Wednesday, 8 August 2018

It’s all rubbish

In our region of Lazio we have door step rubbish collection 6 days a week, it’s remarkable that when we are the only occupied property the bin lorry still trundles up our track to collect.  Recently we were issued with 3 smart new stackable bins for paper, plastic and unrecycleable items, the bin we already had to be used for glass and metal.  I thought that was fine until a neighbour called to tell me that I needed to go down to the square to collect my allocation of plastic bags to line the bins.  Giovanni offered to take me down but I declined thinking I’d manage without plastic.  However Mr FF disagreed so we went down on the second day the bags were being dished out.   It was devastating to see a sizeable transit van packed high with rolls of plastic bags to be distributed to our small village.  
I brought the bags home but didn’t use them.  I am obviously breaking some rule because the lady who empties our bins gets very cross every time she collects.  She even resorted to checking my rubbish, one time she took out yogurt cartons and a plastic egg box and left them in the bin, I have no idea why but for the next collection I did put them and other plastic in one of the standard issue bags and everything was taken.  I can hear the lady muttering away, particularly if Mr FF has put out anything building related, one time she had a good sort through, spoke to the driver who tooted his horn as they drove off leaving our rubbish behind.  As I said we have six collections a week but I actually miss out 2 as I am happy to compost all my peelings, tea bags, coffee grounds etc.  That and the fact we are only here half a year and pay for a full years collection has no bearing on what the bin lady will sanction.
We have a long list of items we cannot put in our bins that have to be taken to the depot down the mountain on Tuesday or Saturday morning.  We took a mattress down recently and the lady there was charming, she said she remembered us from a couple of years ago, let us take a perfectly good cat carrier from one of the skips. showed us the depot cat and it’s kittens and then asked us for identification.
Fly tipping is a huge and ugly problem in Italy, even quiet country roads are strewn with litter and it’s not unusual for us to collect paper and bottles as we walk down our track.  There is a nice picnic area above us with tables, seats and BBQ facilities.  Someone had collected together their rubbish, put it in a black bag and left it there.  Of course animals had torn the bag open and the contents, food waste and plastic plates were strewn around.  The idea of taking rubbish home is completely alien.
The use of plastic here is excessive.  In the nicest of Italian homes you can be served a meal on plastic plates, the supermarkets are stocked high with them.  I take out a plastic storage box for ricotta which our shepherd calls but he still insists on putting the cheese into a plastic bowl first.  I’ve solved that issue by taking the same plastic bowl out as well.
Yesterday in our little mini market Mr FF bought bread and sausages both admirable wrapped in brown paper bags. However at the checkout the shop owner started to put both paper bags into a plastic one.  Mr FF stopped him and tried to explain the Pass on Plastic policy, Gianni responded that it would never happen in Italy, he’s probably right, if they don’t see the litter under their noses they won’t be thinking about the wider environment.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Cooking on gas

An expression I first heard from one of the 3 builders we used on our house in Scotland, he never really was but his words stuck with me.  I certainly feel as if I am being cooked most days now, it really is hot particularly in my kitchen, where I do use gas.  Not complaining, I love it.  We now have our plastic pool though the new terrace isn’t quite finished, we could wait no longer to be able to cool down.  I’m desperate to deck the area with summer pots, I’ve taken a lot of cuttings that are on stand by but Mr FF has suggested they will be in the way when he works so I have to wait to position them.
We’ve had a couple of weeks of the quiet times I love, where we are up very early, Mr FF does hard labour while it’s cool, we breakfast mid morning then we do very little and wear very little.  We go out hardly at all, it’s too hot now to walk down to the village, we just stay home, sweat and snooze.  
The hardest thing I do is water the garden and pick veggies in the evenings.  Every night we have courgette surprise on the menu, the surprise being that it’s courgettes again.  I took a bag down to a neighbour this morning and returned with a bottle of Spumante and a bag of figs, I came out best in that deal.
We can look forward to more of these dog days for a while, intense heat, occasional electric storms, lethargy, slight madness, cats spark out on the terrace, it’s what I’ve been waiting for, it’s paradise.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018


The stage is set here for a glorious Italian summer, all that’s missing is the weather.  The days are warm enough but we still get regular afternoon showers and some days thunderstorms, our neighbours tv aerial was taken out last week by lightning.  
The terrace pots are floriferous, geraniums, begonias, plumbago full of bloom with my mini sunflowers standing to attention.  My rather English herbaceous border is full to bursting with gladioli, lupins, asters, vinca, morning glory, hydrangea and more exotic datura and amaryllis.  Several pots of basil sick of waiting for the tomatoes are thinking of going to seed.
The first cherry tomatoes are turning, courgettes, peas and cucumbers almost ready.  I can’t wait for the days when have more tomatoes than we can face, eat our aubergines for lunch and dinner and still have veg to give away. When we sit out till late looking at the lights in the valley and sleep on top of the thin cotton sheet that becomes the cover for our bed.  I have stocked up on spirals to burn when the mosquito arrive in force and enough candles and lantens to create magical evenings.
For now the evenings are cool, we’ve hardly seen the fireflies, barely eaten dinner outside and have no problem keeping the house cool.  
So what are you waiting for summer, get yourself here pronto.   Even if the new terrace isn’t ready for the temporary pool it soon will be, the plate vibrator is lined up for the weekend.

I still can’t post comments, the problem seems to be on sites that like me use  So annoying but know that I am following you even if my thoughts have to stay in my head.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Give and take

So with thousands of people crossing the Med in dangerous boats to land on her shores Italy has now refused asylum to the 600 plus migrants who had to be rescued recently.  Whilst we can all condemn the new government for this perhaps you need to know a little more about the impact and the cost of all these people who cast off in dangerous craft no doubt having handed over all their money to the traffickers.
Firstly you cannot go into an Italian supermarket without being accosted by migrants at the trolley park for money, I refuse to hand over any.  When you come out with your shopping you are asked again for money and often followed back to your car.  One persistent migrant once watched me unload my groceries into the car and had the cheek to say you have money for ice cream but you won’t give me anything.  I was furious and explained to him that I had worked for 42 years to earn my money not stood with my hand out.  The larger the supermarket the more migrants and the more intimidation, sometimes I dread taking my trolley back to be harassed for the Euro deposit.  These people all have fancy mobile phones, apparently they need them to keep in touch with their family even though they need my money to buy water.  
Once a guy asked Mr FF for a few euro, Mr FF suggested that rather than just hang around the guy spend his time picking up litter in the car park while we shopped and we would pay him for doing this.  When we came out the man had done nothing and still wanted money.
Even shopping at Ikea in Rome we were harassed by someone wanting to help us unload our shopping, he said he worked there, maybe in his mind he did but not for Ikea and not in any official tax paying way.
Our little village with 700 inhabitants took in, housed and fed, about 30 people. Not all migrants but all adult men with problems, homelessness, abuse, addiction.   They used to congregate in the palazzo near the church waiting for their next meal provided by the ladies of the church.  Few of them spoke when greeted, none of them did anything like help keep the village clean and tidy, and believe me litter is a huge problem throughout Lazio.  Now the church is concentrating on its own community, the number of priests we have has reduced and there is less help for outsiders.
Then there are the black prostitutes who stand on the country roads waiting for business and wearing very little.  I have no doubt they are pimped, controlled and probably on drugs, I feel very sad for them and worry for their safety.  Or I would if they didn’t appear to relish what they are doing, even pulling down their pants and shaking their bare bottoms to passing traffic.  Did they leave their country in search of a better life to end up on the streets,  do the supermarket men think they have a better life begging.   I have no idea of the horrors they left behind, no idea what they endured to get to Italy but I do know they need to start making this better life happen for themselves and giving something back would be a good start.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Blooming blogger

Won’t let me post comments at present, unless they are posting and I can’t see them in which case I might have repeated myself a few dozen times.  I am still reading and thinking about you if you haven’t heard from me.
Meantime the weather has improved somewhat, still getting rain but not so much and it’s warmer.
Loved this years Giro, it was spectacular both the racing and the scenery although maybe this years route was just a bit too demanding.  I don’t think these tours need to get harder and harder.  I have high hopes for Simon Yates after 3 stage wins and in pink for 13 days, and how adorable is his team mate Esteban Chaves, 28 years of age, looks about 12.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Still raining

Since my last post we have had only one day when it didn’t rain, yesterday it bucketed it down in the afternoon and again during the night.   It started again mid morning, now we have light showers and some sun.    We are sodden, if things didn’t improve soon I shall be cross.
We have ordered more wood for the stove, we are eating winter food, my great niece Amelia is thinking of knitting me a scarf to keep we warm.  Amelia is 8 and asked me to teach her to knit before we left the UK, I was deeply touched by her concern and her enthusiasm.
I’ll let you know as soon as the weather returns to normal, meantime stay where you are there is nothing for you here.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Some progress much precipitation

Things have been going along nicely, apart that is from Crema deciding she did prefer to live with Mario and his two male cats and,ade her way back.  We keep meaning to visit her but so far have only succeeded in sending down a large bag of cat food, maybe that will remind her of us.  Grigio is well settled here.  When  our local shepherd and cheese maker called at the weekend we asked if Grigio had been at his farm over winter but he said not do we are no wiser where she has been.  The large grey male we unkindly called the nasty party last year has been renamed Enrico and is doing his best to be friendly.  No sign at all of Theo, we have to be content with what we have.
The gardening continues, two steps forward one back.  A porcupine came and are some of my cutting and took the tops out of almost all the 24 tomato plants Mr FF had put.  The culprit left footprints in the earth and also demolished several large clumps of wild iris growing on the bank opposite us, the fleshy tubers seem to be a favourite with the porcupine.
The major project to make a sitting out area and paving for the inflatable pool continues.  Mr FF is currently taking up lawn and back filling the new raised planting area which I have in mind for slightly tender plants as there is good protection from walls on two sides. Perhaps a lemon as the one I have in a pot has been cut back over the last two winters and failed to fruit.  A bougainvillea might be worth a try too, the one I put in my border only lasted a year.
However over the last four days or so we have been totally set back by rain and cooler temperatures, we have never known such weather in May.  It feels like winter, the socks and jumpers are back on and we are lighting the wood burner.  Things had better improve soon as we don’t have that much wood in stock.  I know the UK is enjoying glorious sunshine while I am going a little crazy as we sit looking out at low cloud and the forecast isn’t for much improvement.  I’m trying to look at the benefits of all this water, certainly everywhere is beautifully green but positivity never was one if my strong points, I want the sun back,  please UK return it soon I can offer you rain.