First, breakfast in the sunshine on the veranda. How long would this perfect weather hold?
As I am changing by the bedroom window which no one ever walks by, a farmer strolls by - had he looked up he would have had an eyeful.
The next moment there's a firm knock at the door.
It can only be that guy - oh dear, I hope he didn't see me!
I heard a conversation exchange and I couldn't tell if it is friendly or not.
'This guy here is asking for coffee!'
'Oh okay, we'd better invite him in!'
I couldn't tell Noel that I had been half naked near the window, and this may be why he was here!
Tornelli (in the region of Abruzzo) is like stepping back a hundred years. Basic farm equipment, meadows dappled with buttercups - just left to be paddocks, old customs and courtesies. It's Sunday but our visitor is working hard in the surrounding meadows.
He wipes the sweat from his red face and props his pruning shears by the front door. Apologising with his cap in hand (literally), he instructs Noel to find his wife so she can make coffee. That much I understood.
What he didn't understand is that Noel makes the coffee in our household. Our guest/visitor apologises again and talks to us in slow Italian as if it would help. It doesn't.
But with our mix of French, Spanish, an Italian dictionary (thank you Lynne!), and a few words Noel has learned, we find out he is working the land and wants some morning tea. It feels fitting that he just asks the nearest house to supply this sustenance. He's just unlucky he calls upon such ignorant people.
He explains with passionate hand gesticulations that he’s a neighbour of Julia and Chez - whoever they are, but they sound okay.
He asks for some bread and jam, we feed him olive oil, bread and tomatoes, he’s quite satisfied and asks for strong coffee in a small mug.
Our friend, Archiler (phonetically spelt) gratefully sips his coffee and munches on the snack. I offer more. Noel manages to tell him that in Australia he was once a carpenter and understands how physically demanding trade/physical work is. As Noel goes to pour the remainder of the coffee for him and me - Archiler jumps up and bids us ciao.
'Well that was interesting.'
'Can you imagine that happening in Potters Bar? Or Greenwell Point? People would be locking their doors and calling the police saying there's a mad man around.’
But we are the strangers here not him. We are in his country, in a village where things are done differently – perhaps how they should be.
As Noel and I sat and ate our tomato, olive oil, and bread we agreed (and I've said before) that this is what travelling is all about. We've met a working local and fed him without exchanging the same language. We've learned about hospitality in the hamlets of Italy, in the country and perhaps how it was done and where only pockets are holding to this tradition with their finger tips.
After our pleasant interlude, fortified with coffee and bread, we hop on the bike to the local market.
Next: We Don’t Have This In Australia