Monday, 13 April 2009

Buona Pasqua!

Easter Monday is picnic time in this part of Tuscany.

Like everyone else we headed for the hills this lunchtime with a basket of goodies, which included, amongst the bread and cheese and tomatoes, an enormous panettone in the shape of a dove. Our destination was a large meadow, which when we last saw it was being used as a football pitch by a bevy(?) of nuns (sorry not sure of the correct collective noun). Today it was blanketed with picnickers including families with dogs and footballs and teenagers with sound systems. All a bit mad and loud but good fun.

Afterwards we stopped at a small mountain village intrigued by posters announcing a 'Sagra da Ouvo Sodo' - a Festival of Hard-Boiled Eggs. In the centre of the village, surrounded by stalls selling pecorino cheese, handcarved crucifixes and assorted funghi, the local priest blessed several large boxes of hard-boiled eggs. The eggs were then handed out to everyone in the crowd in individual paper bags each containing a pinch of salt . As everyone munched away a saxophone-harmonica duo struck up a tune and couples began dancing. As we watched we were approached by a clown who presented the daughter with a beautiful flower twisted from balloons.

As we were leaving I spotted a wool stall with a half price sale, and bought lots of gorgeous boucle wool (completely forgetting that a. I have no knitting needles with me and b. I would have to squeeze it all into my suitcase (along with the bottles of limoncello already stashed there)).

We've been invited out to pizza tonight at the 'Circolo' in a neighbouring village. It is basically a social club that everyone in the village contributes to annually, and which, in this case, has a pizzeria, bar, gelateria and dance hall - and also apparently serves up some wicked grappa! What more could you want? More and more of the local small bars seem to be closing, so the Circola seems like a good way of maintaining a social centre in a village.

Just like the Hard-Boiled Egg festival reminded me of our local summer fair, the Circola reminds me of the bowling club in a village near home which hosts various community events from Belly Dancing evenings to Whisky Tastings - not at all glamorous but providing a much needed gathering point for the community

West Yorkshire and Tuscany not so very different after all - except of course for the sunshine :o)


Queenie said...

By coincidence, I read an interesting article about village halls this morning, here - it makes several similar points.

KAREN said...

You've just got to stop this now, it's making me wild with jealousy - I've even got the urge to start knitting again!

I hope you're going to write a story set there at some point :o)

Jumbly Girl said...

Queenie - you're a star - what a brilliant link, thank you. Now all I need to do is get my act together and write an article comparing the two experiences. I've got a full writing week next week so I'm going to give it a go.

Karen - sorry m'luv, but hey only another week and a half I'll be back to the dark satanic mills and the joys of the dock pudding contest.

There is defintely a story or two brewing from this visit and maybe even novel 3 when I get round to it (dark satanic mills have already baggsied novel 2)