Monday, 7 October 2019

Time for a leak

Yes it’s annual water leak time, you didn’t think we’d get away without one or two this year did you.  Giovanni called recently to tell us there was water on the road near his house, the route the pipes take to the houses.  Mr FF firstly had to take a brush cutter to fight his way into the scary chamber that houses all four meters, ours was spinning when the water was off and so was our neighbour Anna’s, she was away at the time.  He dug beside the road, found the leak and fixed it. It wasn’t ours it was Anna’s, so he still had one to find,
Over the years he’s put in various stop valves to isolate sections of our pipe and help locate any problem.  This leak of course was in the horrendously overgrown gulley behind our house.
He spent the best part of a day cutting back the thorns and branches to clear the route but still couldn’t find a tell tale damp area.  Next day we both walked up the gulley listening for running water and eventually found the leak, the hole in the pipe was on the low side and water was draining directly into the ground, you can see how much in the video below
All fixed for now.  In the past we haven’t worried too much about the lost water as the authority won’t send anyone into the pit to read the meter and they have charged us very little, though this year we have already paid 100 euro.  However speaking to Pietro who has a house in our road that is barely used for 4 weeks in the year, he told us he’d had a bill for 400 euro recently.  He said he’s not paying it and I don’t blame him.  We are responsible for the leaks between the meter and our house, the pipes are badly installed close to the surface and directly onto rocks that puncture the plastic pipes, our water comes directly from source with no treatment and no checks on quality, they should be paying is to drink it.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Frutta fresca

This pretty dish was a gift from an Italian friend many years ago, I like it a lot as it features one of my favourite fruits.
We have three fig trees in our orchard, one is the green variety that fruits early summer, I find these a bit boring,  the other two are brown ones that are coming ready now which I love.  Just as soon as the fruits start to ripen I eat them immediately straight from the tree.  If you’ve never had a ripe fresh fig still warm from the sun you’ve missed one of life’s great pleasures.  Some years I make jam which is good but usually I can eat as many as the trees can provide. It is possible to consume the whole fruit but I prefer to split them open, firstly to admire them then to check they are clean inside.

Not only is the fruit delicious but the trees are both beautiful and undemanding.  They never seem to suffer from disease or infestation, they don’t grow too big, I don’t prune mine or give them much attention but they never fail to bear fruit.
It’s such a productive time for fruit now.  I was at my neighbours recently and he sent me home with a big bag of his plums and told me that the strawberry grapes which I love will be ready in a week or so.  He showed me his three vines all loaded with fruit and I’m sure a lot will arrive here, Giovanni knows how many I can eat.

Monday, 23 September 2019

A wet day in Lazio

Beautiful nonetheless
It’s not autumnal yet but high summer has passed.  We are still using the pool,  probably not for much longer.  The garden is happy, the irrigation is turned off.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Reduce Reuse Recycle

I despair when I see blatant examples of business ignoring the need to reduce waste while you and I do our best to make a difference.   

Mr FF received a parcel today that came to us in Italy from Berlin.  The item inside the box, itself in a box,  was small as you can see, the rest of the box was full of pieces of polystyrene.  The small box contained a replacement solar panel for our garden fountain.  Admittedly the panel is somewhat fragile but the intention of using solar power and sourcing just a new panel rather than a complete new fountain is cancelled by the excessive packaging,  I shall keep the polystyrene and use it in the bottom of a large plant pot to reduce the amount of compost I use and therefore the weight, probably for annuals that won’t have deep roots.  The supplier obviously doesn’t care what happens to the polystyrene.
Mr FF is an living example of the 3 Rs, these are his working shorts, previously his working jeans, previously his smart jeans. You can’t say he doesn’t get value, the tattered hat was a gift, it was unworn when he received it.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Mass on the mountain

Last Sunday we made our way to the top of our mountain, 1420 metres above sea level, to join the celebrations beneath the statue of the queen of peace.
We were able to drive almost to the summit, the man who directed us to the car park seemed to know us and said we could either walk the final stretch on the road or take the shorter mountain path.  No guesses which one Mr FF selected, it was rough, steep and unclear but my main concern was that we would suddenly emerge from the woods behind the altar amongst the 7 officiating priests, we didn’t.
After the mass there were talks, presentations and finally around 7 pm we were lead by the local band to the statue where rose buds were laid and prayers said with the most beautiful background of a setting sun and distant mountains.

Monday, 9 September 2019

If you say it loud enough

We took part yesterday in a village church event,  I’ll post more details soon.  As on similar occasions we’ve attended it seemed acceptable to wander in and out of the venue, let your phone ring and to chat quietly during proceedings so it wasn’t too surprising when a young boy,  about 10, tapped Mr FF on the shoulder and asked if we were English.  He seemed delighted that we were and confirmed this to the friend who appeared beside him.
They obviously wanted to practice what they knew, starting off with hello, they proceeded to do you like pasta, a few things we didn’t understand and they told us their names, all with huge smiles on their handsome little faces.  I asked them if they knew the children of some of our friends, yes they did and asked me how to say best, they were best friends.  The conversation turned to them asking me how to say various things until they had me stuck at supercalafragelisticexpialidocious.  It’s the same I said, e lo stresso, we say supercalafragelisticexpialidocious too.  Yes they said, but how do you say it in English.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Stone Age Man

Now the terrace is finished Mr FF is constructing a new path in our orchard.  The ground there slopes and it’s always difficult for me getting to the veggie department in my flip flops so a flat path will be great.  It’s also a good way of getting rid of the remaining rubble, currently in bags, from when we renewed the front garden paths, we waste nothing.
The little stone retaining wall is sweet and much in keeping with the large wall.  Mr FF is becoming quite skilled at this type of work, who knows he may have missed out on a brilliant career as a bricklayer.