Tuesday, 1 May 2012
"Breathe out the sense of place, the sense of humour, and the sense of despair that fill the air...". (Donna Leon commenting on the work of Camillieri)
We are currently living on one side of a valley and our new house lies on the other. The ridges on either side are divided by the river Cesano, which lazily flows into the Adriatic, about thirty kilometres away. Few bridges cross the Cesano along this end of its journey. One such bridge has recently fallen down; reportedly by a flash flood. It was a historic bridge with what must have been beautiful stone arches. Now it is a crumpled heap of masonry scattered across the seemingly benign waters of a mild Spring.
Being one of the few, this was an important bridge for transport across the valley. On all the approach roads the Commune has now erected unmissable and unmistakable "No Through Road" signs ("Strada Interrotta") in wild orange and black. For none is this more inconvenient than for the cement company whose quarry blots the landscape to the north of the river. But theirs is the stuff that constructs and their multi-ton lorries need to get through, and they know that the Commune is not going to rebuild the bridge in a hurry - not in a year, not in a decade perhaps.
So, the cement company has built their own bridge. It seems kinda logical, doesn't it. It's a low bridge, a bit boring maybe, maybe prone to flooding, but it's functional and it must be sturdy enough to bear the weight of those lorries, for now.
The Commune maintains its rigid signs - "No Through Road". They know nothing of the new bridge ;-)
The local community knows better and traffic flows regularly and smoothly over this stretch of the Cesano. An occasional car stops, hesitates, sees the next car plough happily through, starts up again and, lemming-like, wagons ahead. Long may it last.
One wonders what will come first - the reconstruction of the centuries old bridge, or the collapse of the new under the weight of those cement lorries. Then again one wonders why the cement company doesn't construct a new bridge in the likeness of the old.
As in a glass house, we travel south across the valley to view the latest developments on our new construction. The wooden frames where the doors and windows will go have been put in place. We are here to decide which walls the bed heads will rest against so that those walls can be straightened. Our choice is limited to those which are already relatively straighter, i.e. the one in each room.
Our bed will face south, I don't know if that's good feng shui, but it leads to Rome and so perhaps feng shui is a bit irrelevant here.