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mail: Bill Thayer 
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Saturday 5 August

I sat at that caffé for over an hour yesterday, relaxing, writing. I came in asking for a large cold drink (wound up with two aranciate amare) and maybe an ice cream, asked the woman at the counter to just surprise me, but not too big: she did, and it was much larger than what I would have picked — but she was a fabulous psychologist, to ignore here what I'd said and give me instead what I wanted: plus a selection of flavors (pistachio, málaga, butterscotch with the tiniest drib of chocolate, a bit more of some unidentifiable liqueur, and dollops of whipcream) that had me pegged just right: I wasn't in the mood for pineapple. Well, when she left work to go home, I stopped her a second to tell her what a psychologist she was — it turns out she is indeed a psychologist by profession; Rumanian, she came to Italy eight years ago and has not been able to work at her level here due to certifications etc. — so vastly underemployed; there's a lot of this.

The walk to the station was one long straight street about a kilometer and a half; on the way out, I noticed that among the flags flying at the entrance to the old town (the kind of thing I do my best to ignore, and that sets off alarm bells of oboy-here-comes-tourist-trap) was something that looked very much like the Gay Pride flag; flying above Belgium and (Moldava?) on the same staff, and between Italy and Togo. . . .

[image ALT: Eight flagpoles, each one flying three flags one above the other. It is a display in the town of Castiglione del Lago, Umbria (central Italy).]
What's that flag? Notice also the British/European Union naval standard.

The train was, or should have been, without incident. Everything beautifully on time: 6:11 to Teróntola arriving at 6:17; 6:40 to Foligno arriving at 7:53; 8:20 to Fossato. . . except that on this latter I wound up totally absorbed in a conversation with some Russian émigrés who've been living in Washington DC for many years — they knew Nick Borodulya my choir director at the Свято-Николаевская, who has since died. . . Well, between that and me trying to remember my Venevitinov —

Я памятник себе воздвиг чудесный, вечный,
Металлов тверже он и выше пирамид:
Ни вихрь его ни гром не сломит быстротечный
И времени полёт его не сокрушит.

Так! — Весь я не умрю, и часть меня бо′льшая,
От тлена убежав, по смерти станет жить,
И слава возрастёт моя, не увядая,
Доколь Славянов род вселенна будет чтить.

I overshot Fossato: mind you, they didn't announce it, which didn't help either. Well, off at Fabriano; and after a moment's decision, spent the 40ML in cab to wind back home. [. . .]

So here I am; ten A.M., cool, windy, occasional drops of rain: I brought this weather with me, since yesterday it was hot here, hotter than at Castiglione. Let myself wake up late (around 8); boiled water, sinkful of dishes; laundry, groceries maybe, organizing my accumulating books and papers. The Ghea-fest seems to be in low gear because of the weather; as Mario, delivering me a letter from James, explained, the church is small, and if it started to rain there's not enough room for everyone. I'll play it by ear, but hope to amble down there and at least peer at the church and at the statue (transported from Purello), neither of which seen yet.

Message also from Greg Gude, something about me guiding some people? Andrea Gambucci dropped by on Thursday, with a book for me to look at, leaving it at the Rossi's; then came back yesterday and took it away — What with my Cantiano walk Monday and the hotels I need to line up, it looks like I'll be on the phone today, too. 
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Page updated: 23 Aug 04