Thursday, 8 November 2012

"Sometime before noon, clouds scudded in from the west and rain fell in big scented drops; but the sun re-emerged with a scorching heat, and now the sky is so clear you can see Heaven and spy on what the saints are doing." ( "Bring Up The Bodies" Hilary Mantel )

I know I am not alone in thinking that the juxtaposition of Festivals that are celebrated in Italy at this time of year is rather curious.

On the 31st of October we have Halloween: originally pagan, and which (despite the garish, plastic pumpkins which adorn the supermarket shelves in a land where the real things grow aplenty), remains eerily ghoulish.  The 1st November sees in All Saints Day, dating back to the martyrs of The Holy Roman Empire.  Then on the 2nd of November, The Feast of All Souls when souls in purgatory are said to reappear and, being hungry, eat the meals carefully prepared and laid out for them on their tombstones or haunt the houses which the living vacate on this day to visit the cemeteries.

Near us, the town of Corinaldo is most famed for its Halloween Festa, which begins on 26th October.  Pilgrims come from all over Europe, many in their camper vans, to enjoy the spectacles and partake in the festivities.  But this year we had rain.  The bad weather had been predicted by all the meteorological internet sites and the faithful stayed at home.  Corinaldo tried to put on a brave face - the streets were decorated, local artisans set up stalls in the thoroughfares and most of the planned events went ahead, including the "Miss Strega" (Miss Witch) beauty (?) contest.  Without the usual throngs the commune of Corinaldo ended up out of pocket and deemed the whole affair "un flop" (trans. a flop).

After which the sun came out.  Which was just as well because it enabled the builders to finish the roof on our annexe.  As with the completion of the roof on the main house we shall have our own little celebration and invite the builders and their partners to a dinner;  perhaps a pizza this time, given that it is a relatively small roof.

Another milestone in the construction of the house came with the purchase of a postbox which we proudly put up at the roadside.  A symbolic sense of ownership?  Not really, we were expecting bills for water and electricity and, lo and behold, 2 days after placing the postbox the bills arrived.  Now that's what I call a prompt and efficient postal service;  don't let anyone convince you otherwise.

The Postbox

Il Gelso - The Mulberry Tree

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