A Night at the Opera

On such a lovely, sunny morning we decided to walk Daisy first and then enjoy a leisurely cappucino and apricot croissant at our nearest bar in the main square.  On the way back, past the duomo (cathedral) we noticed a fire engine and fire vehicles parked outside.  The congregation, altar boys and girls were gathered around to give thanks for their bravery and dedication to duty and to bless the engine and keep them all safe.  Some of the crew would have been called to the recent Norcia earthquake, if not the severe one at the beginning of November.

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A little bit more gardening while Jamie draws out complex wiring plans.  Another walk for Daisy dog and a meeting with Elsa, a local resident with a farmhouse just outside of town in the nearby countryside.  We met her at a restaurant earlier in the year; she has invited us for drinks with her on Tuesday evening – another social event and the word around town is that she makes the best Limoncello in Umbria, if not Italy.  We shall report later.

I have bought some cheap sparkly white snowflake decorations to hang from our window box along with some tiny fairy lights. Should have gone to Specsavers as the lights weren’t a tasteful glittery white but multi-coloured flashing ones which, being the only decorations in the street, make it all look a bit like a mini Las Vegas.  Neighbours will put it down to our being foreign.

Tonight we went to our local theatre which has been brilliantly restored following a fire, while it was being used as a cinema. The auditorium is tiny and surrounded by tiers of small boxes. It was repainted in the classical style with fantastical beasts and subtle earth colours.  Luckily an elderly decorator living in the town remembered exactly how it was and advised on the restoration.

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It was an evening of the best bits from popular operas sung by a really good tenor, a baritone, a Russian mezzo soprano and a passable Italian soprano.  A really enjoyable couple of hours, as the event started at 5:30pm (so that everyone can enjoy a post theatre dinner, no doubt). The theatre is around the corner from our house, so a five minute stroll. This seemed a bit strange after the usual 30 minute drive into Bristol, trying to find a place to park and then the quick sprint to the venue.

Afterwards our friend, and previously our estate agent, Antonella, texted with a plan to go to the house of Alessandro, as he has olive groves and a supply of this year’s olive oil. We had already met the wonderful Alessandro at the vegan meal. He is not only a producer of olive oil but also a local police officer.  So we all drove to his house where a slice of toast and a taste of this year’s pressing turned into a full-blown meal in his taverna, complete with roaring log fire and tables full of salamis, cheese, toast, parma ham, followed by pork ribs, steaks and sausages grilled on said fire.  A little later his black Labrador Fred joined us, along with his mum and dad. A bottle of Amarone wine, Montepulciano Chianti and a drop of home-made limoncello to accompany this feast and the plates of roasted chestnuts.  We left with olive oil ( form an orderly queue if yiu want a taste) and a huge jar of honey as it appears he also has bees!

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