Saturday, 22 January 2011

Friday 21 January - visitors & a sports bar

Kicked ourselves out of bed early again - we are having visitors!

We're slowly getting into the Italian way of not only rising early but also being organised and out and about early, but its coming hard.  If you want anything done, its essential to be "up and at 'em" at the crack of dawn.  Not only does everything seem to close down at midday, but everything seems to take an age to achieve, whether that be going to the bank, shopping, meetings, whatever.  No one is any hurry whatsoever to do anything, with inefficiency and chaos being the normal order of play.  And there's nothing you can do about it.  The more you push, the more stressed you get, and the slower they go.  And the roads!  There is no rhyme or reason to the twist, turns, switchbacks and directions.  For a country built by the Romans, arguably the best road builders EVER, I have seen more straight and logically positioned roads in the UK!  Maybe the Romans were too busy building their Empire overseas that they took their eye of the ball in their own country?

So, with anything you are wanting to do, and everywhere you are wanting to go, seeming to take an age to achieve, if you are not out of the door with a plan and agenda (plus a Plan B) by 10am latest, you can forget it.  For two people used to having a slow rise and prolonged breakfast whilst the proceedings and plans for the day are discussed, debated and decided upon, this is a big cultural change indeed.

But, looking forward to our visitors, we did get up at a good time and, joy or joys, to a not totally freezing bedroom.  Amazingly the sawdust burner was still warm from the night before last and was still taking the chill out of the air.

But it was raining and cold.  Big, hard, get you very wet sort of rain.  There was also a frosting of snow on the hills, and the temperature had certainly dropped.  Such a shame and so disappointing as we really wanted our new friends to see the house and its views in all its glory so our vision could be shared.  But no.  It was cold, grey and mucky, both inside and out, and the beautiful mountains were keeping well out of the way.

Fausto the dog
Tina & Richard (and Fausto)
But Tina and Richard, and Fausto the dog (a wonderful bouncy, black shaggy bundle of Tigger-like energy) still came, had a guided tour of inside the house, outside the house and round and round our heads of ideas.  We sat in the kitchen, drank tea and chatted and chatted, learning about their lives and experiences of living in Italy, whilst we no doubt bored them senseless with all our plans.  And froze their butts off.

Not wanting to use up our precious fuel store, we tend not to build the fire during the day but, boy, was it cold just sitting and nattering in our kitchen.  No-one took their coats off.  Poor Tina and Richard.  But it was fun to seen them and Tina has promised to take me to the so far very elusive charity shops that she's discovered and where she has become a Grand Master at elbow shoving.

After they'd gone, having another go at the sawdust burner seemed like a good idea.  This way, if it decides to bellow out clouds of smoke again it will be all gone by bedtime.  Having run out of firelighters, however, and having missed the morning opening of the local shop once again, a trip to the supermarket became a necessary evil.  But it was well worth it.  The little darling heater just gave a few little phut phuts of smoke before settling down to a red hot glow.  A bit too hot this time, as she roared and roared and roared as though she was about to take off and didn't settle down to an easy slow burning, even with the bottom air vent closed.  Next time, we'll pack her more tightly, but we certainly weren't complaining.

A trip back out to Sue's office came next, as evening arrived, to finalise plans and arrangements and we were entertained to the usual waiting and inefficiency of comings and goings, shuffling of papers and nothing working.  All we needed to do was sign some data protection stuff!  Eventually, papers appeared and were signed and we were on our way, me worrying a little about the length of time we'd left the fire burning in the hearth.
Bar dello Sport, Serra

Bar dello Sport
We got back home in time to save the fire, check on the about to explode tin can, get some supper on and in the oven and then out again, but this time just a short drive to Serramonacesca as we thought it about time we sampled the local hostelries.  A swift half was had before we were back home again and settling down to another evening in front of the fire, and me taking my coat off for the first time that day.

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