This week I lost a friend. Gabriele died and I shall miss his honesty, his kindliness and his infectious smile and twinkling eyes. Gabriele was a builder in the daytime and a restauranteur in the evening. He was always working and I see now he worked too damn hard. I wish I'd told him this. I wish he'd taken a holiday sometimes. I wish he was still here. I shall miss him very very much.
With a Scirocco searing up from Africa and temperatures hitting 40C, the sun a bleak
and creamy burning eye in the sky, gardens burned dry and houses and swimming poolscracking, fires in the hills around Ascoli and conflicting weather forecasts. (some say it will, some say it won't ...uhm...rain? ...yes that delicious word)....
Well, we are all nervous, the skies are full of smoke and the trees are shedding their leaves to survive. Nobody can remember a year like this one.
Vulcan Gas Company
Bernie calls (and here's an example of the way we are all , like the earth, cracking up) to say he is emotionally overwhelmed by the fact that The Vulcana Gas Company have finally agreed after three and a half years, to take away the gas tank from his garden. Close to tears he says and I say save them until the job is done.
Luckily I am home when the truck arrives and able just in time to stop it backing into his apple tree. The driver hooks the tank onto his crane and shouts to me to come look at something he has found inside the top rim of the tank. It's a nest full of tiny eggs, I think wren's eggs.
This is terrible he says, what shall I do, come back in a few weeks after they have hatched? This, I know, will cause Bernie a major breakdown as it would be another three and a half years for sure.
A dilemma for me too, it's either the wrens or Bernie. I choose, of course, the wrens. But he says, look let's take the whole nest out and construct a platform about the same height and maybe the mother won't notice. This we do and the driver zooms away with the maladetto bombola.
I place heavy rocks on the construction to hold it down for the scirocco which is building up apace and wish wren family good luck. What else could I do?
On Sunday evening I get back home after a swim in lake Fiastra and find Renzo and a Boyscout at the front door. The scout says he is with a troop camping nearby and they have all been given a task to go out and find a family to stay overnight with. Of course we take him in and he begins to tell us that this is the centenary of the Scout movement and about Baden Powell and Brownsea Island. My favourite island I say. 'You've been there?' Used to live right by it I say. 'So you know about how the Scout Movement started there?' I was a scout too, I say. So you know about the Jamboree that's going on now?' Yes, I was at the last one in '57, I say.
By this time, the poor boy (he's sixteen), is overwhelmed with awe and he almost faints when I dig out my Jamboree catalogue and show him pictures of me in it.
'Did you see the Queen?' Yes, I was chosen to be her bodyguard and march next to her Land rover.
By this time I feel like a visitor from another universe.
And it warms me to talk with this young man who is so caring and respectful of nature, to animals and, well, he reminds me of me when I was his age.
I dropped him off at his camp the next morning and when I got back home the house was still full of his gentle presence.
50 years! How can I measure these 50 years?
With stories? Yes with stories.
Thank you Giovani, Boy Scout Giovani.
We are at last connected to the wireless antenna at Gualdo and we can disconnect Telecom. Haha! Italia
Now you won't believe this!
Last Friday 40C, then five days later it crashes to 10C!
A drop of 30C!
With snow on the mountains!...unheard of.