Saturday, 22 August 2009

AUG 21st

Aug. 21st - I never have to get out of bed in the morning because I never get into bed at night. I sleep on the bed with the window open and a gentle breeze holds me in her arms. This morning I ate bread and salami, two peaches and a pint of strong coffee, covered myself in sun cream, and sat on the terrace with Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Weir of Hermiston.' He wrote about Edinburgh and The Borders in the early 19th century while living in Samoa in the late 19th century. A 'late period'? The prose is electrifying. I have read it many times and it is a small miracle - only 116 pages before he was struck down by a brain haemorrage. He was 44 when he died. My body might be in the Maremma but my head is at! And now it's already 5pm but there's still time for Rosie and me to go to Saturnia before supper.

The sun is lower in the sky and it's a good time to take the waters. I'm sitting in a volcanic spring and the water is cloudy with sulphur. There are several hundred people here all around me in the waterfalls at the side of the road. They are all sexes shapes and sizes and I find a spot under a waterfall which fits my new trim physique! There are some folk here who clearly enjoy their pasta! The air is 35 degrees. The volcanic water is warmer still so when I get out after an hour it actually feels cool. No need for a towel. I fire up Rosie's 125cc - she's got a kick like a mule - and off we go - me wearing a pair of swimming trunks and a crash helmet. Sorry, no photo!

Back home in Manciano there's just time for a shower to wash away the pong of rotten eggs and it's time to go to the Food Festival - an annual celebration of the local produce. I'm having tagliatelle, roast lamb, patate fritte, salad, half a litre of water and half a litre of wine.

On the way home I stop off at Bar Centrale for a coffee and a grappa.If my GP is reading this I hope she is not counting the units. Units are different in Italy anyway (ahem)and it is better not to count them.

It's nearly midnight and the street outside the bar is full of families - mum with the baby in the pram, dad with a beer, and the older son with his ponytail and designer clothes eating an ice cream. There have been requsts for more pohotos and better photos. Sorry, but I can only do the former. We have taken on a new secretary in Rome and she is a fierce Madonna of the blog and is scornful of the poor photography which 'adorns' the text. What's a poor boy on a Vespa supposed to do?

I am eating my way across Italy and everyone wants to know the name of the surgeon who rearranged my digestion. No one is ill. They just want to come to Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge and have the same operation so that they can be as well as me! Come gentle breeze and kiss me goodnight!

p.s. Oh, and there was a scare just before leaving Rome when we discovered two thieves in the garage who were about to steal the Vespa. Fortunately we took a photo of the miscreants and sent them to our friendly carabiniere, Umberto. (See Aug 18th) When he checked the photo against the carabinieri's criminal records it turned out that the thieves were Diana's nieces, Antonia and Cecila. Antonia is the Beatles fan!

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