Italians or certainly Pugliese love outside lights. They lay them down the driveway , they place them around all their patios and they place them almost where ever there might be space. The outside of the house seems to many far more important than the inside. Every renovation around this area starts with the outside road facing wall being rebuilt normally with dry stone. New and normally large pillars are built so the entrance looks suitably important. In fact I believe the size of the pillars and gates at the entrance are in inverse proportion to the size of the house. Smaller house, bigger pillars. I actually believe this theory holds true in restaurants around the world. The bigger the pepper grinder the worse the food .
But I digress after that the driveway is laid followed by the terracing around the house. Trees are brought in and planted, gravel laid, bushes start to sprout and flower beds dug and populated. Only then does the boring bit happen and the inside gets refurbished. The outside work takes months and months whilst the inside stuff seems to take about a week. This is because most houses in Puglia of the 2/3 bed one bathroom variety have just one other room. into it in one corner goes a basic kitchen, then a living area with the regulation 45-54 inch TV which is turned on 7 days a week and goes off only when all and I mean only when all the family are asleep. A dining area completes the design. Refurbishment normally means the kitchen from the old house being installed as Italians take their kitchens with them when they move ( new buyers reading this blog be ready for that) the new purchaser is left with some pipes hopefully blocked and a load of wires. Maybe some new floor tiles if they are badly chipped and possibly the odd new window but that is that. The important part of the house is the outside. The part that is clearly visible and if it isn’t cut some trees down so it is. Where’s the point in moving to a new house if no one can see it ! Of course then the lights are added.
Now I thought the lights were a form of crime prevention but not a bit of it. When an Italian family goes out every light inside and outside is religiously turned off. Go to any Italian house and lights on means someone is in, lights off they are all out, not a soul is going to answer the door however hard you knock.
We use lights as a deterrent so our house when we are out looks like an ocean liner on a clear night sailing a few hundreds yards away. We also leave radios on ( ” I know you were in I could hear the radio”) . Obviously since the electrician’s visit yesterday we have more light, lots more light. With jumpers on last night we managed to have supper outside and sat bathed in the stuff. An helicopter started to circle us at about 9.30 and I thought he was going to try and land mistaking our lights for a fully fledged international airport. The guy up in the space station phoned too but I don’t speak Chinese !
Maybe we should buy less powerful light bulbs.
I am still happily reading my A A Gill book and thought I might pose you the question he does. Where in the world other than your own country would you go for the best breakfast, lunch and dinner. His choice is Vietnam for breakfast to eat pho ( pronounced far I’m told) lunch he would go to the Piedmont region of Italy for assorted meats and Palma ham ( not in Piedmont but let’s not be picky) then dinner in Peshawar, Pakistan for a meat curry. No veggy boy is our Mr Gill as Pho is also beef based. I haven’t tried it but both my kids have and swear by it. Indeed my son still wanders the streets of London trying to find the real thing. My choice would be breakfast outside Wandsworth Town Railway Station. A stall there serves the greatest bacon sandwiches I have ever tasted. For lunch I would head to Penang in Malaysia for a dish of koay teow th’ng (noodles, broth and slices of pork topped with hot chillies) and dinner to Delhi to eat a leg of lamb that has been slow cooked in a tandoor with loads of spice which you rip apart with your fingers and eat with rice and a naan bread made to a size that covers the table you are sitting at. And yours?