I seem to be a little fixated with the fact that I’m going to be 40 next year. As I turn 39, today is the first day of my 40th year on this planet. Even while I was still 38 I was saying I’ll be 40 next year if people asked me how old I was.
Rachel cooked me a full English (or should that be Italian) breakfast: Sausage, pancetta, eggs and mushrooms. Then I opened my card from Rachel (a birthday moo) and my remaining presents as I’d opened some before we came away. Two CDs (Flight of the Conchords and Eels), Seven Pounds DVD, and a complicated looking game called Ingenious! It was also really nice to get text messages from my parents, my sister Sally, and Emma a friend from my PhD days. My best present though was waking up in an Umbrian farmhouse with Rachie next to me and glorious blue skies out the window.
Another morning sunbathing, but this time we had decided we’d head out around lunchtime to drive over to Montepulciano, where our favourite red wine comes from. Turns out we’d timed it well as a little cloud came over making it just a little cooler. Conchords and Eels made it a short drive over into Tuscany, though the road over to Cortona is torturous. Another half hour drive past Cortona brought to the hillside town of Montepulciano.
As with Cortona, the roads are steep to walk up but the town is not big so it’s not too taxing. Even better that is cooler due to the cloud. We buy some nice red wine for Sandra and Keith to say thank you for looking after Freya for the week (although from the texts we’ve been receiving it sounds like they’ve all been having a great time). We also buy ourselves a cheaper bottle along with some sundried tomato, pecorino and salami sauce which is almost the same price. But we’d tasted it on the Italian bread at the front of the shop and agree we should buy some before we know how much it costs. It does taste good though. We also buy a little wooden toy as a present for Freya.
We hadn’t really had any lunch and decide we’d like to have dinner in Montepulciano but it is now 5pm and Italian restaurants tend not to open till around 7. We walk back up the hill to Café Polliziano (probably spelt wrong) as we’d walked past earlier and it looked nice and had views out across the Tuscan countryside. We kind of hoped it would be open and serving food. It was open but the only food it was serving was cake. So we have a coffee and share a piece of lemon meringue pie Italian style. Delicious.
We then decide to drive back over towards Lake Trasimeno to Castigliano Del Lago, another small town overlooking the lake. By now the cloud has drifted away and it’s another beautiful evening. A quick look round the few shops there, and a present for Lauren, before settling on the nicest looking restaurant in town which has a terrace under some trees and a view towards the lake. Another fantastic meal (well, it is my birthday). The meatballs were the best I’ve ever tasted!
If the remaining 364 days of my 40th year are as good as this one then I’ll be a happy boy.