Keeping warm and clean

Our stove has been very smoky recently. First we thought it was due to burning wet wood, but this morning, I decide to enquire properly by shoving a stick down the stovepipe. It is a cold and frosty morning and the top of Emma is like an ice rink, so balancing while poking is an interesting and invigorating challenge.

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Immensely satisfying too, as big clunks of clinker drop down into the stove, which I luckily have remembered to shut properly before this violent action. Somehow the smell gets out anyhow and it takes a few days of dry-roasting lemon and clementine peel on the stove-top before it disappears. But Little Meme (that’s our stove) is now a whole new experience. There’s nothing like a good clean, we decide and apply this maxim to ourselves next by going in search of the Thermal baths of the town. First we find the Art Nouveau looking one, which is beautiful but overpriced, so we just take some photos and leave for the cheaper concrete building up the hill where the same water comes out of the ground at half the price.

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On the way, we meet a Ukrainian couple from Modena who have come to Salsomaggiore for the weekend. The husband is a painter-decorator, and spending a day in the Thermal baths relieves his shoulder and neck pains. We spend the morning hanging out in the hot pool with them, receiving more recommendations for ‘must see’ places than we can remember. They have fallen in love with the Tyrol, where they would like to buy a house, offer B&B and live a simple life. There is a no-frills Sauna downstairs that gets switched on especially for us, and we alternate between the Sauna and the Thermal bath. What luxury!

A leisurely stroll back to Emma, a slow lunch and a lunchtime nap before setting off for Bologna. A perfect Sunday!

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Here is a photo of some chickens that seemed to live on a roundabout in the middle of Salsomaggiore – no fence and no obvious ownership from the surrounding houses. I imagine a story of nomadic chickens, travelling across Italy on their own…

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For more photos of this chapter, click here.


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