Friday, September 4
I stayed up far too late last night, but I have no regret because I love the quiet and peace of it all. I finished the Rome egg and have to find a post office. I don’t think I will paint one here. I was about to go get coffee, but it seems there is a Tai Chi class going on so I shall lay low until the madness passes. I am in a very good mood today and optimistic about making an effort to shut up and be nice. It’s only a week so surely I can get through without any bloodshed. I shall try to be kind to Freda and will focus my mischief on AntHony and Jane.
Diana is wearing my favorite skirt yet. It’s dark with light flowers and she has a pink sweater. She told me today about her garden and it was an excellent way to start a new day. She is carving dragons and it sounds absolutely beautiful.
Kris is flustered as to how to get me to Pinocchio. I can’t tell her enough I can figure it out, but she seems to get something out of the drama, so I shall leave her to it. Kris is Chris (the instructor’s wife). She is not an artist, but rather lord and master of the kingdom. From the little we have spoke, she loves animals, her home and entertaining. I think we started out fine, but since rejecting the opera and brazenly making plans to go to Pinocchio, she seems to be on edge every time we talk. Today I was told if I stay behind on opera night, I shall have no dinner as it will be too difficult to get someone to drive me back. I told her I am happy not to go to town for dinner and would just stay at the home, eat cheese and bread and drink all the wine. She responded by telling me there was no bread as I had eaten it all. I have no recollection of raiding the bread stores, and because the comment amused me more than it offended me, she toddled off without injury.
Chrissy is not feeling well and I hate that for her. She deserved great health and much laughter. She told me when she was a kid she had no friends. It may be an exaggeration, but if true, a lot of kids missed out. I adore Chrissy. I wish she lived in Canada, I would force her to be my friend.
AntHony is yelling for me. Such a bossy thing. He must see this as The Taming of the Shrew. He seems determined to make me obedient or at least British. Neither will ever happen, but I appreciate the amusing effort he makes.
We are off to some other town to paint. I shall relay the deets later.
So this is how the day unfolded;
As is my custom, no day here is without conflict. Today, it was about one missing canvas. I hunted around for it and found it on Lucinda’s easel. Given yesterdays nonsense, I was not really up for a confrontation, but I came to paint and I reasoned my canvas was a vital part of that. “Lucinda, is that my canvas?” “No.” I had to smile, cuz ya, it is so. It was so hot today, but down the hill I went like a five year old to find the teacher to tattle on Lucinda. Tony is teaching again as Chris is leaving us for another opera rehearsal. This whole opera thing is ridiculous. So are the tutorials and the discussions. But I do enjoy Chris and I digress.
Tony goes up, has an argument with Lucinda about canvasses vs. the board he brought her. She says she wants the canvas, so I say I want the canvas too, because it is MINE. We leave Tony to play King Solomon and he gives it to me. I head up the hill and paint yet another crappy bell tower. I want to paint the inside of the bar and the guys playing cards, but I know there would be a shunning so I paint crap instead.
I stayed out of everyone’s way today, but wandered around to see what the girls were up to. I couldn't find anyone but Chrissy who I met doing wonders with a curve on a dirt path. We talked for a bit about how we love dirt paths and how they rarely disappoint.
Diana is three for three. I really love her work. AntHony is leading the pack with one stellar painting after another. I don’t know what I expected from art camp, but I doubt I will go to another. I am not a landscape painter. I don’t think I really know what sort of painter I am.
There are no people out and about in any of these little towns. This one is particularly curious with bizarre little voodoo socks dangling from walls and scarecrows leaning against ancient houses. I came upon a little niche with a dirty little Mary tucked inside on a tower wall. I like this place.
We went for lunch in a dark little bistro with beaded curtains and a bathroom door, which looked like a freezer entrance. The well-laden bar was surrounded by all manner of Italian kitch thick with dust and ambience. A quintessential plump and verbose bar maid/owner loaded us up with plate after plate of deliciousness. AntHony warned not to eat all my food, lest she dump more on. Wise advise after the pound of motzerella served bare and imposing landed on my plate. Who eats this much cheese in one sitting? Not I, dear diary…not I.
A table full of men sat in the corner laughing and barking. I wished I knew what they were saying and longed to join them.
It was nice to get out of the sun. Today it was relentless and the stairs are brutal. I got all the way up to my easel only to forget my paints…down, up, down, up.
Back at the home, I was dying for a swim. AntHony and I are the only ones who do. Though the other day, I looked up and Diana was floating by. It was funny because I saw her sunbathing, but didn’t see her come in. It was all very loc ness and amusing.
Anthony gets in before me every time, and then by the time I do, he is out and posed like Ceasar in his throne at the end of the pool awaiting amusement. He critiques my swimming and brags of his glorious pole-vaulting days and various other things he is better than me at. Today as I came out in my swim suit sausage casing but stopped to talk to Chrissy, he barked, “GET IN THE POOL!” I was obviously going swimming sir. Unlike you, I do not just sport this overburdened hunk of spandex to lounge around in. As I was about to jump in, my dear AntHony said in absolute sincerity, “Just how much do you weigh?” As if the behemoth beside him was something he had never encountered in all of his 84 years.
We seem to have found this odd little time to relentlessly tease each other. He gets some very good lines in and I wonder if he is a Sagittarius. If not, he has to be an Aires or at least a Scorpio. Regardless, it makes my days in the asylum tolerable.
Kris came to hover and repeat how difficult this whole dinner and Pinocchio thing was for her to organize. I repeated I could do it myself with the greatest of ease. She returned to tell me she had found a friend who will drive me to Pinocchio, but there would be no dinner for me in town or otherwise. No problem Kris. I only paid for meals, but can’t be bothered with your nonsense. I shall not die.
This is another thing that irks me. It was suggested we could wander into town at any point as though it was a short little hike. It is not, and we are captive.
Chrissy took photos of AntHony’s nose for me. I intend to paint his portrait.
Oh cocktail hour. It is torturous indeed. Freda told me of the time she met the queen again and how when she rides her bike, men honk at her because she is so lovely from behind. She has told me three times. I want to tell her that when I take off my shirt in public, men offer proposals of marriage, or that perhaps she could avoid the honks if she didn’t ride in the middle of the road…but I am content to listen to my alternative reel in my head.
I am absolutely not going to the opera. AntHony is adamant that I am NOT going to Pinocchio and I AM going to the opera. Wrong on both counts mister. These are battles you cannot win. I wish AntHony and Chrissy would come to Pinocchio. They would see what I see and it would be good for their souls. I shall try to convince them, but they are duty bound Brits who shall not break the rules. Poor things.
Chrissy is doing wonders with the script. It’s so funny, and AntHony of course wants the lead role. We talk about the sets and lines and lighting as if it will happen, but we all know it will not. In fact, it is almost an inside joke now. A satire for the home.
Dinner tonight was self serve as our hosts were yet again, detained by the opera. We dolled out our rations and took our places at the table.
AntHony bet me 500lbs my painting would be dry in the morning. I am trying to decide how to spend my winnings. He also reminded me I should brush my hair when I come to dinner.
I get to stay home all by myself tomorrow night. I’m almost grown up! Kris is probably worried I will go through her underwear drawer, but I have bigger plans. I’M GOING TO PINOCCHIO!
Chrissy told us a story of noisy youngsters on the beach. She complained to her husband and thought she might call the police when her husband said, “It’s only 9pm.” If that’s not funny enough, she replied, “Then I’ll go back to bed.”
She also made a very Shakespearian statement regarding AntHony “I see you often in a casket.” Hehehe. Funny woman.
This has been my most favorite night. Though I was given a sound refusal regarding a fire, AntHony used his charm to seduce permission from Mom. He rearranged the furniture like only a master of design could, filled our glasses with wine and we stared into the glow. It was very thoughtful and sweet. This is the sort of night I hoped for. As fate would have it, only the fab four were present. There was hearty laughter about the play and Diana’s multiple roles. She will be a witch and then dash into the woods to return as a ghost and then she will scurry down to change the set. Diana seems up for anything and appears kind and sweet, but I just know that woman is full of fight and fun. She can play any number of roles because she clearly knows exactly who she is. AntHony kept begging for bigger roles and was soundly over ruled by all. To end a lovely evening, AntHony crooned out Elvis. Not to be outdone, Jane did her own adorable redition of the king. Jane has a sweet little giggle that turns into a wildly contagious cackle.
It was a beautiful summer evening where warm conversation drifted up like smoke into a glorious star dappled sky. An unassuming moon tipped his ear to enjoy the marvelous banter of genuine and endearing friendship.
My favorite speech of the night was listening to AntHony wax poetic about his wife whom he clearly adores and misses. “She has long beautiful silver hair but she never wears it down. She pulls it back in the most lovely way. She recoils when people stop her in the street to tell her how beautiful she is. They really do.”
The evening lasted well into the 11th hour and I am heading to bed feeling content and happy to have met these people. I would like to say I will stay in touch, but we both know how these things work out. I know better to just enjoy the now and be glad to know their wonderful spirits.
Thanks for a beautiful night,