Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas 2008

Bravo Fortù

Forch, two days after op.

This is for all fans of Fortunato (aka Forch or Fortù)
Two days ago he had a major operation to remove his spleen. He was back the same evening raring to go and hungry as a horse. His tummy is shaved naked and he's got stacks of stitches and we think he is suffering some post-op pain. But he is oh so brave and an example to us all.
Snow forecast tomorrow, probably a metre when it's carried on the Bora from the Balkans. But don't worry, we'll wrap his tummy up in a huge sock.
Tikka thinks he's wonderful.

Day after....the others, Tikka, Socks and Lila jostling in the snow; Tikka's first ever experience of it!

And our road this morning...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


No not this photo! This is one of Bessie for all those of you who have been requesting a Christmas portrait of La Bessalina. She tells me that she's been asked to play the part of a sheep in the local Nativity play. Great for the part

Now the story!
Went to fetch my car yesterday evening in the Piazza and it wasn't there! Scanned my brain for the obvious possibilities; onset of Alzheimer's, parked it somewhere else, it's been stolen. Then I noticed the cheese and salami mobile shop was open (it's a long white caravan parked to the side of the Piazza) and I realised that's where I'd parked it an hour previous as it was closed at the time. So I march squeamishly up to said mobile salami and cheese shop and say to the lady owner 'Excuse me, but was there by any chance a Toyota parked here which now isn't?'
'Ah,' she says, 'so it was you, it's been towed away. I waited an hour but couldn't wait any longer'
'So where is it now?' I ask.
'Wherever they take them' she says
A customer tells me I have to go to the Caribinieri because they deal with such misdemeanors. Oh dear! Off I trundle up the hill to the Caribinieri HQ. (calling Lili on the way who says 'Cripes, that'll cost us a bomb') Now these are scary places behind 4 metre high metal barriers and I press the bell and wait breathlessly on account of steep climb and general fear.
Out comes the Marshall (the boss!) (oh My God!)
I say, it was me. I'm the one who had his car towed away.
'Hmmpf' he grunts,' better come inside, it's a grave offence you've committed, where do you live? show me your ID and driving licence. You'll be fined for this, have points taken off your licence and have to pay a whacking fee for the tow away'
'Yes, I say, 'and quite rightly too. It was a stupid thing I did and I'm happy to pay for such a mindless error'
He looks at me with surprise and smiles.
'You know', I say, 'I've been parking in the piazza for years and know jolly well I shouldn't have parked there. How could I have been so reckless!'
He softens even more.
'Oh, hang it all' he says,'We all make mistakes sometimes. Let's forget about it. I'll call the tow away guy and you'll have to pay him of course. He does and he says to the chap 'Look be easy on this chap, it was just a silly error'
'Do you know where the garage is?' he asks.
'Yes, more or less' I answer.
'Do you have some one to take you there, it's quite a way'
'No', I say 'I'll walk, don't worry'
'Oh, it's far too far ' he says,'Come on, grab your documents and I'll zoom you down there'
And he does.
We're there in three minutes flat and he shakes my hand as he says goodbye.
There's my car perched up on the tow away wagon and the driver comes over with a smile.
Oh, sorry I had to do that he says, guess you just forgot, he smiles, happens to us all.
So there I am, ready to drive off, go to pay him and he says,
Hey, don't worry, you don't owe me anything.
Sort of thing that makes you smile inside for days after.
Those little human sympathies which remind me of why I choose to live in Italy.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I quite forgot

Some of you have been kindly asking about Tikka and the state of her paralyzed foot.
Well, sometimes we think she may be getting some feeling back into it, but it could just be wishful thinking. But she gets around just fine, runs like a rocket on three legs and can even climb trees. Can't get down again but we're working on it.
Here's her Christmas portrait for all her fans out there!

Pilates and snow

Snow where it should be (and remain there)..on the mountains that is.

Oh! With the exception of Christmas where it's allowed to do so (snow) for a couple of days; big flakes drifting dreamingly down but not so heavy as to crush our flowering bushes or take whole branches off our trees like it did last year. Oh, and please can we have no ice, 'cos I went down like sack of Sicilian potatoes last winter on my way to my Pilates class. (This is beginning to sound like a Christmas prayer to Baby Jesus. It can be, it can be...being as it's nearly his birthday and all)
And, talking about my Pilates class, I must say that I was quite put out last evening.
Usually as you know it's just me and twenty ladies. Now after two years, some of them have begun to speak to me. You know, the odd word here and there. like 'Ciao' and 'Buonanotte' Sometimes I even get two or three words or even six put together, such as .'It's chilly tonight, or even 'Can you move your car please' So, in short you see I'm pretty well accepted into the group.
Imagine my horror then, when two minutes into the class, this big hairy brute of a guy barges in and takes a place next to me. Next to me? And really close too. This is a spot I've cultivated as my own for two whole years, just to the left of the orange pillar. OK, I know it's a quarter of the entire space but it's how women are with men. Well it is! Like when they always give up the front seat of a car to a man.
The last remaining vestige of past supremacies you might mumble (but not too loud, especially if Lili is in earshot because she has actually eliminated this last remaining vestige much to the physical and psychological discomfort of male friends who might be visiting).
Where was I ?
Ah yes, this bloke!
So, he comes in late, disrupts the class and then? He starts talking collectively to all the women!! And what's worse they all start giggling and answering back!
And it puts me right off my 'one-legged butterfly' position. In fact my legs have turned to jelly and I'm fiercly inwardly debating whether or not to just walk out of the gym.
And it gets worse! Within minutes he's huffing and puffing and gasping and sweating and clunking me every time we get the 'arms stretch' order Robbie the Pilates teacher turns the music up (I imagine to muffle the gasping next to me) and it's Tom Jones singing 'Sex Bomb' This is too much, I've really gotta talk to him about this, I mean not just the music but allowing other men into the class. By this time my mind and body have lost control completely and I'm competing with him to stretch further and touch my toes for longer, in fact my whole foot!
And he can't. He can't! He can't touch his toes!!
I mean what sort of man is this?
A wimp obviously.
I might have known.
When I get back home and walk into the kitchen, Lili asks 'Why the smug smile on your face?'
Nothing, I say, just a man thing. I was thinking about taking up a manly sport, like darts.
'Oh' she says ' Is it like archery? And can I do it too'
Bad day, bad day!