Tuesday, 3 January 2006

Gosh, you really can't let a day slip when attempthing to blog a holiday, I mean, quite a lot has happened. I arrived, as is the convention when going somewhere, and embarked on a process of Meeting Everyone, well, not everyone precisely, but you know what I mean. Monica says I should mention that she didn't spot me coming off "the plane, the plane" though her dad (babbo) recognised me by my fedora. Her mum (mamma, obviously) and dad were both there at the airport with her to meet me. Gosh.

I was cordially fed, Italy is a good country - they're not happy unless you're eating...

Monica: ..and wearing shoes...

..Quite. With the exception that Monica's babbo is like many a dad in that he's quite happy to pick up the slack in the ingestion stakes. I should mention that it was Vane(ssa), Monica's sister who cooked for us, and I also met her husband, Lorenzo, who is not from Offagna, but has become a bit Offagnish since moving there. He speaks pretty good English himself actually, and is a funny man. Of course a lot of translation was happening. Nice to have your own interpreter.

And it was New Year's you know, so the very evening I arrive I go to a party - not my usual style. It was fine despite Monica being practically the only person who can speak Inglese in Italia - I felt quite welcome. I met a particularly mad friend of Monica's called Raphaela who was very loud and waved her hands with alarming vivacity, but in an amusing rather than a scary way. Talking about scariness, there were fireworks, and Italy it seems that safety regulations are things for other people, you have these huge bomb-like ones that just explode on ground level with no energy expended on display, and also ones which spin on the floor and ones like cap bombs, and some which you hold in your handds while they either flare continuously or expel coloured bursts of things. Very interesting but a bit much per me. And then we (excluding my good self of course) played pictionary. Monica had two gos, the second of which was rubbiiish - she couldn't bring herself to say anything!

We stayed up quite late, naturally, so I just got up so that I had enough time to go to mass, which was okay considering that I don't understand Italian. That afternoon we went to Sant Angelo in Pontano to see Marghe(rita) who is Monica's bestest friend in the whole world who is going to become a nun. She's taking temporary vows this very Thursday, much to the dismay of many people, as it's an enclosed order. It was nice though communication was a bit of a difficulty. She got her daft Christmas presents from Monica as well, some silly socks, with dogs and cows on, and a silly hat, with those bobble things on. She was very happy with them - these proto-nuns...

On Monday I had a little tour of Offagna, which was well cool I thought, though all the villagers say it's a bit boring. I thought it was very intersting to see how a medieval Italian village is laid out, though obviously the buildings themselves come with all mod cons, including, it would seem, a device for controlling the main lights from the side of the bed, which is a very good idea. Also all the windows have shutters, which makes me feel rather as though I'm in the flicks. And in the afternoon we went for a walk as far as Santo Stefano (6km), which was nice. We were followed, to a certain extent, by a trio of certain little doggies, seemingly belonging to no man.

Today we set out for Assisi, but decided not to go on so far, as the weather was bad, and it would have ended up being rather risky, for reasons I can't be bottomed to explain. So instead we (saving il babbo di Monica) went to these rather fabulous caves (Grotte di Frassassi) with stalagmites and stalagtites and all that jazz. Lovely it was, though Monica was the wrong side of calm being a bi' claustrophobic. She was fine because she was looking at me and holding my hand.


And we ate in a restaurant owned by a friendly sort of guy who was drumming up business by the toilets. Bewildered to find that some Italian toilets are a bit like French ones - I wasn't entirely sure it wasn't some kind of shower. Enough about toilets; the food was good, especially the bruschetta and the prosciutto. Plus, the wine was like nothing I've ever had before. Bene.

And then we came home and ate again. Mmm - food. Oh, and I've eaten rabbit now, plus, it emerges that in certain parts of Italy, the cat is consumed. Monica's not so sure. But then again, she tells me that everyone knows pepper is bad for you.

Can't use the same joke twice, so I'll just say buon'anno and happy epiphany for when it arrives.