Monday, October 10, 2005

properties in umbria

Dear John,

Thank you for your e-mail. Yes, we very much enjoyed the rest of our holiday. We managed to get tickets for the opera in Spoleto, which we thought was great, and it's always interesting to see local people in a different context.

We then spent a couple of days in Lucca, which is a fascinating city. We walked the walls/ramparts - about 4 kms, which are very wide in parts and look splendid with their tree-lined avenues, especially this time of year. We then spent a day in Pisa, before catching a late flight home. We thought the Cathedral in Pisa was stunning. It’s so big, and for us outclasses the tower.

We thoroughly enjoyed our few hours with you, and sorry again for the false start. Unfortunately the trains didn’t get much better on the way back, and after several delays we arrived in Spoleto at around 9.00pm! One gets the feeling that the Italian Railways are becoming increasingly obsolete and nothing is really being done to modernise them. This impression was powerfully reinforced when on Perugia S G station we witnessed a member of staff vigorously turning this contraption by hand on the platform - presumably to change the points for the incoming train - ours! Also we couldn’t get the validation machine to work on one of the trains, whereupon the ticket inspector gave it a bash (which he explained to us was the "Italian way", and it starting working)! Anyway, we did get to meet some interesting people on trains and platforms during the holiday.

We were knocked out with the position of the properties - and thank you for showing us your home. I think we found the amount of effort and commitment in creating such an amazing home a bit difficult to comprehend. As for the properties, the larger, as you know, is considerably more than we were wanting to spend, but as you have reminded us, there are other possibilities in the scheme. We shall have to see how our property sale goes - and anyway, would I think need to pay another visit before finalising a purchase.

I was equally impressed with the two fields that you have also acquired. I remember what you were saying about planting the right grape varieties - i.e. needing to be those in demand. I have read that there is some experimentation going on with grape varieties new to Italy. Also, you may be aware that a grape variety found nowhere else is grown in the Montefalco area - Sagrantino. Maybe the price is based on it’s scarcity value but the very cheapest we saw was Euro15 and the most expensive Euro85. This compares with a bottle of good Montefalco Rosso for around Euro 8 - so perhaps if you wanted to add wine-making to your many other interests, it might be worthwhile investment.

Thank you also for introducing us to your Reel Streets website. As you probably guessed, I have a number of favourite films - some British, as did my father - who had the most extraordinary memory for all things connected with theatre, cinema and music. I was interested to see the photos connected with The Day the Earth Caught Fire with beautiful Janet Munro, who tragically died early - from a heart condition - hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?, which presumably manifested itself in "Sudden Death Syndrome". One of my brothers suffers from the condition but, curiously, as it is thought to be passed on genetically, nobody else in our family has the (supposedly) offending gene sequence. (I have only once seen eyes like Janet Munro’s in another woman, and was completely captivated by them, at the tender age of 17 - but it didn’t last! I wonder where she is now?) Also Hell Drivers. I remember standing outside the Odeon in Welling, Kent, with my friend Peter - both of us about 12 at the time. So determined were we to see this A film that we asked a number of adults to take us in, and got lucky. It was certainly worth it. As for the street shown with Stanley Baker (wasn’t this when he went to visit his brother and mother who owned a sweet shop?) As to clues - Why would a wall need to be so high, and why does there appear to be buildings immediately behind it? Is it something to do with security - a prison maybe. It reminds me a bit of the wall around Woolwich Arsenal.

Anyway - fascinating stuff - and the amount of detail in your article left me breathless.

Kindest Regards
David Perry

see and for the properties David refers to.