Roof stuff

Last September, I posted a piece about the legal problems we were having with the roof of our house here in Fondi. It’s a long, and painful, story and if you don’t remember the details I suggest you click here.

(This is the point at which Patrick French yawns and moves on. Patrick French, for those who don’t read the Picador blog, has just published the first volume of a biography of Naipaul, an act of heroism on any level, and thinks that “Bloggers are bores; bores are bloggers. Have you ever read an interesting blog post? Neither have I. There are 100 million blogs on the Internet today, and 85 million of them are dead.” Right, Patrick.The thing about this kind of shallow wrong-headed comment is that it tempts me to write exactly the sort of blog post you’re talking about. So, fuck you, Patrick, here it is.)

Today, Giuseppe and I received a summons to appear in court for having broken the seals on the top floor of our house in order to cover it with a temporary roof. The seals don’t exist, of course, and never have. Like much of the law in Italy, they’re virtual and only there to be applied when someone remembers, or it suits someone’s interest, or there’s an ‘r’ in the month.

We don’t know what’s likely to happen until we speak to our lawyer tomorrow evening. In the meantime, I have to stop Giuseppe seeking out the vigile who wrote the report and ‘discussing’ the problem per strada. What I didn’t mention in my last post was that the vigile, a man who’s already been tried for corruption, offered me a sort of deal, and I was too stupid to realise. He said that his son wanted to study English at university and did I have any suggestions, anything that might smooth the boy’s path, a little help, as they say here. And I said: If your son wants to learn English he should avoid the Italian university system at all costs. With those rash but honest words, I sealed my doom.

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