Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Abnormal Service

Can't upload photos at the moment so no posting for a while. However I will carry on drinking.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Fruits of the Land

Ron's back. Sometimes I really do my toaster with this lot (Blogger that is); often I just can't upload a picture for love or money. Then the next day, wheee, up it goes sweet as a nut. Search me.
Cut a load of hay for my old mate Riccardo the other day in his vineyard and the payment, pictured above, followed soon afterwards. Wrapped in the newspaper are half a dozen fresh eggs, nestling amidst the bottles of doubtful provenance. I understand the wine to be a blend of Dolcetto and Barbera but he's always a bit evasive when I try and pin him down. As the years hurry past I'm afraid his wine is getting more, er, unpredictable. I find that now I can only do about half a bottle before I throw in the towel and open something labelled. Blimey, I'm turning into a poof.
Riccardo found a buzzard in his chicken pen the other week that having landed and killed a hen, couldn't find the necessary space for take-off. He beat it to death with a shovel.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Strop, strop

A wonderful wet shave at one of the many barbers in town, an added bonus being that it was conducted in absolute silence. Unusual in Blighty, unheard of in Italy. I just lay there and gazed wistfully at the plural posters on the wall featuring smouldering, bare-chested young Italian men. You really must pop over Camilla.

Friday, 18 July 2008

High Days

Tuesday saw the patronal festival of the local town and the local saint, San Guido, was there in person as indeed he is for every festival. He was the first Bishop and would have been 1004 this year. They keep him in an suitably elaborate glass-fronted casket and, annually, he's taken out for a trip around the town and then the procession, accompanied by the great and the good, return to the Duomo for a serious Mass. The casket is quite heavy and there is much theatrical puffing, panting and brow-mopping amongst the carriers, particularly when there are women nearby. You can just see San Guido, all four foot of him, in his box below the priestly action. All the little men like little chocolates in their sashes are the Mayors of all the towns and villages in the diocese. The two carabiniere on sentry duty keep their peaked hats on and their guns in their holsters even in Church. Most odd. Even odder are the worshippers who at the end of the Mass rush forward, jostle and strain, elbow and barge to touch, just touch, his casket. Almost primitive.

Local villages also compete to see who has can bring the biggest, heaviest and most decorated crucifix for the procession. This lot are packing up their black Jesus, complete with lots of lovely jangly gold and silver foil.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Bottle Attrition

Just found this shot. This was the body count from last week's debauch dinner party on the Saturday*. Some of them are big 'uns too. There were about 16 of us about half of whom were women who obviously don't drink much apart from Giulio's partner, the Tiger Woman, who can (and does) drink most chaps under the table.
*A few of these fell at luncheon on Sunday, but not many.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Only in Italy

Only in Italy would someone spend hours and hours replicating the contents of that tin box that everyone has lurking in a damp part of their garage. In chocolate.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Not dead yet then

Saw this pinned to the door of a local church. Rinviato means postponed. Postpone a funeral? Why?

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Up North

Up to the high hills/low mountains north of Biella for a weekend debauch. There was a small local fair on in the centre of the completely unspoilt village (no nearby ski resorts). Excellent local wine in the bar (dispensed from a tap) was €1 a (very full) glass.

Matey here was flogging his home-prepared salami made from (among other beasts) donkey and goat. He calls his stall the Cholesterol Shop. Not far wrong there. All in all an excellent weekend.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Phew wot a scorcha!

Bleedin' 'ot 'ere. Took Lucky down to the local river for a swim. Just me and the dog. Perfect.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Bye bye bunny

Last week, having cut all the 4' high grass in the main orchard, and then having raked all the hay into rows (two days), a local smallholder (one cow) who is also the local shopowner(blogs passim) came with her husband and monosyllabic son to bale the hay and then take away the bales. I used to have to chuck it all over the fence (two days) or burn it (dangerous but only one day). All went according to plan, if a little hot and dusty. The picture of the tractor ruining the Combo lawn as it manoeuvres out is courtesy of The Intrepid Explorer. You can see why he is a professional.

Then yesterday Signora Alma pitched up at the gate bearing gifts. I would have liked to have shown all the rabbit, but she had only killed and skinned it yesterday morning and the bag was full of blood. She left in the lights. Lord knows what we will do with them. Any ideas Diplo?