|Wednesday 26th September 2007 Weather: - Overcast 21 degrees
(J) Overcast it was in more ways than one; I have been singing the praises of our little Clio but now I have to eat my words. We proceeded to plan and drove into Florence; got as far as Viale Francesco Petrarca, outside of the Torrigiani Gardens when Herman pulled over to check the name of the closest car park. When he tried to turn the car back on---silence---at least 6 phone calls to France and 3 ½ hours later the car was running again but only by jump starting it so now we have lost confidence, it has got to be more than a flat battery with the amount of mileage we have done. In an effort to get the car looked at properly another 8 phone calls were made each time getting on to someone who could not speak English (please ring back in 10 min to get on to someone who can speak English) or the telephone cutting out. All the time the battery of my phone was getting dangerously low so we decided to limp home and chance getting the car to Rome on Monday—if it cuts out again we will have to repeat the service call. We have decided that we only need to use it twice more; once for the drive to Cortona on Friday and then for the drive to Rome on Monday. Tomorrow we are going to Florence by bus so lets' hope the weather is OK. It is 7:45 at night and it has been raining for the last 45 min.
By the time we got home today, at 3PM, we were both very hungry; luckily we had taken a drink with us and also some very nice grapes that had been able to keep my blood sugars up so we thought 'we may as well go to a local bar to have a drink + pizza or sandwich (to get us out of the house). Only 1 bar left open—no food—sold out, the rest of the town including all shops and supermarket are closed "it is Wednesday, half day trading" the lady at the tourist information told us. I guess I should be happy that she had not gone home also? We could not go to the next town as she suggested because my phone was getting charged up and we could not chance the car not starting again without a telephone on board.
I tried to wash some dishes earlier on and found that there was no water coming out of the taps, after some coming and going to the laundry downstairs (where the water pump and heater is) we rang Rosaria in the next town "water crisis, I'm very sorry, the water is off in the whole town of Barberino Val D'elsa as well as in Tavarnelle" she told me in Italian "when will it be back on" I asked "maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, sorry" she told me. I was ready to move on then and there, good thing I have the steadying hand of Herman around anyway about 15 minutes ago we tried the taps again and we can now have a shower, use the toilet and make a cup of tea again.
To sum it all up Today Was a Total Write Off but one day out of 44 ain't bad. This does not spoil our holiday as I am sure in days to come we will have a good old laugh about it all but it certainly makes you realize how easy life is at home.
P.S made the risotto tonight but not quite as good as we had at Vila Tre's Jolie; not the same ingredients available, I will just have to keep trying.
Thursday 27th 2:30am
(J) Life is like a comic opera around here, and the joke is on us. Water crisis number two.
I woke up to thunder and lightning with a feeling that water was coming in through the bedroom windows. All the windows and doors have shutters on the outside and the bedroom windows have additional wooden panels on the inside to insulate against the cold of winter and the heat of summer(hence the feeling of entombment). In our efforts to not feel 'buried alive' we have decided to leave the shutters on the outside of the bedroom and kitchen open while at home. I got up to check if the water was comming in the bedroom window and found out we were safe; no water coming in so I waddled out to the kitchen to make myself a hot drink. 'Waddle like a duck' I did for as I stepped into the kitchen I discovered a flood with my feet. During the effort to step outside to unlatch and close the shutters I was drenched as well so there was I in the middle of the night mopping up the water, luckily I was seeing the funny side of it all; all the time that this is happening Herman is snoozing peacefully. Makes you realize what funny things you miss out on when you are asleep.