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Water flowing underground
same as it ever was
Final Sunday of our time in Tuscany 
29th-May-2006 03:46 pm
and I'm busy washing and cooking for the invalid. I put a wash load in just as the Angelus bells rang in the valley below. On returning to retrieve it from the machine in the utility room behind our landlord's study, I saw a snake on the lower terrace - a thick grey line moulding itself round the lounger chairs, seeking anonymity alongside the ancient wall, finally whipping down the stone steps where earlier I'd disturbed the lizard prey it sought. Alberto told me 'it's not a snake, it's an adder', as he handed me a freshly labelled bottle of his own Pietra Grezza pinot grigio. Our Australian neighbour had spotted a snake on their terrace earlier in the week and, being from Oz and unused to harmless reptiles, wondered if he ought to kill it. I thought he might have seen an adder and reassured him and the American, Don, that it not really dangerous but could inflict a nasty bite if cornered. Barry and I teased Don about his ignorance of the land down under with '99.999% of the world's most poisonous creatures'.

It fell to me to attend the 'farewell do' of the English Speakers from Three Continents last night where I learned all about the Castello Bisticci from Cathy (wife of Don). It came into the hands of its present owners in the 1860s when it was bought as a hunting lodge for the great uncles of the present owner, Francesco. The three buildings in the complex have a chequered history. The 'Castle' was built in the 10th century but replaced in the 14th or 15th by the 'villa' that occupies the same spot. The villa was built using stones from the original and some salvaged from a Roman villa lower down the hill. During WWII, the family nursed and hid an English fighter pilot who had crashed in the valley. The 'outbuilding' opposite ours (now owned by Francesco's cousin, Patricia,) was the servants' quarters of the original castle and was built around the remains of a Roman Tower (around 2nd century). Our building (sold to Alberto by Patricia who was ostracised from the family for doing so) is the youngest of all, being built in the 17th century.

Despite being surrounded by all this history and nature red in tooth and claw, I've done hardly any writing since we arrived. The black dog, or more specifically, little black and tan terrier, has been a regular visitor and, having left my embroidery project behind, I haven't been able to 'escape'. We haven't left the apartment, apart from a brief shopping trip to Incisa on Friday, since MWNN fell ill last Wednesday. He's still coughing for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and beginning to worry about being fit for the long journey back to France on the coming Wednesday.
28th-May-2006 04:27 pm (UTC)
I love reading about your trip, Pat. I hope MWNN is feeling better soon! Sending good thoughts his way. *hugs*
29th-May-2006 02:41 am (UTC)
I hope MWNN is feeling better. It's too bad that illness had to ruin his last days (and put a damper on yours).

Still, it sounds as though you had many good experiences with the bad. I still envy you your time in Tuscany. I wish American companies gave more vacation time. I'm just now where I get 3 week and any sick time has to come out of that as well. It would be lovely to have an extended stay somewhere so relaxing.
29th-May-2006 02:57 pm (UTC)
I get 3 weeks and any sick time has to come out of that as well.
That counts as unusual and cruel punishment,that does.

I know I'm so lucky to have had so much time in Tuscany but circumstances (and physical geography) have conspired to make it anything but relaxing.

hesadevil - snatching a few online minutes while MWNN books an additional hotel stop to break our long journey back to the boat.
29th-May-2006 08:47 pm (UTC)
Many American workers go in sick because they don't want to lose vacation, and then the company is unhappy when so many others get sick!

I hope you do get the chance to relax somewhere along the line. I can see where the ancients felt there were fates conspiring against us because it does seem like disasters come in clusters. Maybe they were on to something!

Although, I'll still trade you my last week at a family reunion for your week in Tuscany. 8D
29th-May-2006 08:43 am (UTC)
Hope the husband starts to feel better.

Snakes, shudders.
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