Since yesterday, and for goodnesss knows how long, we’re on perpetual weekend here in Bologna.
My wife has donned overalls, covered the furniture in plastic sheets, and is right now rollering the walls of our living room with white paint (they were, I admit, in a terrible state…)
With two extremely-frustrated adult children at home, my contribution is to manage the endless moutain of dirty dishes, and to put two meals on the table each day. I also get to venture out to the shops, so as to ensure we won’t run out of basics (wine, beer, coffee…)
Our local supermarket seems totally normal, by the way. Whatever you may have heard about desperate hoarders emptying the shelves seems not to be true, at least not in this city.
The only thing I noticed that was just totally GONE was ‘farina 00’, of which there was absolutely none, just empty shelves coated with a dusty residue.
Mysteriously, there was plenty of the other type of flour, ‘0’. What’s the difference between ’00’ and ‘0’?
Good question! It’s something to do with how it’s milled, I think. But I’ve never quite worked it out. I use ’00’ for my Naples-style pizza on Sundays, but ‘0’ seems to work fine too (it’ll have to…)
Clearly my neighbours know what I don’t: that ’00’ is what’s needed at the end of the world, while ‘0’ is pointless frippery.
(For ‘nice-gutted’ club members, not to worry! There was plenty of ‘bio’, ‘stone-milled’, and every other possible type of fancy flour.)
Weekends are usually fun, aren’t they? But weekends on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are getting to be a bore…
And there’s worse to come! The government has announced that on Saturdays and Sundays, supermarkets and EVEN COFFEE BARS will be closed, leaving Italians with no choice but to stay home with the wife and kids.
That’ll be a true test of civic discipline, and one which I confidently predict the country is unlikely to pass at the first attempt.
It’s going to take time for the idea of obeying rules to sink in, as well as a change of mindset for the authorities to get around to actually enforcing them, German-style.
For example, while everyone has known for decades that drinking alcohol before driving is forbidden, the chances of getting checked were so slight, that a couple of glasses of wine with Sunday lunch or an evening ‘aperitivo’ were universally seen as being perfectly fine.
Ditto with not wearing your seatbelt in a taxi, or not strapping your child into the obligatory safety seats when you take them for a drive- they’ll be perfectly fine on mum’s lap, no matter what the law says.
Over the last few years, our local public transport authority has employed teams of plain-clothes inspectors, who regularly board the orange multi-segemented city buses (one at each of the multiple entrances and exits so as to prevent anyone slipping away) and fine passengers caught without a ticket.
At first this was quite a shock, and was greeted as a gross infraction of our civil right to evade paying for a ticket. But the authorities persisted, which was surprising in itself, so we’ve gradually got used to the idea of paying to ride.
That said, flexible policy-making is still not a thing… My wife took the bus to school yesterday (the first day of the nationwide ban on unnecessary journeys) and got her ticket checked (on the virtually empty bus) both on the way into the city and on the way back again, while at no point being questioned by anyone as to whether her journey, and the consequent risk of contagion, was truly essential.
Cosi. I’ll be off then, first to check how the painter is getting on, then to work my way through a perilous pile of dirty plates and cups.
This week’s International Women’s Day-themed ‘eBook of the Week’ offer, Le italiane, has been selling well. In fact, if it weren’t for the lockdown, I’d be struggling to keep up with the number of orders! Thanks everyone.
If you’ve been meaning to get around to buying a copy while it’s 50% off, but haven’t yet found a minute, here are those links again:
If things are quiet at work right now, or if you’re (wisely) staying home to avoid infection, why not take a look at Tuesday’s bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news?
Press the audio link and read through the stories as you listen.
Then read the text a second time at your own pace, without the audio.
Better to avoid using the dictionary, though – just read – if you don’t understand everything, no matter. It’s not a test, is it?
Once you’ve read the whole thing through, try listening once more, but this time without the text. You’ll be amazed at how much more you pick up, though of course not as much as if you were reading as well.
And finally, read and listen togther again, as you did the first time. It’ll make a lot more sense!
And that’s what, forty minutes of Wednesday profitably used?
Now go paint the house.
EasyItaliaNews.com (it’s free!)