24 August 2017
(is Italian for ‘doing nothing’). I’m home from Italy. Back here, Charlie’s been manically getting ready for the Melplash show. As I write, he’s still over in the Horticultural Tent on the other side of Bridport putting together his final bits and pieces (in fact, I rather hope he’s on the way home now). Meanwhile, I’ve been doing nothing at all except letting a week drift by slowly, catching up with my friend Valentina.
There’s something magical about the unchangingness of a house you visit year after year, for fifteen years; so you instantly notice the subtle changes, like the trees this year that are not so much turning to autumn as suffering from drought – but catching golden light on my first evening at the house.
Perfect sunsets; no change there. Our life dips into a rhythm of trips to Gaiole for the morning shopping, long afternoons of reading, and lying in the sun, and taking a dip in the pool; evenings eating delicious meals cooked by Valentina, and nights playing Articulate, and talking, and drinking local red wine. And so it has been, year after year after year.
One morning we popped into Radda, just for a change of scene. I was delighted to see a large stack of stacking chairs in the main square, waiting patiently. More stacking chairs in the Park:
The view out from Radda: I love how many oldish Fiats there are in all these small Tuscan towns.
As well as some very smart really old ones. One evening the sunset gave up spectacular jet-trails, tracing across the sky…
We did a usual visit to Siena, dropping off Cree at the station, and later collecting Mim. I love wandering around Siena – as in Florence, or Rome, making sure you get one or two streets off the main drag, almost instantly to find yourself in the deserted places of the city.
For old times sake, Val and I had lunch at Osteria le Logge.
We met Mim at San Domenico, which I’d never been in before.
I love the contrast you find in all Italian churches (well, in all churches everywhere) between High Baroque and outdated technology. The cleaners cupboard had overtaken a pretty nice marble font.
More stacking chairs.
On our last evening, we went for drinks with Valentina’s friend Catherine across the valley. On the way back is this unchanging view looking back from Cacchiano to the distant towers of Siena, that I must have written about a dozen times before. This view is one of my favourite things in the whole of Tuscany.
The sun set on the final evening. How soon holidays pass, especially when you do nothing at all.
But how good they are.