Built into the perimeter of our garden wall and facing onto the little road leading to Longoio’s chiesina is a fountain. Yesterday, I was busy clearing it of unwanted greenery which had accumulated in the past few weeks, but left the wisteria (which has never been so spectacular as this May) descending from our garden to frame it. One of the first things I did when we moved here in 2005 was to place a small terracotta plaque of the Madonna above the tap in its gothick-arched alcove – not that I am a fervent believer in the Virgin but it felt right at the time to put something there since other fountains appear to have their patron saint. The fountain is not in a very good condition and would require considerable re-laying of its brick and stone work.
It’s both convenient to have this fountain and it’s not. Water shortages can spark arguments among the villagers – not that the situation is yet near to the “water wars” in other parts of the planet, thankfully. For the present there is more than enough H2O. But at the same time last year there wasn’t, since spring was a period of drought with virtually no rain falling from February to April. To have no water in Longoio is unusual but water restrictions do happen with some regularity during the summer. Several inhabitants have their own arrangements if this happens. A complex network of hose-pipes descends from various sources: from the old wash-tank or from the waterfall on the path leading to La Fredda – whether because of ancient family rights… or not. With heavy rains an underground rivulet, (channelled by the previous owner) flows under our house. One can hear a very distinct rumbling when this happens and its outflow onto the little road in front of our house discharges considerable amount of water which I should really attempt to capture.
However, for the time being our tubs, connected to the gutters, are normally full enough of water for gardening purposes. The biggest one is 1000 litres and has hardly ever run dry. (We are promised rain again today anyway).
Let’s hope that this summer will spare us the drought which last year made mincemeat of our orto vegetables (we have another system of getting water there) and drove us to get up very early in the morning to get anything done.
A postscript: the exceptional tornado which, yesterday, hit parts of Emilia-Romagna (already seriously damaged by last year’s earthquake) causing millions of euros of damage and making hundreds homeless was a major item on BBC world news this morning but not mentioned at all on Rai Uno mattina – not even by the loquacious weather forecaster. What is happening – or has enough happened in Italy over the past few months to tone down the bad (weather) news I wonder?
To add on a brighter note: Napoleon is now in (if not on) the net: