Mathilda is alight and in the big house on the rock we've declared winter. The number of unheated rooms in use is dwindling as we shoehorn ourselves, our lives, our clothes, our work, our laundry into the heated rooms. And there are other signs that winter is here, too.
There's snow on the higher mountains hereabouts, including Cannobio's Monte Giove (a babe at 1298m a.s.l., but it would still qualify as a Munro if it were in Scotland).
Overheard conversations in Cannobio now often include some of the following words : "neve" (snow, as in there'll be snow over 1,000m a.s.l. at the weekend), "gelo" (frost, as in the frost will get your winter lettuce if the slugs don't), "acceso" (lit, as in have you lit your stove yet?), "cappellino" (hat, as in why the hell isn't your child wearing one?) and "pazienza" (patience, as in you gotta have some).
Our overstock of olive oil is gently and rather beautifully crystallizing in the pantry.
Our slightly greater overstock of chocolate is starting to bloom white like Cadbury's bought in Manang (3519m a.s.l.).
In the bathroom (c.300m a.s.l.) by the light of the pre-dawn, I see that the outside temperature is 5ºC, and the inside temperature is 3ºC.
The cold water coming out of the taps (which usually arrives from about 400m a.s.l.) is now too cold to put your hands in.
The toilet seats are too cold to sit on. Thank-you, Mum, for teaching me to "hover" (at about 305.2m a.s.l.).
And the rather muddy white paws of this years' Carmine kittens are as cold as the blue feet of a Dickensian urchin seeking his mother in the Christmas-Eve snow (or those of a Nepalese urchin ditto in Manang).
Oh, yes, and we saw our first Christmas tree yesterday. It was blue too.
Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007, 2008. All rights reserved. Please ask first.