The Defunct Tower and Pizza

Calamity struck today. Following the return from my trip over to England, I was ready today to get back into my normal working routine. I fired up the laptop, dug out my research notes and plonked the iPod into the dock ready for some shuffling as i write. I pressed the power button but nothing happened, I checked the plug and all was okay there, but still no power appeared in the tower where my iPod sits when I’m working. I tried other wall sockets but all was to no avail, the tower that I purchased back in the UK before we came out was dead.  So to console myself I dropped down to Quadrante, the pizzeria. I was tucking into a slice of black olive and anchovy pizza when I decided there was nothing for it but to purchase a new docking station.

100_8406  While  I was over in England, i ate all those things that I thought I’d missed, KFC, oatcakes, (a north Staffordshire delicacy not the Scottish crackers) and black pudding. I discovered that yes I still liked these things and that the only one I think I have missed most is black pudding; I will start a quest to see if Italy has anything similar. While I was there a friend asked me if I’d like to join him at Pizza Hut. My response was  a polite, no. (Living in the country that invented pizza and therefore in my opinion produce the best makes you more discerning).

   The following day, as I had to pick people up from the airport I dropped into the electrical store near the airport and had a look at what iPod docks they had on offer, they had a good selection on the shelves but their stock was found wanting and all they appeared to have on offer was a couple of cheap plastic models and a very expensive Bose one, that I’d love to own but at €449 is out of my price range.

I dropped into the Auchan supermarket and they had a nice slick black one with white speaker grills for sale and at €79 was ideal for my needs. I collected our human cargo and dropped them home before unpacking the new iPod dock. I set it up, plugged it in and the green light came on but no sound was forthcoming. I checked the instructions, rechecked the connection and still no sound. It appeared that for the second time in one week I had a defunct device. This meant another trip to Pescara to return it. So an hour and half later with my refund in my pocket I was driving the 68 km distance between home and store for the fourth time that day.

It’s now six days later and I still have no iPod dock to replace the tower that’s still standing in the living room looking forlorn, but the upside is, I have discovered there is the Italian equivalent to English black pudding, it’s called buristo and comes from Siena, so next time I pop into town (our local one that is) to look for a new dock I’ll try to find some of that too.  

Swedish Meatballs, Storms and the Electric Mosquito Box

Last week when the weather was good, we replaced the horrible tiled living room floor with a new wooden one. The weekend arrived and with it rain. A thunderstorm raged throughout Saturday night, great forks of lightning skittered across the night sky, and sporadic sheets of lightning lit up the Abruzzi countryside like a stadium. Now I like a good storm and it helps to clear the air, which has been quite humid for the past few days, I see storms as nature’s thermostat so to speak.

Sunday arrived and reports of a tornado causing some devastation up in northern Italy are in the news. Thankfully the most distressing thing we’ve had here in Chieti is a neglected bag of cement that is now sodden and useless. So we eat breakfast as the iPod shuffles and Petula Clark, sings Downtown. “That’s what we’ll do,” I chip in, interrupting Ms Clark, “we’ll go downtown, so to speak. Let’s have a trip out to Pescara.” As we need some essentials, milk, bread, wine etc. we head first to the large Auchan supermarket near the airport; what a mistake this is. The store is packed with shoppers and the handful of checkouts open have queues fifteen people deep. Oh well, as I’ve already said previously, waiting is the Italian national pastime. Back in the car with our purchases stowed in the boot, the iPod shuffles and Marilyn Manson, starts to play, A Place in the Dirt. I’m not in the mood for Mr Manson’s rock on such a sunny day, so do something I rarely do, I manually move to the next track, and Sting, sings, Fields of Gold.

We have lunch in Ikea, the canteen is spacious, much bigger than any I’ve seen in any of their English stores, but the Italian’s take lunch seriously, it’s a time to relax over a plate of pasta and chat. The store has a clever little trolley device that means one person can stack and wheel up to four trays of food from counter to checkout to table. We have a small beer and Swedish meatballs with skinny fries, before clearing our table and heading into the store. One thing I’ve noticed that’s very different to self-clear restaurants in the UK, is that the Italian people actually do clear away their trays. In UK branches of fast food stores, I’m always amazed by the people who leave their table covered with the remains of their lunch, expecting someone else to clear away the table detritus for them.100_6291-crop

Back home I look at the electric anti-mosquito device I’ve purchased, it’s a sort of light attached to a speaker that emits a high pitched sound that I can’t hear but apparently repels the vicious little insects. I’m dubious but at just five euro, I’ll give it a go. The dinner dishes are put away just as the rain starts again, it’s coming down in great sheets, big fat blobs of liquid pelt the ground tossing up dust and sand. With video and TV watching quickly eating up the temporary internet connection’s meagre monthly allowance, we’ve resorted to watching DVD’s in the evening and at the moment we are almost at the end of the second season of the eighties TV drama, Dynasty. Joan Collins plays a great TV villain while Linda Evans has spent much of season two, either weeping or mostly doing rabbit-in-the-headlights face acting.

Monday morning arrives after a night of constant rain, the only good thing is no extra mosquito bites, so did the device actually work or did the rain keep them away – only time will tell. I lie in bed listening to the plop, plop of rain coming down the chimney before getting up and poking my head outside. My herb planter is submerged, the plughole in the sink cum planter hasn’t been able to cope with the deluge. Suddenly there’s more rain, a heavier burst pelts the house and drives itself sideways against the windows. Oh well, I think I wasn’t planning on doing anything special today. Water is running down the lane and I’m half expecting to see Noah come around the bend in his ark.100_6289

I’m about to make breakfast when more, plop plopping is heard, this time it’s in the living room, water seems to have been forced under the tiles and is now dripping into several pools on my nice new wooden floor. Where’s Noah now, I think, I heard he was handy with wood. Maybe he can sort out this new problem.