500 hours of solitude (give or take): Day 1, alone with the neighbor’s sheep

This was the deal: The house in Umbria was unoccupied for a few months, and this is not a good idea. It’s one thing to leave an apartment—you just close up, turn the gas off, make sure the espresso machine’s emptied of water, lock the door, and you’re good to go. It’s rather different with a country house, especially one that’s pretty visible. Our red car wasn’t in front, and a close viewer would notice the lack of activity.

Only both of us couldn’t get here this winter. The Spartan Woman has a bunch of things to do, and she’s more successful at doing them if I’m not around. And it doesn’t matter where I am to do my work. So here I am, up on the mountain with the sheep. Someone had to do it.

I’ve never been alone up here for more than a few hours. So this is an experiment. Can I live here and do what I need to do without turning into a crazy man talking to myself? Oh, wait, I do that anyway. Can I do it without turning into a sloth in sweats, a hermit with the sheep and if I’m lucky, the neighbor’s sheepdog as company?

We’ll see. So far, things are fine. I got here yesterday via a smooth and nearly frill-free but comfy Alitalia flight (premium economy is almost civilized.) The airline’s perpetually bankrupt, but it keeps up a good face and premium economy comes with a better, more spacious seat and priority check-in and boarding. Then a friend of a friend picked me up at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. That saved me from either a combination of trains and then begging for a ride, or a slow bus and begging for that ride from Perugia. Plus, the guy was great to talk to—total Italian immersion—and his sweet little dog fell asleep on my lap.

When I got here, the poor house felt neglected, with cobwebs in the corners, a fridge with some scary items in it, and the wind howling from the north. Luckily, though, the Internet connection still worked and a friend turned the heat on before I got here. It’s still chilly but not frigid in here.

The house still stands. The old shed is missing the summer’s pool toys.

I’ve had back again stuff to do–get in some groceries, fill up the car, and some work. And being alone means I get control of the TV remote and, as usual the few times I did, I got lost down the YouTube rabbit hole.

The town’s still there.

I’m going to try to blog more often as a way of chronicling my adventures. Or document my going insane. If I can’t think of anything halfway interesting to write, I’ll post photos.

3 thoughts on “500 hours of solitude (give or take): Day 1, alone with the neighbor’s sheep

  1. I guess you’re not trying to drum up some AirBnB reservations with the glowing description you shared. Too bad, you almost had me with the sheep.


  2. Something about this post was happy-making for me. I love nothing more than a beautiful view, a warm fire and a larder full of food and wine. And perhaps my pets. I’d miss those. I look forward to your next post. I’m also in Umbria. I am trying to figure out where you are from photos!


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