My Diary, Trip

Green.

When I was younger, (quite a lot younger actually), I wrote a poem (well, a few words really, nothing as high falutin’ as a poem) and driving to work today I was reminded of that because the way to work can go through a rather lovely wooded area near a river which hosts a cycle track. I love green, I guess it’s the colour of my soul! but it’s not only the colour of MY soul apparently, it is a shade that denotes renewal and resurrection to Christians and it the colour of Islamic paradise.

We all associate green with Spring of course, and are happy seeing the first mist or fog of colour before there’s even a bud to be seen. Might that be some sort of collective hallucination do you think? Because if you look closer there really are no buds. It’s the colour of safety, GO GO GO. The one we expect anxiously when we’re in a hurry, not the red one please! and of course it’s the colour of the Irish. Why is Ireland called the Emerald Isle? Probably truer as tourist-hype than the monicker given to Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda! Unless of course that refers to the sea and in that case I haven’t got a leg to stand on! How many shades of green do the Irish say their lovely island has?

And what about money? The Americans call or called their bills greenbacks and it’s the colour associated with envy in English “I am green with envy at the number of greenbacks that green guy in the office has”. (We also say that people who are inexperienced are green!)

It’s supposed to have healing powers and is the most restful and relaxing of all colours. Curiously our exam papers were always printed on wishy-washy pale green paper. When I asked about it I was told it helps calm student nerves.”They paint prisons this colour too Anne” the teacher said. Yes, well….(But honestly, I think most students need a wake-up colour) However, back to our psychological insights: it can enhance vision, stability and endurance .It takes up more space in the colour spectrum visible to the human eye. And so, finally, here’s my “poem”:

I never do seem to be able

To get enough of green.

The Virginia creeper

Jungles its way over the terracotta tiles

Quilting them.

No leaf mosaic here

In these depths,

The fugues of paler, tinier greens

Unpaintable.

And my gaze keeps hovering back

Until my retina is forested in green,

Never,never enough……

Not like the kaleidescope of Autumn reds, rarer

Punctuated with grape-blue tiny berries

You can admire them for some minutes,

Even every day and feel content.

But the greens,the greens

Never satiate.

My Diary, Trip

I’m just a gal who can’t say GO…

Actually that’s not the title of the song which is” I’m just a gal who can’t say no and I’m in a terrible fix”.I wish I were like that girl because procrastination is my enemy, Thief of my mini holiday!A gal who can’t say go, me down to the ground! So, eventually, tardily, tootling along in my car admiring the distant hills but knowing all the time that flat land is in my soul. Here the paddyfields and Poplar woods of the Lombard plain. Their flatness satisfies me, flat land, the horizontal lines give a feeling of calm., I’m not interested in the vertical thrusting lines leading up to….where? The really bright acid green of the rice fields, the poplars, green leaves their silver undersides shimmering in the slightest breeze all against that Leonardesque background of blues fading more and more as they are further away from me. I guess the mountains are wonderful to the more energetic souls among you or even the very romantic ones, but give me flat land.

I had decided to go and have a look at the lavender fields of the Oltrepò, but after quite a long ride, the landscape was unrelentingly green. Nice of course, but shouldn’t it be violet?So I stopped and asked a man where it was, and sometimes I’m pleased I have a foreign accent, foreigners are more easily forgiven for their lack of knowledge. ” Signora it was all harvested three weeks ago”! I really should do my research before starting out. So what to do? visit a little borgo, one ot the most beautiful ones in Italy apparently, and it was. Those quiet deserted streets , the climb up to the castle area and the church where I noticed that it’s not enough to be good to get into heaven, you have to climb a lot of steps. A nice little place, beautifully kept, but for me it was more to do with the intangibles: the perfect silence interrupted only by the birdsong, a cool fresh breeze which made walking a pleasure, even at 13.30, butterflies fluttering all around, occasional elderly ladies out walking with their granddaughters, the lady who stopped cleaning her windows to draw the curtains so I could get a decent shot of the gothic arched window….

My Diary

Here’s a turn up for the books!

I feel like a foreigner again! Many years ago when I first came to Italy, some of my friends had moved to Piedmont and told me there was work for teachers ,so of course Piedmont is my first love, it looked so Italian out of the train windows, those Leonardesque landscapes, or so it seemed to me in my ignorance, and the Italians! It was the best time and place in the world to be a (fairly) pretty young Englishwoman! I think my first train ride was on a train taking all these noisy, tipsy men to some kind of meet-up. All had feathers in their hats and they were very free with their panini and salame, and above all their wine! I realised years later when I could stutter a little more of your language, that they were Alpini, enough said. I was also visited regularly by a very elegant young carabiniere to check I was a bona fide immigrant. Just like they do now. I didn’t like that very much because he had a pistol and being English I was only used to our Bobbies who for years went unarmed.

So to get back to my point. Why do I feel foreign after all these years? Well today was my first outing since the corona virus trouble started! I went to my usual supermarket shepherded by an apprehensive daughter and do you know, I didn’t know how to behave. I don’t have a tv and so I hadn’t heard the oft -repeated messages about distancing, touching etc. Of course my loyalty card is on my phone in ‘Stocard’, as is my shopping list in ‘Bring!’ and I open the phone by thumbprint! Then there was the problem of getting my credit card out of my purse with gloves on! I was very much a stranger in a new land once again!

Gardening, My Diary

BAD NEWS TURNS TO GOOD

Well, the first time I went out to inspect my garden this morning I found to my irritation, no, much more than irritation actually, I was angry and disgusted because I found the kitchen waste buried deeply after much heavy spade work huffing and puffing yesterday, had been unearthed! I bury the kitchen scraps in the garden because in these times of the “plague”, I don’t want my daughter who comes once a week to fill my fridge for me, to have to take my disgusting smelly bags of kitchen scraps down to the bin. Apart from that, if you bury them, after a time they will have turned into wonderful rich friable COMPOST. I remember when the kids were young and we had no baby -sitter my husband said to me, “let’s go out tonight”! Great,so where are we going, thinking of a nice restaurant or maybe a grown -up film, I was so fed up with cartoons for the kids, in those pre-Netflix days! Where did he take me? What was the special treat? The first of a series of lessons on composting!

Marital bliss in a nutshell! We went and I was flabbergasted to find it extremely interesting so we started doing it ourselves, and I still do. Not in the maniacal way of watering, covering up to keep warm, turning over regularly, following a recipe and testing with a thermometer, but a much simpler way with just a sprinkle of accelerator every now and then! But where was I? ah yes, the destruction wreaked by mice. BUT……..the next time I went into the garden I looked round the corner and found to my surprise and joy, that the “pest” was Mrs. Blackbird, rooting around in search of worms I presume, so of course this is wonderful news because there are no rats and because one of my goals for the garden is, first to have something flowering every day of the year (done) and second to attract as much wild life as I possibly can!

Gardening, Music, My Diary

The Best of times, the Worst of times…

I’m quoting Dickens from memory so I might be wrong. I believe they are the first few lines of “A Tale of Two Cities”. So,in this period, I guess we’re learning a lot, I think we’ll have lost some of our fascination with social media by the time this is all over. Honestly, just how much crap can you read? I’m tired of the inane comments and the way people rush onto social mediia to comment on some evidently misunderstood headlines instead of reading the whole article;maybe after this we shall have all become more discerning and more cautious in its use. Having said that, the possibility to video call must be a lifeline to those who are alone, friendless and family-less, and I just dread to think of people dying alone without being able to see their loved ones because they have no devices. There is too the wonderful work being done by LaVerdi who are still trying to get music to us; tiny groups of 2,3,4 musicians get together to play for us, what a treat! It looks as if La Scala will soon be doing the same thing

Modern technology has been a godsend to people isolated in their homes. There is just so much reading, listening to Youtube, watching old DVDs and Netflix that a human being can stomach! Walking the dog seems to have become an obsession as does jogging and running! Me, I take a brief walk along the railway lines right at the bottom of the garden, no one is ever there. I realize that I must stick to the straight and narrow path of virtue from now on, I could not possibly be locked up! So a bit more attention to red light traffic lights Anne!

Personally, this difficult time has sparked my creativity. Look at the hat! I have to stay still when I wear it because if I don’t the flowers fall off the brim! Apart from doing a lot of reading, (no, I haven’t dared to re-read “La Peste” yet! I’m also looking at old DVDs and films but I’m careful to choose the feel-good type. Last week I watched “Schindler’s list” and plunged myself into deepest despair. I’m listening to a lot of classical music and the silence, both without and within has led to a more profound appreciation, we’re just not too hurried to listen to the greats. Now I’m going gardening. That is one of the most cheering things you can do. As you walk the grasshoppers jump ahead of you, the bees buzz, ignoring you but impollinating the fruit trees and there’s sometimes a rare butterfly.I’ve noticed that there seems to be more birdsong than usual too. I’ll bet you wish you’d spent your hard-earned money on a smaller appartment and a garden or at least a bigger balcony now don’t you?