Palazzo Journal - Day 3

Day 3, Friday 8.2.

This morning I am having breakfast with my winter coat on. Angelo always says: “copriti!” – cover you! – So that’s what I did. I feel strange but warmer. However, my mother-in-law is down with an influenza.

At 9 am we are at the construction site. The electricians are lamenting that they are waiting for the architect since 8.30. We are discussing the level of the floor of the mansard. To have an even level, somehow, someone has suggested raising the floor level by 16 cm. There is a brick on the floor and a meter lies on top to visualize the effect. My husband stands on that brick and bends his head to not touch the roof beam. Oh, no! Then he will not be able to cook! The kitchen area will be for short people only! Excluding me, of course. - Oh, and the level should not be the same all the way through the mansard? There will be a step, around here, where we plan a sofa… mmh… impossible! - We decide to further discuss this when the architect shows up.

Meanwhile we continue with the electricians to determine the positions for the lights and light switches, room by room. At 9.30 the architects arrives. We decide that the floor level of the mansard first has to be reduced in one part to allow the tubes for water and electricity to lie underneath. Then the floor will be stabilized with an iron net and at the end they will raise the level to the actual one. And there will be no steps.

After this important and unexpected decision it is time for the bar. It is Friday and our Bar Belvedere is closed. That is the winter schedule. Therefore, l' architetto, Angelo, CC and I are heading for Bar Ercole, the other best gelateria in town. A very friendly owner of an uncertain middle age is serving us drinks and potato chips. His father is drying glasses. I just imagine that they are family. Black and white pictures at the wall show the older men at the age of the younger man. They look alike. The younger men smiles at us. I feel he knows who we are and I wonder what he thinks. Maybe we should not only have a drink here on Fridays.

With the 12 o’clock bell chimes we spread out. The architect back home for lunch, Angelo back to the construction site - the plumber wanted to come again – and CC and I do the grocery shopping and get some medicine for la nonna . We meet Angelo at the palazzo and since the plumber did not show up we all go home to Vibo Marina. L. was playing with CC’s old Lego and had built an airplane.

After lunch, in the early afternoon we go back to the palazzo and take L. with us. At 3.30 we meet the young Signor G., the smith, which could do new window grills for the four windows of the main facade. The young man had brought two thick catalogues full of wrought iron work for windows, gates, fences, balconies, beds, chairs, shelves, you name it. As the sun comes out we enjoy sitting on the bench in front of our house and flip through the catalogues. CC and I have no clue! But we like that iron bed, Mediterranean style. And we know that the window grills should not be “prison style”.

Two windows could have a ‘belly’ (like in the left picture) and the windows over the doors should be flat. The young smith suggests having a decorative border that consists of design elements similar to those of the balconies and the one over the main door. That sounds good. He promises to make a drawing for us by tomorrow. I wonder why I have not done that by myself - a drawing after a detailed Internet research before making such an important decision. I tell myself that any iron grill from Signor G. will look better then what we have now.

Meanwhile L. has observed the lonely worker that restores the window frame of the living room. With a broom L. keeps himself busy cleaning the walls and the floor. He is happy to hear that we are ready for more ice cream. This time we can sit outside in the sunshine. For a picture we take of the hats we have been wearing.

On the way back home we stop half way and go for a walk along the sea. A fantastic evening light embraces the landscape. The sun drops behind cliffs and the sky is tinted in bright pink and orange. The lush grass along the gravel path is intensively green. The surf hits the rocks that protect the coastline. What a wonderful atmosphere. Angelo and CC walk faster then me and L. They seem to look for something. They climb around the rocks and carry a heavy stones back to the path. It is a black lava stone, and to be more precise, it is a former paving stone that has been used in the piazza of Pizzo. Some years ago, when the piazza was renovated the entire old pavement was thrown out. Apparently it was too slippery when it was raining. The old stones appear here and there, thrown in hedges or on the beach. Some people have collected them for their flooring at home. We found some of them in our garden. But not enough. One morning, before our arrival in Pizzo, Angelo had discovered several of these beautiful black paving stones while he was out for an early walk. You need to know: these stones measure around 40 by 20 cm and are extremely heavy, maybe 30 kg. And you need to know: to abstract stones or even sand from the beaches in Italy is illegal. Therefore I am not explaining further what I saw two men doing with the help of an umbrella and a rope this evening at dusk.

Later in Vibo Marina, two men and a little one went for a walk. But I went to the hairdresser for a simple shampoo. I never had a better reason then a cold bathroom with unreliable warm water supply.

The Journal of our construction site vacation is to be continued...

Note: Any similarity to living persons and realities is purely coincidental. The text is subject to the artistic license.