You know when something catches your eye and bothers you, but you just can’t figure out why. Well I’ve had one of those moments several times down at the crossroads and it only recently occurred to me what was nagging me. A spelling mistake on a sign. Now as you already know I love finding odd signs and spelling errors, but I didn’t expect to find this one on a road sign, so blatantly misspelled. Three kilometres away from the sign is the little village of Brecciaio (pronounced brech-eye-yo), it’s little more than a straight road with houses on either side, a pretty little yellow church and a very popular bar that always has a multitude of cars parked outside.
The town also has its own little castle, well technically it isn’t really a castle per se, but a modern holiday home built with turrets and embrasure battlements, I don’t know who owns the house and can only assume it’s a holiday home as it looks quite English and I have yet to see the gate open and the windows un-shuttered. Wouldn’t it be great to discover it is owned by an English knight. But I digress, so back to the spelling error.
I have checked the maps of all towns within a three kilometre radius of the crossroads at Guarenna Nuova and can only assume my instinct is correct and the Italian roads ministry made a gaffe when they ordered the blue road sign to Brecciaio, as it reads Brecciaro.
In 1971, singer David Gates sang the lyric, ‘If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can’t I paint you?’ The song written by Paul Heaton, Scott Shields and Martin Paul Slattery was made famous by Gates’ band, Bread and its popularity cemented the phrase within the public consciousness. So famous is the line, it soon become a cliché. But is this a bad thing?
Not in my opinion, because if by becoming a cliché its saved it from being copied and used by less talented writers.
A few days ago a photograph landed in my inbox and upon opening the attachment the lyric came to mind instantly.
The photo, by Graham Ward, was taken one evening after we had eaten dinner at our favourite local restaurant, from the roadside at Selva Piana looking up at the town of Casoli. The three-quarter moon looks like someone has cut a slice away and the soft ochre coloured lights of the town give the castle a welcoming hue. The fact that only two pictures were taken before the camera battery died makes them even more special. I could go on enthusing about the majesty of the image, but what’s the point. This is an image that paints its own one-thousand words and sums up just why this part of Italy is a special place to live.
On the evening of my fashion faux-pas we visited some South African friends of ours who have a lovely small house with the most magnificent views over the Italian countryside, including a spectacular view up to our town, Casoli and its castle. At night when it’s all lit up, it is breath taking.
We had a pleasant evening drinking beer and chatting, as meat cooked on the barbecue. When it came to eat we all shuffled inside and the spread laid out on the table looked grand. Our hostess had made traditional S. African dishes, that included a potato salad that was so delicious it knocked spots of the boring cold potato and mayo gloop I’m used to getting in the UK. A spicy yet sweet beetroot salad was accompanied by a taste sensation, a bean dish that was slightly sweet yet fresh tasting with lots of bite.
The four of us ate with gusto and chatted away into the small hours, until all that was left was a few bones for the feral cats and empty bowls where the food had once been. As I left, the panoramic view was lit by twinkling lights in the distance; beacons indication life going about its business elsewhere.
The evening was still and as I drove home there was the scent of freshly cut grass in the air. As I came around the last bend before our house my headlights caught three bouncing bottoms on the road. I stopped and dipped the lights and we sat watching the three badgers whose bottoms had been bouncing as they lolloped along the road. We were treated to a few minutes of activity before they melted into the Abruzzi wilderness.