Whooping it up alla Italiana

22/09/2016

Tired Old Tales for Thursdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

I didn’t have many birthday parties when I was a child, in fact I can only really recall one. And before you breathe a collective Aaaaaahhhhhh and get the violins out, let me reassure you that the lack of festivities was entirely my own doing.

As an only child growing up in a tiny hamlet where for a long time I formed 50% of the under thirties, I was always far more at ease in the company of adults. In fact it is only now, at the ripe old age of 33, that I finally feel comfortable with my peers.

An afternoon spent in the boisterous company of other children, children who had learnt to play, squabble and communicate alongside siblings, extended family and other neighbourhood youngsters, was never easy for me.

And if the auspicious nature of…

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Alchemy of the Vine

21/09/2016

(tardy) Weary Wanderings for Wednesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

The steady stream of gifts – flowers, eggs, courgettes, tomatoes, basil, peaches, figs, cucumbers and apples forthcoming from my self-sufficient and incredibly generous neighbours is slowly giving way to bunch upon bunch of grapes.

Every day I pass people lugging huge great containers of the fruit from their campagne to their cantine, and that can mean only one thing; it’s wine-making time!

Having already sampled a bottle of homemade rosé, obtained through one of my bartering exercises, and rejoiced in its fresh-tasting hangoverlessness, I was intrigued to find out more about what was involved in the elaboration of this local elixir.

My camera and I were invited into the cantina of the local retired schoolmarm, for a step by step lesson in how to transform the humble uva into that sumptuous nectar, vino.

Step 1: The…

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Stuffing the Hollow Legs

20/09/2016

Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

It never ceases to astound me just how much food the Italians (and the Spanish, and the French) can pack away, and still not be beset by the obesity issues that so trouble some Anglo-Saxon countries.

I spent a truly delightful evening in the company of my neighbours and some of their friends a few nights ago, but had to practically roll myself home afterwards. The combination of a five course meal (FIVE courses on a TUESDAY!) accompanied by five different sorts of alcohol ensuring that the following day passed in a cumbersome blur of post-overindulgence.

Accompanied by copious amounts of red wine, we began with anti-pasti; stuffed courgette flowers (fiori riempiti), courgette quiche and spinach (ge in dialect) quiche.

Followed by pasta; pappardelle (very wide tagliatelle) with anchovies, tomato, mint, basil, garlic and…

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Dancing and Singing and Stuff

19/09/2016

Memories for Mondays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

In the run-up to the Very Last Festa of the Season (to which barely anyone came because the evenings are now on the chilly side and everyone is a little festered out after all the summer shenanigans) there have been a few evenings of note.

There was the night procession from the village to one of the churches a way up the hill. Despite being dyed-in-the-wool atheists, Pooch and I are always up for a walk and so had every intention of joining the group and hoping that nobody would ask us to recite a Hail Mary or indulge in idle theological chit-chat.

However, once we discovered that this 2km walk would take nearly three hours one way, due to the pauses for prayer and a sing-song at every little shrine along the way; and that even when…

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Spoilt for Choice

13/09/2016

Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

A friend commented the other day on the number of male admirers I was attracting in the village. And do you know what? She has a point.

It therefore begs the question; why oh why am I still single?

So let us for a moment consider all my options, and then perhaps you can help me choose between them.

Admirer A gives me flowers from his garden and declares that I am the air that he breathes and his ‘fiore di Primavera’. He enjoys walks with his dog, digging for potatoes, and chain-smoking. Admirer A is married and very much the wrong side of sixty.

Admirer B is tall and rather handsome. Apparently he likes me very very very much, or so he tells me every time we meet on the street; in broken Italian, because Admirer B…

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Bon Cumpleannu a Cheli du ’92

02/09/2016

Flashback Friday

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

At 6 o’clock this morning, after a night punctuated by the bat thumping round her box like a stroppy adolescent, the dog padding incessantly back and forth from the sofa to his water bowl and odd snatches of half-sleep where I dreamt that my pillow was covered in spiders, my room was full of people and from which I eerily woke myself laughing, I just gave in and got up.

And this is the bewildering sight that met my eyes…

Whoopee! I’m Always Up for a Bit of Anarchy

But What Can It Possibly Mean?

The Thot Plickens…

The Mayor! (apparently I don’t warrant a mention even though it’s my street too, sob)

The intrigue was exacerbated by the fact that all this unexpected graffiti was in dialect, rendering most of it incomprehensible to me.

So, unable to…

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None The Wiser

01/09/2016

Tired Old Tales for Thursdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

SV: Good afternoon! How are you today?

Little Old Italian Lady:Well, you know how it is. Bad back, bad legs, bad eyes. Very tired. Can’t sleep. Weather’s a bit too hot and a bit too cold. Fell downstairs last year. Doctors say I’m too old to fix.

SV: Ummmmm. Oh dear.

Little Old Italian Lady: There was a woman here looking for you yesterday.

SV: Really?

Little Old Italian Lady: Yup. Asked me if I’d seen the lady who’s always walking her dog.

SV: Well, not always, I sometimes do other things as well…

Little Old Italian Lady: So I told her I hadn’t seen you.

SV: Are you sure she was looking for me?

Little Old Italian Lady: Definitely. Lady who’s always walking her dog, she said.

SV: Hmmmm. What was she like?

Little Old Italian…

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Doing the Piazza Rock

31/08/2016

Weary Wanderings for Wednesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

The village festa season seems to be suffering from a few fits and starts this year, if reports of last year’s back to back parties in the piazza are to be believed.

A few weeks ago it kicked off with a night of somewhat eclectic musical tastes from the live band. Old style waltzes and paso dobles, so beloved of gentlefolk ‘d’un certain âge’ in villages the length and breadth of France, and apparently also Italy, joined forces with 80’s rock anthems and 60’s ballads, with the odd Latin American ditty thrown in for added piquancy.

Excessive amounts of beer and constant urging from my Argentine neighbour had me up on the dance floor for much of the night, but even my efforts could not compare with the star of the evening. He must have been ninety if…

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I’ll Show You Mine

30/08/2016

Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays

Status Viatoris

status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

I have finally got myself a language exchange partner.

Sadly not the 6ft, raven-haired, dark-eyed hunk of unruly Italian masculinity that I had been hoping for; more a 4ft10, brown-haired, dark-eyed slip of Italian womanhood, but very welcome nevertheless. Especially in light of the fact that I seem to get away with conversing in Italian far more than she gets to practise her English.

Being single girls, and of roughly the same age, most of our conversations in both languages so far have been about boys. She has been giving me the low-down on Italian men – confirming most of what I had originally suspected, and I have been making stuff up about British ones.

Not having been anywhere near one since I was eighteen, my fictional Brit seems to have taken the middle ground somewhere between…

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A Maternal Snapshot

29/08/2016

Memories for Mondays

Status Viatoris

“My mother was a woman who never complained.

My two younger brothers both died in their early forties. My father, the gentlest man you could ever hope to meet, died ten years later. But my mother never cried. She just got on with the business of living.

Our house was always full of people. Our door always open. My mother marching around, ensuring that everyone was fed, watered and happy.

She was a carabiniere. A force of nature. A real tough cookie.

When she was in her eighties she developed Alzheimer’s. She would go to the shop and repeatedly stockpile all the items necessary to run a household containing a husband, two strapping sons and a daughter. Me.

But she still had moments of lucidity.

One day she told me that she was leaving me. I looked at her blankly. But mamma, where are you going? I asked.

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