Monday, 30 October 2017

Revel in her miracle

I cry every day these days.
But then it is hard to remember a time when I didn't cry. 2008 perhaps.
I cry about all sorts of things. Big things. Little things. Things in the world. Things in my world.

But mainly I cry about her.

I just find her so incredible and the thought of that incredibleness being taken from me is unbearable.

I guess I will just have to try and appreciate every day now.
And revel in her miracle.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Photogapher ahoy

Not much happening at present. Students are trickling in so I am almost making rent - eek! My bank even invited me in this week to point out that my account was empty. I wanted to suggest they pop a little in to make themselves feel better but I couldn't find the right phrase. Actually, they were very nice and supportive of my job change ( which I may have made sound slightly more lucrative than it is)  but I think they were more interested in checking I was still here. We were all smiles at the end so I feel at ease with them.

Luckily my students like to bring things like whole pumpkins, olive oil squeezed from their own trees, and new boots they can't fit, so I feel quite blessed. Poor but rich if you catch what I mean.

Last weekend I did have visitor though. An ex-colleague from Florence who came with her enormous camera to take photos of my village, Franco the barber, and my laydees in the backyard.

Now, this friend is beautiful. I  mean she literally takes the breath away of the people she passes. I can see them gasp when they see her so you can imagine the collective gasp of my village, which is predominantly (from what I can tell) made up of dirty, old men, when they saw her.

First I lightly poisoned her with a rather salty stew but she even ate two servings so she was a good victim. Then we worked Three Paw and Pirate in the back yard, trying to capture their essence. Funnily enougn Pirate kept looking right into the lens. I can never get her to look into my camera but I think this lens was big enough she could see inside it and it intrigued her. Or she was as beguiled as the dirty, old men by the photographer.

After, I took my friend to see Franco the barber, which was kind of like a lamb to the slaughter. Franco has such a curious shop filled to the brim with oddities perfect for photographing.
For better or worse though, it had a couple of customers in it who were not shy about telling my friend what they thought of her.  Actually, they are never shy about saying what they think but my Italian is not good enough to understand everything they say to me. My friend's Italian is, however, perfect even though she is Greek so she understood everything they were saying - which didn't seem to stop them. I wasn't there because I had left her alone to work but I was a bit horrified at the rather direct questions they asked about her breast size for starters. Fortunately, she knows how to handle these types and she came out with some brilliant photos and a radiant smile.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Little Star

Three Paw is the star this week on a website in America for tripawd ( or in her case bipawd) pets.

Proud mama here.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

A good day for nimble feet and minds

Yesterday was such a beautiful morning Three Paw decided to spend it in the bottom garden. There is nothing more delightful than watching her bushy tail swish its way down the uneven, stone stairs. Honestly, she does it far more nimbly than I ever can. I am always clutching at the wall; afraid I am going to tumble down, crack my head open, and get eaten by all the rats I inadvertently feed at the bottom garden because I don't know what else to do with my food scraps.

In the evening, she helped supervise the class I have started in my house. I am not sure how good her English is because she is nowhere near as vocal as Pirate but she dished our stern and approving looks in equal measure. Pirate joined in briefly but seemed more interested in rubbing people's  sweaty bag straps.

Three Paw supervising from the back

Teaching a group again felt good. I enjoyed planning the lesson and during the class, I had this peaceful hour and a half when I felt in control of my universe.

Three Paw distracted from the task of education by a marching band in her head. A common occurrence for her.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Cinque Terre

I first visited the Cinque Terre almost twenty years ago - gulp! I remember how beautiful I thought it was; all those vineyards cascading down to the sea; the shimmering lemon trees; the colourful, painted houses.  I wasn't very well during my visit but I still found it enchanting. D did not. I still don't know why but he remained totally unmoved by everything he saw.

The next time I visited was 11 years ago with my mother but it was only for a day. We did a mighty job though and walked four of the five villages. We had lunch in Manarola and mum ate a whole garlic bulb, which drifted merrily in our company for the rest of the day. I remember us both arriving back in Florence at the end of the day absolutely spent but utterly beguiled.

Now finally this summer I managed to go with mum and dad and Three Paw. We stayed in Portovenere for two nights. While not officially included as part of the Cinque Terre, I found this village utterly charming and a perfect base for exploration. It had a lovely promenade by the water and a narrow, medieval street full of shops and rustic buildings. It also had a formidable-looking church from which you could gaze out onto the ocean and all things beyond.

Portovenere was also pleasing because it had ThreePaw friendly facilities which she was highly approving of. In fact, I don't think she had a single complaint about the entire trip except, perhaps, for the bathroom queue in the morning.

Hurry up already!
Have case, will travel

Three Paw and mum shooting the breeze at Portovenere
The nicest thing was that we were able to cruise between the five villages for a day which meant (a) a partial escape from the full onslaught of Lucifero (b) satisfying dad's love of the boat trip, and (c) the use of very nice ship stewards to help us off between ports.
I like Ligurians. They are very friendly and patient despite all the tourists, They could teach a Tuscan a thing or two ( in my humble opinion.)

We had a gorgeous day. My favourite village is Vernazza but to be honest, the whole place is magical and when we finally staggered off the boat at the end of the day, Three Paw was lounging on the bed waiting for us to tell her tales from the sea. 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Super girl

Mum and I in Florence back in 2006.
Yesterday I was in Florence and at one point I wandered past Via Santa Elisabetta. I lived in an apartment on this street back in 2006 for about eleven months. I never actively seek out this street when I am in the city so it took me a little by surprise to be standing outside it. All I could think was how I had been there 11 years ago and how Three Paw had been living a parallel life somewhere else at the exact same time; our lives not yet enriched and enmeshed.

And I wondered how I was able to live without her back then and how I will be able to live without her in the future.

I feel especially disappointed in myself for not documenting her past four months post-amputation with more vigour. I like to think it is because I was too busy living each triumphant bound and leap with her. And that if you spend all your time behind the lens or the keyboard, you might just be missing the real magic anyway.

Still, the beauty of having a memory (relatively intact despite a persistently impressive grape intake) means I can recount the highlights now anyway. 

The thing that stands out for me the most was her total acceptance of the change and immediate decision to accept it. From running across the hospital floor within twenty-four hours of her amputation ( and Alberto's accompanying joyful face) to her adaption to the toilet I specially designed for her so that she has not once lain in her own previous work. I mean I like to take a little credit for the genius contraption (an enormous plastic dog bed lined with a pet pad) but the way she spins herself like a wheel so she never lies in the same spot is true genius.

During these months she has never cried out ( and I wouldn't have blamed her if she did) nor sulked. She has scaled the garden stairs, run the ramp I built up to my bed, and worked out that if she runs to the cushion I set up in the kitchen she can get a meal. Her intelligence and optimism and love of life has been a gift and lesson to me and my love for her is as layered and rich as any other love I have ever felt.
And now she even has a boyfriend...a randaggio from my garden.  Her talents, simply, never cease.

But above all this, she is happy and at peace. And that is what  I love most of all.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Piece by Piece

You know so much happened during my summer blog hiatus, I feel a little regretful it wasn't documented: Three Paw's amputation recovery and trip to the Cinque Terre; Lucifero - the heatwave; my parents' visit to Italy and our holiday together in Devon; a rather nauseating hysteroscopy; the discovery of the village organist's practice schedule; oh and me quitting my job in a progesterone-enhanced rage. I have no regrets about the last one I might add even though my life is somewhat precariously unemployed now. It felt like a good decision the minute it fell out of my mouth.

I guess piece by piece I can put all those stories together. Especially since I have ample time being somewhat employment-challenged.

I think I will start with a picture of my folks who bravely marched through the Tuscan countryside under the relentless gaze of lucifero.

This picture is of us at end of a scorching day, enjoying the street life of San Miniato - willing it to rain!