Saturday 4 September 2010

We've been denounced... the Commune! Although, since this isn't soviet Russia, the manifestation of authority wasn't snow-covered jack boots and a thunderous knocking on the door at four in the morning, but instead the arrival as we sat, drinking coffee on the terrace, of portly and avuncular Signor Martini, from the planning office, accompanied by his younger and only slightly less portly assistant. Whoever our denouncer was, they got off to a poor start, since we go back quite some way with Signor fact, he was even present on that memorable winter's afternoon in Architect Scarpellini's office, some years ago, when somebody closed the door rather too firmly, and the ceiling fell in. There's nothing like shared adversity to create bonds...

As soon as he recognised us, officialdom relaxed into jocularity, and even before he'd visited the scene of the supposed crime, there didn't seem much to worry about. It turns out that we'd been reported for 'building with cement' without a permit, and there was also some reference to our using 'rete', which is the italian name for the metal grids that form the inside of reinforced concrete. Except, in our case, the rete are being used as trellis for climbing roses, and the walls of the lily-pond (apparently the subject of the 'building with cement' complaint) are held together entirely by their own weight, without a slather of cement to be seen. A vague glance from several feet away was enough to satisfy Signor M, while the four-footeds clamoured for attention round his feet...and after fulsome exchanges of civilities, he went on his way, and that particular bit of bureaucratic nonsense headed for deep filing in the basement of Palazzo Gambacorti.

I couldn't help but wonder who'd been behind it, though, and who might even now have been watching from behind their curtains. There are only six possible culprits, which it was pretty easy to whittle down to two, and then (I think) to one. And whatever their motive, since the Commune won't be reporting back to them, they'll just be left wondering why nothing appears to have happened. This being Italy, of course, it won't occur to them that they'd just got it wrong, and instead will decide that we must have 'influence' at the Commune (which seems to be the italian explanation for everything; 99% of the time, I think it's complete nonsense). Useful, though, even if untrue, to be thought to have friends in high places...

Tonight's Dinner:

Tagliatelle Alfredo.

Pork, pot-roast in Milk; braised Celery.

Egg-white Chocolate Soufflé