Orange Moons and Rainbows

There are times when I wish I had a better camera. Before I came to Italy I always had my camera with me, I used it for work, as it’s sometimes quicker to take a photo than write notes about what you see. Here in Italy, there’s always new surprises around each corner, so in theory I should have a camera with me constantly. I can’t tell you how many events I’ve been to, dinner parties I’ve attended and fiestas that would have benefitted from being recorded. Recently, we had a beautiful orange moon and I went inside to get my little Kodak, I got from E Bay a few years back. I tried to get a decent shot but sadly this was the best I could do.

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The problem with getting a new camera is it’s an expense I need not have. Very rarely do any of the magazines I write for ask me for photos, so I can’t really justify it as a genuine business expense. I could buy a new camera for my own photo collection. I could use it for images for my blogs, but they’re really only just snaps: This hasn’t stopped some of them turning up on other people’s blogs, hence the copyright notice. While we are on the subject of copyright, I received a mail from someone anonymous who said they thought my copyright disclaimer on this blog was a bit harsh. I hardly think so, let me know if you think it is. The same notice is on my other blog, http://barrylillie.wordpress.com/ and no one has commented about it there.

This evening after the rain a rainbow appeared over the rabbit farm. I took another picture again wishing my camera could do justice to the view before me. I do like the sunshine here in Italy, but sometimes days of endless hot weather mean the view remains unchanged. Tonight there’s a low cloud blocking the view of the town of Archi, the mountain is swaddled in mist and although you can’t see it the air is full of that indescribable smell you get after rain. (How would you describe the smell?)100_7211c

Who knows what the view will be like tomorrow, maybe completely obliterated by fog, or impenetrable by heavy rain, possibly lit by a high bright sun. Either way better camera or not, it’s still my view and I’ll savour it at every opportunity.

Storm Chasing

Today’s title may evoke images of being inside a jeep hurtling towards a raging tornado or the eye of a hurricane, maybe even being trapped inside a Kansas farmhouse as it rides a twister to, The Merry Old Land of Oz., but actually, the title is misleading, as it’s not so much storm chasing as being chased by a storm.

We were having a pleasant mid-morning in Lanciano, when we decided to have lunch at Il Chiostro. It’s a an informal yet pleasant restaurant a few paces from the church of St. Francis, that houses the Eucharist miracle. The interior has a rustic feel to it with big wooden seating bays that easily accommodate up to eight people per table. The menu options change daily and for a mere twelve euro per person, you can have a substantial lunch. We collected our cutlery and tray, heaved a great slab of bread onto it and stopped at the options for primo piatto. I opted for an unusual yet tasty bacon and cauliflower pasta while the OH had a pasta bake laced with enough garlic to keep the entire inhabitants of Transylvania at bay. Secondo Piatto was either roast pork or stuffed veal, we both opted for the veal, which was served in a rich tomato sauce, with grilled vegetables and potatoes. We decided two courses was sufficient and declined the sweet course before grabbing a bottle of aqua frizzante and becoming ensconced behind the huge wooden table.

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Stuffed and satiated we decided to walk off lunch and took a leisurely stroll through the medieval part of the town. We meandered through narrow alleyways taking refuge from the afternoon heat. Windows were open and the lives of the inhabitants spilled out. A conversation motored down a narrow vinco, an argument burst through closed shutters and babies squealed with joy from within the dark recesses of a skinny house. We took some time out sitting on a bench near the park before heading back to the bank to do some business there.

Our business concluded we walked back to the car, as we set off on our journey home, the sky suddenly changed; the blue became grey and an ominous black cloud sailed overhead. Now I have before alluded to Italian thunderstorms being epic, and was once sat in stationary traffic on the motorway outside Rimini as great threads of lightning bounced around the cars. So I was apprehensive about being up so high and away from the relative safety of our valley. As we reached the edge of Castle Frentano I stopped the car and looked back, the skies were filled by an angry cancerous cloud, giving the illusion of us being trapped inside a Hollywood action movie.

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I climb back into the car and start the descent down the winding, serpent like road, I look in the rear view mirror and the black cloud seems to be following me. I slow as I navigate a hairpin bend and the cloud sends out spikes of yellow, flashing behind me. I can accelerate through a relatively straight piece of road and the cloud moves sideways. This time it’s almost peering in the side window, mocking me. It grumbles and more flashes follow. Eventually we reach the bottom and the rain starts, great gobs of water splatter the windscreen. We wind our way up our little lane just as a huge snap fills the air, I stop the car and make the fifty yard dash to the front door. Sods law takes over, I drop the keys, giving me those few extra seconds of drenching. With the door now closed I look outside and the cloud moves away towards Archi, up on the mountain top. I’m changing into dry clothes as it laughs  at me with a final electricity charged crackle and the sun bathes my house once more. I’m then reminded of the song by Sparks, Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth.

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