Saturday … we have been here almost two weeks and today I finally got the shower sorted out.
This hand held thing without a lip at the edge of the shower to stop the water flowing out is impossible.
A shower has to be a waterfall, a large one … and hot … !
With various contraptions of plastic curtain rail holders and the crazy twists of that mind of its own hand held shower pipe I finally got it right.
I am on own today, shopping that is …
Get the pollo cotto (roasted chicken whole) is the one instruction, due mantovane e quattro banane (two exquisite rolls called mantovane and four ‘banana’ rolls).
Also some milk, and yes, some mortadella too!
So off I go on my bicycle … there may be nine million bicycles in Beijing, but there are at least sixty million here in Italy.
And a million a year are stolen … or so they say … more likely half of those are taken accidentally by the geriatrics who cycle happily away having misidentified the bicycle that they ride away with.
The best way to deal with this is to be Taoistic as my son was: when the short sighted Nonna (granny) came out the shop in the piazza and rode off on his, he merely took hers and kept on riding it until she finally misidentified his which she now would have thought was hers, and took off on her own, which actually was her own and not his which was not hers in the first place …
The shop is sort of a Lakeside Spar which is now a Pick ‘n Pay. Apparently it was a De Spar before …
Probably only about quarter the size of our Lakeside shop and a tenth of the staff if that … there is the owner, the owner’s wife, the cashier, the Delicatessen Man, and the Vegetables Lady.
The owner and his wife sweep, deliver, act as impromptu additional cashiers, whatever is needed to serve the Customer.
As you walk in there is a ‘Buon Giorno’ from everywhere, from all five of the staff if they spot you at the same time.
Also from the other customers … you would think that you were a celebrity.
The Delicatessen section is ridiculous … it is just normal for them but it would be like Giovanni’s in Sea Point, Cape Town.
Cheeses and cold meats to die for …
You know how expensive bread is from my previous article, tomorrow is Sunday and it is closed, Nonno wants not four but six rolls, I cringe at the price.
The Delicatessen Man has Nonno’s normal daily two mantovane ready but he has added an extra one for Sunday.
He also wants three banane, I say to him, almost apologetic that Nonno would call them bananas.
But he understands what is needed … that is maybe what they call them!?
I did not get my arithmetic wrong either, I was not going to ask him to remove the extra mantovana he had been so considerate in adding to the normal two … that was so gentile of him … and yes it means ‘gentle’ and even more …
Then the mortadella … due etti (200 grams) and Nonno says that if there is more that is fine, do not be exact, that is brutta figura ( a ‘bad figure’ verbatim).
200 grams is about a dozen or two plus slices, very fine, but the thinness has nothing to do with the quantum of taste.
The slice can be infinitesimally thin, which is the sign of a professional cut, but it explodes with the same quantum of taste.
You could have two hundred grams in two million slices, two myriad slices, and the taste sensation is the same for each one.
Going home, I take a short cut that has me eventually in a long cut through the campagna, the fields.
I hope I do not get a puncture as I would have no clue on how to fix it anymore … but there is Gianni across the road and Renato too who could fix it so I can probably survive that mishap.
The bicycle is very important, it is my chaser, as Nonno gets on to his bicycle and tries to dash off un-escorted, short sighted, hard of hearing, and totally independent at 93.
To be chasing him on foot, yelling at the top of my voice as he feigns that he cannot hear me, would be undignified, uno spettacolo.
At mezzo giorno (symbolically because it is now closer to one) we sit down for lunch.
There is far too much, because he insists on the pollo cotto and then of course I have the mantovana and the mortadella too to have to consider.
Somehow I have not yet increased my waistline, so I do not deprive myself of the fresh mantovana and the mortadella.
Nor the wine …a Villa San Martino chardonnay 2014 for a mere 2.90 euros, about forty South African rands.
Probably just a basic table wine but it matches any Chardonnay I have tasted from our beautiful winelands outside Cape Town.
That said, you can end up with some gross no label bottles, so a quality South African remains a quality wine, regardless.
The mantovana was about 30 Euro cents, about four South African rands, whereas a ciabatta roll at the Lakeside Pick ‘n Pay is about R2-50.
It is the mortadella though that comes to the cost rescue … firstly if you can find it in South Africa you are lucky!
Secondly, at about a mere two South African rands or so a slice of taste sensation you can pack it into the mantovana for a super taste explosion!
Take that you beast of a South African pink polony … … now that is brutta figura, shameless too at about the same price!?
Throw in some cheese and the total roll is hardly a Euro, even with the exorbitant cost of bread!
But there is more good news … my bicycle does not have a puncture either.