This week as the iPod vainly shuffled and Ozzy Osbourne belted out, Crazy Train, in an attempt to be heard over the din of building work, I watched as the kitchen ceiling was demolished and our third bedroom ceased to be. Gazing up at the rafters of our now doubled in height kitchen I noticed a distinct drop in temperature. Our kitchen has always been the hottest room in the house due to the low ceiling, and during the heat of summer it can be stifling. We had plans to rebuild the third bedroom as a wooden mezzanine occupying only half of the original space. My idea was to have the platform covering the bottom width of the room rather than lengthways, so Enzo the architect has come to see if it can be done. Once again, dressed as if he should be on the set of a 1970’s porn movie, he arrives, looks and tuts quite a lot. “It’s not possible,” he says shaking his head, “This way only.” He indicates lengthways. It turns out the dividing wall isn’t strong enough to support an upper floor without major work being carried out.
I begin to wonder whether we actually need the third bedroom, when will it be used and by whom? Questions tumble around inside my head like socks on a quick-wash. What will we put up there? Will it be so hot no one will ever be able to sleep in it? Will it make the kitchen space oppressive? When, what, why, and how appear with speed and each is answered just as quickly. (Who spotted the Oxford comma?) Now as we’ve submitted plans to the comune and they indicate we are replacing the room with a mezzanine we may have a problem. I ask Enzo, who is dressed in a black leather bomber jacket and unbelievably, tight white jeans, if we can leave the mezzanine off the building project. He lifts his mirrored aviator sunglasses and I see his greenish-grey eyes for the first time, (Yes, he is a walking stereotype). “No problem,” he says re-shielding his eyes again, “we’ll tell them it’ll be going in at a later date. You have three years in which to build it, but by then the comune will have forgotten all about it.” So a decision is made, we’ll keep the kitchen as it is with a lofty high ceiling, which will look so much better once the wooden joists have been replaced.
So we’re senza cucina (without kitchen) and dinner time arrives. There’s nothing for it but to eat out. We pop down to our favourite local restaurant, il Buchaniere, (the Buccaneer) and ask for a table. The food here is superb and the service exceptional, part of the reason we love it so much. We are shown to a table Piero tells us what’s on offer today. For primo I order pasta with clams and mussels and for secondo I have a pork steak, with griddled courgette for contorno. (For those wanting to understand the Italian dinner traditions, I’ll be writing an article about this for Italy Magazine in the near future.) With water, wine and a delicious lemon sorbet for dolce, we pay the €25 bill and leave feeling well fed. Now as you saw indicated in the title, this blog post features two questions and here’s the first one. When we arrived at the restaurant and after our order was taken, our waiter turned on the widescreen TV fixed to the wall and walked away as the news aired. This is something that has always puzzled me, why does almost every restaurant have a television playing. We ate at the pizzeria the following evening and their TV was blasting out an Italian situation comedy, and the last time we ate in Lanciano we had lunch accompanied by a pop concert on the flat screen TV on the wall. So if any one out there knows why television’s are always playing in Italian eateries, do please let me know.
My second question has no elaborate build up, or even any back story, it’s just an observation I have made. I believe in this hotter climate I am producing more earwax, it may be a natural defence due to living within a cloud of brick dust during the house renovation or is it the heat. Again if anyone can shine any light upon this I’d be more than happy to hear from you.
Here’s the link to my recent article published in Italy Magazine. Just click and read.