Well. To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of my demise are much exaggerated. The reason I haven’t been blogging for some time is on the end of the pole in the picture above. It’s a dongle, and it belongs to the woman with whom we’ve house-swapped: she to our place near Belfast (drat, she missed the Twelfth) and we to hers near Florence. We’re located in a mountainous region some forty-five minutes outside Florence, and while the building we’re staying in is elegant and spacious, they forgot to install wi-fi when they built it in the eighteenth century. So the only way to get internet access is to tie your dongle to a stick and stick it out the window. Yes, you’re quite right, it does sound indecent but it works. Unfortunately, once the dongle realised I was going to use it, similar to most technological things when I come into a room, it threw a hissy-fit and refused to work. After much swearing and incomprehensible phone-calls, a train-journey to Florence and back had to be taken before we got the dongle to come out with itS hands up and a contrite expression on its stupid face.
The Italians are a wonderful people. They live life the way they want to, and if you don’t like it well hey, fine, take a hike. They don’t say that out loud but I know what they’re thinking. As a result, they sometimes construct beautiful buildings on hills amid heavenly scenery, then they build a road through the heavenly scenery to the building in the shape of a very thin, very long snake that has just taken a huge portion of LSD. We’re some two kilometres from the village and when you’re driving a small car you’re not used to, navigating the back of this snake that’s having convulsions can be a nice mix of heart-stopping and stroke-inducing, especially if you turn a vicious corner of the snake’s back and suddenly meet another car. The present Mrs Collins passes the time during this journey by lying flat on the back seat, a cushion over her head saying Acts of Contrition and moaning from time to time “Are we there yet?”
But somehow and against the odds, we are. Here. High on a Tuscan hill. Beyond the dangling dongle I can see the sun lighting the trees, my favourite daughter calls that it’s time we went for a jog/run (it’s called hill-training) and the only sound is a bird telling some other birds it’s about to go for a siesta.
Sometimes, some days, la dolce is vita.