Sunday, 23 November 2008


The view of tonights sunset from the pool was beautiful. It has been another stunning day without a cloud in the sky. However, there is a storm heading down from the north and temperatures are plummeting , it is reported that it will fall to freezing tonight. The forecasters are still talking about snow on Tuesday of this week.
Have started reading A.N.Wilson's new book 'Our Times'. It contains some marvellous vignettes such as Phillip Larkin's remark that he knew the end of England had come when croissants reached Beverley in Yorkshire. My favourite is perhaps the observation that Sid James bore an incongrous resemblance to Benjamin Britten whose operas,the greatest works of music of our times, were contemporaneous with Hancock's Half Hour. I've also learnt that when Karl Marx's 'Das Kapital' was first translated into English , lumpenproletariat was rendered as tatterdemalion.

Took the two boyz for a walk this afternoon at 4.30 having cooked and eaten lunch, cleared up, brought up wood for the fire, read the papers, and generally done all the things that a Sunday afternoon requires. When passing through the local village en route to the dogs favouirite haunt I found the square packed solid with at least sixty vehicles lined up around the church and the bar. The reason for this weekly traffic congestion in what is an otherwise remote corner of Umbria is the presence in the village of a delightful family run restaurant that adheres to the old Umbrian traditions of five course lunches married to what can politely be described as extremely leisurely service. Promptly at eleven every Sunday morning the square fills up, the women head off to mass, the men to the bar. At noon the sexes are reunited outside the church and the throng makes its way slowly, very slowly to the restaurant. This weekly combination of church, food and a kitchen devoid of time constraints allows the Italian family to eat, talk, gesticulate, play with the children, go outside for a cigarette, gossip with the neighbours, disparage the residents of the next town and generally pass time in a way that is quite alien to anyone from the northern reaches of the continent. Certainly in Scotland any thought of enjoyment on the Lords Day was considered a sin in itself and lunch was something to be dealt with quickly and treated seriously - and hour and a half maximum and no getting up in the middle of the meal to wander off for a chat and a ciggie.

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