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Sunday 31 August

About 9 A.M., sitting at the white plastic table on my terrace just having finished breakfast; with my back to the landscape because of the rising sun: that faces me into the gardens of the rocca about 10 meters up — cypresses, pines, one or two olive trees and about four kinds of trees I don't recognise, including a large draping thing over the side of the wall, mixed pink and white stone blocks as pretty much thruout Spello.

Also, nearer and around me, tiled rooftops and I think one other garden not belonging to the rocca if next to it but one level down: a couple of pear trees and some other vines and shrubs clinging to pieces of wall.

It's Sunday morning, and bells have been clanging off and on, sometimes three churches at once. Quite warm already, behind me both heat and occasional traffic noise. A car passes in the via Giulia below every ten minutes or so maybe, but the street makes a canyon effect, so it can be fairly loud for a second. People sounds from neighboring houses, including someone typing fairly proficiently on a manual typewriter. A little wasp came to visit a minute ago, looked at my fette biscottate and pineapple yogurt, closed jars of apricot and mirtilli jam, a peach, the grapes; but left.

I'm still kind of tired and sleepy, although I slept beautifully. I did wake up with an unhappy dream: I was singing in a small group, maybe 5 or 6 people, among whom Diane and Harry, but started to cry and couldn't sing any more, so got up and left slowly.

Woke up around 7 apparently, leisurely bath (sit-tub, flexible shower hose, the usual lack of shower curtain or real bath mat, but a very nice hot bath) and just as I had dressed — I've put on long trousers for my first day in Spello when all the old ladies are going to be seeing mea (in addition to their view of me clambering up here with my suitcases — I crossed almost the entire town wearing a coat) — James rang: to tell me that poor Princess Di had died. As she lived, apparently: in a car crash coming back from a night spot with a lover, chased by paparazzi. Thank goodness though, it solves all kinds of problems —

James had apparently spent the day cleaning my office: my keyboard was apparently packed with fur, mostly dogfur. . . Just like the little skating top I'm wearing now has a hole in it from something nameless and his sharp teeth pulling it with him into his lair under the bed — Anyway, James sounded unhappy: he'd apparently gone to sleep in my bedroom to keep Pliny company, and woke up just before midnight, flipped on the TV, and everyone was reporting on Diana. [. . .]

Anyhow, time to amble downstairs (the apartment is on three levels: diningroom, bedrooms, terrace), clean up and go wandering around town and learn how to manage this cumbersome camera in real-life circumstances; as I get oriented to Spello.


After the telegiornale delle 2030h — about half of it covering poor Princess Diana's end in a tunnel in Paris in the middle of the night, poor thing she was not very bright — preparing to go to sleep.


[image ALT: zzz]
		This morning I started photographing Spello, basically by accident. Of course I had my camera with me, but was only planning to wander around a little. And in fact that's what I did: before lunch I got no further away than the little Oratorio di S. Biagio — a few frescoes, two of them pretty good — where the guide was extremely knowledgeable. From Aug. 11 to Sep. 9 a number of churches and sights normally closed are open to the public, and S. Biagio is one of them. (I'm delighted with this camera even if I don't yet have a modus op down for lenses, logs, carrying etc.)

Back home for lunch: I made linguini with olive oil and a bit of epityrum and parmesan; a glass of rosato d' Assisi (OK). A yogurt, some grapes. And sleep was irresistible — I'd nearly not made lunch, I was already so sleepy. Slept something like 3 hours.


[image ALT: zzz]
		Went out a little farther afield, a little walk around the Pusterola (the terziere I live in, the uppermost of the three): down the via Giulia and a quick visit of the uninteresting ch. di S. Gregorio Magno — although the funerary chapel has some curious old wooden doors with skulls on them — then a little walk up the via della Torre Belvedere, quick visit of the ch. S. Martino, one of the especially open ones: a beautiful almost Cistercian space; a couple of remnants of fresco — the façade is the best part tho' — then back home via the Belvedere and under the little Roman arch, down to S. Maria di Vallegloria, an attractive church attached to a convent so apparently not visitable except at Mass in the morning, then down the via Giulia past S. Biagio and home.

A third expedition a bit later, to get milk for tomorrow morning, but the alimentariº had a special sale of truffle paste at a table by the door, outside, so I have a largish jar at a good price — the small firm is at Campello sul Clitunno.

Finally, back here I realised I wanted a newspaper. Things were kind of closing down, so no stationer's or tabacchi open — then I saw a wineshop on the p.zza della Repubblica advertising "Rosso di Spello" so this was irresistible and I emerged with 3 bottles — white, rosé, red — of Spello; figuring it wouldn't be very good, and indeed the white is definitely not; but it is the local wine, so I need to try it. The shopkeeper and one of his friends — about five men in their early fifties were standing in the shop talking — tried several times to switch to English, although I was having no difficulty at all, but looking typically vague and tentative I think — they seemed to believe I was British — I disabused them but didn't drop a word of English; they were the first people since I landed to try to avoid speaking Italian with me — I asked where I could get a paper, the man gave me his; so, home.

Sat up on the terrace and watched the landscape darken: sunset is on the other side of Spello of course, so just the colors of the hills change, shadows lengthen including the large shadow cast by Spello itself, and the lights come on in Foligno and a few isolated farms. I didn't stay for nightfall, but came downstairs, watched the news — caught by the sheerest accident since I have no watch or clock nor knew when news might be — and up to bed. On the terrace I had a few grapes, a peach, and a small glass of the fizzy, foamy even, somewhat acid bianco di Spello; and that's plenty for dinner: at least while James is not here I can cool it on evening meals unless of course I'm starving after a hike.

So now a glass of grappa — Grappa di Pinot Rocca Certosa, 12.5 ML, pretty good — a bit of reading, and to sleep.

Note on the computer: Netscape crashes no matter what. And when it does, I can't turn it off; so I unplug it and let the battery run down. I've had to do this three times now. Word works — I'll modify my pages — still, I need Netscape.

Tomorrow will be the day to change dollars; and that pile of French francs, about $500 worth; and maybe to go to BCSNet for my Net connection; or to Foligno for my monthly abbonamento for Rome. I probably should go to Rome on Tuesday, for IGM maps, books, etc.: maybe get some skating in.


Later Note for the Web:

a all the old ladies are going to be seeing me:

[image ALT: A group of six old ladies sitting on a wall, chatting. Behind them a view of hills and olive trees.]

Turnabout is fair play! These are not the same old ladies, but I took this picture of some of my new neighbors on this same day, just west of the Belvedere.


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Page updated: 29 Aug 06