Paper – II

First off, many thanks to all our friends who sent e-mails and left comments – mille grazie carini!

We hadn’t planned anything special for our anniversary, though we were married last year we’ve been together since 1978 so the big celebration will be for our 30th on November 23. However as always here in Rome, serendipity stepped in: our friends Robert and Walter gave us a call to ask what we were doing. They are back in town between a business trip to London and a vacation trip to Budapest and this would be our only chance to see them until mid-August. So dinner was proposed and gladly accepted.

We headed downtown to meet them at one of their favourite Enotecha (wine bar/store) Il Vinaietto di Marco e Giancarlo in the Largo Argentino area. As we approached the shop a sudden yelp that could only come from a stepped on daschie (we use to hear that sound occasionally) assailed our ears. “Oh that’s Freda, you’ll meet her,” Walter said. And meet Freda we did. She’s not quite a foot tall, has a lovely shiny black coat and soulful black eyes that just tell you that no one has ever petted or looked after her in her life – I swear daschies learn that look at their mother’s teats. She owns the place and Giancarlo and Marco run it for her comfort and entertainment. Patrizia, a full-figured Mexican lady, is nominally Freda’s owner, as if a daschie could ever be owned!

The shop itself is a hole-in-the-wall that has recently been extended through to the hole-in-the-wall next door. No elaborate displays of gilded grapes and coloured pastas – just shelves of wines, a stand up bar and a few high bistro tables with stools. Robert first went there almost 20 years ago so its been a neighbourhood fixture for a good while. Clients are mostly locals and everything was done with an air of jovial familiarity. As bottles are emptied they are pitched, with a resounding tinkle, into large bin at the end of the bar. A few friends stood joking at the bar, people wandered in for a refill and then back out onto the street to enjoy their wine and a cigarette. Yes smoking is forbidden in Italian restaurants and bars – which is why terraces are so popular. In one corner a besandeled gentleman sat on a step-stool enjoying a glass of red while he read his novel – another gentleman came in to have two plastic bottles filled with wine obviously intended for the home dinner table. It was friendly, quirky and fun. And the wine – yes I fall off the wagon on occasion and this was an occasion – was a pleasant white from Sardegna.

After a few more tummy rubs for a poor neglected Freda, we headed off to a traditional Roman trattoria where Robert and Walter have been eating for some time. Da Sergio alle Grotte is just off Campo di Fiori but again is aimed at locals in the area. A mixed antipasti platter, a shared linguine with mushrooms, veal steak with salad and a black current tart made for a more than reasonable anniversary dinner.

As we strolled back into the Largo to catch our bus we passed a gelateria advertising Mint and Celery gelato – though the combination was intriguing none of us were up to gelato at this point. Guess it means a trip back to see Freda and try that gelato.

22 lulgio – Santa Maria Magdelena

Bad Day at Black Rock – A Touch of Whimsy

Yesterday was not a good day for Reese. As well as being a snow day – more of that white, wet, cold stuff to plow through just when he had found some grass – it was also bath day.

A good Doodoo

So there you are in the middle of a great morning doodoo and suddenly you’re scooped up, taken upstairs and dumped into the bathtub.

The Water Torture

First he gets you wet – all over! – then this foamy stuff! – tastes awful! – then more wet, more foul foamy stuff, then wet again. All the time he’s cooing “what a good boy” – is there a choice?

Hide and he won't see you.

Once you’re back on solid ground, make a beeline for the towel and hide your head. That way he can’t see you, just in case he wants to put you back in the tub.

Roll in the towel

If you roll around on the towel he may not use that hair dryer to inflict more torture on a poor defensely puppy. Okay I’m thirteen but I can still do defenseless puppy.

You hate me don't you?

See! If this look doesn’t shame the bastard, nothing ever will.

Help my nose is wet.

So he gets my nose wet, I’ll just dry off on that expensive oriental carpet. Serves him right.

Now a picture?

And now he wants a picture?????

I don't think so!

I don’t think so!

(I should probably avoided this sort of whimsy but what the hell, he’s my best buddy and I think its as cute as all get out!)

Short Legs in the Snow

Reese in the snowKristina, our housekeeper in Warsaw, called Reesie “Nishki” (a bad transliteration as everyone knows that in Polish there has to be a least one letter with a line through it somewhere.) Apparently it is a term of endearment for a child but I’ve never had the heart to tell Reese that it translates as “short legs.” But in his case it’s certainly true – he’s legs can’t be more than 3 inches long. This can be a real problem with steps or on a snow day.

Reese in the snow 2And yesterday was definitely a snow day. We only got 20 cm but the winds were high and bitter and the ice pellets stinging. Today is one of those strange days – its either overcast with snow or bright sun and melting.

Reese has always liked the snow – it’s great for burying your nose in. But this year there hasn’t been much hardpack so the odd foray off the deck has resulted in a stranded daschie. Its hard to go either forward or backward when you’re halfway up your chest in snow and your butt is stuck. Twice now the rescue brigade has sprung into action.

Snow ToesOf course there’s also the drawback of having hairy toes in weather like this. The snow sticks to your feet and can be really uncomfortable once you get back inside. That is unless you look really pathetic and someone comes along and dries you off. And maybe if they’re a kind loving person who cares about poor sad daschies (and doesn’t everyone) gives you a biscuit to warm your feet.


I received an e-mail from my niece Stephanie commenting on the blog and she mentioned that she was having difficulty reading the text on the dark background. My first thought was that it was a question of age not graphics – but after several views I thought she might have a point. So I’m trying a new format. I’m not sure I like the pinkish tinge – could be a bit too Freudian – but I may play around with the coding – if I can remember how to code. Not that that’s a question of age!

And the picture of the most important guy in my life (sorry Larry you know the pack order around our house) on this post? No reason; just because Reesie deserves to be seen. And given a biscuit and a belly rub and an ear scratch and told how beautiful he is.