It is one of these dark and gray november afternoons.
Raindrops are running down the high, arched windows of the hall. A gray sky floods the room with its cold light.
On the opposite wall a warm and crackling fire in the fireplace
fights these light with its soft orange shimmering tones. The cracking of the
firewood is the only sound that fills the room beside the monotonic dripping
of the rain.
The high walls of the castle are covered with historic carpets, showing
different hunting scenes. The interior is nearly original, only a few modern
parts complete the furnishing.
The floor, at its base, is polished marble. It is partially covered with sheepskins of all colors. They are cheap here in the hills north of Meran.
Only in front of the fireplace a huge and very thick bearskin is located.
And yes - the skull is already on it. It's just as one knows it from
I am laying in my beloved, huge, padded with thick sheepskin, chaise lounge.
A real impressive comfortable reclining chair with electrically adjustable parts for upper body and legs. This is one of the modern pieces of furniture
in the hall.
My feet are directed to the fire to get them warm. I have full view to the
windows and the entrance of the hall.
I enjoy these afternoons. Nothing special to do. In the morning I was in the
studio in the attic and made some sketches for a new painting which I have promised my galerist in Meran.
Now, I'm fairly satisfied with what I created and enjoy the afternoon on my
My notebook on the lap is open and because of inactivity, the screensaver
shows photos in random series from the last years.
I see a capture from Anne, showing her loughing and running with wide open arms
over a beach near Triest. We were there last year.
Yes Anne. What should I do without her?
I met Anne 2 years ago in Meran where she was looking for a job in the hotel business.
We came into dialog, I do not remember how and why, but I hired her immediately.
Since then Anne is here and likes to work for me. She's a real angel - and not
only in one relation.
Anne is 25 years old and has a very gentle and friendly personality.
She came from Austria, more exactly, Vienna.
Her father was a black African who left her mother when she was pregnant.
She never saw him.
Her mother was a blonde German, so she has a wonderful coffeebrown skin, with curly reddish-brown full hair, covering her head down to the shoulders.
She is about 1.65m tall, has a wide face with
a convincing smile, large, dark eyes and a well shaped body with small breasts and a curvy formed backside.
Now, Anne helps me with clothing and personal care and does a lot of the other housework including the kitchen.
And with personal care I mean also some very intimely and
sensitive services, which I - and Anne - need from time to time. Did I tell
she's an angel?
Anne is sitting at the footend of my lounger, near the fireplace and massages my feet with aromatic oils.
She does this job nearly every day. It is kind of a ritual that has to be
done. She smiles while doing it, I can see, she enjoys it.
My feet are a cute size 37, well pedicured and cared as one can imagine.
My arch is high and I always have trouble finding shoes with the needed high instep.
The toenails are painted in dark cherry-red which gives a great contrast to my light, slightly tanned skin.
I stretch my body and legs on my lounger, enjoing Annes massaging hands and
drift away with my memories.
Yes, back then.
I was married very happily with my husband. We were a wonderful pair,
Peter and Carina. Nearly 20 years together we lived in Mailand, got a daughter.
We met in Mailand - I, a poor Russian student in photography and art at the
Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera.
He, a very successful young businessman, deeply involved in international
Our first meeting was our fate. We were born for each other.
A sudden accident ended that happy episode of my life.
It was nearly 3 years ago, when I saw him the last time.
He entered his aeroplane to meet two business partners in London. He was a very skilled pilot and thought he could handle the risk of bad weather.
But he never arrived at his destination airport.
They sighted remains of the plane 3 days later high in the alps,
far away from the planned route. His dead body was finally found
hundred meters away in the forest.
It seemed he tried to bypass the weather front - but failed in doing so.
My daughter Jana visited me a last time at the funeral. She is now 19 and very capable of living their own life.
She went to Paris with her partner Jules. Both working in the
design business. Since then she seems to have forgotten her mother.
I understand that she wants to live her own life, but sometimes I miss her.
After the accident, I decided to sell his share to his partners.
Now, I have no money-problems anymore.
At that time I wanted to leave Mailand with all its memories and move
into some slower going region.
I found this place here in the hills north of Meran. Now living on a small,
ancient castle in South Tyrol with my two employees, John and Anne.
The castle is located in the wine hills about 10km from Meran.
It consists of an ancient building which is nearly fully renovated and restored. Most of the rooms can be heated, which is essential for our cold winter.
In summer the thick walls give enough protection from the heat of the sun.
It is surrounded from a large garden. Partly used for
raising vegetables, partly cultivated with roses, rhododendy and other blooming plants. Huge Trees give shade over the paths
A very wide area isn't cultivated at all.
There is just wilderness with rocks, high grass, wild wine an Pine-trees. Accessable only via small paths. Here and there are small wooden platforms
for bird watching or contemplation in nature. I use them often for doing some
nature studies or taking photographs.
Because the castle is of historic interest, I decided to open the garden and a few rooms with ancient inventory for the public at 3 days a week.
For this purpose Janine, an elderly local women, comes in the morning and takes
her place in a small cabin at the entrance, where she sells tickets to the visitors.
She is paid from the community and the money from the ticket selling goes fully to
the community. I did this not for gaining money but
to keep up a little life in the garden and to see other people from time to time.
On the other hand the community helps us with bigger work in the garden, felling
trees or other restorations on the building which can be done from skilled workers.
It's a kind of give and take and we have a very good relation to the mayor of the
At this point I have to break my daydreaming again.
John comes in: "Can I do something for you?" he asks.
He just cleaned the car and did some maintenance to keep it going, checking
for oil and water. John looks to Anne and smiles.
"Yes", I reply, "Some meal would be great.
Anne, would you please be so kind to assist John and prepare something for us?"
Anne nods and says "Sure I will. We'll be ready in half an hour."
Anne gets up and walks away with John to the kitchen.
John is some kind of phenomenon. I "bought" him so to speak with the castle.
The estate agent told me that there is someone already living on the castle
and chances of getting rid of him were small.
I hesitated to give this a try, but after I got to know him the first time,
I used his presence to negotiate a lower price as he made a very serious
impression. A real butler of old school, loyal to his master as one can be.
He was here to care for the house, the car and the garden.
And now he is here to do the same for me. He knows every wrinkle of the castle. The cellar, the roof.
He knows every secret door and hollow wall. Yes, there are a few. Did I mention
the castle is old?
John's duties cover all the the rest that must be done to keep such a large estate
going. Of course he gets help from outside when necessary.
He is hiring helping hands for heavy garden work, filling up our stock with firewood or keeping the street free of snow in the winter.
Because we are only three persons, we have enough spare time for
pleasure and personal interests. So say what you want - I am living like a princess
on a castle with two employees.
Although my new life is absolutely different from that with Peter, I have now
the opportunity to discover myself, to shine light in some deep abysses of my
soul and to use my new freedom for becoming aware of my inner, ever neglected self.