Monday 27 May 2013

Scary weekend

Some husbands might plan a weekend away or something special for the bank holiday weekend, not Mr FF he arranged to hire a conservatory ladder and has spent two days working on the ridge above the glass roof. The ladder goes up the side of the structure and then lies along the glass, the husband sort of leans along the ladder to reach the top of the roof.
Mr FF is a qualified structural engineer, he knows about health and safety, loadings and stress (except mine), he even hired props to put inside the conservatory as extra support to the roof while he was working, but I really didn't like it.   He had to drill and rivet and silicone, I spent my weekend holding the ladder and passing up various pieces of equipment in a plastic bag that he hooked up using a long piece of wood with a nail on the end.   Basically I had to hang around being available, I couldn't even hide away in darkened room and pretend it wasn't happening.
Anyway its all done now, repairs have been made and the equipment is going back on Tuesday, huge sigh of relief, I hope I never have to see it again.  Meantime the Scottish garden is looking lovely in a springlike way, lets concentrate on that and be glad my anxiety is diminishing.

Monday 20 May 2013

Italian gardening

Our Italian garden was looking gorgeous when we arrived in Lazio as was the surrounding countryside with lots of trees in full blossom and wild flowers everywhere.  For the first time I discovered that our two wisteria plants are different colours, a pink and a blue. I must have only seen one in blossom before and I'd never realised that they have such a wonderful perfume.  Italian friends will tell you they give you a headache, I'll take the risk.

Out came the cement mixer as Mr F pressed on with the external landscaping, before we left he moved these two large and heavy troughs into position and I sowed a selection of annuals that I hope to enjoy when we return. 
It's a pleasure to garden in Italy especially after such a miserable winter in Scotland, you can practically see things growing in the wonderful climate,  it all happens so quickly.  I moved the 12 tomato plants that we bought for 2 euro into larger pots and left them already flowering outside.  Mr FF rigged up some support and an irrigation system for them and the other pot plants that we left on the lower shelf, we've crossed our fingers they'll be OK and the pipe won't blow off or some other disaster occur.

He also finished crazy paving the area outside out back door, a big improvement.  He hated doing it but our friendly village tiler/plasterer wasn't available and we wanted to leave the place reasonably tidy. 
It was a shock to come back to Scotland and find our trees still without leaves and a generally brown and bare garden after so much colour, but at least I didn't miss the daffodils and if it stays as cold as it is now they are going to last well.  You have to look at the positives.

Monday 13 May 2013

Girls' day out

I met up with my friend and ex work colleague Ann last week.   We had been trying to get together for ages but for various reasons it hadn't happened so a catch up was long overdue.  We found the perfect venue almost equidistant between our two homes.
Traquair House is the oldest inhabited house in Scotland, it dates back to 1107 and is absolutely gorgeous.  There is a good cafe, gift shop and a range of craft workshops as well as the property itself to enjoy.  We had a good lunch, a really good chat and a stroll round the grounds.   Over lunch we discussed many things including downsizing and reducing our clutter, then of course we made purchases at the jewellery workshop, Centaur Design.  Ann bought earrings and I got this gorgeous silver ring, its called a spinning ring as the broad beaten band contains two smaller silver rings that move freely.  I love it, I'm a huge fan of big silver rings and this one is delightful especially against my tanned hands. 
Image from Centaur Design

Then I couldn't resist this pretty pot in the gift shop,  made in Tobermory on the west coast of Scotland I think it's going to look fabulous full of shiny black Italian olives. 
I stopped off for a quick provisions top up on the way home and bought Mr FF some Eyemouth kippers from the fish van.  A lovely day out with something for everyone.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Walk like an Italian

The Italians like their passeggiata and they like their food so sensibly they combined the two on La Pedagnalonga.    We joined a few thousand other people for this gentle 15 k stroll along the tracks of Terracina on a sunny Sunday.  
We  each paid 10 euro to take part receiving a hat, a walk number and most importantly 7 tokens for our refreshments.  We hadn't progressed very far before we reached the first drinks station, coffee and pastries then more feeding stops came quickly with the quantity of food increasing at each one.  Every few kilometres we had something different, we enjoyed pizza with mozzarella, sausage in a roll, pasta with ragu, roast pork in a roll, borlotti beans with sliced sausage, salad, ice cream of many flavours, little cakes and biscuits. 
As well as water and juice there was proper coffee from the bar machines even though the barrista was under a gazebo at the track side, local red and white wine and towards the end limoncello or grappa
On the route there was often live music and at one stop people were up dancing, everyone was having a great time.  

We walked past some beautiful properties and saw typical extended Italian families enjoying al fresco lunch.   It was a wonderful day out, at the end of the walk all the ladies received a pot plant and the men a key ring 

Such a happy event full of friendly people who seemed delighted that our little group included Danes, a German/Italian and two Yorkshire folk who live in Scotland.   We all agreed we are going back next year to do it again.