Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007-2013. Please give credit where credit is due.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Ten rules for life (in Carmine)

A disappointing three degrees at 8:30am after a night of pitter-patter raindrops. I notice that this time last year the apricot was in bloom. This year the buds are huddled under the bedcovers like a 4-year-old after a late night at the piscina.

Congratulations to Franco, by the way - the first narcissi of the year are blooming in his orchard. They're looking a bit wet.

P.S. Lent day 5, nothing embarrassing to report.

Back in the middle of February, Jeanne, over at The Raisin Chronicles, set out her ten rules for life. They made me laugh, I guess because I recognised so many of them to be true from my own experience.

On the Monkey-see Monkey-do principle, I thought it would be interesting to think about the rules of life ... in Carmine.

Here they are...

1. Never buy what you can't carry up the hill, you, yourself, alone, before it a.) rots in the car (in the case of exotic fruit), or b.) becomes obsolete (in the case of satellite dishes, computer equipment, and home entertainment centres).

2. Never invite houseguests between the months of October and April - the toilet seats are too chilly, and the guest room too draughty.

3. Don't ever make friends with Carmine cats. They eat too much, take liberties with the bedding and all you get for your pains is a little pile of something aromatic on the pantry floor.

4. Always say 'yes' to offers of second-hand furniture from your Carmine neighbours. This way, you get new furniture without having to carry it up the hill, and the woodworm colony in your house gets an infusion of new genes.

5. If you're planning a delivery of building materials, always warn your neighbours in advance to shut their windows - helicopter rotors kick up a storm of dust for which you'll never be forgiven.

6. Don't expect house calls from doctors, the police, or DHL. There's nowhere to land the air ambulance, heavy artillery is too awkward to tote up all those steps, and besides, according to DHL, Carmine Superiore doesn't even exist.

7. Don't gossip about your neighbours in the summertime when all the windows are open. Carmine walls have ears.

8. Everybody is the centre of his own universe, and everyone who has a house in Carmine has a story to tell - of romance, of passion, of how they came here, why they stayed, the renovations they screwed up with their own bare hands... Always be ready to listen if you want them to listen to you.

9. Take out the best health insurance you can afford. At some point you're going to need new knees, new hips and a couple of shiny new titanium intervertebral disks. Alternatively, sneak into the church as often as possible and pray to S. Gottardo, whose patronage covers at least problems with legs and might stretch to backs if you drop a large denomination note into the offerte box.

10. Do make sure to schedule a lunchtime aperitivo in the sun by the church at least once a week. That view of the lake is part of the reason you came here, the bubbles will take your mind off your aching back, and no-one will overhear the latest neighbourhood gossip except S. Gottardo and You-Know-Who.

13 comments:

Désirée said...

:-)

So fun to read. Thank you.

Your description of your mountain top make me think of a Buddist monastary deep in among the mountains of Nepal that I passed on my way to Mount Everest eight years ago. Your living quarters cannot possibly be that far from civilization :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise,
Great writing again and again. Minds eye comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful ideas about life in Carmine today, Louise. With two young children,its the fact that the emergency services can't reach you easily that would spook me!!

ladyfi said...

Loved this post! The last piece of advice is the one that probably saves your sanity! :-)

Brenda said...

"Don't gossip about your neighbors in the summertime". . . sounds familiar to me! Here in Paraguay everyone sits outside, especially in the evenings, so no conversations are private (except perhaps those spoken in another language)

I might follow your monkey-see-monkey-do behavior :)

Caution Flag said...

Curiosity has its way with me and I'm off to google Carmine Superiore. At last.

Romancing Italy said...

#3 reminds of a friend who was kind to a stray black cat, who not only took liberties with the bedding but also left a gift of several little kittens....

Louise said...

@Anonymous II : No problem. There's a qualified medical practitioner with more than 40 years' experience within 5 minnutes of us through the woods. In summer, the village is crammed with highly-qualified medics - cardiologists, physiotherapists, midwives... Plus Mama has a first aider's badge somewhere!

Chairman Bill said...

What do you do for energy - the electrical kind, not the stuff you eat?

Any renewables or natural sources?

Louise said...

Hello - you're up early! Heating and cooking are with wood cut by our own hands from woodlands owned or rented around Carmine. Someone has to keep the woodlands tidy, and we take a fair proportion of fallen, dry wood, while coppicing living trees to renew the resource. Electricity for the lights etc. There is no mains gas, but we have a gas boiler for the shower, a back-up gas stove and a gas heater to huddle in front of for the bathroom. For this you need a strong young man to carry the cannisters up (read husband). There is a 100-litre wood fired water boiler for the bathtub (search on "scaldabagno" for a pic). Energy outgoings very low for a house of this size.

Joy said...

I love the glimpse you give us into your world.

♥ Joy

Louise said...

@Chairman Bill : we also thought we might put up a windmill, given that there is usually a nice breeze up here (which keeps us sane in summer). But it's my suspicion that the roofs combined with the hillsides would cause too much turbulence to get one moving in any effective kind of way. I think your David Cameron had the same problem. Solar panels would also be another good option, but they look so awful in a conservation area. It seemed a shame to bugger up the environment.

BPOTW said...

I want to come and visit. I've wondered if I'd have enough guts to just stay, buy property and fix it up. I admire you for that. And now during tax season I wonder what the tax implications are.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Ten rules for life (in Carmine)

A disappointing three degrees at 8:30am after a night of pitter-patter raindrops. I notice that this time last year the apricot was in bloom. This year the buds are huddled under the bedcovers like a 4-year-old after a late night at the piscina.

Congratulations to Franco, by the way - the first narcissi of the year are blooming in his orchard. They're looking a bit wet.

P.S. Lent day 5, nothing embarrassing to report.

Back in the middle of February, Jeanne, over at The Raisin Chronicles, set out her ten rules for life. They made me laugh, I guess because I recognised so many of them to be true from my own experience.

On the Monkey-see Monkey-do principle, I thought it would be interesting to think about the rules of life ... in Carmine.

Here they are...

1. Never buy what you can't carry up the hill, you, yourself, alone, before it a.) rots in the car (in the case of exotic fruit), or b.) becomes obsolete (in the case of satellite dishes, computer equipment, and home entertainment centres).

2. Never invite houseguests between the months of October and April - the toilet seats are too chilly, and the guest room too draughty.

3. Don't ever make friends with Carmine cats. They eat too much, take liberties with the bedding and all you get for your pains is a little pile of something aromatic on the pantry floor.

4. Always say 'yes' to offers of second-hand furniture from your Carmine neighbours. This way, you get new furniture without having to carry it up the hill, and the woodworm colony in your house gets an infusion of new genes.

5. If you're planning a delivery of building materials, always warn your neighbours in advance to shut their windows - helicopter rotors kick up a storm of dust for which you'll never be forgiven.

6. Don't expect house calls from doctors, the police, or DHL. There's nowhere to land the air ambulance, heavy artillery is too awkward to tote up all those steps, and besides, according to DHL, Carmine Superiore doesn't even exist.

7. Don't gossip about your neighbours in the summertime when all the windows are open. Carmine walls have ears.

8. Everybody is the centre of his own universe, and everyone who has a house in Carmine has a story to tell - of romance, of passion, of how they came here, why they stayed, the renovations they screwed up with their own bare hands... Always be ready to listen if you want them to listen to you.

9. Take out the best health insurance you can afford. At some point you're going to need new knees, new hips and a couple of shiny new titanium intervertebral disks. Alternatively, sneak into the church as often as possible and pray to S. Gottardo, whose patronage covers at least problems with legs and might stretch to backs if you drop a large denomination note into the offerte box.

10. Do make sure to schedule a lunchtime aperitivo in the sun by the church at least once a week. That view of the lake is part of the reason you came here, the bubbles will take your mind off your aching back, and no-one will overhear the latest neighbourhood gossip except S. Gottardo and You-Know-Who.

13 comments:

Désirée said...

:-)

So fun to read. Thank you.

Your description of your mountain top make me think of a Buddist monastary deep in among the mountains of Nepal that I passed on my way to Mount Everest eight years ago. Your living quarters cannot possibly be that far from civilization :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Louise,
Great writing again and again. Minds eye comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful ideas about life in Carmine today, Louise. With two young children,its the fact that the emergency services can't reach you easily that would spook me!!

ladyfi said...

Loved this post! The last piece of advice is the one that probably saves your sanity! :-)

Brenda said...

"Don't gossip about your neighbors in the summertime". . . sounds familiar to me! Here in Paraguay everyone sits outside, especially in the evenings, so no conversations are private (except perhaps those spoken in another language)

I might follow your monkey-see-monkey-do behavior :)

Caution Flag said...

Curiosity has its way with me and I'm off to google Carmine Superiore. At last.

Romancing Italy said...

#3 reminds of a friend who was kind to a stray black cat, who not only took liberties with the bedding but also left a gift of several little kittens....

Louise said...

@Anonymous II : No problem. There's a qualified medical practitioner with more than 40 years' experience within 5 minnutes of us through the woods. In summer, the village is crammed with highly-qualified medics - cardiologists, physiotherapists, midwives... Plus Mama has a first aider's badge somewhere!

Chairman Bill said...

What do you do for energy - the electrical kind, not the stuff you eat?

Any renewables or natural sources?

Louise said...

Hello - you're up early! Heating and cooking are with wood cut by our own hands from woodlands owned or rented around Carmine. Someone has to keep the woodlands tidy, and we take a fair proportion of fallen, dry wood, while coppicing living trees to renew the resource. Electricity for the lights etc. There is no mains gas, but we have a gas boiler for the shower, a back-up gas stove and a gas heater to huddle in front of for the bathroom. For this you need a strong young man to carry the cannisters up (read husband). There is a 100-litre wood fired water boiler for the bathtub (search on "scaldabagno" for a pic). Energy outgoings very low for a house of this size.

Joy said...

I love the glimpse you give us into your world.

♥ Joy

Louise said...

@Chairman Bill : we also thought we might put up a windmill, given that there is usually a nice breeze up here (which keeps us sane in summer). But it's my suspicion that the roofs combined with the hillsides would cause too much turbulence to get one moving in any effective kind of way. I think your David Cameron had the same problem. Solar panels would also be another good option, but they look so awful in a conservation area. It seemed a shame to bugger up the environment.

BPOTW said...

I want to come and visit. I've wondered if I'd have enough guts to just stay, buy property and fix it up. I admire you for that. And now during tax season I wonder what the tax implications are.