I sometimes wonder if Italians have some vital part of their inner ear removed at birth in a process that leaves them irritated by the sound of another human voice, such that they have to drown it out.
This morning I tried to arrange for Clive’s stoma to be viewed, and was slammed through to a nurse who wanted to know why Clive would already be in the hospital on Friday.
Speaking in Italian as always, three times I started to explain, and three times she interrupted and drowned me in high-pitched gabble, guessing erroneously at reasons.
Finally I was roaring for her to listen and she was screeching to try to get the upper hand in the conversation.
Clive sat back and enjoyed himself – a good cat-fight, he said.
The upshot was that I gave up trying to arrange anything. The timing was all wrong and in any case I have grave doubts anyone would have listened long enough to help.
I love the name moon daisy.
It’s a great deal more romantic-sounding than the more usual ox-eye daisy.
The young leaves are eaten raw in Italy apparently, even though they’re bitter.
Mind you, Italians eat just about any sort of wild greenery, cooked or in salads.
THAT doesn’t translate well into Italian, any more than fox-and-cubs, love-in-a-mist, snapdragon or traveller’s joy!
I wonder if Chokri thinks I invent these outlandish names.
Johnny-go-to-bed-at-noon has appeared in a number of guises around the place – last year I found only the purple type.
Today I found an orangey one and a lemon yellow one growing side by side.
It was just starting to rain and they were open. By lunchtime the yellow one had drooped, and the orange one and a purple one elsewhere were still open. I guess they got confused.
The purple one was full of water and looked like an amethyst brooch.
‘Foxgloves’ translated into Italian doesn’t sound very convincing.
Also the gloves apparently aren’t for the fox but for the ‘folks’ – that is, fairies.
We’ve managed to get a few foxgloves going from the seeds we brought over from Britain – not as many as I’d like, though.
I hope this will be a little patch where they keep coming.
Gabions are an Italian invention – the word means large cages – but when we asked for these to be erected, none of our Italian workforce recognised the name.
These gabions are holding back a very tall bank which we cut into in order to make a turning place in what was otherwise a 300 metre blind single-track drive.
The mesh cages were filled ‘in situ’ with rocks, some of which we bought, and others of which we ‘lifted’ from the environs.
The structure wasn’t the most beautiful thing to start with, but we planned to get climbing plants growing up it straight away.
The main problem with the site is that the water table is very high at certain times of year: dig and your hole instantly floods.
Lavender doesn’t flourish there, probably for that reason. Sweet peas are quite happy, though.
We had a very small wisteria which we nicknamed ‘the stick’; it grew a little bit and then died.
The red rose chugs along.
The white rose is a different story. When we bought it, we were told to ‘stand back’ after planting it or it would knock us over, it grows so fast.
After 5 years it ‘owns’ the gabions, reaching right to the top. It doesn’t need pruning, and it attaches to the mesh all by itself.
It blooms only once a year, but its foliage is always fresh and green.
I went for a routine mammography test today in Foligno hospital.
While I waited to be summoned by means of a specially allotted number, I had a look around the waiting room.
As in many Italian shops and public offices, there was a crucifix on the wall.
In this case it was hanging across a Fire Hydrant notice of all things.
Surreptitiously, before I could be told off by the receptionist nurse, I took a photo of it with my phone.
When I told Clive about it, he wanted to know whether this made it holy water!
The Italian for butterfly is ‘farfalla‘, one of my favourite words. To say ‘moth’ you just add ‘di notte‘ – of the night!
Last night Clive pointed out to me that moths were crowding onto the outside of the window, like they do in the warmer weather.
We have to be careful not to let them in if we go outside because it’s not a nice experience to have a moth flap against your face in the night.
I found this Emperor Moth, and the drab one in front of it, already dead.
But this dark and beautifully patterned moth was on the windowsill, very much alive.