Sunday, 7 October 2012

" 'The low-lying areas of the town around the Forum, and the valleys between the hills, where flood-water usually collected, were drained by sewers leading down to the Tiber.' And this, adds Dionysius, was 'a wonderful work exceeding all description.' " (The "town" was Rome and Dionysius is quoted here in "The Etruscans" by Verner Keller).

The plumber finally arrived last Tuesday!  ("He's the best", says Paolo).  We know this prodigy has arrived because the "new" internal walls have all been hacked almost to ruins, and multi-coloured pipes criss-cross the floors like elaborate sketches for a prototype man-trap.

Outside, yet more menacing pipes have been laid in deep trenches leading from the house to an adjacent field further down the hill.  There are 2 tracks of pipes, one for black water (sewerage) which flows to a septic tank, and one for white water from gutters, sinks et al.  (Fascinating, huh?)

Stefano and his mate are back on site choreographing 2 diggers - to make the channels; to place the septic tank; and then to refill the holes.

Meanwhile, up at the annexe, the cement mixer returns with a new load to fill the "cordolo" (a cordon) which secures the wooden beams in the roof, effectively holding the structure together.  The reclaimed "coppi" (roof tiles) sit patiently to one side, watching cement dry.

These works are dependant upon dry weather.  The Gods are smiling on us this October day, the sun is shining, the temperature has reached 25 degrees.  But, proverbially speaking, we need more than one day.

Paolo walks us up to a high point on our plot of land.  "From here," he booms over the engine of the cement-mixer, "the symmetry of the house can be viewed at its most pleasing."  If you close off all other senses and avoid looking down at the sewage channels, you might be inclined to agree.

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