Monday 5 April 2010

We've moved in... part, anyway. The cooking and eating part. The hob made its journey to Santa Caterina, and is now installed (slightly imperfectly - the bit that connects it to the gas pipe disagrees with the configuration of the walls, and so the hob sits forward of the counter by several inches; somebody's going to have to do something with a sledgehammer.) Ovens work; sinks work; dishwashers work...its all a bit held together with tape and string at the moment, but it does all function. Partly on an inspection visit, and partly to escape the not inconsiderable demands on their digestive systems that Easter festivities with their contadino neighbours would make, the Brancolis came for lunch yesterday - smoked salmon ti├Ęde; boned chicken with rosemary & thyme, potatoes roast with fennel seeds; tarte normande, with marsala... which we ate by candlelight in the pranzo, surrounded by plasterboard and the smell of damp terracotta. Slightly unorthodox lighting, I know, but we haven't yet sorted out that room, and it was too cold to eat outdoors.

As I was prepping lunch, I had a CD playing of Charlie Gillett's latest selection of World Music - always uplifting stuff on a dull and rainy day - and it was only as something middle-eastern, with overtones of the muezzin, started to play rather insistently, that I wondered whether I was intruding on the Easter service on the other side of the wall. On the basis that the Catholic church has enough on its plate right now, without Don Luigi (a weatherbeaten, but otherwise hale and hearty 92 year old) having to battle the forces of Islam at his own altar, I replaced Charlie's choice with some gregorian chant instead. Better to be safe.

It couldn't have been more British. After lunch, we'd just managed a brief circuit of the garden before the heavens opened, and the four of us ended up sitting on the terrace, as the rain beat down and we watched it disconsolately. All that was missing was egg & cress sandwiches and a sea-front bus shelter, for it to be the archetypical British bank holiday Sunday. In a perfect world, we'd have moved indoors to sit in comfort by the fire, except that none of that sort of furniture has been moved in yet, and the fireplace is still an empty hole in the wall (without a properly functioning flue, as yet). Since the rain showed no sign of letting up (and in fact continued until long after nightfall), the Brancolis disappeared back up their hill, and we got on with chores - Technical Dept assembled some more drawers and cupboard fronts for the kitchen, and I finished oiling the terracotta floor in the Salone.

Currently, and very impractically, we're now living in three different places. We sleep (and do laundry) on the first floor in the old house; cooking and eating now takes place in the new house; and until the phone lines have been installed there as well (booked for Tuesday, but since it's Telecom Italia, don't hold your breath), then ground floor in the old house is where the phone and internet activity happens. The fact that the brazilians have now dismantled the staircase makes life that much more complicated, as getting from the first to the ground floor now means using the garden staircase, and jumping across the lily pond to get to the kitchen door. The stair treads are now piled in the hall, awaiting removal to Santa Caterina, where they'll be used as coping stones on the walls of the new lily pond (and in fact the walls are already in place, awaiting their arrival).

Ah.....the sun's coming out!

Tonight's dinner:

Fried artichokes.

Spezzatino, with creamed tomatoes.

Budino di Toscana.

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