Post Holiday Blues, Scopa and Limoncello

We are having our patios re-tiled this week by a team of guys led by Pietro. How did his family know he would deal in stone and become tiler ? Come to that our electrician’s surname is Corrente ( current). But I digress. This morning at the crack of sparrows the usual van came up the driveway but only 50% of the workforce was in it. Sick Pietro said and signaled with his thumb towards his mouth the international sign for drinking. Yesterday evening  I can certainly vouch for this. After our history lesson on the blog yesterday we ventured out for a beer. Every bar in the area was heaving with people and all had clearly had very good if mainly liquid lunches. Every table in our bar was taken and the noise indescribable as cards were played and beer drunk. Italians are vocal anyway but with added alcohol the volume leaps up. Everyone must talk louder than their neighbour and preferably be heard by the entire bar. We left at 9 p.m. but the place was still jumping and the orders still being shouted from all of the tables to the two overworked girls serving.

So not much work was done today around our area. Wine is almost a course for lunch and cards with beer is how the holiday always closes. It’s not really drinking. I remember going to stay with an old Italian friend who had retired from British Airways and bought a farm in Tuscany. On arrival at the train station his wife picked us up and announced that Cafeiro was off the booze. Now this was very distressing news as he had a very fine wine cellar  and we had timed our arrival for dinner. Devastated we drew up to the house. There on the large back patio sat Cafeiro with a very generous glass on red wine in his hand. I thought you had stopped drinking I asked. I have he said and have another two weeks of abstinence to go. I pointed at the wine glass. Mike this is not drinking this is wine. I haven’t had a whisky for 2 weeks. That was when I knew I would love living in this country. Sadly Cafeiro is now in that great winery in the sky.

The card game the guys all play in the bars around here is Scopa. Scopa means a brush in Italian and the game is about sweeping the board of cards ( scopa). It is played with 40 cards that is 4 suits of 10 cards. Here is how to play it ( best of luck)

Easy isn’t it !! The problem I have with it is being used to a 13 card suit I see a picture card and count it as 11,12 or 13 which seems to infuriate whoever has been unlucky enough to offer me a game. You can see how different the cards are as well

Scopa Cards

so getting used to spotting them and then calculating their value, comparing to the cards in the middle and then taking a trick seems to take me for ever. And if that is not enough did you understand that “prime” number stuff. I can’t get it and so sit there like a lemon while someone else has to count up my cards and guess what ? I always lose and buy the beer. I feel, when sitting in the bar, like I did at school when they were picking teams to play a game . I stood waiting for selection until pretty well everyone else had joined one side or another when finally one or other captain shouted Jones. Then the first instruction to me was always don’t touch the ball unless you can’t help it. It is the same in the bar when looking for a fourth player. I am invisible. Still at least I felt well this morning not like my work crew.



About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
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