monday was kind of slow. went for a long walk and then just hung out answering emails, doing laundry and watching the cats laugh at benadetta’s feeble attempt to scare them off with cat repellent. cat repellent, we discovered, is just some powdery substance that you spread around wherever you don’t want cats. according to the label, while the repellent is not offensive to humans, cats can’t stand it. at least normal cats can’t stand it. our seven seem to thrive on it. ten seconds after benadetta covered the garden with the stuff, our cats were back in full force, daring us to try to get rid of them. we gave up. they won that battle but the war is not yet over.
around five o’clock, we both decided that what we needed was a vacation. we walked over to our favorite lucca travel agents, jenny and simona to see about a few days in pienza and moltecino. before you could say basta! we had rented a car and booked ourselves into an agritourismo for two nights. an agritourismo is an old farm that has been renovated and modernized and turned into guest quarters. some are very luxurious with swimming pools and spas and the settings can not be beat. we went home, packed our bags and after a home cooked meal by howard (gnoochi pomodoro and bisteca florentine) we got a good nights sleep in preparation for our big trip.
we didn’t leave as early as we had planned because, while talking with simona the day before, i told her the tragic story of my hair loss, and the subsequent bad haircut that followed. she asked me who cut my hair and when i told her she said, “oh no, not the butcher of lucca. you must come with me to christianna. she will fix everything. meet me here at nine-thirty tomorrow morning and i will take you”. she was so sweet and sure enough, at nine-thirty we walked over to christianna’s shop. she took one look at my hair and said something in italian that sounded an awful lot like “holy shit” to me. she then asked me, through simona, if michel, the butcher had used giant shears on me. i nodded. and a razor? i nodded again. this time i know she said “bastard”. apparently, michel, the butcher, is known for screwing up women’s hair and yet he is famous. go figure. christianna sad she could help, just a little, because it was so chopped up we would have to let it grow a bit. between my leaving and her schedule, the first appointment i could get was for the following week. i grabbed it and simona, being the sweetest person in the world, insisted that she come with me to translate.
so, an hour later, howard and i set off. only making one wrong turn, we arrived in san gimignano in time for lunch. we sat out on a sun kissed terrace over looking the rolling hills of tuscany. there must be a thousand shades of green in them there hills. it is a photographer’s dream, and frustration as well, because no camera can capture the actual beauty of these surroundings.
we arrived at our farm at around four-thirty. i must admit, as we bumped down a rutted, unpaved, dirt road, i was beginning to have second thoughts until we looked up to the top of the hill. there sitting at the very crest was an old stone farmhouse. totally renovated and modernized with breathtaking views in every direction.