One of the things I really like about living here in Liguria, Italy, is having lots of water features near my garden. I lived in Las Vegas for 15 years before moving here, and I still get a big kick out of living on a creek and a five-minute walk from the beach.
My new studio is located on another little creek, so now I’ll have one at home and one at work. The creek below our home has a great waterfall a few hundred feet down the road. During the rainy season, like now, the creek swells and the waterfall gets nice and big. When there’s a big rainstorm, the creek really fills up and the waterfall has nothing to be ashamed. We can always tell how hard it’s raining at night by listening to the changing sounds of the water in the creek.
I don’t even know how many different creeks there are in Rapallo. There are two big ones, more than 50 feet across and several dozen smaller ones. This whole area is riddles with creeks, so much so that several centuries ago, there were many dozens of water powered mills in the area. People from Tuscany would bring their bags of wheat up to this area in boats in order to have it milled. When we go hiking in the woods we see ancient crumbling mills all over the place.
Photo by Rick Gush
It’s construction time again, and as usual I’m using my Italian truck to haul supplies to the job site. My truck, in this case, is actually my Vespa. I’ve owned a lot of different cars and trucks in my lifetime, and I’m happy to report that this Vespa is my favorite vehicle among them all. It’s a tank, very seldom breaks and costs almost nothing to fix when it does break.
Liguria isn’t built for big trucks. I have a friend who volunteered to help me move, and he has a regular-sized truck. His truck isn’t so big, but the angle to turn into my driveway is so sharp that he can’t make the turn. Phooey. Now I have to find a friend with a mini truck to help me move.
My Vespa will carry two bags of concrete or 12 big bricks. I once snapped the clutch cable when I had two sacks loaded. I pushed the Vespa—still loaded—to the nearest mechanic. He changed the clutch cable and charged me 5 euros. Fifteen minutes after breaking down, I was on my way again. Things didn’t work like that with my Isuzu Trooper back in the States.
One of the things I’m excited about with the new studio is that it has a garage up front that I can use to work on my Vespa. The Vespa is more than 30 years old, and I’m planning to take it apart, paint everything and then put it back together. I did that about five years ago, but all this use as a construction truck has sort of beat it up, so this summer I’m planning to do it all again—only better.