The arrival of summer weather means the opportunity to enjoy the terrace once again having dusted off the foldaway table from the cantina. Attempts to grow herbs and vegetables have had mixed success, but what was a bare patch of concrete in the Rome suburbs is now almost an oasis of green, with matching sunchairs and a wonderful bouganvilla in full flower.
Eating outside is one of the great pleasures of living here, and last night, sitting down to the table with citronella candles, crusty bread and a good bottle of Montepulciano, I really felt I was experiencing the Italian dream. That was until the neighbours started arguing across the communal garden.
A screaming match that went on for almost two hours with barely a pause for breath. My understanding of Italian was enough to suggest that this was a matter of possible infidelity on the man's part, and luckily through the open windows, I got to follow almost every word and door slamming. I even learnt some new swear words. People were coming out of their apartments all over the adjoining blocks to listen. It was hard to do anything else! The people inside were oblivious or didn't care that their private thoughts were being shared with the outside eating world. Indeed, better than anything Rai could offer. The biggest dread was that we would then be subjected to the sounds of them making up, another penalty to pay for the open windows of the season.
Anyway, the evening ended literally with a blast of cold water from the neighbours above who were also trying to find excuses to stay outside to listen by watering their plants (and us), and we never did get to quite find out how it ended. Maybe next time we could ask them to post an update on the bulletin board at the porter's lodge.