December 21, 2008
I got up early this morning, needing to shake the sleep and some clingy bad dreams out of my mind. What better than an early-morning run with the dog?
It's a glorious day - 'Uno altro bello giornata!' calls my little old neighbour as Toby and I jog by. He's a keen gardener, and today he wants us to share some of his lettuces, fresh and smelling like pure green would smell, if it was a smell. 'Grazie tanto, e Toby ditto grazie anche' - we both thank you, in our dreadful Italian. We love garden presents!
Off we trot, to pass the next Italian garden. Now, this is one I've got my eye on. I am trying to work out how, in Italian, to ask about the multi-grafted tree in the front yard. It has lemons (citrone), grapefruit (that's pompelmo, right?), and at least 2 other citron fruit all grafted onto and happily growing on one tree. And once a year it gets all of its branches lopped off -- ohh, ouch, it looks awful -- but sproing, it comes back again and fruiting like mad. I want to know if I could do this to my lemon tree.
When we first moved in, I seem to remember telling Mr Tacc. about the 'scary' old man who stands on the street every morning, watching people walking past. Then we got a dog. Now, every morning, they have an open-armed reception, a big Italian-dog cuddle and lots of 'Ay!' hellos. My dog adores this man. Even when accidentally broad-sided by the hose (now, that was funny!) Soaking wet, Toby leapt over the wall, tail wagging furiously, he barked once at his friend as if to say - 'Hey! Look what you did to me! I'm all wet! Want to play again?!'
On Friday, a leaflet for classes at the Centre for Italian Studies arrived in the post. I'm pretty tempted. Not because I want to learn holiday Italian but for the gardening goss. I want to know how these guys get such amazing gardens with artichokes, aubergines, zucchini, and of course, rows and rows of tomatoes in the front garden. There's only so much you can say with words like 'bella verdure' and 'grazie'. And 15th century art history terminology. They didn't talk much about grafting in my textbooks....
I'm off to enjoy my cafe, panettone, e la bella giornata.