Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama’s “Boxing” Inauguration Day

I wonder how the new POTUS is feeling this morning, the day after his inauguration? We caught a bit of his speech on the news and now we have broadband we can get live British radio through the laptop. So we turned off the TV sound, as Italian television were simultaneously translating his speech, and listened to it on radio 4. There was a bit of a problem with the timing being slightly out, but it was worth it.

We couldn’t believe the number of people there. It was extraordinary. I thought the speech was very good and delivered in a manner befitting the times. The weight of expectation on him is probably more than anyone has ever had, outside of war times. Not just from the Americans but people from pretty much every country. Buon fortuna, Mr Obama, you’ll need it.

One other thing about his speech. When he had finished, Jim Naughtie of radio 4, who was covering it for the radio station, made some spurious comments on the speech, seeming almost to have to have something negative to say. He really is a self-regarding, pompous little twit. I never did think he was very good on the Today programme. A John Humphrys he is not, although he obviously would like to be. Sorry about that little rant.

Operation Pick Up

There are downsides to having a dog. One of them is the fact that you can’t seem to be able to train them to use the lavatory. They seem to have some trouble with the loo paper. They seem to think it is just for chewing, eating and rolling it all over the house. I did wonder at one time that if Bertie did eat some, his poos might out ready wrapped, or at least work in some sort of self-cleaning way. Sadly no.

Now, La Duchessa and I we are trying to get him to do his business in the fields or woods that abound all around us. We take him out in the fields at 07:00, again around lunchtime and then for a really good walk around 4;00 in the afternoon. But still there are times that the poor lad can’t wait and when we let him out for a pee he does a number two too.

You might not believe it, but I have been given the honour of being chief turd picker-upper or CTPU for short. I can’t remember there being much discussion about this highly revered post between the la Duchessa and myself, but she has assured me, in her own inimitable manner, that there was. However she has given me a very smart hat with “Capo Stronzo” emblazoned on the front. It’s very stylish looking and I wear it with pride. I am not sure what Capo Stronzo means as since giving me the hat my access to the Italian/English dictionary has been severely limited. Oh well. Never mind.

Back to the turds.

Because of the infrequent times when Bertie uses the estate, it is relatively easy to remember where his excretions are when I have to do the honours of collection and disposal. As I was doing this the other day, I was reminded of the famous line that Brian Hanrahan, the TV news reporter uttered on the deck of an aircraft carrier in the South Atlantic during the Falkland War. He was referring to the planes taking off and then returning, meaning that there were no aircraft losses that day. Not to belittle that famous line and what was going on at that time, I thought to myself well “I’ve counted them all out and counted them etc., etc..”

The problem I have now is that we have got Bertie’s sister Jess and her friend Rusty (or Rustic as I call him) staying with us again. Their people have gone to CentreParcs in Penrith to celebrate a birthday. They told us that it was likely to be colder there than where they live at the bottom of the Sibillini. So I am now trying to keep track of three times as many excretions, it is not as straightforward when I have only Bertie to keep tabs on.

This was clearly illustrated this morning when supplying the firewood for our small open fire in the kitchen.

La Duchessa came down to check on my progress with some pruning. She almost trod on a “one that got away”. “Here’s one you missed” she said to me pointing imperiously at a piece of ground immediately in front of her. “Oh, OK. I’ll pick it up on my next collection”. “Make sure you do Capo Stronzo” she said to me with a smile playing on her lips.


The weather has been clearing up a bit recently. The cold, cold mists have hopefully disappeared now and although it is a bit overcast is it not inclement.

We have been pruning a few trees with the prunings going to use on the open fire in the kitchen. We don’t really need the fire but we have it going because we love it. When the fire is on and the central heating and we are cooking, the kitchen is like a little furnace. Lovely at this time of year.

Had my first bonfire of 2009 today. Very satisfactory.

We will be doing the olive trees soon and we are going to get serious with the big trees. We just could not get to highest berries last year. We must have known we wouldn’t be able to when we pruned them last year, so why didn’t we prune harder? We were too cautious, that’s why. So we have learnt from last year. That’s what this place is like. We learn so much almost every day. It’s brilliant, it really is.

Late News ……. Capo Stronzo

I have just had a peek at the dictionary as La Duchessa was out doing something. I have found out what Capo Stronzo means in English. I am afraid I can’t possibly write down its meaning here. It’s too hurtful. Suffice to say I am returning my cap forthwith and there will be a review of Operation Pick Up straight away. Now I know why she had that Mona Lisa like smile on her lips.

Ciao. Mantenere la fede

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