Saturday, 29 October 2011

"The House of the Little Fountain" - the name of one of the few remaining treasures in Pompeii.

Our Geometra, Paulo, is an inspiration. On Italian news we see floods in many parts of Italy (and the rest of the world), but not in Le Marche. We hear of Italy's financial and political crises, but one meeting with Paulo distances all these concerns and dissolves any lingering hypochondriacal homesickness.

Tuesday morning Paulo called us over to his office in the basement of his house to agree another final draft of our plans. They are so imaginatively and painstakingly produced, we can't find a detail he hasn't agonised over, including a little fountain he wants to put in an alcove by the front door. How did he know of my dream to have a fountain one day? He talks so quickly and energetically, it's almost impossible to take everything in, but his enthusiasm is infectious. He's like an expectant father pacing a maternity ward. It is invigorating, we all feel young again. His talk of building this house gives his pokey office a palatial dimension, we are at the centre of a new galaxy - at the birth of creation - the future is full of hope and it's all in our hands. The sense of awe, of insatiable anticipation is electric. All of that (and the verbosity...) remains with us long after we have left the office.

Back to the mundane... Sorting our internet connection is a pain in the rural parts (of Le Marche!). Thankfully the decision has been put aside 'til "domani", while we await the visit of a "technico" to perform a site inspection...hold the front page! By chance next to the local supermarket there's an unimposing IT shop. As usual, you never know quite what you're going to find once you walk into even the most unlikely looking shop. We are looking for a USB stick for the Mac only to be informed that it wouldn't work for our weak telephone signal, but: "Wait a minute, have a chat with the boss". The boss turns out to be an expert in installing internet connections and within less than half an hour he has explained how he can solve all our problems; he's a most unlikely seeming saviour, with his ultra fashionable spectacle frames, a ready and quirky sense of humour - "It'll only cost you two thousand euros, oops, forgive me got that wrong, I'm a bit sick" (to which Peter replies that he too is feeling a bit sick now!) and his offer of a cup of coffee which we are not allowed to refuse because it's: "The best coffee in the world". He also (like almost everyone else we've come across), knows Paulo, and just happens to be going out for a pizza with him that evening. Meanwhile, we are still minus an internet connection so we're off to Senigallia to top up on phone bites for the iPad.

Senigallia is a major town on the coast nearby. It has that other world, other time, aura about it where you feel as though you're on the set of a period drama, but the dress code wasn't printed on your invitation. The trademark sign, over one of those exclusive looking shops you never feel worthy enough to enter (and invariably regret it when you do) reads "Marcheshire". The cheek of it! Yet it's kind of like home from home - almost.

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