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Sitting on the back terrace of Podere Isabella watching the sun set and doing Julia’s math, nonfiction exercise and reading book, I breath after some crabbiness and an almost evening nap. We have one more evening to enjoy the beauty and quiet of the place. A few breaths more. Perhaps another nap on the terrace. It is a wonder to spend the time here. The generous gift of a school friend with whom I had not been in touch since college. Her trust that I could keep her house even without her being here. And we bathe in the beauty of this undeserved gift or reward. Or a simple gesture of kinship.

The beauty–to open shuttered doors each morning and lock up them at the end of the day. To rattle around more space than we need. Alone and quiet. Or alone and noisy. Julia and I are not using much of the house. Our bedroom and bath of course, but we eat in the large kitchen with its well worn wood table and good drawing light. We sat for one meal in the lovely dining room, but in the afternoon Julia wants to swim, in the evening we’ve eating meals on the back terrace to watch sunsets and morning tea is cozier in the kitchen. The divided living room would be wonderful for a gathering but the two of us are lost in it and staying out removes the temptation to turn on the media players. We rattle around here, and after today in a Siena that was full to the brim with serious tours and tourists the ability to freely move from room to room is cold water to a parched mouth.

I sit to begin my day. No pressing reservations or train schedule. Nothing important to see today. Just another small hill town, more good exercise for our calves and a recommended restaurant. I am almost comfortable driving the back roads, mostly gravel and unsaved and the narrow two lane blacktop roads. I am comfortable with my few Italian words and the kindness of those who try to make me understand a few more. More swash buckling touring begins again tomorrow but for today . . .