With a short cold snap at the start of the week (the first overnight ground frost of the winter), and wet weather (including thunder and lightning) for most of the rest of the week, there wasn't much opportunity to do any outdoor work, and so it was that the two of us spent each day in the office - Stuart working on various admin tasks while I worked on, well, getting back to paid work.
The highlights of the week were the car having a new cam belt fitted (complete with the mechanic bringing the car back to the house for us at the end of the day, all (including parts, labour and dropping the car off) for the princely sum of €35) and me re-starting the teaching of English lessons. I use the word "teaching" in the loosest of senses here, as it turns out that as well as forgetting how to speak Italian I've also forgotten most of the rules of English grammar that I'd been learning how to teach prior to going to the UK at the end of August).
We even started a strict "diet" during the week, the basis of which is that we have pledged to consume no alcoholic drinks from Sunday-Thursday, so a glass of wine at our local circolo was a real treat on Friday evening.
|Emanuele pours large measures for the poor English folk who haven't had a sip of wine all week...|
The weekend started out disappointingly wet and miserable (at one point our weather station recorded 50mm of rainfall in 24 hours), so there was no chance of continuing with the fencing project.
Instead, after having spent the morning doing our supermarket shopping and other errands in Pescia, we spent most of Saturday afternoon brushing up on our Italian comprehension by watching episodes of 'Columbo' and 'House' in Italian (yes, that's Peter Falk and Hugh Laurie dubbed into Italian) while Reggie looked at us accusingly, seemingly convinced that it was us that had made it rain.
We had been expecting brighter weather on Sunday, but we woke up to yet more rain so after a coffee in Pescia, we decided to go and have a walk - the only problem being that we hadn't brought an umbrella out with us, so we headed for Lucca, stopping off at the large Carrefour store on the way to pick up a cheap umbrella.
At the entrance to the shop we were somewhat side-tracked by the novelty presentation bottles of grappa (clearly a "buy your Christmas gifts here" display) - it seemed to us a strange combination of the sort of wooden toy you might give a small child to play with and a glass vessel containing hard liquor.
We somehow managed to resist the urge to buy a wooden steam roller with a side of grappa though, and instead just selected ourselves a new umbrella, made our purchase and left the shop.
When we got to Lucca we parked the car, found our way up onto the old city walls and embarked on a circuit of the walls which encircle the city, covering a distance of 4.2km in their entirety.
It was lovely being in Lucca at this time of year - there were far fewer tourists, and with the leaves dropping from the trees there was more to see, plus we realised it was a joy to be walking around without feeling uncomfortably hot (unlike in the summer). The walls were pretty much full of locals jogging, cycling or walking their dogs. It felt like a treat and a very relaxing way to spent the morning gently stretching our legs in the fresh autumn air.
And we didn't put the umbrella up once!
|Lucca's city walls are the second longest in Europe.|
|The walls are popular with joggers, cyclists, dog walkers and of course tourists.|
|While the city dates back to Roman times, the present city walls are from the Renaissance period.|
After we'd completed the circuit of the walls we made our way back to the car and then we were homeward bound. We'd panicked slightly that the weather in Lucca had dried up almost completely and were worried that we might have squandered valuable fencing time/weather - but the closer we got to Pescia the darker the sky and the wetter it got, and by the time we reached our house we were well and truly back up in the clouds and rain.
So it was another afternoon spent indoors for us - Christmas shopping, admin, and staring out the window at the rain. Here's hoping for a drier week ahead.