Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A real classic

First of all I have to tell you that the mis-sayings of La Duchessa are real. They actually happen.
The other night she came out with a stupendous offering.
We were watching Above Suspicion, The Red Dahlia, a Lynda la Plante cops and baddies (sometimes it’s difficult to tell them apart!). It was a very watchable drama, but a bit gory.
Anyway there was a part in the story when it was discovered that all this particular family desported themselves at a naughty - nudge, nudge, wink, wink – party where they were wearing, what in the trade is called, sadomasochistic gear (please don’t ask how I know as I will not divulge a thing).
La D turned to me and said, wait for it, ‘I really don’t see why they like to dress up in all that SMS stuff.’
I almost couldn’t stay in the room. I was fit to burst.
‘Darling, I think you mean S&M stuff. SMS means Short Message Service that you use on mobile ‘phones to send a text message’
‘Oh yes. Silly me,’ she said, and then we both dissolved in a fit of the giggles. Fantastic.

Chicken wings

One of the Three Degrees has a genetic malfunction. I think she must have seen Chicken Run. She is a serial escaper. No matter what we seem to do to pen them in, this one always finds ways to get over the fences. We want them to come out now and again but not all the time as they do a lot of scratching around and they make quite a mess of the ground particular now at this time of year.
La D and I had a discussion and agreed. The scissors had to come out. But before we started slashing at the hen’s wings, we thought it prudent to find out exactly what we had to do. As usual we turned to the Internet and found an excellent video on YouTube that showed precisely what we had to do to clip the chickens’ wings. You only clip one wing as that unbalances them when trying to launch themselves so they don’t bother. That’s the theory.
We thought we would do all the hens and gave them all a treat.
It was fairly easy task. I held the bird whilst La D did the deed. The hens were very calm and seemed completely unaffected. There is no feeling in the feathers so it’s a bit like cutting hair.
Very satisfied with our work we repaired to the house for a coffee. About 10 minutes later, La D happened to look out of the window.
‘L’uomo chi fa, that little bitch is out again!’ she exclaimed. After coffee we went out and this time picked up the rogue chick and trimmed her wing a little bit more.
Yes, that’s right, we found her outside the pen again later that day.
I think we are going to cut her wings off completely …………… only joking, but I think we are going to trim her other wing.
Will keep you informed.

Christmas gifts

Just a quickie on this. Last Wednesday we received a Christmas present from my eldest boy that was posted on 16th December. Terrible. I have thanked him and I hope he got our present to him.
But, hold on. On Friday we received a present from one of La D’s brothers that had been posted on 8th December!!
I don’t think we are expecting anymore present s from last year. I did ask my youngest son on Christmas Day where was my present, to which his answer was in a rather questioning voice ‘Er, it’s in the post?’ He didn’t really expect me to believe him. Children. Don’t you just love them? Best keep your answer to yourself.


Oh yes. Quite a bit. White and cold, and we are off the hospital this afternoon for a regular eye-test for my diabetical condition. Oh joy.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

Friday, January 22, 2010

It’s been a funny old week

Well, where do I start?

La D and I take it in turn to get up and feed the animals and make the other a cup of tea first thing. When it’s my turn I usually just get up, leave my sleep-T shirt on and just don a pair of boxers to go out to the hens
The weather has been decidedly nippy of late. However I find that if I am just going out for no more than five minutes, I don’t really get cold.
Well the other morning we were about 15 minutes later in waking up – Bertie usually bounces on the bed at about 7:00 but that day it was nearer to 7:20. It was my turn so I got up to do the hens in my usual attire.
I popped on my trusty wellies and sleepily wandered round the house to the shed where we keep the chicken food and went down to the coop and fed the birds. On the way back I heard our neighbour’s front door open and shut and I glanced over and saw the neighbour’s daughter starting to walk from her house up the lane on the way to get the school bus. You could hardly make out her shape or features as she was enveloped in as much winter clothing as you could imagine. I could hardly see her legs, it was though she was gliding up the lane.
She saw me and I obviously acknowledged her. "Ciao," I said. She stopped and had a second glance at this odd English person, semi-naked in old welly boots, very bad bed-hair (well, what’s left of it) in temperatures trying to nudge above freezing. After a very short few seconds, her gliding suddenly sped up and she disappeared towards the main road.
Oh dear. I think I might have been a talking point over the neighbour’s dinner table that night.

La D’s impression of Count Arthur Strong

I don’t know whether you have come across Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show on BBC Radio 4, but it is quite amusing. He is an elderly thespian, but not a very good one. He also seems to suffer from a form of Malapropism. Definitely worth a listen.

La D came up with another cracker. We were playing cards the other night, a game called Spite and Malice which is good fun. We were matching other in winning hands and La D suddenly smiled and said, “Well, L’uomo chi fa, we’re equals equals, aren’t we?”
“What?” I replied.
“You know, we‘ve won the same number of hands!”
“Ahh. I think you mean we are “Even Stevens.”
“Stop spitting heirs,” she said
“Darling, I think you mean Splitting Hairs”
“Do I? Can you read my mind? Anyway, it’s not up to you have due restriction on all the sayings there are, is it? “ she said, getting slightly spiky.
I looked at her and thought “now do I want to say that I think she means jurisdiction rather than due restriction, or do I want a quiet end to the night?”
“No. You’re right.” I said.
“Of course I am. I’ve been telling you that for years.”
I grinned, got up, gave her a big hug and said, “I love you La D.” She has this effect on me.

Gardening update

Nothing to report. Too b****y wet and cold.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Terremoti - Scary Stuff

Yesterday we felt 6 earth tremors. We have had a couple before now, but not six in a few hours. Although “small”, the epicentre is only a few kilometres from us. It really is quite unnerving. Nothing of course like the awful one in Haiti yesterday nor of course in Aquila last year.

They were between 2 and 4.1. Big enough to make the National TV and radio news and also big enough to make you feel very disorientated and unbalanced for several seconds. We are clearly hoping that they do not presage anything worse. Enough now, thanks very much.

Good old Bertie does give us some warning, albeit only a few seconds. His ears prick up and he starts barking and running around looking to see what he should be barking at! Daft dog.

Here is a link you can click on to see recorded tremors. Although it only shows a map of Italy, the right hand list of quakes are world-wide, it shows the 7 that hit Haiti yesterday.

Here’s a great blooper!

La D and I were watching the TV news last night to see if we could learn anymore about the earth tremors. One of the first topics was on immigration and the problems it seems to cause in Italy. It is a subject which is continually in the news on the TV and the press.
Whilst watching, La D turned to me and said, “L’uomo chi fa, are all Italians homophobic?”
At the time I was eating a small piece of cheese and a large piece of a Ryvita- type biscuit. which were just going down my throat. I wish it hadn’t been. My throat gave an involuntary spasm as it constricted against a laugh that was suddenly coming. A shard of Ryvita shot out of my mouth and hit the TV presenter right on his nose. Not in person of course, but on the screen.
La D looked aghast and then suddenly realised what she had said and nearly collapsed on top of me. We were both helpless with laughter.
“I should have said Xenophobic, shouldn’t I?’ la D said to me.
“Yes my darling, you should have done, but it wouldn’t have been half as funny,” I replied, my cheese and biscuit having finally been digested. I got up and cleaned the TV screen.

Ohh, that La D. She is a one.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Felice Nuovo Anno 2010!

We hear it’s a crisp start to the New Year in the UK.
Pretty cold here, but no snow at the moment, plenty on top of the mountains though. In fact it has been foggy and rainy.

Hope you all had a New Year see-in that suited you. I know we did. A cosy evening “a due”, soft lights, music and then at midnight, Whoooosh! Kerpow! Bang! Fizzle! Pop! Crackle! We have never seen fireworks like the Italians send up. They really are superb.
We went outside, a small glass of Prosecco in hand and just listened to the low bellowing roar of the fireworks going off all around us for kilometres and kilometres in every direction. The sky kept lighting up with enormous rockets, exploding into bright coloured stars. Some of our neighbours had some great displays that we could see quite closely. It was a fantastic half an hour.
Bertie was sort of unsure. He wasn’t exactly frightened by them, but he just kept barking as though saying, ‘I don’t who or what you are, but don’t come any closer or I might have to bark really loudly. So keep your distance’
You can probably tell I am a keen fan of fireworks.
A couple of years ago I insisted that we had some of our own fireworks in the garden. I duly went out and purchased about €25,00s worth for our New Year entertainment. Big mistake.
They were truly awful. Variations on a Roman Candle, and you know how boring they are. I think I had bought about six. Well, after the third, La D turned and said to me, ‘L’uomo Chi Fa, are they all like this?’
‘I’m afraid they are your Duchessness,’ I replied.
‘It’s cold out here, I’m going in and will watch the remainder from the window.’ With that she turned on her heel and went inside. The funny thing was she never appeared at the window. I really couldn’t blame her.
No, if you can’t afford proper fireworks, then don’t buy any, just enjoy the sight and sound of someone else’s very expensive display. The only thing you will miss of course is that lovely aroma that fireworks give off. I admit it is an acquired taste, but €200,00 for twenty minutes of sulphurous smoke is not in the budget.

Presepo or Presepio

Presepo or Presepio literally mean “crib” in English, but here at Christmas time you will signs all over the place for them.
They are actually nativity scenes that local schools, groups or communities put on. Some are simply a room with table upon which sits a nativity model. But some others are enormous outside live events.
We went to one of the best ones around last Sunday. They are usually held around Boxing day, but because the weather was very wet, this one had been postponed. Sunday evening was very cold but clear.
It was set in and around the old amphitheatre or Teatro Romano in Piane di Falerone. We’ve never seen anything like it, fabulous.
There was a walkway past all these scenes with actors of daily life in the time of Jesus’ birth. They used the ruins as well as tents to house people and show the scenes. The event started at 5:30 so it was dark and the whole way was lit with candles and torches. It was quite magical.
There were Roman soldiers and cavalry and even a few charioteers as well with squeaky wheels. The Romans were all in tunic uniforms. We couldn’t see if they had tights on, but if they hadn’t they would have been freezing.
There were “prisoners” locked up and shouting abuse at their gaolers. Some were chipping small mosaic chips off big stones. There were working blacksmiths, making horse shoes; people hand grinding corn into flour; bread makers; basket weavers. Someone had even dammed a small stream and made a temporary fishing pond. Some tents had people sorting wool, others were teaching children, some had fires going and were spit roasting meat. One of the ruins held a religious service, whilst another reproduced the scene of the tax collection – the reason J and M went to Bethlehem in the first place.
The final scene was the actual nativity with J and M and baby Jesus set into a small stone croft. Inside there was also a cow tied up and outside a small donkey was tethered.
Just to put your mind at rest, a real baby was not used, although one of the people we went with told us that last year they went to one where Mary did have a baby with her, but this baby looked alarmingly big to be newborn. In fact if the child was newborn, it was probably going to turn out to be a Goliath character.
It took about an hour and a half to go round. It was extremely well attended particularly with younger people. Brilliant.
Afterwards we retired to a great restaurant nearby and warmed up whilst eating a rather tasty pizza. Yum.

A helping hand.

Just a little thing. This morning I got up at some ridiculous hour to take a friend to Porto san Giorgio railway station. He has bought a car on E-bay but it is down in Cassino, some way south of Naples, and he was training down to collect it and drive it back.
We got to the station and he asked if I would like a coffee. He really didn’t need to ask.
It is a nice station bar. I was looking around and noticed above the bar that there were about 8 clocks all showing the time in places round the world such as new York, London, Moscow, etc., and of course Rome. Guess which clock had stopped? That’s right, Rome! Great coffee though.

Ciao, mantenere la fede