Saturday, May 06, 2017

Shaping up...

Pics are coming. For now, Bertie and Pippy cuddling during their nap time the other day. 

Well, life in the tiny Umbrian farm village is coming together. The minute I find the camera's computer cable, I'll be able to post some pics. Had a lovely long bike ride - first since the quake - the other day, and found a spot near the Tiber where elder and robinia are blooming, and wild mint is all over. Every morning the smell of the blossoms wafts through my window, along with the birds that start around five in the morning these days, including at least one pheasant I can hear making its weird croak from the trees. 

Internet is being a pain, and I've finally resigned myself to getting the guy to the house to fix me up with full time fixed wifi. I hate having it in the house, but since the paying work has been piling up all this time it's going to have to be done. For now, I've just found the bar in the village that makes quite a good pot of tea (in an actual pot!) and has wifi. Also found the bike shop and made friends with the bike-fixing lady. Got all the little things that needed doing to the bike done, everything tightened that needed tightening, and one part replaced that was developing an alarming rattle. The house is about a five minute bike ride from the village, which makes it nice. Quiet around home, but close enough not to be isolated. 

My nice landlady took me to the garden centre today and I got some tomatoes, cukes, hot peppers, and rhubarb (!). The other garden centre, closer to home, has some very lovely roses that have quite a good fragrance. (Can't understand the point of roses without fragrance... just another Modernian horror.) Going to put it all in the ground and in the pots on the terrace tomorrow after Mass. I've got a whole raft of seeds to start, a bit late, but better than never. Tomorrow after Mass the afternoon will be dedicated to the garden. 

Making plans for the big patch in front of the house. The soil has not been worked for a long time, so it's not to do a lot right away. But there are lots of bricks and bits and pieces lying around, so I'm going to build flower beds around the base of the ten fruit trees, build up the soil a bit, and lay down some soil-recovering, nitrogen-fixing, moisture-retaining clover as a ground cover in between. It's been raining on and off quite a bit so the soil has lost its brick-like texture and should be easier to dig into. On the whole, it's good soil though, and everything around about is very green. There's a large patch of wild chamomile at the bottom of the garden too. I've got half a dozen bunches hanging up drying in the kitchen already.

In the house I've got the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom finished completely (except for hanging pictures) and a little oasis of civilisation in the workroom/sitting room that you can sit in and read or have a tea, and gaze out at the beautiful countryside. The work area itself is still a box-heap, but it's getting to be an organized box-heap. After that, I've only got to get the books on the shelves, and set up the oratory, and the house is done. Probably by the end of next week.

The big news is that I'll be starting the Italian course on Monday. It felt a bit strange to have a student card again after all this time. The last time, Madonna was still hot, my hair looked like Cyndi Lauper's and they hadn't invented the internet, so everyone still believed everything the news told us! The classes run from 8 or 9 am to noon, five days a week, so I'll have the afternoons. And a good thing since a bunch of paid work has just fallen into my lap, so I'm going to need the structure to the days as well as the time.

San Martino in Campo is a charming little place. It's not fancy. It's not very ancient (and all its medieval stuff is more or less unrecognizable as such) but it's quiet, family-oriented, friendly, and full of the kind of people who I got used to being around in Norcia - country people who aren't in a hurry. The other day I needed to find the other supermarket, the big one. I asked an older gent who was also on a bike, and he just said "Follow me" so we pedaled through the village together. It's like that here.

By contrast Perugia is... busy. Not my sort of place at all anymore. I guess I'm officially old.

Internet time is limited for a few more days, so just this little update for now. 

More next week after I finally cave and get full time internet at home. Work... (Urgh!) 



Anonymous said...

It sounds beautiful there. I believe planting potatoes is good for breaking up ground. Plus, you get potatoes. Chloe

gracem said...

Gosh Hilary, you are so admirable and really brave!!

Pater Raphael said...

Your new dwelling sounds lovely. Although I have been reading a lot of your articles over the last few months, I have only just found you wonderful blog. I lived in Rome for a couple of years doing post-grad stuff and loved the city, although I understand your preference for the country. Still, having a city, even a small one not too far is always good.
Funnily enough, I am in a similar position since last year, as I am now acting as Spiritual to a monastery of cistercian nuns here in the backwoods of Switzerland. I have a 20 minute walk to the next village and bus stop!
Anyway, God bless, and keep up the good work. It really is lovely to hear about what faithful people are doing out there in the world. (and that there are still such!) I know people often accuse us priests of being separated from reality; and you know, often we are, though not just through our own fault. We rarely have contact with the faithful nowadays, outside of Mass or Confession, and then they rush off and are not seen again until the next Sunday. I often wonder who they are and where they all live or what they do from one Sunday to the next; weird I know. So, thanks again for the blog and the articles. Father Raphael (OCist in Switzerland).