Cat-napping

Ciao, it’s me, Carlotta.

It’s been so hot recently that I’ve taken to sleeping outside on the terrazza where the tiles are nice and cool by night. It’s funny that not so long ago I’d sleep on the tiles during the day in the colder weather because they kept the heat of the sun.

I’m getting really high on this jasmine that surrounds me – it’s so intoxicating! Hiding in the jasmine is Corneglia. She’s a pretty wild cat and was already here for some time even before Napoleon. She hovers around us and likes to hide, as you can see.

Anyway, it might rain today so perhaps I might even decide to sleep on Francis’ bed again tonight.

Francis would like to know what those orange flowers are called. They always come out at this time of year.

Have a nice day from a very busy cat. Or I should be if I wasn’t such a great procatstinator!

PS One thing my butler has done is to continue his blog at

 

https://longoio3.wordpress.com/

 

Do remember that you want to carry on following me and my friends!

Summer Madness?

The beginning of the brexit talks farce is now in full swing. If it wasn’t so real and hurtful I’d class it as an amusing sequel to the television ‘Yes Minister’ series.

Thank you so much Mrs Theresa Mary May for allowing my 96-year old mother-in-law to remain in the UK. Thank you so much for allowing me to enjoy a decent pizza ‘al forno’ and a proper cup of cappuccino in London. A thousand thanks for allowing us to enjoy strawberries and cream at an English summer fete (appreciations to my ex-students from Eastern Europe working in the Fenland fruit farms). Thank you again Mrs May for allowing us to enjoy’ stupendi’ Italian singers at the ROH,

(La Cecilia)

and for still being allowed to have our medical mishaps attended to in what you’ve been unable to get rid of in the NHS. Thanks awfully for allowing me to go mad without being taxed upon this calamity (some people might say I’ve gone that way already – no thanks to you, however.).

(Straight-jacket from ex-mental asylum of Maggiano near Lucca. PS not available on Amazon)

And yet? Sorry is not enough Mrs May. And it’s not me that’s saying it. It’s the union which saved your country and the country I was born in from plunging into the utter miseries of unproductivity and depression it was faced in the 1970’s before hero Heath saved us and signed the marriage vows.

One positive point – I’m only receiving sympathy from my Italian friends around here and not any dreaded anti-brit backlash. ‘You’ve now got a government ‘all’Italiana’ worse than ours!’ one local said to me this morning. What next? Reduced museum prices for children, pensioners, members of the coop and those brits who voted to remain?

Let those who voted to leave the EU leave Italy and return to support their ever-inflating, price-hiking, increasingly tragi-comic-opera country….and leave la bell ‘Italia to those who love Italy and Europe and speak enough of the local lingo to be able to say more than just how to order un caffé’ ‘Americano’.

O dear! Is it the heat, which now, in Florence, is three degrees higher than in Madras (sorry, Chennai!), getting to me? Let those poor English boys wear their sister’s skirts in the torrid English weather. I’m sure their Scottish counterparts may all be in kilts by now…

(Dozens of pupils at Isca academy in Exeter stage uniform protest after school insists they wear trousers despite heatwave – Courtesy ‘Grauniad’.)

I think I need to take a cooling walk in the nearby woods with the few living beings that have any sense left in this totally mixed-up continent.

 

 

Longoio in Watercolour and Photography

Recently this watercolour appeared on our local village Italian facebook page ‘Longoio nel cuore’. It had been in Lio’s house and was now in Melbourne. Sadly Lio passed away last year (see my post at https://longoio2.wordpress.com/2016/09/18/goodbye-lio/ ).

I decided the other week to see how Longoio looks now from as near the same spot as the picture was done.

I don’t know which year the water colour dates from or who painted it or even how it finished up in Melbourne. Perhaps someone could tell me.

It’s nice to know, however, that Longoio hasn’t changed much and that it’s still here!

Are you ophidiophobic? Then don’t read this post!

Summer, which is barely two weeks away, is also snake-breeding-time in our part of the world. There are eight different species of snakes in Tuscany but luckily (for us) only one is poisonous. The viper or vipera is easily recognized by its almost triangular head and particular skin pattern. Its greatest concentration is in the Maremma in southern Tuscany.

Providentially all snakes are shy animals and will only react if you tread on them. Unfortunately this is an easy thing to do especially in the ever-lengthening grass and undergrowth of this season. The non-poisonous snakes are called ‘bisce’ here.

So don’t go around in sandals or even barefoot on the Tuscan hills. Wear a decent pair of ankle-length boots.

A couple of weeks ago we were dining at Santina’s, a highly recommended trattoria at Sab Cassiano and famous for its tortelli, when someone drew our attention to these snakes.

Yes, it’s the season of love for snakes too! Bet you’re not so contortionist in your love-nest……..

I didn’t get much closer to work out if they were of the poisonous variety but the two were certainly having a truly kinky time as this film will also show,

 

If you want to know more about snakes then there’s a useful page at

http://abcterra.altervista.org/wordpress/serpenti-italiani/

And if you’re bitten by one then check out the remedies on my post at

https://longoio.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/aspicious-rescue/

 

PS If you are an acute sufferer of ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) then I suggest you move either to Ireland or, if you wish warmer climes, emigrate to Sardinia – both snake-free islands thanks to saintly intervention.

 

 

 

 

Pawsitive political attitude at Longoio

In Bagni di Lucca it’s the political season too. Four candidates are standing for mayor of the comune. A mayor in Italy gets elected for a mandate of 5 years. The post is not ceremonial and is rather like being a UK council leader.

One of the candidates is Claudio Gemignani, an old friend of mine. I was glad when he turned up with his crew outside the chiesina at Longoio the other day.

 

I am not going to bore you with what each candidate’s policies are, especially if you are not a resident here. All I’ll say is that Claudio is honest, approachable, experienced and devoted. He’s served under two previous administrations as events assessor and when he was out of office Claudio dedicated himself to his local community of Gombereto in organizing the last big mediaeval festa in Val di Lima and also in arranging other events such as those associated with the patron saint. Moreover, he’s been industrious in restoring the upper chapel in Gombereto and the church on the hill at Guzzano after extensive earthquake damage there years ago. He’s always been careful with how the comune spends its money and, in respect of this, brought a councillor friend of his who has ensured that Pescia’s mayor is now behind bars for embezzlement of tax-payers funds.

I always keep my cards close to my chest when it comes to local election time but I have time for Claudio and wish his campaign well. After all, Italy’s biggest enemy is corruption and anyone who stands strongly against it is worth our fullest consideration.

Our cats agreed too and took an active part in the canvassing proceedings. Carlotta particularly appreciated the councillor who discovered Pescia’s mayor’s embezzlement.

And two of my cats improvised a dramatic version of that mayor’s imprisonment.

Whatever the outcome (and the elections are on June 11th) we must avoid a cat-astrophe to the comune at all costs….

 

 

 

 

 

Fill your page with the breathings of your heart

There are no better palliatives to the disease so many humans inflict upon mother earth than to return to nature and all those beings who are one with it. There are delights upon this planet that will never change our lives.

Like this shepherd and his flock passing up a gorge I saw on my way home to Longoio the other day:

What greater influence upon keeping calm can the scene of this person, alone but not lonely, with his dogs and his sheep, have?

What greater delights can our ripening cherries have on the palate of our thoughts?

And even in the worst of the ‘acquazzoni’ (‘showers’ in Italian but they are more like mini-tempests in this country) what happiness can Flip (one of my ducks) impart when she enjoys feeling the rain drops on her candid plumage?

Let us enjoy even the smallest everyday things of life. Let us always be one with nature. Let us savour each minute of our lives with the enjoyment given to our first glance of anything beautiful and with the custody given to the thought that it could well be our last on this planet.