24 September 2023

Leo passed away last night. The grief at the pub is all-encompassing. We will go to his funeral mass tomorrow at the Duomo down in town. 

18 September 2023


Tragically, I was on my last bite and Jonathan was halfway through his piece of the creme torta we bought at our new bakery when we discovered that the bottom of it was completely covered in mottled green mold. Being the Mensa brain trust that we are, we decided to sterilize our gastro-intestinal tracts (and our memories of the event) by drinking way too much alcohol. We both felt like crap the next day, but whether it was the mold or the hangover is anybody's guess. We have decided that since the weather is getting cooler anyway, we will start baking our own bread.

And two days ago, while Jonathan's sons were visiting, Rafe found an actual scorpion lurking underneath the edge of a door. Jonathan trapped it in some tupperware and released it far out in the woods. I helped by screaming a lot. There is also the corpse of what was, in its heyday, a monstrously large and vicious-looking wasp laid out on the front porch.

Our friend Almo gave us all a little tour of his studio while the boys were here. I find the whole workspace, coated as it is in a very fine layer of marble dust, beautiful. 

Hunting season opened last weekend and we hear shots in the woods behind the house in the mornings. Soon wild boar will appear on the menu of the pub, instead of merely in the olive grove. I find them much more congenial slow-roasted in red-wine sauce. And our pomegranate tree now has seven fast-ripening pomegranates on it now.

There is a price to pay for paradise. But it is still paradise.

11 September 2023

When Jonathan and I go down the hill into Pietrasanta, we usually park in the Piazza dello Statuto, right on the edge of town. Our vegetable store is there and our old (fascist) bakery is there. But now we have switched to a new (non-fascist -- as far as we know) bakery at the further end of the Via del Marzocco. (I have highlighted the street in orange on this map -- Pietrasanta is not a very big town, as you can see.) So this morning, walking back from the bakery (you can see Jonathan inside buying bread in the picture below) to the car, I photographed the entire street of the Via del Marzocco. Here is a long list in order that is basically a photograph taken every few feet along the entire two blocks of the street, from the start in the Piazza del Duomo, ending at the parking lot with our car right behind the statue. This is about 9 a.m. on a random Monday morning in September.

Sometimes, visibly perplexed local people ask me why, of all places, I chose to live in Pietrasanta. I tell them that I think Pietrasanta is very beautiful and they look at me like I'm crazy. I don't think I am.