A Party of Two Halves

Day 14. 4 July 2006

Tuesday. We are given a lie in this morning, and I don’t even notice the seven o’clock bells. We breakfasdt leisurely and head out to Chies at ten o’clock to finish up on our steps – a task that does not take long – placing th last couple of stobs in place before errecting a small piece of fencing above a precarious drop, to stop the local school kids going over when taking part in the nature walk that we have helped created.

Loris has not turned up with his ‘spike’ so we are forced to improvise, fashioning a fresh spike from stobs for each of three fence poles. The electric drill, loses its drill bit on one of the bars, and has to be rescued, and one of the posts split and doesn’t go in fantastically well but the other two will hold it, but its not a fence for keeping cattle in.

Job done, there is just time to take a group photo of Italians, English, Canadians, and Norwegians on the woodland steps, before walking back into Chies via the rest of the woodland track, dropping off a bit more wood along the way for another, later, project.

The girls disappear into the village, so say to help with lunch and party shopping, but in fact to spend our collected Euros on presents of bottles for Kate, Andy, and Janet. I mooch around Chies for a few minutes to get a picture of the carpenter’s shop – a fine, rundown but attractive, four-story building on the road down to the worksite – before sitting on a bench in the shade in the town square with Andy and Emi.

We return to the nursery school to prepare a last lunch in Alpago Janet whisks John and Kate away to her house to download some photos of the sheepfold to send the television station.

We eat our most extravagant lunch yet of bread and cheese, ham and sausage, salad and cake on the outside terrace, and this is followed by the opportunity for siesta or for packing as takes our fancy. I do a bit of both.

At three o’clock Emanuelle drives the bus to the lake – a new location a the suggestion of Giovanni The Deer – for a swim. Like before it is a stone shore, but it is a charming and secluded cove with opportunities for those who are brave enough to dive. It is cool but very refreshing and relieves any lingering aches in our muscles.

After the swim, Andy and Kate begin swimming stones across the water expertly, and soon we are all at it; they teach Sarah-Jane, Emi and myself how to skim. I manage to a few three-skimmers and one four- but that is all. As we sit, and rest, and skim stones, a thunderstorm brews up over the far end of the lake; and thunder rumbles around. We move off, rested, from the beach at Farra d’Alpago to the gellateria at Puos d’Alpago, enjoying a three-scoop bowl of pistaccio, lamponi and cioccoolata.

Returning to Lamasana, Emi and Andy leave us in the main square so that we can go and stock up on further provisions for the party ahead of us, from the local Coop.

The Party

Party tonight and all looking forward to it. Ariel borrowed for TV. ITALY v. GERMANY is mucho, mucho importente! Benetto, Ernesto and Janet arrive with antipasti and cake. Flour from Benetto’s cake grown from his own wheat and milled; his wife baked it. Vera brings stereo for music. Giovanni and his big smile arrive, I was surprised so many locals and not s local locals come. Desirée comes with lots to eat as well. The lady from the shop in chies comes with more food. She’s very rude and teaches us to swear – va fancuki. She already knows English swear words so we teach her more! She loves it. All tired (but still going), Loris and Alberto still to arrive it’s about midnight. Italy won 2, nil. All go to the bar in lamosano, great atmosphere. Loris smiling from ear to ear. Meet Tilli and Andy from pizzeria. All except Emi, Sarah-Jane and Caol go back to the house at 2.45. Tillie, Andie, Loris, Alberto, Emi, Sarah-Jane and I go to pizzeria for more prosecco and tiramisu Lamosano style. Knackered, I go to the house 4.45am. Sarah-Jane still has bundles of energy and goes off for coffee with the boys. A fantastic last night.

a contribution by Carol McLellen

Ernesto, Benito and Janet are amongst the fist to arrive bearing Antipasta and cake with them. The young Italian girls arrive too and make straight for television, which Emi has rigged up with an aerial borrowed from the local hi-fi shop, and now has the pre-match coverage to the Italy v. Germany World Cup semi-final. Jenny, as one of the more vocal and confident members of our group takes the lead in thanking il capo, Kate Fox and to Andy for their hard work organising the holiday for us, with a bottle of whisky and grappa respectively. To Janet we give a bottle of red wine.

The mayor arrives and another presentation is made; this time to us in recognition of our work. Emi and Desirée receive honorary mention as our local volunteers. A ‘main course’ of polenta and sausage, salami and cheese is folled by strudel from Vanessa, a reprise of Carol’s tiramisu, and a cake made by Benito’s wife from wheat grown and milled by Benito himself. Prosecco flows, as does red wine and limoncello.

A nil-nil result in the football at full time results in a tense half hour for Emanuelle that leads to huge relief and joy in equal measure as Italy go on to score not one but two goals in the closing minutes of the match. From our position on the hill we can hear the joy and excitement from the square and the Lamosano bar. We hear this even closer too as cars start driving between the villages of the Commune di Alpago blasting on their horns. Italy are through to the final and Emi is very happy.

Alberto arrives shortly brandishing his countries green, white and red flag and encourages us down to the bar, which we do. It is a slightly surreal experience – a party hosted by us to celebrate the end of our stay in Alpago has become a joint celebration with the locals and friends for Italy’s football success. As someone not interested in footfall at all, I do find myself pleased to be experiencing this event in this settling, amongst friends, and I am interested in what the result might be on Sunday.

By two o’clock we have, with the exception of Carol, Sarah-Jane and Emi, had our full, and tired, retire to the nursery school to destroy much of the evidence of the night’s party and retire to bed for a few hours sleep.

Day 15: Final farewells, and a parting of the ways…