Shit City

Well, it was a bit of a disaster alright, last night, but not at all in the way that I had thought.

It was, in fact, what I used to call ‘shit city’.

Great piles of the stuff, mostly on the newspaper but, when the newspaper ran out of space, the floor.

And I do mean huge piles of it. So much so that I ‘growled’ at Dino. Obviously, TLB (The Little Bastard – my new name for Piero) could not possibly have done it all.

However, after cleaning up, I took them out for a walk. We were out for about an hour and a half. At the start of the walk, Dino did a pooh which was normal. It made me doubt that any of the shit in shit city could be his …… and, yet?

On the way back, when we were nearly home, Piero had diarrhoea. So, it WAS him after all. I really don’t know how he fitted it all in his body in the first place!

The ‘culprit’ was a pine cone from a display we had had at Christmas. He’s been used to picking pine cones up in the pineta and thought this was the same. However, it probably had some ‘stuff’ on it that, I guess, wasn’t good for him.

Anyway, it all seems better this morning. We shall see tonight.

On the plus side, there was no damage done (that I could find), nor was anything ‘taken’. Let’s hope it continues!

Worth mentioning?

I suppose that what I haven’t told you about the holiday is, quite probably, the most important bit which has more long-term repercussions.

Piero is growing up.

Well, that’s obvious, I suppose. He’s now about 3/4 the size of Dino. I do wonder if he’s going to be bigger that Dino? But that’s not at all what I meant to say.

What I mean is that he’s become “bolder”. Now, anything within reach is a potential toy. Also, he climbed on the furniture whilst down in Carrara. I caught him only once and that is the problem. I need to catch him to stop it.

And so I have fears for my house today. I have no idea what I will find when I reach home. I am a little bit worried.

Just thought I would mention it.

The Last Day

I wake at 6.45. I need the bathroom and a drink. I toy with the idea of sleeping for another 45 mins instead. Or maybe longer. Longer, of course, I shouldn’t do. Longer means later and later means NOT doing what F wants to do.

Or, rather, what he says he wants to do. I want to as well but, then again, 6.45 is early and next week I’ll be getting up at 5.45.

Anyway, I need the bathroom and a drink and I get up. As I walk back to bed, F, who is just awake asks what time it is. I tell him. He asks if we should get up. I say that I suppose we should.

Today, being our last full day here and, so, the last day of our holidays (even if tomorrow is really the last day), we are going to the beach. The dog beach. We are better at it now, having been a few times. We don’t take so much but now it also includes two new balls that F bought. This is because Dino will only swim if you throw something into the water for him to fetch. We found this out last time we went when we found a broken tennis ball. The problem with the tennis ball was that, because it was split it sank rather than floated. These balls will float.

We park the car and the dogs have their leads put on and then jump out of the car. As we walk down the small lane to the beach, Piero is pulling – he can’t wait to get there. The lane turns sharply right and runs along the top of the beach. There is a small wall between us and the beach. Piero keeps trying to jump over it, he is so excited.

The man is there running a big rake thing over the beach, to clean it. We walk over the bit he hasn’t cleaned but hesitate before the raked portion.

He shrugs as if to say “well, you might as well go – someone else will go soon”.

We walk down to the shore and set our towels and things down.

The balls prove a huge success and Dino swims a lot. Piero is slightly fearful but, eventually, F persuades him to swim.

We leave after an hour.

And, after the pineta and breakfast and returning the dogs home, we are the beach. On our last day.

I think next week will be difficult :-(

Dino is perfect: weather continues; the return

“It’s too hot,” they say, or “Isn’t it hot?” they ask.

It has been quite hot for some time now. I was reading (book 7) and it had something like “we can’t complain because it never normally lasted more than a few days” – about the English weather.

And, I suppose that’s true. Yes, I know it to be true.

Whereas, here, it is hot and sunny for weeks at a time,. Or months, even.

F came back yesterday, early evening. It is so nice to have him back. We were out with his friends last night, friends from college. Almost everything was Italian with few people speaking English. One guy had me confused with S. Apparently, so F said, S was really pesante (heavy/hard work), implying I was not. Which I’m not.

Today we had an appointment with the vet. I was getting worried that Dino had a form of arthritis or rheumatism. And as the days wore on, worried more and more. I have always accepted that dogs are dogs and that they have short lives but the idea that Dino might have something wrong with him was different. I know he won’t live forever but, still ………

Anyway, after checking we were told he was perfect, which came as a great relief.

Now, as we near the end of our time here, I wish it wouldn’t end. But such is life.

Piero’s new trick!

The pinetta is an area, only a little way from the sea, that is a planting of pine trees. These trees, with their topmost branches, create a cathedral roof-like canopy which, whilst not creating dark, create shade. In fact, separated by roads and streets, it stretches along the whole of Marina di Cararra.

The wonderful thing about these areas is that they stay much cooler than outside them and, as a result, during the day, are full of people (mainly the elderly) socialising in a very pleasant environment. Quite shady and definitely cooler by some degrees.

In one, the most southern one, there is a dog area. A large dog area that is well fenced and cool and looked after by locals so that it is clean (of shit) although there is little grass (on account of the trees) and almost all dirt. I say dirt rather than earth as the top layer is like dust..

We go there most mornings and evenings. Dino loves it because it is large enough to throw sticks or pine cones that he can fetch; Piero loves it because it is full of other dogs, some of whom he loves to play with – playing until he is completely exhausted.

After the pinetta, we usually take a walk into the town and then back to the car. Sometimes, if we have time, we go back to the pinetta a second time. In any event, Piero always wants to go back to the pinetta and I have said to F that I am sure Piero would happily live there.

Of course, during ‘play’, he goes for the feet. Other dogs do the same, so I guess it’s normal.

With one of the dogs he plays with, Sofia, he has this thing about her tail and, when he is chasing her, he grabs at her tail and holds it until she stops, turning back on him to bite him back, as young dogs do when they play.

Today he found ears. Not only with Sofia but with one or two others as well. The beauty of ears is that once you have one of them in your mouth, your opponent can do little about it to stop you.

He’s a little bugger, really :-)

Secret things

Of course, I may be wrong.

Last night, I got home from the beach about 6.30. Almost immediately, I knew there was ‘something’. Piero had been chewing the newspaper I had left on the floor for him to pee and pooh on (not that he seems to need it). I have a theory about the chewing of newspaper – he only does it after he has been ‘disturbed’.

I went into the kitchen to have some milk as I am wont to do in this hot weather and noticed that the rubbish bag for plastic was not where I had left it. In fact, it was nowhere to be found. But when I opened the fridge I saw a bag had been left for me with food. Also the normal bin had been emptied. F’s mum had been in.

Yesterday, at the beach, F’s niece and boyfriend had come to the beach about lunchtime. I was eating my lunch – an ice-cream. I told them this and they laughed as I expected.

Today, she comes again and this time comes with a small tub of diced water melon for me. And she has tried to ring the vet.

I think they are all trying to look after me. And, I suspect, that F has something to do with this!

It’s kinda sweet, really, even if I don’t really NEED looking after. Still, we are in Italy and children stay children forever and, as I am F’s partner, I guess I qualify as a kind of surrogate child. Bless them.

Books 5 and 6

20 – 22/8

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

Books, to me, are like films. Films that last a few days rather than a couple of hours.

With both films and books, I “lose” myself whilst I become involved, encapsulated into the story. I love both but, with exception of some films, books provide a greater satisfaction. Except, I do like a more “open” ending.

I really don’t want a book to “finish”. And they lived happy ever after is not for me. I want a book that is like a dream or a nightmare where the end is left hanging so that I can decide, based on my mood, what should happen next.

So, I start this latest book and find it is (at the moment) about reading. About the joys of reading. About the smells and the requirements for good books.

And I wonder why I was never really involved in “books” at some level.

The book was good but, given the ending, I think that, probably, I am in the minority when it comes to ending. It seems most people like to have the ends tied up with a neat bow.

Although the ending to this one (with one small exception) was not really ‘happy ever after’ and so it scraped through into the reasonable catalogue, in my brain.

Now I have started Visibility by Boris Starling.

So that’ll be book 6 then. In fact, as F is not here, I took book 5 home and finished it last night. After all, I wasn’t going anywhere and, after dinner, it’s nice to read with a glass of wine. The only problem is, now, that dusk falls too early and I had to finish reading indoors – even if it was really to hot to be inside!

Interestingly because here, in Italy, it seems twins are everywhere (I have NEVER seen so many twins as here), both books 5 and 6 include twins.

Maybe more on that later.

I am not a child

You would think that, at some point in your life, you would grow up. I wonder what it takes? I wonder what it is for others to be “grown up”?

I am not incapable and, as an adult of some advanced years, I can DO things. It’s not as if I’m helpless.

And yet ……

I dropped him at the station. We were early. Of course we were early. For he is worse than me when it comes to public transport.

“I will wait with you”, I had said.

But no, it was not necessary.

“But I can help you with your suitcase. Lift it onto the train for you. With your bad back, it will be better.”

“And who will help me in Milan”, he said, dismissing my argument.

I tried to suggest that, by me helping here and after over 3 hours relaxing on the train, he would, maybe, have a better back. But it came out mumbled and wrong. I was incoherent putting my clear thoughts into words that he would understand.

I offered to stay a few more times but he was having none of it. And my arguments were weak.

He stopped the car and got out, opening the boot. I got out and got his suitcase out.

“Are you sure you wouldn’t like me to wait with you?”, I asked.

No, I should get back and go to the beach. There was, apparently, no reason for me to stay.

“I would wait with you because I love you”.

There, finally said. The only reason. He kisses me on the lips.

And then he walks away.

And every time he’s not there leaves a hole as if I’m not quite whole without him.

I drive back and, suddenly, everything I do in this strange and foreign land is a battle, something where I must force myself into action.

When I get back home, Dino looks past me as I open the door. Looks past me to F, who isn’t there. It’s as if I’m not quite good enough, as if it’s all not quite complete. Which, of course, it isn’t. And Dino knows that well enough.

I come to the beach. People greet me as I come or, later, as I’m sitting here, reading my book or typing this, as they come.

But it’s not the same.

Tonight I have some leftovers from our lunch at his Mum and Dad’s (our first meal there this holiday – but that’s another post) and I have wine and the dogs.

He has suggested that I take a walk to the centre of the town (and, yet, here it’s not a town – more like a really large village or a suburb – even if there’s a castle tower in the centre) with the dogs, like we often do, and buy an ice-cream and take them for a while in the newly discovered and rather nice dog area.

But these things frighten me. Not so that I won’t do it but enough to make it doubtful. For there I will have to interact and I don’t have his charm or style. Or language, of course.

If I were about 5, I am sure I would wail and howl with this feeling of abandonment, with this feeling of being so alone.

But that’s quite stupid, as I well know. I can get by. I can walk the dogs this evening and get and ice-cream. But it all takes such an effort and such resolve by me to do even the simplest thing.

Without him.

And yet ……

I am not a child.

A trip to Pietrasanta and back to the Garden

My forecast says that, in about an hour, it will be 35 degrees C but it will feel like 41!

In fact, I suspect it is more since, this morning, on our way to Pietrasanta to meet Lola and G, many of the displays outside chemists were already suggesting it to be 34 degrees.

For certain, it is VERY hot but, whichever way you look at it, it’s much, much better than being cold – well, unless you are F, of course.

I have forced the dogs to come outside in the garden. They weren’t keen to leave the house – which is the first time I can remember. But it is equally cool (or, rather, slightly less hot) at the back of the house, which remains in shade all day. There is the chance of a small breeze outside, from time to time.

And it is peaceful.

And, I am British, so outside when the weather is nice is a “must” – which, to be honest, is not Italian.

We had a nice (though smallish) lunch in Pietrasanta with Lola and G and the dogs.

Lola is getting a new dog tomorrow so is very excited. And, in September/October, we shall go to their place so the puppies can play in their garden – which will be lovely. I would tell you the type of dog but can’t as I have been sworn to secrecy by G. However, it’s a fantastic dog and I think Lola will be very happy even if it’s not going to be like Duick.

Now I am alone with the dogs whilst F goes to get his hair cut.

It’s perfect weather for a nice glass of cold wine or beer so, once I’ve posted that, I think I will be drinking just that.

Enjoy your weekend.

What it’s all about

Holidays are for relaxing, unwinding and doing what you want. I’m doing a lot of reading this holiday. It’s one of those pleasures I have with not being near a computer. I have the phone, sure, but it’s not the same.

This year, however, I have not read my usual book – Blind Assassin but a few books from my bookcase that I never got round to reading or that were recentish presents..

One of the books that I finished a few days ago was The Beach. I didn’t really want to read it, having seen the film and thought it was a bit pretentious. But I’ve read it now anyway. I got it given to me from someone leaving Milan, I think.

As usual, the book was far superior to the film and it all makes much more sense now.

The other book I really wasn’t crazy about reading was Vernon God Little. It’s a bit like 50 Shades of Grey or The Da Vinci Code – I don’t mean the story nor, God forbid, the atrocious writing, I mean as in one of those that everyone has read. In this case, however, apart from the end, which, to me, really spoilt the whole story, the book was, well, interesting. I doubt if I would re-read either of them but they turned out OK in the end.

I have also read “Old Age and How to Survive it” – an amusing book given to me by Best Mate. And I can now say – old age, bring it on :-)

I am currently reading “the Various Haunts of Men” – a complete change from the others as it is a thriller. It’s very good and hard to put down.

Luckily, I have another 4 books to go and, although I probably won’t read them all, as F goes back to Milan on Sunday, I may get through a couple.

And I have found it so nice to be able to read. To have the time for reading. Damned computers that take up (and waste) so much time!