Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Snakes and Ladders

Actually there are no ladders in this bit, it just goes rather well with the word “snakes”.
We were just locking up the other night and La D wanted to say goodnight to the gattini, when she noticed something lying on their towel that they use for a bed. The kittens were not taking any notice of it and were in fact fast asleep.
“L’uomo chi fa, what is that?” she said.
“What your grace?” I responded not knowing what she was talking about because I was in a different room.
“Come here, now. Look. What is that?” She asked as I presented myself to her, pointing to this coiled-up grey looking object.
“It’s a snake La D.” I said as I inspected it a little bit closer.
“Oh my God L’uomo chi fa. Get rid of it immediately. It might attack the kittens.”
“I don’t think so. It looks pretty dead to me. I expect that Starlight or Mum has gone out, stalked it and killed it and brought it back to the kittens for them to eat.”
“My cats eating snake! Whatever next? Get rid if it immediately please.”
“They are going to have to learn to forage for food you know. It’s in their nature La D, and the older cats are only doing what is in their nature.”
“That may be the case L’uomo chi fa, however at the moment they will only eat the food we give them. Is that understood? If you see any other horrible things brought for them to eat, will you kindly dispose of them as soon as possible. They can go foraging when their older. They are growing up so quickly.” La D said with a small tear starting to well up in her eyes.
On that note I went and got a pair of bar-b-que tongs and lifted the offending animal from its resting place and sent it winging over the fence to the campo opposite.

The kittens are missing!

It was Sunday evening. I was enjoying reading some of the papers that we had just received from DiL. La D was doing something downstairs. Best not to enquire too closely.
I got up and went outside to see if La D wanted some refreshments. I noticed that there were no kittens about. I thought to myself that they were probably in the kitchen playing Sardines, and thought nothing more of it. La D said she didn’t want anything so I went back to my paper. A little while later La D came up from downstairs for something. “Where are the kittens?” she asked me.
“I’m not sure. I expect they are in the kitchen hiding.” I replied.
La D had a good look round and under the units and cooker.
“I can’t see them” she exclaimed.
“Oh you know what they’re are like La D. All you have to do is to turn your back for a few seconds and suddenly they appear as if from nowhere, and just as quickly disappear again.” I said
“Oh do stop blethering L’uomo chi fa. They’re not here. Someone or something has taken them. Where have they gone?”
“Well perhaps the adults have taken them out on a sort of recce of the area.” I said, not very convincingly.
“A recce? A recce? These are cats, kittens in fact. Not soldiers. They don’t go on recces. I’m telling you, something horrible has come and tak……………………”
Just then La D noticed a small movement by our walking boots. We both looked closer and there were the kittens all sort of piled into our boots. They looked extremely comfortable and were all fast asleep.
“Sorry la D. What were saying about the kittens being taken by some bogey-monster?” I asked, innocently, with a small smile breaking on my lips.
“Shut it, buster.” Shut it I did. Best thing really.

Teeth and Maps

Now these two words don’t particularly go together or indeed have a lot in common.
Poor La D broke a crown on one of her teeth just before the week-end. I suppose the need for a dentist was going to happen at some time.
The good old Italy Magazine Forum came to the rescue.
La D asked for a recommendation of any dentists nearby, or nearish anyway, and that preferably could speak English.
We got a few responses and went for one in Porto san Giorgio, where we go to the beach.
We looked him up on the web and found him straight away. We took down his number and address and then clicked on the map that was indicated on his entry on the web page.
The map indicated a point that was different from the address shown.
Oh well, we thought, we will just have to go where the map said. After all it was the map that was on his site.
La D rang and booked an appointment.
We set off on the day and we found the point that was indicated on the map. No dental practice in sight. We knew there was a street that had nearly the same name. We tried that. No joy. La D then saw a sign for the Health Authority. We nipped up there and spoke to the receptionist. Fortunately she used the same dentist! We were not far and she gave us directions. It actually was on the road of almost the same name, but tucked away at the back of a row of other houses. Anyway we arrived at precisely the appointment time. Phew.
La D had the deed done and then we had to pay. Italy is just like England in that dentistry is not in the NHS for the majority of people. The receptionist did lots of things on her computer and eventually printed out an invoice and said we could have a 20% discount if we could pay by cash! Unfortunately neither La D nor myself had anything like the amount needed in cash, so we had to pay by card. So she screwed up that invoice and printed another one with the “full” price! Extraordinary.
I read some months ago that it was proving hard to understand the size of the impact of the global financial crisis on Italy and Italians because no one can really get a handle on the real financial position as opposed to the reported position due to the level of undeclared finance, i.e. the “Black” economy.

I digress. Back to the maps. This actually was the third time this has happened to us. I finally understand what has happened. The address system is clearly not as advanced as that in England. What happens here is that Google Maps or ViaMichelin or whatever you are using, if it cannot display the actual address, it just indicates the central point of the town in which you are looking for an address,. Presumably it will get more accurate as time goes on.

The Three Degrees

are doing brilliantly. Two eggs a day at the moment. They are getting a little bigger by the day and they taste quite lovely. Yummy, yummy.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

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