Friday, November 12, 2010

Big doings at the Villa




Leaves on the Sycamores are fully changed to yellow ochres with touches of cadmium yellow light, burnt sienna and the trunks of the massive trees are mottled greys. Fall has clearly come to Rome. At the Villa the ever busy landscapers took away all the lemon & lime trees that line the edges of Villa Aurelia and in an incredible checkerboard pattern in front of the main entrance. Each tree carefully removed to the shed area and they still had so many lemons on them! I wanted to pick them all, I love lemons! Once they were all moved they began on replacing them with the very healthy Holly topiaries that line the path along the walk to my place. The checkerboard of lawn & pea stone in front of the main entrance now has little Holly trees on each green patch.

There is so much that goes on here and a big crew all lead by a fantastic guy Alphonso. He has an absolutely HUGE smile and it's immediate. The smile bursts across his face instantly and effortlessly almost as if he's going to break into an hysterical laugh I smile too in a knee jerk reaction, you can't help it when you see him. I defy anyone not to smile when they see him, it's not possible to hold it in. He doesn't speak any English but it doesn't matter he prattles on and somehow I understand or I don't care if I do...I just want to be in his presence, he sparkles.

The landscape crew seems to be huge I can't get a grasp on how many there actually are but each one has a job and they buzz away all day almost every day, but especially when there's a function and they work extra long hours. There's no 10 am break, no union, no leaving at 3 but they do get the healthy European lunch 2 or 3 hour which is most civilized. But when there is something going on at the Villa they come right back and work long hours. Last weekend was a fall music festival, concert on Friday night, all day Sunday event. Then they were shooting some TV or movie thing here most of the week. Next weekend is more concerts...it's always something.

One of them brings their dog and we've become fast friends. When he sees me in the morning he bounds across the lawn while I brace myself for his forceful greeting...the dog smiles too! He's a lab mix, very big and strong and like so many Italian animals, not neutered so he doesn't understand gentle, it's all big play and I'm trying to find ways to establish "boundaries". Like any dog I've ever known if I just keep throwing the ball everyone's happy.

Then there's my own personal cleaning crew that comes in once a week. Two men and a woman, they mop, vacuum, dust, clean each room, change my linens, lights indoor and out if needed and EVEN vacuum my piazza, dust the eaves and railing! Amazing! All in about 10-15 minutes max then whoosh they are gone to the next place. I am going to be so spoiled they're going to have to drag me screaming from this place!

But the melancholy has set in now the nights are downright chilly, the lemon trees are gone, replaced by holly. Here's some pics of the crew changing out the trees & my canine buddy!

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