Not a bad day at all.

Jumped straight out of bed determined to get my ritual Biano haircut. Go early. Hang out by the fountain until he arrives and beat the line. There is always a line. And he takes an hour even if you are folic-ly challenged.

Many people. OK. Probably, most people, might question spending a sunny day in Italy cleaning house. And calling it a fine day. I had people coming that I wanted to show the house to. To show them a Giancarlo restoration. And get the house past that bachelor pad fraternity house look that I had let it devolve into in the mere two days since Midge left. There was that. She is coming back in a few days. So.

Personal grooming to the forefront. Jumped straight out of bed determined to get my ritual Biano haircut. Go early. Hang out by the fountain until he arrives and beat the line. There is always a line. And he takes an hour even if you are folic-ly challenged. I win. I’m first! But. No Biano. Gate’s up, but doors locked and now there are old men closing in on the stone bench. Cuing up and talking polite chitchat but will they remember that I was first? So competitive. Loser gets to watch winner getting clipped for ever. All works out for the best and in the process I get scoop on a house we have just put on the site and pictures even. Jungle drums working fine this morning.

Back across the street for second cup of cappuccino and there is our invisible neighbor Youngi. Where has she been? We catch up, she’s curious about the web site and we talk about this great new sport of blogging.

Now. I really am going home to clean. Right now. Wait, there’s that rascal Bruno. Bruno! He’s offering to help an old lady carry her groceries, putting them in her car and dropping them off, on his way out. I jump in with him and we discuss important issues like my shutters. I don’t have any on two street level windows and I want some. Want to be like all the other kids on the block. First, we drop off the lady’s groceries and then we zoom over to the edge of the next town. There we meet Vittorio at the wood working shop and try to cajole him into coming to look at my lack of shutters situation. This afternoon works for me and he agrees, I’m sure, because of Bruno’ prodding to come see us this afternoon.


Yes, the hardware store in Castiglione del Lago is named CANADA. Big letters, just like that, maybe three feet high so that really is the name of the best hardware store any foreign boy like me could dream of. Huge, they have everything and most importantly they have an incredibly smart aleck owner who moved to Canada as a young boy and moved back as a young adult. Hyper fluent in English. I don’t wait to use him today as my list is simple obvious things but when it gets funny and technical as fine hardware can get when you are talking about funny screws that go in weird places, he can shovel me right out of trouble but quick. I can hardly keep up my end of the conversation in Goffs on Main Street in Yarmouth, Maine so this is sometimes a huge blessing.

Back now, really am working. See Stew work. Work. Work. Work. Clean. Clean. Clean. LUNCH TIME! Work. Work Work.

Maybe for a minute I did sneak out and shoot some wild flowers. And Denise and Tigre the Town Cat on my way to the town office to get a shutter permit. And I did take time to blow up computer. I just needed it for a minute there and now look what I’ve done. Hour and a half international long distance call later Magic Rich at the office had me back in the game. That was close. Imagine a day or two in Italy without email. Well, I can’t either.

Anna arrives to put professional clean to my amateur. And shoos me out to the garden where I clean like a machine till sainted person that she is she brings us ice creams from her cousin’s store up the street. And we sit in the newly hyper clean garden and watch the sun setting and the swallows swooping overhead for a few. Ceremonial first token picnic of the year for the white plastic table. Inauguration Day.

Before settling down to nine o’clock frozen food from a bag (Philistine Dinner of Champions-Italian Division) I was taking out the last bag of rubbish. And I could see the tail end of the sunset casting a fragile pink haze to everything in its path. On my way, I met Dily and she had seen me admiring her new apartment. It has a balcony right above a restaurant’s big wisteria covered outdoor dining area. Well, that was a sea of violet in full flower. I had actually seen that before. What I had never noted before was the roses climbing up her wall, up out of the wisteria and headed for the roof. Yellow roses growing right up her balcony. To the top of the fourth floor. It is in the castle walls proper so there is yet one more floor to go. But still. This is a serious bouquet of roses. As we stood there, holding our black plastic bags, the lights twinkled on in amongst the clouds of wisteria and the green arch of neon spelling R.I.S.T.O.R.A.N.T.E. over the entrance blinked on and that put finish to the day. I don’t care what the other tourists were doing, I had a fine time of it. I may have worked even a bit too hard as you can see, I’m just a shadow of my former self.