Friday, 25 March 2011

Getting Stuffed

This was the snack table at a friend's house whilst we all watched England getting stuffed by Ireland on Saturday. The Italians loved watching my despair.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

That's It Then

Bloody bugger. Spring's here. So that's it then.
All that delicious abdication of responsibility for the outdoors that goes hand in hand with winter is finished.
Those 11 acres* will need sorting, ploughing, harrowing, seeding, planting, cutting, taking care of....oh my God I think I need a drink.

* Outrageous overstatement. I only have to till and tend one acre. The other ten can sod off.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Local Railways

Italy had the great fortune never to have enjoyed the attention of a Dr Beeching as did Blighty in the 60s. The Italian railway network is still largely intact and branch lines still exist. Maybe there's only a couple of trains a day, the stations are unstaffed, the ticket machines don't work and the waiting room no longer has old vine cuttings glowing faintly in the hearth but most stations are still extant. I came across this little gem the other day. Cesare Pavese wrote La Luna e i Falò (The Moon and the Bonfires) in 1949 just before he topped himself* at the age of 41. This station is near his birthplace so the plaque has a line from the book which, badly translated, reads: "Through the peach orchards I could hear the train arriving and filling the valley...".

*He was a Communist so I can see his point. If he'd have hung on for a while he'd have eventually seen the light, become a Conservative, jetted around the world for Champagne-assisted book launches, had it off with Sophia Loren and got hammered regularly on decent Italian red wine.