On the Italian family and some sandals

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


Today, a pair of designer sandals travelled to our lakeside village in Italy.

A friend of Nonna (Grandma), who lives in Menaggio, the next village along, had transported them to us on his way home from work, so that we might take them to the tailor and have new straps fitted onto them.
We did so, and then cycled the 4km mountain pass to Menaggio to deliver them.
On the way down to Nonna's house, we stopped at Zia's (auntie's) shoe shop to say hello.

Zia gave us a necklace which was a little too large for her, so that we might take it to Mamma and have a few of the blue glass beads removed from it. Then she gave us a jar of the freshly made strawberry jam that she sells at the Sunday market.

We walked through the tight, cobbled streets to Nonna's house, saying hello to a few relatives on the way. Nonna said that we should leave the designer sandals in the clothes shop of Zia's sister, so that the customer who had requested the modification might pick them up later.

We walked down the hill to Zia's sister's clothes shop - built in a shady orifice under the church tower. We left the sandals and then asked her if she had any dried oregano which we could use to make pizza. She said that she would give some to figlia (daughter), who would bring it to us as she passed through our village in the car. We were leaving the shop when Nonna called and asked Zia's sister to ask us if we could help her move some things from her old house.

We left the clothes shop with a bag of coat hangers, and the church clock began to chime midday. The sun beat down steadily on the village, and the gelsomino plants which straddled the walls seemed to open up and fill the walkways with the smell of warm vanilla ice cream.

We headed to Nonna's old house, where her sister and 2 other nuns were arguing about whom the oil portraits hanging on the wall belonged to.
We each carried two boxes of old clothes to Nonna's new house, where she gave us two large bottles of olive oil. One was for us, she explained, and one for a friend of hers, who had left her some sour cherries.
The sour cherries could be found by following the road around the lake until the 4th village. Just before we entered the 4th village, there would be a small hill with three houses in a line, on our right-hand side.
The cherries would be hidden in a garden shed around the back of the 3rd house. We picked up the cherries, around 5 kilos worth, and left the oil in their place. We then cycled on to Mamma's church-house, where we ate a lunch of Torta Pasqualina (Spinach and boiled egg tart), albicocce (apricots) and sour cherries, whilst the necklace was being modified.
Upon leaving, we were given the necklace and a large jam tart with the name 'Carlo' written on it in pastry, which we had to deliver to cugino (cousin) for his birthday. Sorella (sister) also needed her phone charger taken to Menaggio, as her phone was running out of battery.

Back in Menaggio, we pushed open Zia's door (unlocked), and walked up the stone stairs into the house.
Nonna, Nonno, Zia, Zio, fratello, fratella, cugino and i nipotini (the grandchidren) were all eating lunch around the table. Mini pizzas, piadine and fruit were all thrust in our direction. We returned fire with a jam tart, sour cherries, a phone charger,  and a necklace.

Nonna gave us the keys to her house so that we could drop off the cherries and take some eggs & zucchini. Our bags were full of food by this time so Nonna drove them to the top of hill and left them with the people in la farmacia (the chemist), so that we could pick them up and then freewheel downhill all the way home.

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