An article in this mornings Corriere della Sera has an interesting chart showing the percentage of those completing college level education by country. Canada leads with 47%, the US with 39%, the UK 31% and Italy 13%. No Italian university appears in the global top 100 due to lack of funding and a personnel policy that makes it impossible to force tenured teaching staff out of their positions even if they literally do nothing. As a result most Italian universities have senior faculty members aged in their late 70's and early 80's . This is hugely dispiriting for younger members of staff who have to wait for their colleagues to drop dead before they can gain promotion. Naturally teaching and research standards suffer accordingly. Pisa University is reported as saying in todays paper that it only has funds to pay 60 out of 264 professors.These cultural and financial issues are clearly not problems Canadian institutions face!
After much discussion with the local commune we have now finally restored the old Roman wall in the courtyard and completed the reconstruction of the archway.Last week the wooden doors went in. To complete the 'tout ensemble' the gardeners arrived this morning with two large terracotta pots to go on either side of the wooden doors . We intend to plant large red oleander bushes in them to brighten up the rather stern and forbidding stone walls. The delivery went well, the team arrived at seven, nothing was broken, and the installation seemed to go according to plan. It's only now that they've gone back to pick up the oleanders from the nursery that I see that the two pots have been laid at what can only be described as an extremely 'drunken' angle. I am hastily looking up gardening terms in my Italian - English dictionary.
The two boyz have recovered from their weekend exertions and have been happily playing ball with the gardeners. Perhaps that's why the pots are the way they are.