Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The red and the grey

Clouds sail through the Maiella and Morrone massifs

When Ross finally admitted he would like to go back to New Zealand, it was a shock.  In the early days of our relationship, he had said that he couldn't see himself moving back there, at least not soon.  Absence, it seems, makes the heart grow fonder.
I didn't take the news well.  Although determined to make changes so we could both be happy, it felt like a foundation stone of our relationship had just dropped out.  Not to put to fine a point on it, I am an "old world" creature.  I like to be able to see and touch history, and I love Europe.  New Zealand seemed incredibly far away.
After a while, however, I noticed a change in my attitudes.

Rosehips, from wild dogroses on the mountain road above Bugnara

Italy is frustrating.  Expats have a love-hate relationship with Italy, and so do most Italians.  How nice, I began to think, to live in a country where people care about green issues, where sexism, racism, ageism and most other prejudices are considered crimes, where agriculture works without subsidies.  How nice, on a personal level, to have a better chance of making ends meet because income exceeds expenses.
Today, blue mountains are cloaked in grey-white cloud.  The valley is a riot of maroon, vivid yellow and deep fir green.  We spent a glorious Sunday afternoon collecting more pinecones on the mountain path.  When they dry out, we'll use them as kindling.
We've gone through our 100kg (€12) of oak in ten days.  I guess we did have the stove lit for long periods in that.  If there are about 120 days of winter, that works out at €150 ish for the winter.  Not bad, in comparison to the thousands we've been spending on gas.  (Okay, I admit that we'll still use gas for showers and cooking, and that the stove only heats one room.)

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