After months of endlessly grey weather ('You should be used to this, Signora!' they chortle in the bakery), the sun is finally shining here in Tuscany. Hallelulia. It's also that briefest period of time when it's hot enough to sit out but when the mosquitos haven't hatched yet and begun their relentless attack. In short, it's BBQ weather.
There's nothing more guaranteed to bring people out of their homes, onto their balconies, noses first, than the smell of meat grilling on a proper BBQ. It's the Pied Piper of odours. Men flex their muscles recounting tales of successful past BBQs (outdoors grilling and manliness go hand in hand, after all) while women cringe at the thought of scrubbing last years grease off the grill as their partner stands over them, prongs in hand, like Braveheart about to go into battle.
A recent BBQ in my neighbour's garden didn't go down too well with the rest of the neighbours though. It was quite smoky, this is true. But really, who does their laundry on May 1st anyway? One old lady hung off her balcony and yelled down at us with an especially sour face and shaking fist. You'd have thought she was announcing our eternal damnation. Then the doorbell rang and a younger, very snazily dressed woman stepped up and let loose an avalanche of complaints, before I could even tell her that the BBQ wasn't actually mine. Her house was FULL of smoke, she'd have to do ALL her washing again, it just WASN'T acceptable, her kids were choking to death AS WE SPOKE, (well, she didn't actually say that but I could see that was where it was going). I invited her to go through and tell this to Lorenzo who was ignorantly but happily turning the sausages over just a few feet away, but she declined. 'I just want, I just want..' she tailed off. 'You just wanted to come down and complain to me.' I snapped and shut the door in her face.
If you can't have a BBQ on May 1st then quite frankly I don't know what the world's coming to. Anyway, this was clearly a case of garden envy. If you live on the third floor and you see a lot of young, cool people skewering bits of chicken and marinading meat in their beautifully kept gardens then you get mad. Just don't come and tell me I'm responsible for your kid's asthma.