Zusammen und zu Fuss

Un titolo in inglese, un sottotitolo in tedesco, e lo scrivo in italiano, almeno per ora. Benvenuti nel mio blog, che parla di camminare – in montagna, per lo più, ma non solo. Camminare, viaggiare, condividere solitudini.

Anche cose più prosaiche , itinerari, immagini, indirizzi, inclinazioni.

Visioni fiosofiche….Ecco, non riesco a scrivere nemmeno due parole senza fare un refuso, ma tant’è, è l’emozione del mio primo giorno di blog.

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Le mie vacanze nel Verbano

Ahimé, è arrivata la fine dell’estate, quantunque le temperature stiano ancora intorno ai trenta gradi e il cortile del Conte, dove il segretario ed io ci prendiamo talvolta una pausa dalle nostre fatiche , sia ancora infestato dalle zanzare. Ma la scorsa settimana una pausa lacustre l’ho ancora presa. Complice il fatto che ormai sono una habitué di Belgirate mi sono presa un pomeriggio di sole e di nuoto in quasi assoluta solitudine. Poi, alle diciotto in punto, la spiaggia è piombata nell’ombra. L’estate è finita.

Dalla spiaggia … Al cortile del Conte

Il cortile, non quello monumentale, ovviamente

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Moving away is not an easy task, especially when you are , like me, on the verge of something new but are reluctant to take the Big Leap. So the Universe ( or God, or your Guardian Angel, as you prefer) can push you ahead, or give signals. In my case, I assure you that the sign was loud and clear: a broken tub that has flooded my flat and the one under me, at the end of August, when everyone including my plumber is still on holiday ( well my plumber was in Calabria trying to fix his daughter’s affairs as usual, but anyway he was away). So there was nothing we could do other than shutting everything down and going away. I closed everything , gave the cats mineral water to drink, and installed myself in my new/old flat. I have been there for a month, more or less, brought a good part of my dresses, the cats, who were getting more and more nervous, got rid of a part of the stuff I had to, went back to work for the autumn winter term, and spent my last few days at the seaside, which is something I had not done in, say thirthy years or so. As you have perhaps noticed, I am not a sea person. I love water, and my first thought as soon as I see a pool is ” can I swim in it?”, but for some reason , beach life for me is boring beyond relief. But my friend Luisa, who can have her Holidays in September, which is  a thing I highly recommend, beause Italy is at its beauty peak in this season, talked me out of staying with her, her longtime companion and her dog in a double bedroom flat she has rented in Castellaro, in a Golf Resort on a peak over Arma di Taggia, in the Flowers Riviera. So we came to the seaside in the morning, and exploring the hills and the villages in the afternoon, and having dinner in , alone, in one of the more turistic spots like Sanremo in the evening, among international People…What is better than two seasoned girlfriends having fun together? And I have forgot her dog…
Ugh, not a pretty sight I am afraid…

One of the most delightful places I remember is Dolceacqua, near the French border, a place so pictouresque that it was painted by Monet. Its medieval streets are so narrow that the sun barely peeks, there is a Renaissance castle, lots of artists have their atelier there. A heaven for flaneurs and art.

Pictures courtesy of Lulù, from top to bottom : the streets in Dolceacqua and the Castle with the medieval bridge as in Monet’s painting; Castellaro by night.

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New (II)

Being new doesn’t mean being youger, or thinner or fitter. It should be, though. That’s why I went back to my old stylist before going ,finally , on holidays.  It is not a new cut, it is my  faithful Isabella Rossellini bob, but the styling and the colour show a different ability.

For the first time in many years, eon, really, I am back to travelling with someone different from my husband, and being in the very same Innsbruck that we called home for the holidays for at least eleven years seem s strange. At least I can see things, like the Medieval town Hall in Tyrol, with different eyes. Both Francesco and me didn’t like it, but seeing it in a new light ( literally with a shining sun instad of a greyish weather) changed everything.

We were both very happy.

Another plus, I couldn’imagine. We are travelling with her Dog Tobia, a rescued stray dog who adore sleeping most of the time spent travelling, and when out, he is a mixed hunting dog, well helps a lot in staying fit.

Today is the most importa catholic holyday after Christmas and Easter, and whether the (Italian) place you are in looks like the scenery of the Walking Dead or not, enjoy.

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Have I already written about me moving to another flat? Not yet.

The first one shows early stages of work: two twin cupboard from my husband's house, beginning of the XX Century, that I was polishing , and a few pictures that haven't yet graced my walls ( because I haven't decided where to put them, flowers, also from my husband's home, author unknown of the XIX cent. But a friend of us who is a specialist is trying to figure it out . Just to know what I have). The second is the hall. My mother's Venetian applique, helas a bit dusty after the renovation ( and yes, crystal is really a chore); the mirror is authentic art deco, and a cassettone my mother in law used to keep her shoes. The pairing of the two is an idea from my friend Lia, who works also as an interior decorator (she is another art historian, infact). I know, It is not very common, even in Italy, to have two art historians in your circle of friends. It helps anyway. Especially when my friend Lia, who is not living in the same town I live, was at my home at 7,30 to direct the carpenters while I was at school. This is true friendship. The third is still tentative: i have to change the mattress, that is bigger, although very confy, than the mid -XIX cent. sofa bed; the pillows are casual, the cover ( a fouta sheet) has nothing to do with the Bukhara rug… let's say this is the beginning of a sitting room . To keep away from my cats' paws. Last but not least, designer pieces in an Ikea kitchen. I bought the four Caligaris chair for my old kitchen . My late husband had chosen them. The casually matching table is an internet find (on sale!): they seem to be created as a set, but they are not. The effect is lovely anyway, especially with the mosaic tiles (and this was my idea!)

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I am a woman on the run, whatever this means. The journey from being a professional woman and wife to a single, newly widowed middle aged woman is long and time consuming. I had to put some professional goal on hold ( one was a book taken from the ideas I shared on this blog), other did came first, because anyway you need to be focused at work, if you want to keep it – and working with young people and their families means that you cannot afford any mistake.
With time a few of the most distressing issues were resolved: first , the one with my sister in law concerning my husband’s will: in september it will be settled in front of an attorney, with my great satisfaction . I have to say, my lawyer was very very good at, and this kind of “help” does not come cheap, but the boy was worth every euro I have still to pay him. Second, I have reassumed a form of relation with my nephew, which was very important to me: frankly if I am going to never speak again with my sister in law, this will not prevent me from sleeping soundly at night, but my nephew is another game.
Third, I have begun to move to my new home, which was infact my parents ‘ home. Renovation has ended: there may be a few things to finish, but I have time ( I hope). The friend who rented our old flat left it it bevause he changed job, which both met with mixed feelings. He because he was not so keen to come back to Sicily and his own gamily issues, me because I lost an earning, and most important a mutual friend who helped me a lot during these first hard months. But now I can move some of the design forniture we had in that flat to my home, together with some of the more precious pieces I had in Francesco’ house. The rest goes to his siter and I am more than happy not to have to deal with it.
But moving is probaly as distressing as losing someone you love. And I really miss my husband. Now that i have decided to spend a couple of weeks in the mountains – much more than I did with Francesco, because there is someone who is caring for the cats, I find myself watching at things and thinking “I must tell Francesco this or that, this whisky, oh he will adore” but at home there are only the cats.

This picture shows my state of mind ( the panorama of the Mount Blanc chain with Dente del Gigante and Grandes Jorasses is taken from Petosan- La Thuile)

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Don’t try this at home

Three months on, and life is turning around. Bureaucracy takes a good part of my anxieties, and the rest is equally divided into money and the law. Even in the most tearful circumstances of life is possible to show the worst of ourselves. The great and late Mario Monicelli wrote about Parenti serpenti (sneaky relatives), meaning that the unsurpassed hate you find in families is peculiarly showing in those moments in which you should be happy (or at least satisfied), like Christmas, a wedding, a birthday, or on the contrary in which you are unhappy at the highest point. Either way, you cannot be neutral.

More. I have to relocate. Not that anyone is throwing me out of my (now) house. It is that, to put it simply, I cannot live here, where I have spent the last ten years of my life. It is a big flat, where used to live a family of eight, one of those large italian families of the past. Now it is me, two cats, and 180square mt. I am in tears as soon as I turn the key. So I am renovating the less old, less expensive (in terms of maintenance) and slightly smaller (140sqm) flat I lived in before marrying. Yes, I also come from a large family. And nobody is left, but two cousins living in Buenos Aires, and my cousin Aldina and her daughter (i read her fables when I was a teen). Stating how we are related is a bit complicated: my great granmother and Aldina’s father were brother and sister. Obviously, she was the eldest and he was the youngest : twenty five years younger. Not uncommon , then. Between my father and his older sister also ran twenty six years. In fact, they never met: he was born after she left Italy and her husband, to go to Argentina (where my grandfather used to work) . On the ship she met a steward and the two lived happily for the rest of their lives . They never got married: back in the Twenties, in Italy you couldn’t divorce; and when you finally could, in 1972, they were too old to care. Anyway, my mother and Aldina were much closer than any cousin,  so I spent   my Easter supper with them in the patio of her mother in law, who will have another guest in all the traditional feasts like Christmas and Easter. They have lunch together every given Sunday, but then, no thanks. 

To tell you the truth, the idea of packing and unpacking two flats, moving forniture around and books, plates, silver, vases, pictures, two stereos, 10000 vinyls and maybe 2000 books in a row, I am already shivering.

He doesn’t (don’t try this at home!)

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A month later

It has been a month that i am alone . And lonely, when the man in your life, who has been a part of it for  32 years, including before and after marriage, suddenly dies, you are beyond  words. For my part, I have been asking myself if there had been signs that I hadn’t noticed, like a fatigued shuffle. But he was his usual self until the very last moment.

I managed to go to the cemetery last Sunday. I hadn’t done it yet. Sundays are especially hard, because, before, life, company, sleepy mornings, films or an afternoon of music and books were lazy but good, often necessary after a week of work. I do the same, if my young cat lets me sleep (and he often wakes me up playing with my feet with his sharp teeth – there is a Rhyme but I assure you that it is not as good as it sounds. I have  ankles with plenty of scratches), but it is not the same thing. It is depression and letargy.

I do think that I am going to seek some help from a psycotherapist friend. But even this is a hard step to take. not that i lie all day in bed – although sometimens it all that i want to do. i am back to work, and this keeps my sanity levels acceptable. At least to the world. “You are so strong , darling”. Yes, thanks, but I am not. Every friend coworker or relative tries his/her best to keep me busy: I have had more evening out  during this month than in the last four years, dinners out, dates, films, nights out when it was too hard to go back  home to sleep (and, believe me, futons, even the most stylish ones, kill tha back).

I try to get accostumed to my new situation. And I am not.

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