I’ve been searching lately.
Looking for a place to live is a different quest from looking for somewhere to stay. We are currently staying in a lovely ‘Agriturismo’ 20 minutes outside of Florence. From here I wake to a 350° (approx 10° are hidden by the casa) panoramic vista of the tuscan hills, complete with silhouetted castello on the horizon.
Its stunning – literally.
I feel quite stunned at the moment. Caught in the headlights – hypnotised, seduced, drugged.
This lack of clarity is not unpleasant, much like the large glass of Barbera I had a few days ago. Silky and smooth on the pallet, releasing, relaxing; a feeling of warmth unfurling inside.
I feel lulled and yet a sense of anxiety gurgles beneath, perhaps a latent emergence of some sort of northern european protestant sensibility making itself known to me. Lest I forget.
Why are we here? I smile to myself as I reflect on such existential questioning.
By ‘here’ I narrow it down to Italy/Tuscany rather than the greater universe. But the answer is possibly the same on both accounts.
We came to Italy, because London ceased to feel like somewhere I could live anymore.
But why Italy? Why not the British countryside?
I could reel a string of practical answers, but they are all boring. Ultimately it was a feeling.
I just wanted to.
I was tired of fighting my instincts.
So here we are. We don’t know where or even if we will have anywhere to live in a few weeks. But I have a feeling we’ll find somewhere. Despite the fact that so far, the only two properties we’ve viewed have included an apparently shady lady’s abode, where we were met with a middle-aged woman in a shiny black bob wearing only a dalmatian print dressing gown. Her flat was probably smaller than our place in London, decorated with amateur oil paintings of herself in the nude and had the distinct smell of cannabis mixed with feet. The second had more promise, set in a beautiful location not too far from the school, but sadly lacked a kitchen, a road or even running water… (small details).
I lose no faith, these all but steps on the way. Creepy, yes, but kinda fun too… Its almost reassuring to know that estate agents are universally slimy, regardless of place of birth.
Life is a rainbow of saturated colour here, varying from the high-brow, romanticised Florence, to the somewhat oily salt of the earth Tuscany, where the bread is dry and the chianti is sharp.
While I focus on what I see and can only comment on my own perspective. I am also slowly gathering glimpses of how I may be perceived by local people.
You see, a Londoner is something of a mythological creature here. London is thought of as the Zenith of the universe. It is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. In fact, it is quite possible that someone may have knocked over said pot and paved all the roads in it. And therefore, as a Londoner it appears, I too have a sprinkling of gold dust about my person.
While we are not exactly walking £ signs, we are an enigma… not least because we were crazy enough to leave!
Everyday I am met with a slow shaking of head while someone looks down in disbelief. (One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?)
Perhaps it is about timing? timing and rhythm.
I noticed that since managing to get my car radio to play my Spotify lists, the roads are much easier. I feel I have found the groove. The speed and the angle of the curves seem to come naturally. I can feel my way around the roads much more intuitively. Bringing at once, relief and confidence.
And while I am still unsure of what the exact tune here is (I suspect its Jazz…)
I think I might be tuning in.