Here's a view from the terrace where we had dinner in the evenings;
Here's lovely Fiona with a visiting dog, whom we learned later is called Francesco. He was a sweetie: friendly, raffish, and not at all intrusive.
We also visited a vineyard in Montefalco! This was arranged by Sheila, who runs Painting in Italy. She and I had talked about my vineyard, and originally I was the only one going, but then my friends said they'd like to come to. So they did, and it was great. The owner, Albertino, was young and charming, and it was great to talk to him about the advantages of double or single Guyot pruning. The vineyard was utterly beautiful, all golden lushness: in tones of green and gold and purple.
We almost always ate in the hotel, where the food was utterly divine (I am now on a VERY SEVERE diet! Desperate measures are called for.) But in Montefalco we were taken to a restaurant. There's a lot of Fat Duckery about, in Italy as well as here. I find that in establishments of this type, performance takes precedence over the enjoyment of diners, with constant tedious riffs about what we were about to eat. The (rather officious and pompous) waiter recommended one of the day's specials, which was...meatloaf, with ginger and lemon sauce. So a few of us thought that might be fun, and this is what appeared:
I have never photographed my food, but they say there's a first time for everything, so I did. I'm afraid we dissolved into helpless shrieks of laughter...May the Lord preserve me from ironic postmodern restaurants. The staff were not best pleased, since the whole restaurant was weeping in laugher...and indeed it must be frustrating to have your offering greeted with widespread
derision, but hey: they had it coming. I wondered at one point if this was a culinary metaphor giving the Finger to clients... At least there weren't little carrot balls at the base!
We then returned to the hotel to this view from the terrace:
On Friday evening, after dinner, we walked in to the village, where a jazz concert was taking place in the small central piazza. Saragano is built in golden stone, and fortunately wasn't affected by the recent earthquake in Umbria, though throughout the region there were many cancellations. The air was balmy, and the vibe--and the combo--was good. So we all danced in the moonlight (of course I kicked off my shoes). And then--the Devil made me do it--I went up to the keyboard player and asked if I could sing a number with him. When I was Head of English at Glasgow, when colleagues (charming though they were and are) were driving me nuts, one of the ways I dealt with it was by having jazz singing lessons. I think initially the keyboard player thought, Oh God, but then he asked me which key, and I smiled and said, 'Key of A.' I think that reassured him that maybe I'd done this a time or two before. And then I sang 'Summertime,' a tune which I absolutely love. People danced! Brits, Italian, everyone, and it was slow and smoochy. At the end I I got a rousing round of applause, and my friends and I went on to dance until the wee hours. Magical, and a night I shall never forget.
The following day, Saturday, we'd been invited to sketch in the gardens of the tower where the Count and Contessa live (they were away). Here's the place I found to draw.
And here's a view of the tower.
And here is a very majestic ginger tom. I think there will have to be a poem titled 'Gatto Italiano.'
Perhaps Leo, my neighbours' gorgeous cat, has been reincarnated in Italy as a Count's Cat.
And here I am the Morning After.
I'll leave you with a pastel I did of the view from the terrace.
Have a lovely week, dear friends. I may post more images of my Immortal Art over the coming days!
love, Susan xx