The seasons they are a’changing

It’s been a long summer, and I’m not complaining. Here in Torri Towers we’ve had a few arguments about it but my belief is that although long and pretty warm it’s not been the hottest of summers, not that scorching 40°C by day and sleepless at night. No, it’s really very civilised so please can we have another one next year?

With the forecast of rain for this week, up on the terrace it was time to take down the umbrella and consign it to the poubelle. It’s survived this far only by the judicious addition of supporting ropes, following the high winds on the night of the longest day two months ago. So here in fond memory is the last view of it.

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And the rain did arrive as promised, along with a dramatic fall in temperature. On Sunday, basking on the beach in 29°C, then two days later and ten degrees cooler; quite a shock to the system after all those barefoot weeks of tee-shirts and shorts. Arms, legs and feet unaccustomed to being covered. Of course, readers in more northern parts, particularly in Scotland, might feel I have little to complain about compared to the endless deluge they had to suffer in lieu of summer. And I’m not complaining, just observing.

I also keep an intermittent record of sunrise and sunset times. Not the official ones, rather the actual time the first rays appear and the last vanish in this particular spot. Being wholly surrounded by mountains that’s a good deal less than the hours experienced down on the coast a few kilometers away. I’m not quite sure why I do it; some kind of compulsion to record everything of value, indiscriminately sweeping in quite a lot that has none at all. In the springtime it’s most satisfying to record the days lengthening, first slowly then much faster through the Equinox, but now it’s the opposite effect as I glumly note each day shortening by several minutes. Serves me right, doesn’t it?

A good evening out

In late August we joined the throng at the annual Dolceacqua spectacular after dining at Le Trote restaurant, on the junction with the road to Rochetta Nervina, because it offered ample free parking on a night whose traffic queues are almost as spectacular as the firework display itself. Well not really, that was just dramatic effect to illustrate how hard it is to find a space on that particular night. I’d been to the restaurant a couple of times before and found it OK but I’d seen it as a kind of watering hole for coach parties. This is a bit unfair because although it is that it does it far better than it has any reason to.

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What I’d never realised it that out back there’s a trout pond, from which Le Trote gets its name (duh!). The pond is rectangular and the size of a couple of Olympic swimming pools, with a sheer rock face behind and surrounded by tables on two sides. And it’s full of trout, a good proportion of which end up on plates looking very surprised.

We all know how our favourite restaurant gets picked for the office Christmas dinner based on a previous encounter with a table for four and then fails dismally to live up to expectations when asked to cater for 40. Not in this case, I can assure you, and certainly not at such attractive prices. Naturally you’d have a job finding fresher fish anywhere.

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