Friday, 29 April 2011

Thurs 28 Apr - Snakes & Exploration

The skies looked a bit brighter this morning.  After three days of almost constant rain, the gaps in the bleak heavy skies were a welcome sight indeed.    So, with the lighter skies and still feeling the euphoria of having completed our first guest room, we treated ourselves to a day of indulgence.  Just doing whatever we fancied.  And what we fancied right then was to take the bikes up to Roccamonte.  

Convinced that somehow, somewhere there must be a bakers in that little village, we went off in search of it and a couple of cornetties for breakfast.  We found it!  Of course! In the pizza takeaway!  Where else would it be?  And we weren't disappointed.  What an array of cakes, pastries, breads and croissants.  Hoorah!  Now we know where to come for breakfast when we have people staying.  I knew we'd find it.  

The next mission was to find a cashpoint, so we continued our exploration of the little village and stumbled across the post office.  This place has it all.  Everything you need in one small place: hardware shop, three grocers, butchers, geletaria, bar, pizza takeaway, restaurant, bakers, post office and cash point.    Except the cash point wasn't working.  Ho hum.  Still enjoying the not rainy skies and being out on the bikes for the first time in days, we decided to extend our little trip up to Pretoro.  The emphasis being on the up.  And up and up.  


As today seemed to be becoming a day of exploring what we have on our doorstep, we parked the bikes at the bottom of the village and wandered up to the top, winding our way through the narrow higgledy piggledy streets.  Just lovely.  An ancient village cut and carved out of the mountain.  Not quite so well supplied as Roccamonte, but far more picturesque. And, very exciting, there's a festa on Sunday complete with processions, snakes, singing, dancing and fireworks!   

What a great morning.  Just cycling and exploring.  Going back was even better, free wheeled just about all the way.  And still no rain.  But the grass had grown, big time.  If we don't get the mower on it soon we'll be back to strimming the whole lot all over again.  And I hadn't finished raking up the grass from the last strimming session before the rains came.  So what to do first? Rake or mow, mow or rake?  KP being saved from the raking by his very convenient hay fever.   The matter was decided for me.  Testing the rakeability of the still damp, but warm, grass I turned a big chunk over, and shot across the other side of the field!  Quick as a flash.  I should have known better. I knew it would happen when I stopped looking.  A snake!   

Well, actually, it was probably only a slow worm but, boy, did it make me jump, scream and run.  Poor snake-come-worm, probably gave him the fright of his life too.  But I wasn't going to hang around to find out if he had any big brothers.  The raking can wait.  So out came the mower.  KP strimmered all the edges, borders, paths and impossible to reach with the mower areas, whilst I had a jolly old time creating whirls and swirls and spirals.  I do like mowing.  But I did it in my wellies, just in case… Didn't fancy any more snake-come-worm encounters.

Tools were downed at 4 as our next planned point of exploration was Guardiagrele.  Our closest town with a touristy feel to it.  Being a gateway to the hills and mountains we thought this might be the place to find an outdoor sports shop where KP could replace his rapidly disintegrating North Face trail shoes.  Ha ha.  Not a chance.  

But we did find a beautiful town, lots of outside eating areas, artisan shops, crafts and galleries.  And the church bells!  Never have I ever seen so many!  What a sound too.  All conversation has to stop as they peel out the time.  Now that is a church I wouldn't like to live near.  You'd certainly get your early morning Sunday call!   
We may not have found any North Face shoes, or anything loosely resembling them, but we did come away with a pot of sage, a fancy iron lamp, an old bronze seven candle candelabra and somewhere to recommend to our guests to visit.  

What a good day we had, not at all ruined by the fact that the rain was now pouring down again, and cascading off the canopy of the little Serra bar where we stopped off for our usual quick drink and conversation practice before going home.  At least the weather gave us something to talk about and practice our Italian on.  That and the Royal Wedding tomorrow, which the Italians seem to be rather excited about.  Apart from the fact that there will be no children at the wedding.  

Of course, they're right.  Children should be at weddings.  But we still suffer from our Victorian roots, and try and hide them away.  How silly.

A rather nice candelabra

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