28 November 2009

Something Different...

Even I know when I've written about a certain issue once too often.

This is how I feel about our plumbing problems.

So today's post will not mention any issues of a plumbing nature.

I will talk about guns instead.

Today we were enjoying a nice little toasted cheese sandwich in the safety and comfort of our rustico when we looked up to see a man walking past our window with a gun.

Men with guns regularly walk up this peaceful valley and past our place. At first, we were shocked to come across these visitors but then our neighbour explained that they are hunting for cinghiale (wild boar). Apparently, our valley is filled with deer and wild boar and is therefore a favourite spot for hunters. While we have seen a few deer, we have never seen a wild boar. I'm not sure how we would react if we were faced with a big pig but I suspect we would not react like one of the locals.

The men with guns always have dogs. The dogs are usually scrawny, dirty and diseased looking. Actually, the men are also usually dirty and diseased looking. Regardless, we watch from the safety of our rustico while these dangerous men holding dangerous weapons walk past us with their dangerous dogs. If we're outside, the men sometimes ask if we've seen any cinghiale. We respond in the negative, not sure if we should tell them we wouldn't recognise one if we fell over it.

So today, while I did my usual thing and watched the man and his dog, Stu (otherwise known as Louie) watched The Gun. He is obsessed with The Gun and feels a weird compulsion to explain The Gun to me: its material, its size, it capacity to do damage, etc. It must be a boy thing. Apparently, today's gun was a '22' (whatever that means). All I know is that it was the biggest gun I'd ever seen. I had to look twice because the gun was slung over the man's shoulder in such a way that it looked like something he'd already slaughtered (albeit a skinny one). I was sure The Gun would kill a whole pack of cinghiale with just one bullet.

This led me to wonder if we would be as obsessed about guns if we had come from a country where guns were legal or if we'd grown up in a rural area where guns were permitted.

The Italians in our area just seem to accept guns and hunting as a way of life.

Tonight, Stu wandered down to the bottom paddock to check if the gate was closed. At 6pm, it was cold, damp and a thick fog hung in the valley which prevented him from seeing very far ahead.

Suddenly a gunshot rang out and echoed around the hills.

He told me later that he simply froze to the spot, chills moving up and down his nerves like electricity. He couldn't tell how far away The Gun was because it was muffled by the fog. He was clearly shocked that bullets would be fired in such poor visibility.

When he was finally able to move his legs again, he crept back to the rustico careful to stay on the driveway and as close to the fence as possible, just in case The Gun mistook his fawn coloured tracksuit for a deer (or a cinghiale!).

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