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Red ochre wall

red wall in Marino, watercolour painting by Leanne Talbot Nowell

The westerly view from our terrace is dominated by the windowless side of a tall red palazzo. To counterbalance and feng shui the scene, we have a beautiful terracotta Madonna and Child from Impruneta near Florence. A long story for later.

Usually the swallows/swifts/house martins arrive from South Africa by the 4 th April (today). I notice them because it is the anniversary day of our own migration to Italy as a family. Twenty two years ago. Looking out over my first cup of coffee, there are no swooping black dots in the morning sky. Ramaphosa’s ‘hammer’ lockdown is working beyond expectations.

Simon’s cooking is always brown. Last night we had his famous PEPOSO, a delicious dark brown stew. Chicken the day before, a rather dark roast. The week has seen perfectly browned crepe, spaghetti with brown gaurum sauce. Strong coffee and tea, bread etc. He makes a killer chocolate mousse which is forbidden for now. Something you’ll notice after 24 days is your digestive tract will go into lockdown too. Unless you are lucky enough to have walks.

Renata had some friends over to visit! I wondered what all the noise was about and looked out of my spy window. There were two other oldies sitting on the balcony with her. She was obviously overjoyed. Which reminds me of the nurse who lives downstairs. She wrote me a whatsapp note saying she really liked the ‘pensiero’ (thought) painting – “mi sono emozionata”. I felt quite emotional just reading it. To be honest I made a print of the painting for her, on watercolour paper. I suspect she’s not really interested in hanging up a picture of the street so will paint her some flowers next time.

Simon is going by Vespa to the market to fetch the vegetables from the Farmer. It’s quite a procedure to sterilize everything when they come in the door. The bleach is almost finished and there is none in the shops. A bit of UV sunshine should help. Sunshine certainly keeps us happy, especially during lunch hour on the terrace. Simon is still reading that huge bible instead of taking a siesta, and has found a discrepancy between the first verses of Genesis and John. Genesis declares that in the beginning, first there was ‘light’, whereas John said in the beginning was the ‘word’. He wants to know what you think?

Our municipal app sends notifications in continuum. One can call them for free psychological counselling. Much to the chagrin of Simon, being our principal shopper, a notice IMPORTANTO arrived – an order for disciplined access to the supermarket over the Easter holidays. The first letter of your surname will determine when you can go to the shop. Will be interesting to see how many other surnames go with “Jutz” in Marino. Luckily for our locals, they can get free food and medicine vouchers from the Mayor. Each nuclear family can apply.

New infection rate was 4585 yesterday. But with Renata and others beginning to socialize again, we could be sitting on the peak for a while.

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