Monday, October 8, 2012

My Very Exciting day

As distinct from my many other quite exciting days.........
Got up this morning quite anxious and a little excited as a new grandchild was due to be born today.  I rushed up to my studio as I have the internet, a "real" phone and better mobile reception here and I didnt want to miss hearing about the great event. I didnt have long to wait until I got the phone call and I have a new granddaughter called Mila sofia. That means my son is a father - it doesnt  seem that long ago that he was my little boy and now he has a daughter!
Moving swiftly on before I get maudlin and feel very very old.
That was only the beginning of my very exciting day.
I had arranged to go for lunch at a friends house near Bernalda so set off in a great mood and was soon whizzing along- then slowing down as I reached 60kph - and then whizzing along again,  up and down the hills, windy roads, blind corners when all of a sudden WHAM  - a wasp hit me in the throat and stung me. I slowed down and stopped as, I was on a straight bit of road  , and by looking in the mirror I could see where I had been stung - right on the middle of my throat. It hurt quite a bit. I have been stung by a wasp on my scooter before but never there. I started to imagine it swelling up and not being able to swallow and then not being able to breathe. Naturally I was quite calm while all this was crossing my mind!!
I was in the middle of the countryside on my own - and memories of a friend who had not previously been allergic to wasp stings but had swollen up all over and spent 4 days in hospital after being stung - were bothering me.
So I decided to take my self to Casualty  (Pronto soccorso) at the local hospital which was only 15 minutes away. I reasoned that however unlikely, it would be very selfish of me to swell up and die on my granddaughters birthday. So I sped off in the direction of the hospital trying not to imagine that my throat was swelling more by the minute and wondering if I would be found in time if I fell off my scooter cause I couldnt breathe. There was very little traffic on that particular road. But I reached the hospital, parked my scooter and sidled into the hospital. The sting hurt and my throat felt a bit numb but I was definitely still breathing and swallowing. I didnt have to wait long and I figured if I stopped breathing they would see me straight away.
I think they were reasonably entertained and very pleasant . I did mention my friend who had spent 4 days in the same hospital and I think I explained myself as well as possible especially when I mimed gasping for air.
I thanked  the staff very much departed in slightly embarassed fashion, and hope that I brightened up their day
Relieved that it didnt look as if I was going to swell up I set off again feeling quite proud of myself  for having been reasonably sensible. If I had been allergic and swollen up in the middle of the countryside with no one around I would have felt pretty silly.
So I zoomed off, thinking, "must wear scarf on scooter".
As I reached Bernalda  I thought I was wobbling about a bit going round corners, but put it down to too much excitement. However in the middle of town I went round a corner and nearly came off the scooter as the back wheel started to slide out from under me. I pulled into the side slightly shaken and sure enough  I had a puncture.
I don't know Bernalda that well. I don't know the word for puncture either. But since I came to Italy I have almost always found people very helpful. So I went into the nearest open gate which led into a DIY  yard and asked if they could help. I was not completely successful as they explained where I could get my tyre repaired but seemed to be at the other side of town and I wasnt sure that I could ride my scooter with a completely flat tyre. So I thanked them and walked back out. I decided I would need to phone my friend again (was already late after being at the hospital ) and see if she could help. Just as I was saying "Guess what happened now....." a young man came out of the yard on a scooter and said follow me. I decided that I could at least try to see if I could move and managed to follow him very slowly and scarily to the other side of town. That was almost as frightening as thinking I was going to swell up. My scooter wobbled like crazy at the back and I kept it upright more by luck than anything else.
It didn't take long to replace both tyre and inner tube. (And cost less than I expected) And I set off again. Just as I was turning into my friend's drive way a car coming out stopped, a man rolled down his window and stuck his hand out to shake , saying he was  ....... ...... and was one of my friends on facebook. He then wished me a good day and drove off. I found that very funny for no particular reason.
I arrived only one and a half hours late , but in a very good mood.
After having a gorgeous lunch, a serious coffee and a totally inspiring chat about life and art I left and had a very uneventful trip back to Pisticci.
Now I am planning to hang a large mirror which I bought at the antiques market yesterday and then I may go home for a peaceful evening.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Another little adventure and the secret of happiness.

Most Thurday mornings I go for a walk in Pisticci with a friend. The purpose being  to spend some time together, explore Pisticci, practise our Italian, enjoy a coffee, and get some exercise.
Today was beautiful. Not too hot for walking, but hot enough to wear sandals and no need for a jacket.
We usually start off from my studio and taking our time and saying "Buon Giorno" to virutally everyone we meet , we stroll through Dirupo on the way into town.
At this time of year the light is fantastic and today the blue skies and tiled roofs, the white houses and the geraniums were so picturesque that we were obliged to stop every few yards to take another photo or chat to the man on the red scooter or take a detour up a narrow set of steps and then wonder if we had walked into someone's backyard. Even the washing blowing in the breeze looked pretty.
We could see the sea in the distance looking silvery in the sun and the mountains almost as blue as the sky. Am still wondering who lives in the tall house with the blue shutters. It rises up higher than any other building in Dirupo and used to be a bit of an eyesore before someone painted it and made it look pretty. I have heard that an artist lives there! We had all the time we liked to wonder and look about us.
We wind our way out of the narrow streets and then my friend stops to look at a woman putting something out to dry. She asks what it is - it's dried peppers- they are like crisps. She invites us in and shows us how she has made them, they are dried in the sun, and then apologises for not having many she could give us. While she is wrapping some up a neighbour pops her head in and says that she has plenty so we have to go to her house and get some more. We go into the next house and it is breathtakingly beautiful.  From outside it looks like an ordinarily pretty Pisticci house but inside it has curved brick ceilings and goes on back into a sort of bricked cellar. It is like going back in time. I love this kind of building. To actually live in a house like this would be dream for me, but presumably it is normal here.
While she was putting some more dried peppers and tomatoes into a bag the owner said I could take photos. I did, but they don't really show what it was like.
Coming back into the sunshine in the street again, we thanked both ladies profusely  .(Rosa and Grazia) and headed onwards and upwards marvelling at the kindness of strangers and bemoaning our lack of ability to speak better Italian. Not that we are not both of us, very good at using, faces, hands and bodies to talk. It is true that a lot of communication is done without words.
After  meeting the man on the red scooter twice more, we reached the corsa and remarked on the fact that it was built so that you can always be in the shade. It  was quite hot in the sun.
Leaving  the Tabbacheria someone called out "Ciao Bella". Feeling 20 years younger we went into the cafe and ordered coffees. No sooner had we sat down (after our long but extremely slow and intermittent walk - so much for exercise!)  than a man brought over a plate with a heap of pieces of chocolate on it and put it on the table. It was for us to taste. It is apparently wine flavoured chocolate. (So much for diet!)
It was very nice.
So after sampling about half of the chocolate, we left in great spirits and strolled off back towards the studio. As my friend said "Today everything looks beautiful" and I replied "That must be the secret of happiness, to appreciate all the little things - and in Pisticci there are just so many of them.