On a dark and stormy night . . .
. . . it wasn’t actually that stormy, but it was dark and it was absolutely freezing. The reason was the Tramontana – a wind that comes from the North . Its name comes from the latin: trānsmontānus – literally ‘from beyond the mountains’ or ‘across the mountains’ – in this case, the alps in the North of Italy.
It’s the sort of wind that feels like it could cut you in half . . . very neatly . . . like a razor-blade of gigantic proportions. So there was only one answer. The stufa – a wood burning stove. I had spent an hour in the morning, with Emilio who with his Ape (see note below), had brought nearly five quintale of logs up to the house, with which we built a log wall. He built them into a wall, really: I simply unloaded the Ape as whatever way I placed a log, he inevitably judged it to be wrong and either placed it in a different position, or carefully rotated it through 90 degrees or even more annoyingly through 180 degrees thus underlining the fact that I was so inept, I don’t even know which end of a piece of wood should be closest to the wall! How useless am I, eh! (Incidentally, a quintale is for some reason 100 kgs. don’t ask me why… it just is . .)
Above you can see the results of our efforts under the glorious blue sky . . but don’t be fooled . it was freezing cold: witness Archie’s careful positioning once the ‘stufa’ had been lit.
During the course of the winter, my wife often enquires: ‘What’s that funny smell? ‘
I calmly reply: ‘Don’t worry, darling, the cats on fire . . . again . . . ‘
So on that dark and freezing night, I sat in the wonderful warmth of burning wood and watched old films, a glass of wine to hand, with the cat smouldering gently at my feet. Domestic bliss!
PS no cats were harmed in the making of this post.
PPS re APE
No hominoids or non-human primates were involved in the transportation of wood or in the building of the log wall. APE refers to a three wheeled vehicle in common use in rural Italy: Ape means bee- it is made by Piaggio who also make the Vespa- meaning wasp.