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They say; ‘A change is as good as a rest’ – well indeed it is beneath a bright Italian sky…

Two weeks spent adding the finishing touches to the Villa – such a joy after so much unrelenting works and in such heat as we have experienced. It was not a chore to recoat the Living room –albeit in a brighter colour than previous, to ensure the new bathroom windows were fully finished off and finally to add the final structure to the garden in the shape of a pergola – to take the grape vine. Wine may be a future product of another holiday…

Inspite of much time being spent at base we did manage an excursion up into the mountains – finally making it up to Campo Felice; where we saw the last vestiges of the snow. But it was an enjoyable drive up to where the Gods may have once dwelt. The experience was only scared by the all too common place destruction wrought by the of ‘the act of God’ on April 6th 2009 – the earthquake which but all destroyed our beautiful Capital City of L’Aquila (The Eagle).

Of course it’s always nice to catch up with old friends – thought we didn’t seem to afford much time for such on this occasion. Mark’s sisters and respective partners soon arrived after us and we spend a few evenings with them.

Easter is the major festival & maybe quite right too – it would be hard not to have attended a shrine to focus on the events of the time of year. It’s always a pleasure to get to grips with the mundane in a culture – even it’s highlights. Mass was at the Oratory Church up in Bominaco  at 11am – the thought of processing round the Village at dawn left one a little cold. I was informed that the Bishop was in attendance as well as the local priest and a great throng… whilst we slept!

No holiday in Italy is complete unless a good deal of time is spent eating and preferably in a restaurant – never a displeasure! Diets do not exist in Italy – indeed many a young Italian exclaims the horrors of wedlock and the expected expansion of a waistline; I am told indicative of a good wife! So a good few albergos were on the list. The finest of which was of course a favourite La Corte some twenty minutes drive into the beautiful countryside.

Wine is also a feature of La Dolce Vita and I am glad to say we can sample such at it’s finest having now ‘laid down’ wines in years past.  Few things could better a 2002 bottle of good wine & especially Italian!

A real sample of domesticity was calling on Chiara who was engaged with her husband and mother-in-law ‘ripping’ apart not one but two paschal lambs. Most of which was destined for the freezer. I coped fairly well for a city boy – but found the eyes not so inviting an experience!. As you might expect not much was to be wasted & various verbal recipes ensued with promises of future meals etc. I do recall having sampled Chiara’s Paschal lamb a on a previous year – having arrived unannounced!

An ritual excursion out to the coastal city of Pescara saw us spending much time with Mr Obi & Le Roy Merlan – large DIY chains with various bits on the list & other chance delights / additions for the Villa. We also like to shop in the French Supermarket there – Auchan; where you can but French butter. Italian butter is not to our tastes – everything else but!

Of course all good things must come to an end sometime & a careful choice of flights ensured an uneventful and speedy return journey via the ‘eternal city’ on a Sunday! No ordinary Sunday – but one which marked the Canonisation with a mortal with whom I shook hands all those years previous on a second visit to Rome




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