Friday, 14 February 2020

The Button-seller's Tongue

I wish I had his gift.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Another brick in the wall

Today the local newspaper had a four-page spread on the fall of the Berlin wall thirty years today. I found it very moving and could feel tears welling in my eyes as I drank my cappuccino. The Wall fell just as I was finishing school. We had just finished studying the Cold War in modern history. It was all terribly relevant. I don't remember watching any of the footage on television though. I think I was too immersed in my last exams to look up and breathe that moment in history. I love looking at the pictures though. That eighties hair and those knitted jumpers.  I think people are forgetting how sad that wall was. How divisions don't heal, they only hinder.

After my cappuccino, I went down the hill to collect a dead kitten. I had seen it by the road yesterday and put it up safely on a ledge but I knew in my heart no one was going to come and collect her. So I brought her home and held her in my arms for a while. I wanted her fur to feel loved even if she was gone. We then slow-danced to a James Blunt song. I figured his mournful warblings would be enough to make any creature happy they had moved on. ( Not really -I love that man and his mournful warblings.) Then I took my little baby down and buried her with Dude. It was raining heavily and everything felt very somber but I like the idea of the two of them being together.

Pirate watched, unmoved, from the stone stairs. I think she was pondering her next meal.

Friday, 1 November 2019

The Day of the Dead

November 1st.  The Day of the Dead here in Italy. People visit the graves of their loved ones although this year I noticed a lot making the pilgrimage in the previous days because I suspect they wanted to make the most of a long weekend and jet off somewhere exotic. Well, maybe not jet but at least do something fun. Unlike myself, poverty keeps me housebound but the olives are ripe for the picking so I have spent some time in the garden in the shadow of Dude's grave. This will be my last harvest here. I feel nothing in particular about this fact.

Friday, 25 October 2019


Happy 6th GOTCHA day ❤️😺to my shadow, my chatterbox, my rascal, my girl. I still remember the day with vivid clarity: grabbing you from beside the mosque tombstone: losing you behind my wardrobe when you tried to wriggle away: taking you to the vet where they said the infected eye would have to go” but don’t worry, they do ok on the streets with one.” I knew at that moment you would never see a street again.
Change is being foisted upon us and I know not where we will be this time next year but I do know we will be together, my beloved little Pirate 🏴‍☠️

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Nature's Supermarket

Look at this amazing fresh produce I was given today. I even got to pick it myself. So much more satisfying than trawling down supermarket aisles looking at bland tomatoes and perfectly shaped aubergine.

The farm actually belonged to a friend of one of my students and they were so welcoming and excited to have a foreigner in their midst. I was the truly excited one though. I love moments like this.

Now I am at home listening to the Brexit vote - what a comedown!!

Friday, 18 October 2019


The other evening there was a spectacular storm out west.; probably rolling in from the Tyrrhenian sea. Pirate watched it on a chair by the door. She divided her eye between watching the wild weather and stopping Dalmazio, the neighbor's cat, from getting inside. She is a model in multi-tasking.

I love it when these storms blanket the sky and it will definitely be something I miss when I move homes. Generally, I am quite at peace with the coming change but I suspect some of this may be because it is still a few months ago. I know I
will never have a home with this view again but I also know it means I won't have to worry about huge gardening bills and this is something to celebrate.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Plumed Italians

Yesterday's dusk was spectacular. The sky and land sort of melted into each other in hues of pink, orange, gold, and green which would look truly ghastly in a painting but nature always has a way of merging colours perfectly. I found it very soothing.

Then when I got up this morning, after a restless night of fret and mosquitoes, the sun was blazing and everywhere looked so verdant and joyful.

I decided I should go for a walk. Do one of my epic country strolls which I have stopped doing of late for a myriad of reasons.

I wonder if you can see Pirate?
But then I heard a tooting in the street  - the Pied Piper perhaps - and was met by a plume of Italian soldiers marching, playing instruments, singing, even running as they sang and tooted. It was magnificent. For a bunch of basically hired-to-kill folk they just seemed so light and carefree. I'm not sure what the occasion was but I think it might have been to do with the new mayor of the town.

The whole thing made me happy, not sad. I have had many changes thrust upon me in recent months and a lot of them almost make me want to choke but this little interlude almost lifted my soles from the pavement - O for a plumed hat of my own.

I didn't do the walk but I think this was as therapeutic and the hills will be there as they have always been...and always will.

Saturday, 21 September 2019


Today I went on a short train ride to the nearby town of Montelupo. This little borgo is famous for its ceramics which is fortuitous because that is why I visited it. I was on a mission, you see. I wanted to get some sort of garden ornament to lay on my Dude's grave.

I have a lot of regrets about not cremating him ( I even rang the crematorium to see if they were into exhumation at all. Apparently not - until after five years have passed. I don't really understand why but after a few eye dribbles, I thanked them for their time.) I also regret where I buried him. I wish I had put him up against the shady wall where I buried an unknown cat some time ago. But on the day he passed, I just wasn't thinking straight. 
Now, however, I have decided I want to leave something permanent on his spot. Well, not permanent I suppose - nothing is that really ( except plastic maybe ) - but my apartment has been sold and I must move which means that on some very grey, wintry day next January I am going to have to walk out of my garden one last time and leave my beloved boy behind.
I try to think of me not leaving him there; that he is really with me all the time. I also try to tell myself  (in a contradictory sort of way ) that this is where he would want to be; that he was born in these hills and despite his short but greatly-loved life he belonged back in these hills. I want to leave an ornament on his grave so the new owners who come are aware that he is there. Of course, they may just take it away but they will know in their bones that the rumpled earth below them is sacred. This is the only way I think  I can find at least a semblance of peace.