Last week saw a full moon by night and much activity on our building site during the day. A digger and bulldozer cleared swathes of land around the house and annexe. In reality it's only a few acres. but, now bare, make thoughts of future landscaping and planting quite daunting.
A drive of sorts, has been gravelled. It is on an incline rolling down the west-facing hillside. Not a steep slope, but sufficient to instil some worries as we watched the conveyor lorry, job done, loaded with the huge 120 ton dozer, attempt to climb it; heaving its weight up to the road and failing on the first two attempts. (We left after the second. It wasn't there the next day.)
Whilst the house sits silently, still awaiting the plumber, the annexe is taking shape fast; the exterior walls already as high as the window sills.
During the day we too have been busying ourselves. Finally we have bought a little terra cotta "fontanella" which will be placed on the wall adjacent to the front door. So much more modest than our original designs on custom-made marble, but more in keeping with our humble rustic residence. (And less than a third of the price.)
Inside; a "tardis" of door and window fittings, from the ultra modern to convincing replicas of the antique. The shopkeeper, indifferent to two strangers wandering in by chance (as if!) to his premises, until, that is, we mention the name of our carpenter, whereupon we are long lost family. We come out with a precious, glossy brochure to browse through at our leisure, trusted to return it to the carpenter with our order, at our leisure. Except there'll be no leisure here because, at this stage in the proceedings, every excuse for contact with the carpenter is called upon in order to spur him to complete his task.
The week ended with a visit to the "Festa della Cipolla" (Onion Festival) in Castelleone di Suasa. The very same one I mentioned at the beginning of the summer and which has been much anticipated. Well here we are at what is, certainly weather-wise, the end of summer, and Castelleone is sizzling with the pungent smell of frying onions. There are three bands playing, mostly 70's rock and pop, and mostly ignored. There are some tired stalls selling sundry wares and an ice-cream parlour is attracting some interest. But, mostly, there are "osterias" (makeshift food- stalls), serving the multitude with multitudes of dishes - all of them containing onions. The onions being celebrated are small, red and sweet - typical of the region.
Every osteria is full, whilst hopeful, eager queues form to pre-pay for their meal. The food is served tepid, on disposable plates with plastic cutlery and plastic cups for drinks, whether wine or water. The plastic covered tables and bench seats are all placed, sardine style, in the narrow cobbled streets, under a clear, chill sky.
There must be several thousand visitors all come to Castelleone to eat onions and... well, just to be here on this harvest night.