I can't tell you how happy I feel right now, at this very point in time.
Sitting here in the piazza, sun beating down, last day of October 2014.
I feel it swathing, hugging my entire body ~
This small embracing piazza, the centre of where I have sat, (now live), for more than ten years.
I sit at a small table for three, the Italians being so superstitious would not place chairs for two or four!
Umbrella shaped trees flank either side of the large Comune door in big antique stone pots.
Step into the entrance hall and you will see the stone staircase running to the top of this huge building, linking all the floors and rooms, one of which houses our Sindaco, (Mayor), Enzo Manenti.
A man close to my heart...... having agreed to help me obtain planning permission for the land we had bought, all those years earlier, from criminal English estate agents.
How many times had I ran up to his office for a fragment of news, sometimes to offer additional information, over the course of months, more than a year........the tears that were shed and final joy, elation when he announced to Jim and I that indeed he had obtained the necessary documentation.
He closed the huge shutters and wiped across his brow, phew!
We had done it!
We had done it!
He could so easily have turned me away at the beginning, after all, I am English he didn't have to help me!
A moment so deeply touching, never to be forgotten ~ now etched within me.
"Come la vita", (how is life), Bugelli announced as he walked past me towards the entrance to the bar.
"Bello", beautiful I reply, thinking, we all have our worries and gosh mine are deep at times, but I choose to live each day and notice all the little things in life that make me so very happy.
I do what I can for others and remain positive with a glad and thankful heart, conscious too that life is a very fine line.
We are here to help one another to be more tolerant, must be glad for all the things we have.
I count my blessings daily.
The castle standing proud, opposite the Comune building takes up almost the width of the piazza.
Dating back to the 12th Century I admire the heavy chestnut doors and try and imagine how many rooms inside.
Bugelli reappears, lights a cigarette and sits at my table.
Noticing the small branch, awkwardly stuck through my jute bag, he tells me the name in dialect, Peti.
I had picked it up as I walked down the hill into the village, with the idea of placing it decoratively across the top of the glass cabinet.
He knew all about this tree and it's healing qualities of the fruit with a nut in the centre.
Good for the intestines apparently.
Bugelli is a well known and loved musician, also sings, and a great friend of Zucchero.
When mentioning Zucchero, I replied asking if he is at home at the moment or on tour, at home apparently, which is very close to here.
Bugelli proceeds to tell me that he has also sang about Peti, he sings Blues, Rock and Folk music.
Apparently you eat them in the evening, after dinner before going to bed, amazing healing properties, he was bought up on these beautiful shaped fruits.
We talked some more about the importance of natural medicine, a subject I strongly believe in, far better than pills and potions, he agreed.
He informed me of another plant, La Malva, a great one for tooth ache.
Mauro has some growing in his orto, he tells me, so I will ask him to show me the plant next time I am passing.
Bugelli is one of life's wonderful characters, a colourful individual who sports his own unique style.
I felt privileged to be sitting here chatting in Italian with him in the glorious sunshine.
He had a lot to do that morning he told me as he got up, proceeded to give me information about the children singing with him on Tuesday in the piazza at 11am.
On that note he tipped his hat, took my hands in his, drew them towards his lips, gently kissing them and wished me a good day!
My attention was slowly drawn back to the piazza and all the life coming and going, voices chattering, friends, neighbours greeting, hugging kissing one another.
This is the place where everyone meets, people who were born here, families who have lived in this village for generations, a community living side by side.
A community supporting one another, when a member passes on to the next life, the same announcement is posted around the immediate area, a different name and age, the same public notice because everyone will attend the funeral and when the church is full to the gunnels they will stand outside to pay their last respects.
Many of them share the same beliefs, linked by the Catholic Church, everyone has, more or less, the same service at their funeral.
A few ladies embrace, exchange a few words, and laugh before entering into the butcher's shop, opposite to where I am sitting.
Folk come and go from the Comune perhaps making an enquiry about a bill or speaking with the Mayor.
Voices chattering people laughing, all seem content to pass the time of day interspersed, of course, with the traditional kissing of each cheek or hugging whilst patting a firm hand across the back.
It's warm, very warm in every sense with a gentle breeze occasionally stroking my cheeks.
Deliveries being made to the bar, a man with a barrow stacked, bar all decked for Halloween.
Someone calls across the piazza to me, feeling blessed feeling I belong, that we too are part of this caring community.
My mind winds back to earlier this morning, when I climbed out of bed, then realising I needed a few provisions and still no car.
Even so the weather beckoned and I needed the exercise!
I pulled on my very old Timberland boots, not one for labels, I bought these because they were, still, are incredibly comfy.
They had become a bit shabby around the uppers, so I found a lovely lady with a sewing machine in a street in China, a few years ago, bought a strip of fabric and asked her to restitch over the top.
They looked terrific, she made a fantastic job and no other pair in the world!
Stepping out in the fresh morning air, I had started walking with a skip in my heel eager to meet the day.
Minutes later I saw Mauro at his orto busy clearing out the little rustic kitchen.
An invitation ~ he asked that we should join him and Carla, together with Laura, Luciano and Alberto, his sister-in-law Angela the following day.
How wonderfully unexpected, Saturday and Sunday are festa days, All Saints and All Souls where they all honour their loved ones by taking flowers to the cemetery and light candles.
Lovely that we should be asked to spend time with them on such a family day.
Feeling thrilled, I continued along the track, inhaling the earthy woodland smells, fir cones, leaves, interwoven with wafts of honey, wild mint and sweet clover.
Passing the beautiful ancient shrine, Santa Maria.
I think of the festival day each year during September when prayers and thanks are made for the chestnuts and other fruits provided within the woodland.
Taking pleasure from the bright light glinting through the trees, I watched the occasional butterfly flit across my path.
Scrunching golden leaves as I walk, scrutinising my surroundings, so as to notice splashes of wild mauve flowers, rich brown chestnuts peeping from their protective spiky casing and all other treasures found whilst within such a naturally inspiring place.
I reached the bottom of the track, by the church and followed the
main road down towards Licciana Nardi.
I hadn't walked far when I saw Laura and Alberto driving towards me.
Alberto stopped the car, wound down the windows and Laura hung her head towards me, we shared a joke about me being on foot again!
They had just been to pick up flowers from the local shop to place on family graves.
We mentioned our invitation to Mauro's orto, left saying we would see each other at 2.30pm the next day.
Continuing my downhill walk I marvelled once more over the spectacular views, drew another deep breathe slowly exhaled and felt so glad to be alive.
I had reached my destination. ~