De grass is swamped,
I wonder when de rain will stop.
And when it does, I look around,
There’s a not a builder to be found.
I ask them “Quando”, they answer calmly,
There’s always Domani, or Dopodomani!
March ~ rain, snow, rain, snow, rain, snow ~ mud. There is a particular member of our family who, at the very mention of the word ‘snow’ lapses into a romantic dream state, conjuring up cosy scenes of togetherness, log fires at night and snow flakes drifting by the darkened windows. How I would like to share just a corner of that dream, after all we do have roaring log fires and the snow was drifting ………. and continued to drift into cumbersome great banks hindering any progress to build works. Then the sun brings the thaw and rivers of water course through the gardens and the dog pound and muddy footprints infiltrate the house leaving a carpet of chalky clay everywhere. Ah, but it’s good to feel the sun if only for a day or two because the rains follow sun and then snow follows rain to perpetuate the cycle.
I say ‘spring is a humbug’ ~ well, this particular spring anyway. I’d like to say I don’t want to be a ‘wet blanket’ but I feel it would be a pun too far.
Everything is on hold. Well, that’s not strictly true, there’s enough work in the house to keep us busy for a year, but the order of things is disrupted. More importantly all the excitement of the demolition of the old garage and the building of our new home turns into frustration and after a few days of kind weather which should herald the arrival of the digger man and doesn’t, I remember that I live in Italy and why I came here almost four years ago. Because the pace of life is slooooooooooow.
It’s not difficult to determine if they are built as a means to store firewood or if they are intended to be a work of art. One thing’s for sure, the Italians don’t go a bundle (sorry, that pun wasn’t intended) on actually burning wood; an Italians home is always freezing during the winter. But they go to enormous lengths to create a formidable pile which is admired by tourists and scrutinised by fellow Italians. (Personally, I believe it’s the yardstick by which the family’s status in the community is evaluated.) If you find that hard to believe then consider this. Log piles are not thrown together, they are created for effect. Each piece is carefully selected for its shape and size, and locked into the pile, a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. One would think that a supply of logs for burning would be situated in a place that’s easily accessible, in a shed close to the house for example. Not so, they occupy prime space, are highly visible and are never crowded by other garden paraphernalia. Sometimes log piles are erected in the middle of the triangular islands where roads cross or to denote boundaries or built as walls to divide barns, some as tall as 30 feet, all intended to be permanent features. In effect then, a work of art.
All of this seems to have rubbed off on the stranieri who are keen to achieve the same standards of ‘wood knitting’ as their Italian counterparts. Nobody wants to be caught with an unwieldy wood stack for fear of being ridiculed by their neighbours. (We have British friends here who employ an Italian to stack their wood for them. I should think that really offends the Italians knowing that ultimately it will all end up on the fire.)
So, I’ve been out and about taking snaps of local wood piles. Can you guess which of the following has been sculpted by an Italian hand? Answers will be published at the end of April.
Click on the pics to enlarge.
Next month: Answers to Log Pile Quiz.
Not even going to predict anything else!