Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Well, they are not all strictly on via Fornai, but on nearby via Fontana, but it's such a nice title for a blog post!

Simone and I were in the little house in that area for five weeks, and, on what quickly became our walking route, all the drinking fountains were functioning so that we could both stop and cool ourselves periodically.

Next door lived an old gentleman with some sort of leg problem. His cousin, who used to visit, told me he was a bit "gone in the head" but he was very kind to me. He helped me out on the second day when, coming back in the morning with Simi, I just couldn't get the front door open. I panicked because I didn't have my phone with me and I had visions of sitting outside all day in the heat. The old chap managed to get the door open with a push and then he explained to me that I had to push the iron bar across the other half of the door to keep it steady before locking it from the outside. He always used to make a fuss of Simi.

Then there was a group of elderly gentlemen who used to sit on the wall further up the street to gossip. Every morning they were there and every evening after about five o'clock. [I've mentioned before that in Sicily it's the men who gather in this way.] They used to pet Simi and talk to us, saying, "Oh, we know where you live - next door to quello colla gamba" [= 'im-with-the-leg] and to Simi they would try out their English, which consisted of, "'Elo, Bobby. 'Ow are you?" In vain did I tell them that she is a she and that she's a Simi, not a Bobby, for they were convinced that all British dogs are called Bobby! They were well-meaning souls.
A rather unpleasant elderly woman, always dressed in black, used to shout at me to walk my dog on the other side of the road from her house. [Simi never "messed" there, by the way, and whenever and wherever she does when we are out, I scoop it up.] In Britain I'd have retorted, "Free country, luv" but here I just kept my mouth shut, without crossing the road.
At the bottom end of the street is a large fruit lorry whose owner was always friendly and interested in us and a pet shop where I still get a discount. There is a nice little fruit shop lower down, too, and a good bread shop which is also open on Sundays. Then you come to the lovely church of Santa Maria di Betlemme [the one with the terracotta crib]. I used to want to twirl around in the square there and shout, "Yes! I've done it! I'm here!"

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