In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest. “Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling…
Summer is late. Lettuce and rocket are growing slowly in the garden, shy yellow zucchini flowers play hide and seek behind the green furry leaves. Tomatoes have just leaves, not even flowers, but if I rub those leaves between my fingers I’m instantly thrown back into the lazy days of…
In my childhood dreams I would move on my own before my thirtieth birthday with a caring and beautiful husband who would resemble my father in every aspect. He would be able to build a shelf, hang a picture on the wall, fix the broken heating right when it’s snowing outside and bring a large and heavy basket of wood logs to light the fireplace when it rains. I know, I had pretty conformist dreams to be a child in the Eighties…
I used to dream a house in the countryside, because this is an essential part to me: I have always seen my life in a place surrounded by nature, I have never bothered coming back home with muddy shoes – maybe my mum did, since she had to clean … – or drive somewhere to buy bread or butter, as here in my tiny village you can just buy eggs from the farmer.
In a few weeks I will take the plunge. After my life changed one year ago – a new job and a new life project – this year it’s time to move. Though, since I’m Italian, a mummy’s girl, fond of countryside and a single lady, I won’t come on in leaps and bounds and move very far, let’s say I’ll make a dozen steps, those between my parents’ house and the entrance to my future apartment. Same view, same air, same lime trees that fill the air of a honey fragrance during summer, same light for my photos and same street number. But it will be my own apartment.
I’ll be completely all by myself. On one side I am excited, just imagine waking up in the morning under a fluffy duvet, getting up and walking around the house in silence with my anti-skid socks, working in the kitchen and not worrying about the mess, because I will slowly clean up everything later… thanks to the second-hand dishwasher I inherited.
On the other hand it is all new, all huge, all extremely expensive, nothing that can be shared cost-wise, like I buy the sofa you buy the bookshelves. So since it is not shared with anyone, I decided to buy the oven and the hob, ’cause it is fine to redecorate the house with what I find, but the oven… oh I want it good, functional and possibly with a good design. If you ask me, it is already the attraction of the house, there are guided tours if you’re interested. With the same ticket it is also included the breathtaking view that you can enjoy from the bathroom window, my friends can testify that it is worth the cost of the ticket…
We need some refreshment in this awkward summer. Hot as ever, it reminds the summer of a few decades ago, when the people used to gather along the river and near the old Roman thermal baths to enjoy the shade of old oak trees and the chill water of the spring, feeling on holidays even though just a few kilometres away from their usual houses. The towns are not empty yet, there are still a few cars running home to avoid the heat. The countryside is still, you only hear the crickets and a dog in the distance.
According to the weather forecast, this will be the hottest day of summer in Italy, but here we are ready to face it: an iced home-made drink, so fresh that you can still taste the citrus fruit, a glass out of the ordinary and a tropical shade of pink. Happy Sunday!
How would you call it? It’s like a lemonade, but you cannot call it lemonade, it’s made just with pink grapefruit… well, as Shakespeare said, what’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet. So define it as you prefer, by any other name it would be still so refreshing, with a pleasant bitter aftertaste.
Further on in the day, when the shadows lengthen and the breeze starts blowing, add a splash of vodka for a refreshing alcohol cocktail.
When in the afternoon I need a break to lighten up my mind and warm up my hands and my spirit, I put the kettle on the fire and brew a flavored black tea. The cardamom black tea is my latest passion.
When it comes to food, I am a fairly daring person, I taste with pleasure and a hint of challenge every kind of food, even those I might not like at first glance. Basically I am very curious and this pushes me beyond my comfort zone.
The same can not be said of my attitude towards drinking. You already know that I am basically a soft drink person, but do not be surprised if I tell you that I had the first sip of Coke when I was more than 25 years old, and obviously I did not like it. My friends laugh at me, saying I’m definitely more English than Italian as my favorite drink, at any time of the day, is tea.
I usually drink from 2 up to 6 cups of green tea a day – sencha or jasmine bancha tea – but in the morning or afternoon, when I need a boost of energy, there is nothing better than a strong cup of black tea flavoured with different spices accordingly to the season.
When a month ago I took the first breath of the evening fresh air and looked at my four weeks of holidays unwinding in front of my eyes, I suddenly felt a child again, full of projects and ideas scribbled down on sheets of notebook paper. The time expanded and I could not see the end of my vacation beyond the map of my journey.
Then, in the twinkling, here I am again, back to the starting point. I am still not completely aware of what has happened between that first night of holidays and this morning, when I left my light dresses and my flip flops for a more appropriate business clothing.
If I had a magic wand, I would like to live again this past month, I would press rewind on a remote control and review a few scenes that made me laugh so much, or moved me to tears. I would savour again my thirtieth birthday cake or the evening green tea in London, the first beer in Germany with my sister Claudia or the sweet idleness of a few gifted days.