The Imu house tax rumbles on here in Italy. Sr. Brunetta the Pdl leader of the second chamber has said it is a coalition deal breaker if it is not repealed almost immediately. He says at meetings he attended with our new leader Sr. Letta that the leader confirmed it would be. You would think by now he should know that no politician makes a promise without his fingers firmly crossed behind his back . Sr. Letta is a Europhile with the fanaticism of a born again Christian. He worked on Italy’s entry into the Euro , has been on the gravy train as an MEP and is eager for further jobs in Brussels. I for one am not holding my breath on IMU disappearing in this parliament. Still an opinion poll today says 71% of Italians want an election once the number of MP’s has been reduced and that Il Cavaliere and Beppe are neck and neck at 27% while the socialists are down at 22%. Once the IMU shenanigans the Dpl and IL Cavaliere are laid bare and no relief is given, expect Beppe to move ahead of the pack.
Early summer down here in Puglia means that queen wasps awake from their winter slumber and start looking for a new home to breed lots more wasps ( yellow jackets). The obvious target is a house with nooks and crannies close to the wood they were slumbering in, namely ours. Late April and early May therefore finds me in a state of constant readiness for the invasion fleet. I feel like the German in The Longest Day looking out at the empty English Channel.
Yesterday I found that we had received a commando raid. I opened the door of the outside oven and out came several rather angry wasps. I beat a hasty retreat and asked my wife to go check it out while I guarded the inside of the house. She is presently awaiting her court marshall. Her counter offer was to leave everything until after dusk and then light a fire in the oven to fry them. I was volunteered for this task and since a few fried wasps would not make an adequate meal we prepared my favourite meal to cook on the embers once the viking wasp funeral had taken place. Chicken wings and bombette. Now bombette are a very traditional Puglian dish. Strips of veal either rolled with cheese inside with crushed garlic, parsley and olive oil or veal strips wrapped in bacon. They taste wonderful especially cooked on a wood fire.. We use this cage to cook ours in
The fire was lit and the food cooked, then eaten with a green salad, fresh bread baked this morning and a bottle of a friend’s homemade wine . What a great Sunday meal and the first wasp raid repelled. Victory was ours
I don’t know how much you know about wasps but they fall into two catogories social wasps and loners . We of course have both types here. The loners are looking for any cavity to get into and lay their solitary egg so they spend all day going up and down the walls of the house searching out any defensive weakness. Social wasp queens like dark areas such as the chimney or the corners of insets in windows . here they lay their eggs and then use the stored sperm from male mates the summer before to fertilise the egg. Wasps then start appearing very very rapidly. So while there is still a chance of cold weather and there is always a cold snap in May you can’t cover the chimney in a back trash bag. So on mornings when there has been no fire the night before coal miner soot covered wasps appear in the grate and receive their coup de grace for their troubles. Each day you need to check the window corners for tell tale acorn size cones. Once the wasps are seen off then late May and June is hornet season but more of that when the time comes.
The Italian for wasp is vespa and of course vespa is also the name of the great Italian invention of 1949 the Vespa bike. When I first came to visit Rome they were indeed like swarms of wasps racing around Rome. The challenge seemed to be how many of the family could you fit on one. Girls of course had to ride sidesaddle on the pillion by order of the Vatican.
1953 Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday reminds me of how Rome was then