keep the bucket inside the shower and leave friend outside, they say)

So, that's my 'Give to Gaia' day!
The day of nature.
Oh, and it ended with a 'thank you' sunset.