The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – and that’s just Trump – ok Sorry, not any Good There!

F2A41FE7-F218-44AF-B26B-38EE2E1E2859I got back on the bike again 3 days after my little mishap – nothing hurts but I still have road rash below my right knee.  I’ve started to venture further and further from Papiano, usually going generally west-ish.

66C0500E-18AC-4387-8BB1-80D508E4D8FDOn Sunday I took a little trip to Spina and back – we’ve driven through it before but never stopped.  It was a nice place, and the cafe/bar on the main road was full of motorcyclists.

40753EA8-7C2A-4037-BABF-6CF0AF2E612B3AA4E379-6F3C-4E30-8E72-AD88819A5EA9FAD93EE9-9BF1-43F6-878D-65ADA7BD7254Yesterday I rode to Compignano, which is a lovely village we drove to a week or two ago.  Just a km or so before the village I saw a dog on the side of the road – I had a hunch that I better boot it so I pumped the assistance up to the max and started pedaling as fast as I could.  Sure enough the dog came at me, snarling and snapping at my left foot.  I was going pretty fast but he kept up for quite a ways – I was screaming at the top of my lungs, but didn’t dare try to kick at it in case I wiped out.  He finally gave up the chase and I continued on to the village.

7BAC5774-8782-495B-84EC-58658984EFA7Since I didn’t want to risk encountering the dog again on the way back I took an alternate route – a small gravel track that led to another village we’d driven through before.  Almost right away I came upon a carabinieri (police) car, but they just nodded and passed me by.  

6C1058D6-4270-4F3F-87DF-580B9C6CC2EEThe road ended up being quite perilous – very steep up, where even with the highest assistance I had to work very hard, then so steep down there were warning signs about the gradient.  After my wipe-out last week I decided to be extra cautious and got off and hoofed it down. 

C3FF5D6D-75E3-4DCE-9A85-1A48AF5AD602I was going to say that I pushed the bike down, but it was more like I tried to hold it back – it seemed to take a long time to reach the bottom, and felt like I was walking on marbles the entire way.

24BA48F6-6461-4116-B41E-AFFCC6BDB7C2This morning’s ride was a bit longer than planned – I haven’t bothered to hook my Garmin GPS device up yet – although I had looked at a map – and thus ended up missing a turn and found myself somewhere totally unexpected and confusing just after passing through Villanova.

00CEB124-3CF9-4D59-92BE-614AA3F23B16Rather than compound my problem I just turned around and backtracked home.  I did pass through some lovely countryside on the way, however, and just put on a few more miles than planned.

627C7F6C-EF9D-4639-8421-7DEBA2DAE83AThe weather has been very changeable – lots of sun, but also fierce winds as well as pounding downpours.  We’ve watched a couple more Clint Eastwood movies, saving the best for last – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – a classic for sure.

26380B24-EA1B-48DF-8564-6346600C8038We went up to Deruta one day and got some more clay pots for a nice new succulent and the geraniums – the patio is looking very colourful!

And – I finally have to say…USA – WTF!!!

90707E82-21B9-49C1-A220-B8177E3938B2You can’t solve injustice with hate or violence, and the USA desperately needs a leader that isn’t such an incompetent dickhead!F8407371-8044-401C-9F11-0E8A951A313B

Morale Booster and Face Planting

16C02EA2-390B-4AC9-9293-81858BFBBE3FOn Tuesday we took the dogs for a nice walk along the ridge and on the way back we encountered a fellow we’ve seen several times now.  He speaks fairly good english and told us that there was going to be an aerial display above Perugia.  We kept walking and were just discussing if we should stay on the ridge to wait for it when we looked north towards the city as Colin said he heard something.

9B91298C-7F83-4755-9BA7-CEA84BE6D65ASure enough there was an italian flag appearing in the sky – red white and green smoke from the Italian Air Force Trecce Tricolori Display Team.  The wind was blowing fiercely but the flag was visible for some time.  It was pretty cool – the display team is flying over every ‘major’ city in the country over a period of 3 or 4 days to boost morale.

066B91CD-96E7-498D-B02E-73B66BB4667BThat evening Colin met with the owners of the cellar below us – he’s been wanting to buy it ever since he got the house but the old lady that owned it wasn’t interested in selling.  Now that she has passed on her three adult children are keen to sell, so Romena, who speaks fluent english, is now the go-between and interpreter. As long as the structural engineer says that all is good we should be able to make a deal.  Not only will it make great storage for the bikes, etc, but the ceiling of the cellar can be insulated so the floor of our living room and kitchen won’t be bleeding heat on cold days.

B2B0A252-4B09-4D09-96DE-DDFF13837C48We took another little trip to Trasimeno, this time going to one of our favourite restaurants – Il Ristoro in Monte Buono.  They had only outside tables, which were setup all over the lovely lawn under the trees.   We had excellent bruschetta to start, then for my main course I got the gnocchi with ragu – it was very good.  Another thing to go on my Ikea shopping list will be a potato ricer so I can make my own gnocchi.

A91FC901-361A-4EE0-BAAE-61098A5A3BAEI’ve been on a few more nice rides, although I had a mishap yesterday.  I was almost home from an 18km ride and was just coming down the very steep gravel lane from the ridge above us when I felt the rear tire sliding out.  I wasn’t going very fast as I ride the brakes pretty much the whole way down but there was nothing I could do.  I stuck my right leg out thinking I would just stop but because it was so steep there was too much momentum and down I went.

BD9E0A91-D7A7-4AAB-BDAC-9D9EF8FFA3C7I landed hard on my right knee and shin and barely had time to stick my hands out as I face-planted into the verge on the edge of the track.  It smelt faintly of mint, which is a lot better than the dog poo I could have landed in, and was also much softer than gravel or a face full of brambles.

I took a couple of breaths, then checked to see if anything was broken or bleeding – luckily nothing broken – not even my sunglasses.  My nose wasn’t bleeding, and my teeth were all intact.  I shakily got to my feet and looked down at my legs – left one not bad, but right one covered in dust and missing small patches of skin just below the knee.

B54224D6-90B3-4476-9C0B-6A651315E402It could have been a lot worse – I picked up my camera case, which had been thrown from the basket, then heaved the bike up and started walking down the hill.  I contemplated crying, but decided it wouldn’t help.  I didn’t walk far before I climbed back on the bike and slowly and gingerly made my way the last 150 meters home.

I washed my wounds as well as I could then applied some cream that Colin had in his first-aid bag.  We then headed down to the village for our morning cappuccino at the bar.  Later, after dinner, we watched the second of four Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns but couldn’t quite make it to the end.

Mo is sleeping with me now and is a little angel, although a bit of a bed hog, reminding me very much of my Sly kitty back home.

F4072E2A-9F91-4F1E-A875-2D7CB63ED095This morning the weather had turned ugly, so no bike ride.  My leg doesn’t feel too bad, but my muscles and joints are sore and the bridge of my nose throbs – wearing my glasses does not help the pain, but I don’t think the nose is broken.


Loosening up a Bit, and Finally Tripping to Trasimeno

EE93CC17-22A0-489C-8833-08C727FDF650We’re enjoying the loosening of the lockdown rules, visiting Antonio’s bar daily for a nice cappuccino (or glass of red, depending in the time if day) as well as a trip to a garden centre up near Perugia.  We’ve finally been advised that both the owner of the cellar below us and the owner of the empty lot next door are wanting to sell so we had a look at some plants to decorate the expanded terrace area.  We also picked up a few hangers for some geraniums Colin had already gotten.

EE8C26A8-C0A6-45EE-B519-3BB654CEC3875E818897-A532-4F48-B7B6-1ACDAB2FF277We also went to the large sporting goods store Decathlon so Colin could get some tape to replace the mangled area on his handlebars from his crash – there was a fellow at the entrance taking everyone’s temperature, and several tables with hand sanitizers.  Luckily I still have my lovely lavender spray that I brought with me, and also everyone was wearing facemasks.

77718E50-578A-4E57-99F6-E6ECBB0DD4B7Mo and Henry had a little kerfluffle one night at bedtime – I think she gets a little jealous of him at times and feels the need to prove her dominance, although she’s barely half his size.  She happily spent the night with me in my room to keep the peace.

4B1F55EA-EA8E-4E48-A7A8-9F9E6C7261EBOne of the doctors that changed Colin’s dressings at the clinic actually has a small office in the village, right above the little Conad store – he visited her one day and got all of his prescriptions renewed.  When he asked what her fee was she said ‘oh no – we’re friends!’.  He did need a second round of antibiotics for the elbow gash, but the stitches were removed a few days later.

8065BD82-67FE-48FB-BD1B-480210F623F0I’m still going on lots of lovely rides, although trying to get out a bit earlier in the morning before it gets too hot.  Everything is so green and lush looking, and the air is so clear – it’s just beautiful wherever you look – bright, vivid colours and I am just loving being ‘stuck’ here.

D465512A-17B9-4B51-B046-F467F187AD16BD802E2C-99C9-4BC6-88F2-58490AF0520BThere was another gathering of the locals down below us who’ve been helping clear the overgrown brush – our neighbour saw me on the terrace looking out and motioned for us to join them.  We brought down some of my tzatziki dip with carrot sticks and a bowl of mixed nuts as our contribution – not quite as impressive as last week’s meatballs, but better than nothing.

B947F5A8-E8F4-4DDC-A64C-34B957F98178There’s also been a nice cleanup of the small park/memorial/fountain in the village square – they painted the benches as well as the inside of the fountain and it really looks smart.  It’s got to be one of the nicer village piazzas around.

85A584B6-10C9-47C9-B4E1-EB53B9382A4DWe took a nice little trip to Lake Trasimeno today and it was just beautiful – the water was a gorgeous green, although the dead fish all along the shore weren’t so nice.

657EC272-A8EA-4822-894D-6A2270B5E311755D3489-5F74-44CB-950D-E5720DF33AF2The little ferries aren’t running again yet, and there weren’t that many people about – especially screaming kids.  It was quite lovely strolling along the waterside promenade.DD4C8FD2-0DC4-4BD0-AAA5-32071A94FB17075C03F7-CA2E-44E6-8645-CAF5FBF09104AC26876E-C0F4-4F13-8688-46302813F4E7

Compignano, Henry gets a Haircut

77A705C8-9E4A-4C36-BED7-EA632B781E68We’re still sticking pretty close to home, although I have gone on a couple of nice bike rides, and we did take a drive to the nearby village of Compignano, which is within the ‘Comune di Marsciano’.

2EF33476-8979-4712-BBAA-6BB5E681672BCompignano is a lovely place, with the old part of the village on top of a hill, and dates back to at least 1240.  We walked all through it, and got some good views of the countryside to the west.

01EC464B-4EE1-4E60-908E-4CEB170C201414A06E49-F60C-4669-A39E-C9330DB2C47A2359BC8B-BE2F-4E1E-8ED9-D39BB70A677F15E73092-F296-49EC-8691-E28A66E518FFOn one of my rides I ventured a little further than usual, trying to see a little more of the surrounding area and villages, and how the back lanes and tracks connect to each other.

7FF2D5C5-AA33-47C3-B777-BFA474F57646On Sunday evening the folks that have been clearing the overgrowth below us invited us – via Angelo – to join them for a bit of food to celebrate their efforts. It was very nice of them to include us, and we brought mini-meatballs that I’d prepared for our dinner (they were a hit).

520AAFA2-53CB-44CE-8894-771F5A977442Henry got a haircut and looks very smart – its amazing how shaggy he was getting already.

1D887502-AD46-47E3-B19C-5BA8FBC7FBDEEach day we get to see one or two stages from previous years’ Giros – the other day we got the second-to-last day of the 2012 edition that Cdn. Ryder Hesjedal won.

6AAF4FC2-9726-457B-911B-9B4A6C25F9B7Yesterday some of the lockdown restrictions were eased so we headed down to the bar to say hello to Antonio.  He and his wife were there, but they weren’t actually open – they’re doing a thorough cleaning and expect to be up and running again in a few days.  He did give us a gift, however – a very nice bottle of red wine that he opened for us so we could sit on a bench in the square and have a glass – it was lovely.8E019989-DEDF-4306-A1CF-9088428E98B2

Full Moon Splendour and Bike Ride Mishap

6627E53C-8C94-4AB6-A927-677BE0213D3CThe last week has had a few exciting happenings.  First, we’d started going on daily bike rides again – yay!  We’ve taken solo rides in the mornings, as we have quite different preferences as far as the riding goes.  Colin likes to ride as hard as he can most of the time, while I tend to take more time and look at the scenery and stop frequently to take photos.  My bike also has wider tires and front suspension that makes it easier to handle the rutted and rocky back tracks better than his.

D9707CB4-C035-4E16-80FC-8C73D48F8B73Another unusual happening had to do with ticks – Colin showed me what I could have sworn was a grey pebble about a half-inch in diameter, but it wasn’t.  He’d taken Henry to the vet and gotten a tick collar for him, and it worked.  The ‘pebble’ was actually an engorged tick and when it was turned on its back the tiny black legs wiggled – very gross.

3640B744-6DAE-47D3-B9E6-DAE8D7E57483The next exciting thing was the full moon rising on Thursday night.  I’d looked up the time and approximate direction so we took the doggies for an evening stroll up the hill.  Within a few minutes we saw the first sliver showing just above Collepepe in the east, almost exactly where we’d expected it.  It was beautiful, and I did get some good photos, although the colour was much deeper and more spectacular in person.

4AE01F57-732B-4871-97AF-5285396B7979The last exciting thing wasn’t a happy one – Colin had gone for his morning ride and I was all ready for his return so I could go for mine.  But when he did return he told me there was a little problem – he’d hit one of the many potholes on the road leaving Papiano Stazione and taken a bad tumble.  In his sixty-odd years of riding (and racing) it was the only bad fall he’s ever had.

A passing car had stopped to help him, and the lady in the nearest house stuck her water hose through the fence so he could hose some of the blood off and assess the damage.  The motorist thought he should call an ambulance but Colin refused, instead riding the 2.5 km back home, with the car following slowly behind to make sure he got here ok – what a nice fellow!

8B8324C7-2F36-44F9-98EE-79D6D0AA85A0I was super helpful – I managed to not faint or puke when I saw Colin’s injuries, then went nextdoor to see if Angelo could take Colin to the hospital.  Unfortunately Angelo wasn’t answering so I went to the young couple’s house in the nearest piazza and luckily they were home.  Even though they were preparing for a family lunch – the first one allowed in about 9 weeks – they immediately agreed to help.  Simone came right up to the house with me and escorted Colin to his car and off to the hospital in Perugia.  Marsciano is much closer, but apparently the hospital there is now exclusively for covid patients.

Simone stayed at the hospital for hours, only leaving after making sure they would call him as soon as Colin was fit to leave, which was about 4 ½ hours after arriving.  Colin said that the hospital was great – one of the first things they did was take his temperature to see if he might have covid, then they cleaned his wounds.  The cut on his left forearm was the worst – apparently it was down to the bone and required six stitches.  Otherwise it was a bunch of road rash, and also a tooth got knocked out.  And thank god for helmets.

151D392C-E78E-4DFE-A9F7-519B2E4AF6A2A second dog chariot was ordered, and arrived the next day – now I’m eagerly awaiting the delivery of my new pasta making machine.  Another wonderful lamb roast was enjoyed for Sunday dinner, and spaghetti with cream sauce and truffles is on the menu tonight.C6016004-86B6-49FC-B63F-E8CDBBA9372F


Birthdays, Bikes and More Ticks

32E602B5-EE56-4EFB-AB08-2A149AC728C6Yesterday was a very exciting day – some of our lockdown restrictions have been eased and we were allowed to get on our bikes again.  We hooked the chariot up to my bike and Henry got his first ride.  He wasn’t sure about it to begin with with and we had to stop and shorten his tether, but I think he did enjoy it.  Once we’re allowed to drive further from the village we’ll probably get a second chariot so each dog will have their own – Henry kind of sat on Mo some of the time, although she didn’t seem too bothered.

A2A03402-E7FF-4359-BA63-31A991C930BDI was a bit nervous at first, being responsible for the doggies’ safety, but it wasn’t too bad.  And because my bike has a powerful motor even the climb up to Castello Delle Forme wasn’t a problem.  There’s a great view from the top – you can clearly see Perugia at the north end of the fertile plain with the Apennines in the distance.

E678E005-40B5-4436-BE9C-7800DA496DD3Last weekend was Angelo’s birthday so Colin gave him a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label as a gift.  Three days later it was Colin’s 75th, so Angelo joined us for an after dinner glass of red wine.  He brought two gifts – one was a beautiful black and white photo of Mo and Henry that he’d had blown up and framed, and the second was a jar of black truffles.

9EE2896D-254E-4D6C-8E5C-7A77D0357381Colin’s birthday dinner was much simpler than planned – we’d hoped to be able to have several of the locals we’ve come to know over for a party, but of course that couldn’t happen.  I’d made a great list of appies to make, but that will have to wait.  In the meantime I made a delicious pizza from scratch – I’m getting pretty good at making pita bread, and didn’t have to change much to get a decent pizza dough.

AF540FCA-4638-4B02-A761-375E670EEFDBWe had some of the truffles a day or two later in a nice cream sauce over pasta – it was so tasty I made it again the next day.  I’ve been trying out recipes from an Italian cookbook that’s been in the campervan for years – another great success was beef roast marinated in red wine.

E2166BCE-729B-444A-842D-FCE50E76273AOne morning last week a couple of folks dressed in blue and yellow hazmat-type suits came knocking on everyone’s doors to hand out free face masks.  I haven’t needed to wear mine yet but Colin puts his on when he goes to the store.  We also had to print updated authorization forms that we carry with us whenever we go out, along with our passports.

E75A46A0-E09C-4BB2-AF0A-D19AC691784DWe watched the last episode of the Borgias last night, and are both very disappointed that there wasn’t a final season to wrap all of the story lines up.  We quite enjoyed our one episode per night watching, and will now have to choose something else.

67EA8E42-4E7C-4929-8717-2C02007B6BD2We’ve lucked out a couple of times when checking out Rai Sport – they occasionally have been showing old cycling races such as previous years’ Amstel Gold as well as a bit of a past Giro or two.  We’re still hopeful that we’ll get to see some live races later in the summer, but aren’t holding our breath.

B2B96A1E-7EB5-44F2-9AD7-35271F9E7730Our daily dog walks are now followed by daily tick hunts.  Henry especially seems to pick up a lot of them.  His coat is getting shaggier but of course the grooming places are all still shut.  Mo’s coat is much shorter so the ticks are easier to spot and pick off before they start burrowing.

2B01DD4D-27A3-4C89-AD5A-3EB4A975BED2A couple of days ago we were sitting inside when I heard a loud noise – when I looked out onto the terrace I saw that not only was it raining on our drying laundry, but the wind had picked our sunshade/umbrella right out of its base and blown it across the terrace.  I scrambled to get the laundry off the drying rack before it got soaked, and Colin retrieved the umbrella and got it back in its base.  Such is our excitement these days!FDA26A80-0247-4051-9A45-BAB91A874A50

Hanging Out and Hanging In

BA5B4E85-03FF-4B1A-9846-3A7F243A4EEAMore of the same for the last week – nice sunny days, a few rainy ones, and a bit of fierce wind – dog walks and meals are the highlights.  We feel very fortunate to be where we are right now.

429775BA-8CD4-42A1-8632-B9B19153664600936B29-928E-4E6C-AF31-BF5EC9B0484614D51974-92D7-48CC-BEDE-8A9419E691B7Another work-party of locals continued to clear the choking vines and weeds down below us – when we went to have a look we were offered homemade donuts – we’re almost like locals now!

001CDBF1-803A-4835-AD70-850D8F4B6BF503F5467A-16EC-487E-8331-C855746688F1Some good news this morning – we might be able to start riding our bikes again a week from now, although we still won’t be able to venture outside the general area –  the ‘commune of Marsciano’.

9354D25D-D959-4218-93F4-7E4826E21362992ECCDD-2B83-4490-BB3C-B5A8A06839367A6C41B7-9934-47E9-B5D8-9BC370836A45Chairman Meow apparently has a new ‘brother’ but Angelo says they don’t get along very well – we haven’t seen him yet as the dogs, especially Henry, don’t let cats get too near.

0F6249D6-6244-4E98-83CA-C6A842C59D50We still have to queue at the supermarket and almost everyone still wears face-masks, but hopefully the tide is starting to turn.

CFB7E621-15E5-4B50-BCCC-8D9462D1BF01I have a new pet spider – it’s on the fence of the terrace and spent most of one day mummifying a bee.E3E4D233-984E-4FFC-AA6F-D2D76A49006D