Sunday, 23 August 2009

AUG 22nd

'Happy talkin', talkin', happy talk.....'

Aug. 22nd - Me and Rosie are off chasing dreams. Some years ago my friend, Philip, gave me a bottle of Morellino di Scansano, and some years later I found myself on a bus going through Scansano and there it was - a beautiful small town high in the Maremma, clinging to the edge of the cliff, and I fancied that there was a place for me here.

A small gate in a high wall would take me into a garden overgrown with fruit trees, and the terrace of the little house looked down into the valley and all the way across the hills and down to the sea. There are very few buses and the one that goes through Scansano is the one that takes the long way round. That bus was recommended to me because the driver was 'Michael Schumaker's brother'! Me and Rosie wait for no bus - and off we go to Scansano. I ignored the omens. Firstly, Umberto told me last year that Scansano is no great shakes and secondly, the bottle of Morellino I bought as soon as I arrived here was no great shakes either. But me and Rosie are on our way. We drive around Scansano until Rosie has had enough. Rosie had seen a Ferrari and wants to stop. So I park her next to the fancy shy red racer covered with a tarpaulin revealing only the tell tale black horse on the rear wheel like a Victorian lady's ankle - and I look for my dream alone on foot.

There's no dream here. Just me alone on foot. But 'if you don't have a dream, if you don't have a dream - how you gonna make a dream come true?'

Rosie was getting nowhere with the shy Ferrari either, so we decided to go back home. Normally when we let out the throttle me and Rosie can summon up a cool breeze but today we are driving through a fan assisted oven and when we pass the 'cascade' at Saturnia I fancy sitting in the water again. This time I find a comfy spot where I am almost completely submerged with a gentle water falling on my head. All together now... 'Raindrops keep falling on my head...' But it's not an umbrella you need round here. It's a parasol. And I feel like going to sleep. The water is even warmer than the air so when I finally emerge after more than two hours the first thing I feel is a little chill! And it must be nearly 40 degrees. How cool is that?

My friend, Umberto, invited me out to dinner and we drive to a little restaurant in the hills - an agriturismo - and Umberto knows everyone here. There is no menu. The food just keeps coming. A cold pasta salad, a selection of crostini, tortelli stuffed with I don't know what, all Umberto can tell me is that it isn't chicken, and it isn' turkey, but it is similar. And then another plate of tortelli arrives. I don't ask but it taste's like ricotta with basil. And then two dishes of hot meat. A dry dish of lamb cooked in herbs and another dish of lamb cooked in a princely gravy
and then a dolce of semifreddo and chocolate sauce, espresso and grappa. Umberto listens to the grey tale of Scansano and kindly declines to say, 'told you so'. Instead he tells me about a very special place called Monte Labbro, the highest point in Tuscany and it's less than an hour away. Me and Rosie can drive to within 500 metres of the summit. I have to take a torch for going into the crypt of the church I will find there.

Back home in Manciano my hosts have closed the shutters. It takes ages to figure out the engineering but I must have them open. It's so warm in here and my beautiful cool breeze is waiting outside and I finally find the way to let her in. Buona notte a tutti.

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