Tuesday, September 13, 2005


This weekend turned out to be a lot quieter than we had expected. Diane had called on Friday to ask if we’d like to come down for a festival in a small village near theirs. Diane and Pio live just southeast of Rome, about a 2 ½ hour drive from us.

The plan was to leave early on Saturday morning, have lunch at their house then set out in search of the best place to watch the procession which was scheduled to start around four o’clock. WE planned to spend the night at heir house, and six year old Dante had graciously offered us his bedroom for the night. Sunday we’d have a leisurely drive home, and I was hoping to convince Art to drive to Assisi for the end of the Perugia to Assisi peace march. Remember, today is 9/11.

We got up early n Saturday morning. I was already packed and ready to go….I mean, how much stuff do you need for one night? Toothbrushes and toothpaste, clean underwear, pj’s, contact lens solution, pillow. Maybe a jacket because it gets really cool at night….done.

We set out about eight thirty and decided the quickest way to go was to head towards Orvieto and pick up the A1. As we approached Ospedaletto, just a few miles from San Venanzo, Art accelerated to pass another car. We both thought the engine sounded funny and I said to Art “What was that?” He said he didn’t know, but we both listened intently for a few minutes to see if we could hear of feel any differences, then Art noticed that a warning light on the dash was blinking.

He told me that it said “ERC” or “EAC” but of course I didn’t find either one listed in the index of the car manual. Thanks goodness we’d been able to get an English language version of the manual from England where the car was made. I turned to the section about the dashboard and found what I was looking for….EAC….and there was a special note that although the car could still be driven, if you had experience a loss of power you should see a mechanic ASAP and additionally the car shouldn’t be driven over 19 mph!!!! Do you know how SLOW 19 mph really is?? Can you imagine how other Italian drivers would react if they had to drive behind us for any length of time?? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr…………..

We turned the car around and decided that our best shot was to see if the Ford mechanic in Marsciano was open on Saturday. Of course it was slow going but luckily for everyone there wasn’t too much traffic on the road. Even luckier was the fact that YES! The Ford garage was open! Art explained the problem and we hung around outside while the mechanics started investigating.

As I wandered around I noticed several trees behind the building. There were several walnut and fig trees, all bursting, or in some cases, dripping, with fruit. Off to one side was a small greenhouse with a few scraggly tomato plants. Several fruit trees….maybe peach, maybe apricot, had already finished for the season. This is Italy, where every inch of space is utilized. Why not grow a tree that bears fruit….and have some fresh figs to take home for dessert?

Unfortunately after trying several different things, including a new gas filter, the mechanics gave up and said we’d have to take the car to the dealership. The dealership is about forty minutes away….won’t that be a nice long drive on Monday morning!!!!! At least the warning light was no longer flashing, so that must be something good…..but then it came back on as we drove up to San Venanzo. Damn. The car continues to have no pickup at all…no power…it’s as if some vacuum hose has come off, but I guess it’s more likely that some computer chip is malfunctioning.

We had hoped to go to the sagra in Olmeto for a second time, but when the warning light came back on we decided against it. Of course all hopes of going to Assisi for the peace march were also cancelled. From one extreme to the other……

One advantage of being home on Sunday was that we were here when Jill called us from the states! I wish I was there to see how big she’s getting, or to see Daniela’s foot causing a big bump in her belly! We talked about so many things, and were glad to hear that she and Larry plan to return to Italy next summer, God and finances willing.

In addition to the pregnancy, Jill has also been working with The Hole in the Wall Gang, Paul Newman’s organization that sets up camps for kids will serious medical problems. A new camp is planned for the Seattle area, and after volunteering at a California camp this summer, Jill was excited about the possibility of getting involved with this new camp.

On top of all this she and Larry have bought a new house! Larry continues to dazzle everyone at Starbucks, and I’m amazed that he doesn’t own the company yet! He’s also continuing with his auctioneering, and looks quite handsome when he’s outfitted in his tux!    OH! And they’re also selling their photographs from Italy on the weekends at a weekly market and on their website: FOTO ITALIANA.   I’m tired just writing about it all!

Because we were home this weekend I did take the opportunity to do some gardening. I dug up a few problem plants, excavated the holes then tried to work in some decent soil and some watering crystals (to hold moisture). Because it’s been cool and rainy I figured I’d might as well do this now as to wait and possibly miss my chance. Once the rain starts it will be impossible to work in the garden.

I also did some work in the kitchen….I made a few loaves of zucchini bread, some pappa al pomodoro (tomato bread soup) and a batch of pesto. The freezer is FULL, although it doesn’t take a lot to fill it up. One of the reasons I made pappa al pomodoro was to use up some of the chicken stock I had frozen. I’d made more earlier in the week and it was time to use up some of the older stock. I don’t think there’s any reason to buy a freezer this year, but perhaps next summer…..


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