Sunday 19 June 2011- It’s a scorcher today, early morning and the temperature is already 29 degrees. I eat breakfast on the balcony overlooking the garden, as Poly Styrene sings Virtual Boyfriend, from her 2011 album Generation Indigo: (Thanks to Lowri). I take the rubbish out to the comune bin and on my way back I stop to look at the walnuts on the tree outside Ada’s, they’re coming along nicely.
Before it gets too hot, I water the plants outside in pots, something I guess is a continuous practice over here. Ada’s cats watch me, always on the look out for a free feed. Heathcliffe and Whisper are very close and are always rubbing up against each other, Benny however is very much the outsider. I’m washing the breakfast dishes when I hear a mew at the front door, it’s Benny. I give the poor mite some ham, which I’ve chopped up into small pieces as he has doesn’t have many teeth..
I decide today is a day for just relaxing, so I sit outside with my book. However, quickly I tire of Bill Bryson and his plodding dialogue, so he’s discarded and put on the bookshelf between a Patterson and Grisham. I turn off the iPod, lock up and take a walk. I head off up the track, pass Domenico’s olive trees and the ruins hidden by the ever encroaching undergrowth. Butterflies of every size and colour flit from flower to flower, oblivious of me, as the crickets and grasshoppers buzz and click. poking their heads through a tangle of dried grass is, Arisaema triphyllum or as it’s commonly known Parson in the Pulpit it’s maturing seeds turning red.
When I get back home, Baleno is waiting at the gate, I give her some ham and she snoozes, safe behind the fence. As she sleeps I prepare my lunch; a ham salad. I’m halfway through my meal when it strikes me that something is missing, yes I’ve forgotten to put the tomato in the salad bowl: What’s going on, first the pizza now the salad, have I developed culinary Alzheimer's disease?
The afternoon passes by slowly, music shuffles and I mooch about just relaxing. I get a call on Skype from my parents; my mother is a little perplexed by the technology. I take another stroll, this time down to the bottom of the lane, I pass the house where Rosa, la strega della borgo: (the witch of the village) lives, outside is a flowering mimosa tree, it’s fluffy pink tufts looking as delicate as spun sugar.
I continue on to the bend in the lane where there’s three crosses made in concrete, maybe it’s a war memorial? I don’t know, it’s old and there’s a space where maybe years ago there was a plaque, however now it stands lonely and forgotten.
I walk back, open a bottle of chilled prosecco, and prepare dinner. The potatoes are roasting and the veg is ready when suddenly I jump up from my chair and shout, “Bugger, the chicken.” Now before anyone complains, this isn’t an ancient rural pastime: look at where I’ve placed the comma. I’ve forgotten to put the chicken into the oven. Looks like I do have a case of culinary Alzheimer's after all.