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Going bloggy

Italy lonely lockdown

It has been a week since we went into lockdown. People are still going to work so there is some movement, and I can hear building and vehicle noise. The loud speakers blasted us with ‘please stay at home’ messages this morning.

From my terrace I see quite a few oldies, all solitary and bored in their tiny apartments. Usually these ladies wander up the hill into town to chat with friends in the piazza. How sad it makes me to see them in this covid-19 situation. You wonder if lockdown is really the right solution?

I spoke to my Mom this morning. My parents and brothers are all in South Africa. I have no idea what will happen there. I think a total lockdown will be impossible. Beyond that, I don’t want to imagine.

Ok, enough said, back to the drawing board!

ps. For those who are already subscribed to this blog, I apologize for the onslaught of email notifications. Today I transferred my facebook posts to the blog….so there is some continuation. From now you’ll only get one per day, if you want.

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Applause for doctors and nurses

Leanne's art gallery

There were general applause from all the windows at midday, for the medical staff who are working very hard these days. A nurse, Marilina, lives downstairs, so I clapped extra loud, but I think she’s probably at the hospital. There are 3500 new cases today (18:00). Huge number because of the socializing that went on last weekend before the lockdown.
Death rate went down to 175 and the recovered rate went up to 527, so that’s encouraging.
Happy to tell you that a team of nine Chinese doctors have arrived in Rome and brought 31 tonnes of equipment with them! Respirators etc.

Our Health Minister is on TV reassuring people and explaining things. He has asked us to buy only “Made in Italy” products.

Simon went for a run around the lake. His was the only car parked there. There were four other rebels like him on the 10 km track. Lunch was a disappointing mush of couscous, but I promised him dinner will be divine.

I baked a batch of Ouma’s buttermilk rusks, which shatter with each bite, but they taste ok.

We need to go shopping for veggies and bread tomorrow. The local supermarket is about 200m from the house. Usually I would stop for a cappuccino at Wunderkammer Bar, but they’re closed. I will put on my mask and stand in line with a good distance between customers. I’ll let you know tomorrow how that goes.

I painted some cheerful yellow ranunculus today, but will need to do some touching up before showing them to you. Hoping the watercolour paper ordered from Amazon will arrive soon. Running out of paper here!
Made in Italy pink pastel peony for my mother.

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Yellow Ranunculus watercolour

Watercolour illustration of yellow Ranunculus

Cheerful yellow for you this Sunday. Today we ventured out to the farmers market, and were cheerfully greeted by the organizers. Fully masked and gloved of course.

There were very few customers but the market is bigger than ever, with nice wooden walkways all around. It’s very encouraging to see this, it almost brought me to my knees with gratitude. Sitting writing about it brings some tears and a lump in the throat.

Not for myself, but for everybody everywhere, a sign that things will be ok, that the world is full of people who will get up early in the morning and bring lovely fresh food to you.

That is love conquering fear.

Our neighbours across the road hung up their “Andrà tutto bene” (everything will be ok) flag on their balcony and we waved at each other.

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Venturing out

My house

Simon threw me out of the house this evening. He said we should take a quick walk and check if Marino is still jello. Weirdly eery, just the sound of our steps and police cars driving around to check that people like us are staying at home.

The church bells began to toll at 18:00. Lamp post speakers crackled to life. People appeared at the windows and stared down at us. Some were filming us. Simon tried to blend with a tree, but I managed to get this bit of footage before flying back to the safety of my nest in the loft.

Sad to say that 358 people died from coronavirus in the past 24 hrs, which is a record high. The average age of those who died is 80 years old.

The government are offering Eur 1400 per family to get people through this time if they can’t go to work. No mortgage, no utilities and no tax payments for now.

It is so good to hear the sound of birds and kid voices for a change. Usually the blacksmith hammering downstairs drowns out all pretty sounds. He makes amazing wrought iron gates and things, but heck, what a noise. Then there’s our busy, busy street.
Strangely there are no ambulance sirens! No tourist buses. And the sky is a lovely blue, with no crisscrossing airplane trails. It’s really peaceful.

By the way, the Amazon fairy delivered my art paper.

Walking in Marino

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Hello from my perch

Marino watercolour by Leanne Talbot Nowell

Hello from the ‘perch’ in my loft, which is quite messy. One advantage of living in lockdown is that you can be sure that nobody will see you without bra and makeup, except your poor long-suffering husband.
Usually at midday I hear a little “hunger” call from Simon who is teleworking downstairs.
We set the table and open a bottle of the best vino in our small collection. May as well make the best of it while we last.
Yesterday 250 people died from the virus in Italy. That’s worse than it’s been. We watch a lot of TV in the afternoon.
Thank heavens for whatsapp and facebook, they keep us connected. Someone organised a flashmob at 18.00, where everyone sang or played an instrument from windows and balconies. I played the tambourine and did a weird version of the tarantula – a mad dance from the south. Today we’ll do it again at midday. Even in lockdown this country rocks!
The watercolour you see here was painted a while back and it is now owned by my friend Carol. It features the main street of Marino, Corso Trieste, with the Church tower…which makes me think….for whom the bell tolls?

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Lockdown announcement in Italy – MONDAY – 9 March 2020

Leanne Talbot Nowell olives & birds painting

Last night the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, declared a nation wide “lockdown” from today. He is right, we must do what we can. Sitting here in my sunny studio painting flowers, seems the idyllic way to spend the days, but the thought of what is happening out there is not pleasant at all. It will be a while before I see my family and friends again. Take good care everyone. Like birds in the olive trees, each on his own branch.

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Lockdown Day 3

Blue primrose by Leanne

This little watercolour painted on our 3rd day of lockdown, with thoughts for the people, doctors and nurses all around us here, who are falling ill with the virus. Feels like the enemy has infiltrated the city walls and is hiding around the corner. 

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The police

Painting a white flower

The police have been driving up and down the road today yelling at people through a loudspeaker. Not sure why, but presume they found some rebel pedestrians. Simon is out ‘hunting’ at the local butchery, and I’m on the perch in my loft. We are allowed to go out for essential grocery shopping or to the pharmacy only.

See a video of the painting process.

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Terrace view

Leanne Talbot Nowell view from my terrace

View from my terrace. Quite a few neighbours sitting out on their balconies catching some winter sunshine. That’s the happy side of a lockdown. Queueing for the supermarket takes about an hour here in Marino. One must take a number and wait your turn to enter. They are allowing only a few to enter at a time. Luckily we did our big shop last week. Dried beans, lentils, rice and pasta. Long life milk too. I think the supply chain will be ok, so no need to go crazy. Just enough to avoid going every day.