Sunday, 15 July 2018

And today, being Sunday*, I worked.

We knew that I needed to set at least half a day aside to photograph the house inside and out, and so because Chris had a dodgy tum this morning it was expedient to make today photo day.

This is a little outside my comfort zone. I’m happy to take a scene as presented by nature and make the best I can of it, but house interiors require arrangement, ideally with careful lighting, sometimes ultra-wide angle lenses that I don’t yet own and the flexibility of a contortionist coupled to the climbing ability of an orangutang to get your head and camera into the right place for it all to come together.

So I tidied & cleared our stuff in the rooms we’d used, made beds, arranged plates of food and fruit, smoothed coverlets, opened windows, placed garden herbs etc. I don’t really know if the shots will be OK, but I hope so. Chimping (checking the image on the back of the camera) is no substitute for viewing properly on a big screen, and I understand why some professionals work tethered to a computer for interior stuff.

After lunch we drove across to one of the villages we can see on the next ridge over – Casale – and went for a walk to explore and take pictures of this house from across the valley. Casale was quite small, much of it inaccessible without going onto private land and semi-deserted, so we carried on up the road, passing through another hamlet and then past an obviously English-owned house, signposted 'Sandersons Casa Flori'.

Eventually the un-made trail went down at a steepness that we didn’t want to walk up again – what goes down must come up – so we turned round and headed back. While passing Casa Flori again, Chris called out to the person in the garden, who turned out to be from California, and along with his wife, renting the place for a number of weeks. We ended up being shown around the house which was lovely inside. In complete contrast to the usual Italian buildings round here, normally 3+ stories, probably because the ground floor is always too damp** to live in, this was a bungalow with upwards pretentions to use the loft space.

As we walked back in the direction of the car, Chris realised she was getting sunburnt on the backs of her legs – a little surprising considering how much time she’s already spent in the sun. Back we went then, with a few photo stops on the way, to spend the rest of the afternoon sat in the shade, reading and listening to the drone of bees working the lavender bushes, plus the occasional rustle from the local lizards.

Having gone all ‘Home and Gardens’ earlier, I ended up making bunches of Lavender to hang from the light fittings, plus a bunch of rosemary for the pan rail. I’m hoping it might help with the ‘scent’ of the place after it’s closed up until the next set of visitors arrive.

Dinner was me again, then off out for a drive down a small road to see where it came out (on the Ascoli Piceno road, that’s where). A quick walk round Roccafortino (mean looking place with a long name, strong reminders of Bosnia in architecture and lack of wealth). We also went for an explore by car, and ended up in a lane so narrow there was barely room to reverse out of it, let alone turn the car round. Home again, just in time to finish off photographing the outside of the house in ‘blue hour’ with the lights on and shutters open for that warm, homely look. The sky obliged nicely with some interesting clouds and a graduated glow behind the building.

Tomorrow we plan a trip to the coast – Podesa is the nearest seaside town, and comes recommended by our hosts, so that’s where we’ll head. If it works out that way. ;-)

*I often work on a Sunday, like anyone else who 'does stuff' in church. Sunday is inherently a day of work, and has been for decades.

**Subsequent information is that houses in that region don't get a conventional damp-proof course because when there's an earthquake the house simply shears along the damp course and falls down. A damp ground floor is all part of the bargain, just like our livingroom.

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