Wednesday, 11 January 2012

“Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or a blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year ... it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols”. (“The Magic Mountain” Thomas Mann)

And so the festivities are over, the sky is a clear blue and the sun warm enough to sit outside and enjoy a morning coffee.
Christmas was heralded in Corinaldo (just inland from the coast) with an impressive flag waving ceremony and a somewhat alarming fanfare of fireworks, set off in the town’s smallest square with its densest crowd of the year.  No harm done really, though one woman’s hair was singed.
Back to Corinaldo on Christmas day with our two eldest sons, who had managed to fly out for a few days; our youngest  at work in London in a 2* Michelin restaurant.  We, however, were booked into a restaurant carved into the fortress walls of this town.  An Antipasto of 5 separate dishes; primi piatti of 3 dishes including the Christmas special of gorgeous cappelletti in brodo; secondi piatti of 3 different meat dishes with contorni of vegetables and salad; dessert of fresh cream cake and pannettone, followed by a basket of fresh fruit, coffee and a glass of bubbly.  There were 3 bottles of local wine on the table and a generous “digestivo” of limoncello to complete and complement the meal which was quite excellent.  Not, perhaps, Michelin star, but then neither was the all inclusive price of 35 euros per person.  Three and a half hours later we walked into the sunshine and took a short walk around the historic town, quite deserted.
Between Christmas and New Year I went into the local hospital for three days to undergo a planned minor operation.  Is this experience different from the NHS?  Oh yes, in a myriad of minor ways, mostly to do with culture, family concern and common sense - a lot more of all three here.  But essentially it’s the same - you go in naive and nervous and come out bruised and baffled.  Feeling fine now.
New Year here is celebrated with a special meal on the eve and the inevitable fireworks at midnight.  We stepped outside to watch every little town, as far as our pivotal horizon could encompass, compete with a magnificent starry sky.  Surprisingly, the air the following morning is fresh and clear and the church bells are pealing, louder and more sonorous, it seems, this morning.
The Italian newscast tells another story of damage to property, life and limb around the country, caused by “careless” (euphemism) use of fireworks.  Essentially, much the same as “news” in England every November 6th.
Peter and I have completed our celebrations by visiting our “ruin” - now very much a “house in the making” !  Here are some photos of the new roof, minus the "coppi" roof tiles still to be laid, with perhaps a glimpse of that no.15 wood stain and the rather shiny new copper guttering.  A start has been made in grouting the stone "faccia vista".  The “Atto” has been signed, taxes paid to the commune, we are officially “established”!  We have great hopes for 2012, can, almost, hear that blare of heavenly trumpets.

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