Of Cats, Polenta and more Etruscans

The starving wild kitten we began feeding in July and christened 'Batcat',
is now a fully grown-up feline of the female gender.  She no longer hisses and spits and will allow us a brief stroke when putting out her food, but attempts at further intimacy are furiously rebuffed and often result in disappearance at escape velocity!

Woke up this morning to cats yowling in the olive groves and suspect that Batcat is on heat, though she turned up innocently for breakfast with scarcely a hair out of place.   When she is tame enough to catch we intend to take her to an animal charity for neutering, but at the moment that seems a distant prospect.

Meanwhile I'm trying to increase my repertoire of Italian cooking.  Friends told me that Polenta is easy - you simply need a non-stick pan and the patience to stir for 30 minutes.  So I made the attempt and produced something that should have looked like a golden mound, crisp at the edges, but actually resembled a pale yellow breast implant when it flopped out of the pan, and tasted of nothing much.  Hey ho!  Back to the recipe book.

I'd like to share some more pictures from Orvieto, if you can bear it?  This is Civita di Bagno Regio, a few miles from where we were staying at Lake Bolsena.

Civita is miraculous - a pillar of rock rising up from the centre of a huge volcanic crater (which reminds one of  pictures of Colorado) topped with a very ancient walled town.

The front gateway is Etruscan, as are the chambers hollowed out of the rock beneath.  This is a staircase cut into the rock to go down to a water cistern.  And yes, we did go down!

  Most of the buildings inside the walls are medieval.  The streets are very narrow and shady, so not good for taking photographs unless you have special lenses.   This was one of the little bars.

Earthquakes destroyed parts of the town in 1349,  1695   and 1764,  though the ruins of many houses are still standing.

 Erosion has since caused many of the outer buildings to collapse into the crater.   This house and garden (inhabited) were overhanging the edge and someone had inserted wooden props into the rock under them. But I wouldn't have spent a night there for any money!!

 Only 5 families now live there permanently, though there are shops, B and Bs (all safely in the middle!), and some lovely small restaurants.  It's one of the most beautiful places I've seen in Italy.  Utterly unique.  This is a cactus on someone's garden wall overlooking the canyon.



  1. I love Batcat's markings! I once tried to make polenta - it went into the garbage! I enjoyed touring Orvieto through your photos. I especially love those steps down to the cistern!

  2. Orvieto is simply amazing.

    Good luck with taming Batcat


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