Monday, July 23, 2012

...and then another horse floated by.....

Life is a little surreal here and never more so than at a feste. The noise , the crowds- its overwhelming and fantastic.
When we arrived , we were early .Stalls lined the roads and we pottered about looking at stuff and dodging the traffic which was still using the road. What amazing shoes I could have bought - if I had smaller feet. All colours, and with loads of decoration. Was particularly taken with a multicoloured strappy pair with roses all up the front.
I could have bought lots of jewelry for a euro, but there was so much it was too difficult to choose.
As it got darker, the traffic was stopped, the decorative lights came on and the crowds started to thicken. The noise gradually increased as the food trailers, all turned on their music, the fairground started up with even louder music and people shouted to and greeted friends.
We sat in the "William Wallace" courtyard. (Nothing remtely scottish about it except the name). I managed to get a glass of wine. Despite being in Italy is not always possible to just have a glass of wine , without having a meal. But a nice young man opened a bottle specially for us , so we were able to sit and watch what was going on.
It was deafening. The fairground was on the other side of the road and there was a man with stripey trousers doing a little dance to attract customers.There was a large swinging ship at the back which I very much wanted to see, but definitely not to go on. By now the street was packed with people. Between us we knew quite a few of them.
Everyone looked like they were on holiday, but most of them live here. I think its because of all the brightly coloured clothes.
Its hard to describe being there unless maybe I say it was like sensory overload.  The crowds of brightly coloured people, the feste street lighting, the flashing coloured lights from the fairground, the amazing variety of music all playing together, people shouting and screaming on the fairground rides , the smell of pork and sausages, and nuts  and then horses floating by.............

To end the evening we went to hear the band play. They were loud enough, and far enough away to drown out all the other noise. The evening for us ended as we listened to a wonderful Italian operatic song . And then another horse floated by........

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 7th in Pisticci

These last few weeks since I returned from Scotland have been hot. Average temperatures in the mid thirties. So I need to get up early to have breakfast outside as by 9am it's too hot. I find that it doesn't matter what I plan ;I rarely start painting before 11am so in going with the flow mode I have been going out with my camera for a coffee, a wander round the piazza and to just generally breathe in the atmosphere.
I haven't been walking into town as its too hot, but I have loved getting on my scooter and whizzing or dawdling or dottering around .Its the only way to get a breeze.
Every morning I pass the most beautiful large clump of oleanders, growing in front of the retaining wall beneath the half houses. Its breathtaking, with the blue sky, which can sometimes even be seen through the empty windows, above, and masses of red, pink and white oleanders clustered at the bottom and virtually spilling on to the road. This morning I stopped and took some photos. They give an impression of what its like but, you need to be there.
I went by the garage, where the friendly man usually speaks in english and I answer in Italian.( He says "full" and I say"pieno" and we're both very pleased with ourselves and grin.)
I decided to take the long way round as my parking spot has been blocked off ,and because of the one way system - and being a cowardly parker. I  head for the scooter spaces. Not that its a hardship, just longer with a breeze and more things to see. Yesterday I met a scooter coming towards me with something the size of a small door carried on it. It was carefully balanced at the guys feet and stuck out about a metre on each side. It's quite difficult to concentrate on driving when you see such things. I have to remind myself not to dream too much as meeting cars coming towards you on the wrong side of the road is quite common, along with wonky parking, stopping suddenly to talk to ones friends and variations on all these.
So I parked carefully in a scooter place in front of 2 cars also parked  there!
I went to the nearest cafe and ordered a cafe cream- its like mousse- gorgeous. It's served in a little cup with a saucer and you eat it with a teaspoon. I also had another reason for going to that particular cafe as one  of the guys who works there had asked to be part of my 50 people of Pisticci project. (I am having a great time getting subjects for it, completely randomly, just whoever I happen to meet, or like the look of. The subjects are so not planned) Or in this case - a volunteer. He was there, so I took his photo and strolled off to do some errands and also with this post in mind to take some photos. It was still only around 9am and when shops are closing at 10pm or later the previous evening , then that is early.
As I passed the florist, I decided that it might be possible to cram another 5 little plants into my pots outside the studio. It was lovely and cool inside and the owner was busy making a bouquet for a man with red roses and white "frothy" things and then finishing it off with a large complicated red net bow.  I commented that she was an artist with flowers and she said she had seen my painting of the  three old men. We got talking a bit as I chose my plants and then she became another of the 50 people and I left well pleased.
Getting back I started work and finished a portrait I  was doing for someone who had seen  the three old men painting and wanted one of herself. She is really pretty and I hope I have done a good job. I spent the rest of the day inside, chatting to family on skype and quite a lot of time on the internet checking out videos on portrait painting. I have picked up some good tips that way and am looking forward to using some new ones in my next portrait..
After a short siesta, ten minutes, as I am not very good at sleeping during the day it was 5pm and time to cram in the plants. There is nothing planned colourwise in my pots, everything is just pushed in and crowded together. I think they look wonderful, but I may be prejudiced. Also I am so impressed that they are alive- I dont have a good gardening history.
It was soon time to go feed the cats at the country house  and then to a barbecue at a friends'.
I had a lovely time at the friends house and was honoured to be at their very first barbecue in Italy.  Sitting outside drinking red wine , chatting , looking round the garden and enjoying the view and the good food. It was perfect.
I had to drive back to Pisticci in the dark about 10pm and you might think the roads would be quiet then but no, there was more traffic than in the mornings. I have to admit that the lights on my scooter are wonderful, compared to those on the old ones. Even the dashboard lights up. I felt so smart!
When I got back to the studio I decided as there was a feste on in the lower part of town -and I was in town - it would silly not to go, so I picked up my camera , got back on my scooter (Am getting so lazy) and headed off.

I used to be a bit shy of going to events like this on my own , but now I take my camera and enjoy it. There were hundreds of people of all ages, stalls, lights, a fairground, a band singing and the noise was tremendous as everyone shouted to everyone else over the sound of the music from all over.There were the people who lived in the street sitting outside their doors watching as everyone in their summer clothes strolled back and forwards. It was difficult to move, there were so many people.
I bought a little handbag as a souvenir and then left.
On the way back to my scooter as the noise receded I took a last photo of the evening of a peaceful street corner.
It was still only 11.30pm. I felt like it had been a long day.