Sunday, 3 May 2009


The much heralded blessing of the tractors outside the village church on May Day was a particularly Italian affair - chaotic. We made the mistake of arriving early for the scheduled time of 12.30 ( note for future reference : never,ever arrive on time for anything in Italy. Even more importantly never arrive before the advertised start time unless you want to extend your waiting time .For the real kick off time for an event , or for an Alitalia departure time , add at least 30-35 minutes ). Naturally,by one o'clock the square was still completely devoid of people so we popped into the local cafe for a quick glass of sparkling water. No sooner had we done so than the church doors burst open and out spilled a heaving mass of humanity - grandmothers with children , grandfathers with children,young mothers with children - you get the general idea - lots and lots of children and all of them singing ,gesticulating freely or talking. This unlikely multitude then formed up into what can best be described as an amorphous and constantly moving human mob as one by one the village business vehicles drove by ,slowly, to be sprinkled with holy water - first came the bakers van, then four porchetta vans,then the general store owners van, the council gritting truck,then the furniture shop repair van,then a wide variety of tractors and diggers of varying sizes (and like their drivers even greater vintages ) and at the end for some quite inexplicable reason someones extremely ritzy new Porsche. Each sprinkling of holy water was an excuse for the vehicles engine to be raced, the driver to lean out of the window to perform a bow, for children to run into the path of oncoming traffic, and for much cheering and clapping to be enjoyed by all. After half an hour of this sanctified and increasingly manic disorder everyone disappeared happy and content into the restaurant for a very ' slow food' lunch. God bless tradition.

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