Saturday, 2 July 2011

Sat 2 July - Mum & Dad Came To Stay

My mum

Living here in Italy gives two very strong pulls of emotion, both in very different, very difficult, directions.  On the one hand, there is the sheer joy of so many breathtaking moments.  Not a day goes by without my heart soaring at some little pleasure.  First thing every morning, the view from my bed does it to me every time.  As soon as I open my eyes, there it is.  Passo Lanciano and the Majella mountains, ever changing with the seasons and the daily subtleties of changing light and hue.

Mum, Dad & me, Santo Spirito
Throughout the day, there are many many delights.  The cycle up into Roccamonte, the local shops and markets.  Our long, long cycle rides along empty sweeping lanes with wide open endless views.  The people, our friends, the bars, the fun, the laughter.  Climbing in the most amazing gorges, lying on the beach, walking through the Majella, on and on forever.

Even the usual chores add to the picture.  Sweeping the floors, changing the beds, cooking, cleaning, washing, have all become an absolute pleasure (most odd).  And even hanging out the washing!  Watching it drying in the sun to the backdrop of the hills and mountains, billowing out over my veggie patch, has got to be the best feeling in the world.

Me & my mum, St Liberatore
Contrast that, however, with my family being so so far away.  Only a phone call away maybe, and with everyone's busy lives we wouldn't be seeing each other that much more if we were in the UK.  It's just a distance thing.  We're here, they're way way over there.  Out of reach. It's a constant ache and, at times, it just simply hurts.  

But, and it's a huge big massive 'But', the upside of the distance thing is that they come to stay, not snatched visits squeezed into the diary here and there, but real quality time visits.  Time to chill, relax and enjoy each others' company, brought all the more into clear sharp focus by my mum and dad being here last week.

Me & my Dad.  On top of the world, Passo Lanciano
We put our life here on hold and just enjoyed the time we were spending together.  Not since I was 19, before I married and left home, have I spent so much time in the company of my parents.  And even then, i was hardly at home.  Boyfriends and girlfriends are far more exciting than spending time with my parents.  Rather sad really, when you think about it.  So no snatched visit for us this time, squeezed into a rare free weekend, but a whole full week of exploring and relaxing. 

We visited the close by beauties of our little corner of Abruzzo: the Abbey of San Liberatore, the high, high plateau of Passo Lanciano, the beach of San Vito, the market of Fara Filiorum Petri.  We watched the world go by over daytime coffee in Serramonacesca and over a glass of vino at the bar in the evening.  We wandered round Chieti, strolled through our little hamlet of Garifoli and went in search of cherries on the track to the Montepiano.  We ate out in two superb restaurants, simple but superb, and we've laughed and laughed.  
A day on the beach, San Vito

My dad has finished the digging of my veggie patch, planted out more tomatoes, lettuces, rocket and cabbages.  He's strimmed around all the olive trees and cleared up the bank. We've even got a beautifully hand crafted insect box hanging on a tree and a nesting box hanging on another, just awaiting the blue tits in the spring.  

Hand crafted insect box
And as the temperatures soared and soared, so the afternoons, as hot afternoons should be, were spent snoozing, reading and pottering.

Tit box
Just perfect really.  

Would we have had a week like that if we were in the UK?  Absolutely not.  

Dad being Dad

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