It’s Monday, thank goodness, so peace is temporarily restored a casa nostra, Roomie having been safely delivered to her petting zoo, there to be cared for by energetic professionals until 4 p.m.
Normal schools are all closed today, so we feel fortunate indeed. This because it’s a ‘ponte’ in Italy, the word literally meaning ‘bridge’, but used to refer to what Brits call a long weekend, so Saturday and Sunday plus one or more public holidays.
British public holidays are mostly on Mondays, as I recall, which is convenient in terms of organising the economy, the exceptions being the unmovable feasts of Christmas and New Year, plus Good Friday, which jumps around according to the moon but is always a Friday (strangely, it’s NOT a holiday in Italy…)
Italian public holidays, in contrast, are on whatever day they happen to be on, and to hell with the economy.
Tomorrow, for instance, is November 1st, Ognissanti (All Saints’ Day), and why it has a double S I’ve no idea, but it’s always a welcome public holiday, or was when I was teaching (more so for the childless, though.)
This year it falls on a TUESDAY, which means that public schools are closed today, MONDAY, as a ‘bridge’ (ponte, remember?) between the weekend and the actual, official, day in bed.
Così, now you know the more important usage of a word that you might have reasonably assumed was primarily used to describe ways of crossing rivers and railway lines. Ah no!
By the way, obviously, the absolute best day for a public holiday to fall on is a Wednesday, because it creates the longest bridge, which can extend in either or both directions. With just four days of ‘ferie’, you could take a nine day vacation!
Better still if you get a lucky break with a late Easter, then Liberation Day on April 25th, then Workers’ Day on May 1st, or Christmas followed by New Year. Then, you could stay in bed so long the boss might even forget you exist, like in the pandemic!
Anyway, as I was saying, today’s hopefully going to be a nice break after a hectic weekend distracting Roomie from clawing the furniture and barking at guests (we had our first ever AirBnB visitors.)
Sunday morning, the clocks having gone back an hour as Italy returned to the ‘ora solare’ (sun time) after months of the ‘ora legale’ (summer time), we set off early, but in warm sunshine, to walk to the usual ‘quack quack park’, via the canal which runs through our neighborhood.
En route I passed what is a common site around here – someone’s probably-illegal vegetable garden, constructed on what must be public land besides the canal, complete with a shack, some benches, a ‘Welcome, Entry is Free’ sign in multiple languages, including Arabic, and what you can see in the picuture below, Corticella’s very own Weather Station (Corticella is where I live.)
Hanging between the signs is a rope (corda), and on the left it explains what the condition of the rope means.
If it’s dry, the weather is good.
If it’s wet, that means rain.
If you don’t see the rope, it’s foggy, or you should drink less alcohol.
And if the rope is rigid, that’s not what might first come to mind, but instead means ice.
If the rope is moving, it’s windy.
And if there’s no rope at all, ‘Ce l’hanno fregata’ – someone has stolen it!
That ‘ce’ by the way is one of those bits of grammar that students of Italian never understand. Google the translation and it will come out as something like ‘They stole it AWAY’, the last word being unnecessary in English but used, as you see, in colloquial Italian.
After chucking stones and sticks in the canal, we did get to the parco kwa kwa, had a gooey pasta in the bar, and headed home for lunch.
In the afternoon, after our siesta, we headed to the other local parco (no ducks in this one). Later, while walking home past a kindergarten (not Roomie’s, which is miles away), we stopped to look at the artwork on its walls and read the accompanying poem.
“The wall of the school / felt ugly and alone / it was grey and worn out / and was never happy
It was time to change / and to get itself painted / to give the children around / light and joy all day.”
That’s my hasty translation – I expect you could do better, though I doubt the English could be made to rhyme like the Italian. Do have a go if you’ve the ‘voglia’.
Roomie is fascinated by the colorful pictures and always dawdles awhile, to stare and comment. She has a little friend who attends, so looks longingly through the mesh fence.
So that was Sunday, more or less. The highlights, anyway.
In the evening I made pizzas, while Roomie and my wife did gymastics outside in the dark with some neighbours, illuminated by pumpkin light.
Goodness knows what we’ll find to do for Ognissanti. But his evening there’s Halloween, costumes, screams, and mountains of ‘caramelle’.
P.S. FOUR Half-Price ‘Ebooks of the Week’
Now it occurred to me that club members and ebook buyers are all at different stages with their Italian, so why not do half-price ‘ebooks of the week’ at different levels, rather than just one, which is bound to exclude lots of you?
Good idea, Daniel, or maybe it is. We’ll see. The only snag is that it’s a bore to produce copy to sell multiple products at the same time. Writing commercial stuff isn’t much fun…
So I won’t. Below are the four titles I picked, all discounted fifty percent and all visibly ‘On Sale’ if you delete this message but remember to look at the home page of our ebooks shop.
There’s one title at each level from A1 to B2 – one is a basic ‘easy reader’ (not very interesting, if you ask me), one’s the simplified version of a very cryptic classic of Italian literature, one’s a parallel text (no audio or exercises, but has a translation), and one’s the simplified story of a classic Italian movie.
You can figure out which is which for yourself, but be sure to check that the level and format is suitable BEFORE buying. Do that by downloading, and looking carefully at, the free sample chapters.
- Yue a Bologna (A1) | Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
- Italian/English Parallel Text: La montagna (A2) | Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
- Roma città aperta (B1) | Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
- Uno, nessuno e centomila (B2) | Free Sample Chapter (.pdf)
And if none of those grab you?
You’ll find plenty more options (though not half-price) in our Catalog, all also with free sample chapters.
How do I access my ebooks?
When your order is ‘completed’ (normally immediately after your payment), a download link will be automatically emailed to you. It’s valid for 7 days and 3 download attempts so please save a copy of the .pdf ebook in a safe place. Other versions of the ebook, where available, cannot be downloaded but will be emailed to people who request them. There’s a space to do that on the order form – where it says Additional information, Order notes (optional). If you forget, or if you have problems downloading the .pdf, don’t worry! Email us at the address on the website and we’ll help. Also, why not check out our FAQ?
Did you listen to Saturday’s FREE bulletin of ‘easy’ Italian news?
I must confess, I haven’t got to it yet. But I plan to, today!
If you had a busy weekend in giro, too, here’s the link.