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Sat. 1 October

Bad start today. In the middle of the night, rain; so I turned off my alarm since in my mind I wasn't going for a walk; consequently I was woken up by James calling to transmit a fax, two pages.

The first page went thru, the second not, and then stubbornly so. [. . .]

Depression, with me solution is to eat something. I haven't had breakfast, it's nearly noon. Accordingly, I'm making food: strangozzi and ham, lettuce, lowfat yogurt. Then I'll eat it. I'm prepared to go for a walk, no camera, not much in a mood for tourism, just need to get some miles under my belt — although why, finally? We'll see.

Noon. I've eaten and had two glasses of Sangiovese with my meal. The bells have rung. I feel better, although hardly good. [. . .]

Back from my walk, took a quick shower, feel pretty good, most of my sore throat etc. gone, face and back and arms and calves a bit tight from the sun — fingers still swollen and slightly mottled, as for many years after a walk of any length — seems to be atherosclerosis —

Had decided to go to Fratta Todina via P. Rio and Monte­molino. When I got to Monte­molino, however, I found that the bridge to cross to Fratta involved about 1 km. detour, and Fratta didn't look that interesting, so I just came back: walking slowly but evenly and uninterruptedly up the ghastly hill from Ponte Rio, 963 double paces to the P. Perugina, 1053 cumulatively to the 2d gate I can't find the name of (the one with "Brachia mea etc." on it), 1127 to the Porta S. Prassede, and 1347 to the edge of the piazza: all but the last 25 paces, UP.

I seem to weigh exactly 80.

[image ALT: A small tile-roofed stone church, seen from the rear and below. It is Romanesque in style and appears to emerge from a cluster of stone houses; the roofline of the shell-type apse is marked by a line of dentils, carried over onto the wall of the church on which it abuts. A square belfry with brick coping, and a cypress on either side complete the picture. It is the church of Montemolino, Umbria (central Italy).]

The east-facing apse of the Romanesque church at Monte­molino.

Monte­molino is, as the name indicates, on a hill, although as the crow flies it's within 50 m of the Tiber (a coupla hundred feet below). It is worth going to A small astrological glyph representing the Sun. As you approach it (it's at the dead end of the road, of course) you see the nice Romanesque apse of the church — one little absidiole and a frieze of sawteeth above it and the width of the church; a cross-shaped hole to let in light — The front of the church was stuccoed in maybe 1910 a deep ochre, and cast ceramic door and capitals added, orange-red — The church was closed. A little way further, the body of the town, basically two pieces of fortification 60 yards apart; deucedly hard to describe but the center of the town is occupied by an empty space surrounded by massive stone walls about 8 feet high.​a The space is a vacant lot a bit smaller than a soccer field: tires in pairs at either end marking the goals making it clear it's occasionally used as one.

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At the head of the rock, the manorial house as it were, with a 4‑story machicolated tower on the right of the façade; near the door, an old millstone on the wall (Monte-molino, of course); round the back, a path which I didn't quite yet realize would lead me to no bridge: instead the point of the rock, 220° view from E of Todi to Fratta; immediately under the little concreted platform, a chicken-wire aviary, with chickens, pigeons, guinea fowl, a huge turkey, various kinds of brightly-colored pheasants, and a huge peacock: I didn't realize they were quite so color­ful: vivid vivid cyan blue from the crest down to the shoulder-blades pardoning my birdatomy, then grey-brown and white along the sides but a strong green down the middle to the tail, kelly green towards chartreuse and brownish orange, the individual feathers shaped like the tail of a whale — I had the presence of mind to give my rendering of a peacock's call (remembered from an Anouilh play — "Léon") and this literary birdcall of mine met with results, the peacock flew up to a little ledge as close to me as he could get and stared at me sidelong the way birds will — Five minutes of this —

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Monte­molino: the bocciodromo.

I found a little path on the N side of the spur, which led to a little boccia court complete with overhead lights on ropes, and a small trailer caravan next to it with a shuttered window, obviously for supplying drinks and food; about ten metal chairs in a tiny enclosure between the court and the soccer field wall; on the N side of the court, 2 feet from the precipice, a rough beam on 2 stones serving as a bench. Posted in a couple of places, a poster for the May 29th annual traditional feast of St. Eurosia: music, food, games and prizes, come and join us —

From the boccia court I finally saw my bridge, a disappointing metal structure, the road leading to it involving a detour of several hundred meters, Fratta in the middle distance looked like a garden suburb, finally I didn't want to go there. I turned back and the day never really sunny or hot, turned to slight drizzle but this didn't last long, ten minutes or so. The dreary old road right along the interstate thru the somewhat industrial Pian di Porto merging back into Ponte Rio, and the rest as noted above.

At the A small astrological glyph representing the Sun three pages back, I went and sat in the piazza, ordering an infusion, I was brought a rather icky British infusion of "frutte di boschi"; I then asked for a camomile, which they served with lemon — that's a surprisingly pleasant mix, neither over­powering the other unlike what I thought when I saw the lemon in my cup —

Back to the apartment, thinking to go to the Jacopone to finish my Brunello from last night; but suddenly felt less good — thank goodness I seem to have not a flu but a cold — and stayed in, doping self with fizzy water, had the rest of the Vergano, and a small portion of ricotta with Alchermes —

James called wondering whether he should fax the blasted 2d page of this morning's item — ultimately we said yes, it came thru (the connection problem seemed to be a physical one in the Todi modem adapter: I shoved a chair up against it and it sailed thru in a single try).

James also says that Orange's eye is badly hurt and infected, James can't get near him — I hope he can get him to the vet — I am responsible for that cat after all; Eleanor, James's desperate recourse, came to pick up the keys and will take care of every animal in sight. Dinner is so filthy that we discussed alternatives to her dealing with him, like locking him in an empty room or chickenwiring him to the lawn outdoors —

No exercise obviously tonight, although I tried skipping; rough going and I'm glad I tripped at 8 altho' of course I feel like such an idiot. I'm a very slow learner —

. . . .

Huge anopheles-like mosquito resting on the armoire — for a while I thought he was dead, hanging from the ceiling —

Later Note:

a A kind reader of this page who lives in Monte­molino tells me this curious space is an old reservoir feeding one of the earliest hydroelectric works in Italy. This little piece of history is entirely logical, and fits in with the oldest witness to the town's local history we have: its name.

Monte­molino means "Mill Mountain", which clearly shows that human habitation here is due to a watermill. At this point the Tiber rather suddenly narrows and the water flow speeds up considerably, to the point that its course here is said to be known locally as "il Furioso". What better place for a watermill in the Middle Ages? What better place for a small hydroelectric station when the technology was new?

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