Well, the days of me starting my Sunday blog posts with 'we had a lie in and a slow start to the day' are not only a distant memory, but I don't think they will be featuring on this blog for a long while yet.
I was oblivious to Helen getting out of bed this morning - that is until I heard Reggie whining at around 7:10am. I thought he was telling us he needed the toilet, but when I turned over to tell Helen I'd get up and go and see to him, I realised I was alone in bed and the whining was because she was already downstairs and in the process of putting her wellies on and unlocking the door so that she could take him out.
There was no return to sleep though - by the time Helen had fed the cats and got Reggie outside, the whining had been going long enough to rouse me completely from any form of slumber so it was an early start to Sunday for everyone.
The plan for today was to make a start on, if not do ALL of our Christmas shopping. Ambitious? Of course. Too early? Well, yes, for me - Christmas still seems so far off here, which is not helped by the mild weather and the five hundred other things and jobs we have to think about and do. I just don't feel prepared to start with it all yet, but deep in the dark recesses of my mind I know that it's now only a few weeks away, and if not done soon, Santa won't be making any trips on our behalf to a number of households back in Blighty. I therefore reluctantly agreed with my wife that it would be time well spent getting on top of this task today, especially as it was forecast to be wet (although it never quite turned out like that).
Considering we had such an early start, I'm not quite sure what happened to the morning. We let Reggie have the run of the living room and garden as the door was open all day. He chose mainly to spend his time collecting shoes and toys on the sofa and chasing cats while I called England on the Skype phone to speak to Mom and then the kids. Helen, meanwhile, cleaned the bathroom and tidied the living room and kitchen area - at least as much as is possible when there is a force as powerful as a dog working in direct opposition to all cleaning efforts:
|Reggie's collection of 'toys'.
|We asked him to tidy his room...
After that, we did some doggie training on the lawn for a while until Reggie got tired of sitting and staying - and then it was lunchtime, with not a single Christmas present purchased.
Lunch was a simple affair of toasted bread with Tuscan liver pate and fontal cheese. We've finally realised that it's way quicker to toast bread in a dry griddle pan rather than use our (brand new) Italian toaster, which takes and eternity to toast bread (in fact, it's so slow that it dries the bread out to a tooth shattering crunchiness long before it gets around to colouring it). This isn't because we bought a cheap toaster - it's a Moulinex - all toasters we've encountered in Italy have been the same, so we figure that they're made this way on purpose so as not to draw too much electricity (considering the 3KW standard domestic supply in Italy) - but I digress.
After lunch and after doing the washing up (come back Tess - please?!), we finally had some peace and quiet as the puppy was asleep, snoring in his crate. We quickly switched computers on and the Christmas shopping commenced - but not for long! By the time my computer had finished all of its updates and we'd got our heads into it and made a start browsing, Reggie was waking up and in need of a toilet trip. After that, he wouldn't settle in the living room without one of us being there, so no sooner had I switched the PC on than I was switching it back off again to leave Helen battling with her list while I played with Reggie and attempted to continue my Christmas shopping on my tablet next door. It was a lost cause though - Reggie wouldn't afford me the kind of concentration required for the task at hand so I gave up. Helen wasn't far behind me in throwing in the towel after attempting to order a couple of items and failing because of issues with credit card addresses and website pages not functioning properly.
The day was wearing on rapidly, and Reggie's antics wearing thin (also rapidly), so we decided to take him out for a walk near the San Lorenzo Hotel - there's a nice quiet lane that runs along the other side of the river from the road where we knew he wouldn't be distracted by lots of other people and dogs. In fact, the only real distraction was somebody's used tissue that he picked up and almost ate until Helen gallantly stepped in and, risking contamination, pulled it from his mouth (which she followed up with much hand wiping with the wipes we'd brought out with us for the purpose of cleaning up mucky puppies). Why, oh why, must puppies be obsessed with eating paper, cardboard, tissues and other unsavoury substances?
|Ready for a walk.
By the time we got home, both cats were indoors (having set the cat flap to incoming traffic only before we left), so Helen went to put the geese to bed while I collected firewood and built a fire for the evening and Reggie collected his own pile of firewood to take onto the sofa before he finally passed out next to me.
|As if butter wouldn't melt...
As dinner time approaches for our four-legged friends and Reggie has just awoken to the sound of the cat flap, I'll put this post to bed so that we might have half a chance of getting an early dinner ourselves this evening, and maybe even snatch an hour of TV before bedtime.