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Wednesday 24 September

Sometime before 1 P.M., back home after an hour and a half shopping: James and I went down to the ottica just outside the Consolare to pick up supposedly cheap glasses I was tested for yesterday; not ready, come back this afternoon. We did the additional 200 m to the ipermercato Sidis where I wanted James to decide which, of two graters seen yesterday, was more useful; and I also got a four-pack of relatively unpoisonous chocolate-goop-with-whipcream for dessert at some point for me, and a flannel shirt, long-sleeved, for 9900₤ — shades of the famous Orvietan shirt and its infamous relative from Loures-Barousse of 1993. . . .

Anyway, Sunday and Monday were spent quietly after a solid week of gallivanting around, plus I felt it was somehow wiser to be in Spello if any phone calls came from Melvin & friend on their way in — and in fact we were walking down the street Monday near the p.zza della Repubblica when the telefonino rang, it was the friend Michael in Milan, they'd call again from Florence.

By which time James and I were roaming around the countryside past S. Girolamo, looking for the chiesetta sconsecrata di S. Maria in Paterno. I have a 50% idea we found it, James says not. We asked three people in the fields near where my map put it: the first, a toothless old lady walking a bicycle up a hill, looked at us and seemed to weigh my American accent a moment — then suggested we go to Assisi. The second, a man forking hay in his barn, gave me a curt "I don't know"; the third, a seasonal laborer in an olive grove, had no clear idea altho' he said there was a church where I thought it was, then pressed us to share a beer in the field shed, so we did. Anyway, somewhere out there the telefonino rang again, Melvin in Florence: we met them at the 7:34 P.M. direct train right in Spello.

They were tired but wanted to eat out, which we did at the Trombone — an OK meal, no stars at all; Melvin wanted white wine, I ordered a grechetto, which turned out to be an indifferent sort of thing, not in the least like the Arnaldo-Caprai which tho' cheap (₤6600 in the supermarket) is very good.

Anyway, yesterday Tuesday James and I had breakfast by ourselves on a coldish and very windy terrace, as we did today: they got up around 10 something yesterday, and today apparently after we came back to the apartment — at one! not much of a way to see Europe, but they do seem to be enjoying themselves and the first coupla days you're always a bit jetlagged anyway.

So yesterday I walked Melvin and Michael counterclockwise around Spello, complete with a mild disquisition on masonry of various periods, then a stop in front of the Orlando inscription near the Porta Urbica, where I pulled out my tape measure so I could better follow the still somewhat vague text of the 1913 Giulio Urbini book with its period-piece layers of French and Latin to disguise a discussion of phalluses and pissing from the gentle sex as if in fact there weren't just as many women proficient in French as men. . . Still inconclusive, and I'm beginning to wonder exactly who made up the whole nonsense and when; also why Orlando who never set foot in Spello, nor do I remember him here even in l' Ariosto altho' there admittedly my memory is very fragmentary, my one remaining verse — unless​a it's from Gerusalemme Liberata —

Avea un gran disio di bere e di riposo

which is at least more useful than Ruodlando being a gran peccatore a Spello (as if pissing on a wall made one a sinner: I'm obviously missing something!)

So, down and up and a somewhat better meal at the Cacciatore; James had gone off hunting for the way up the Chiona plus maybe S. M. in Paterno (no success in either and he came back in a lousy mood).

Later Note:

a No, right the first time. It is an almost correct reminiscence of Orlando Furioso, Canto I, stanza 14. (The Web at times can be quite wonder­ful.)

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Page updated: 7 Dec 20