Sunday 26 November 2017

The best of times the worst of times

So another Italian summer sojourn is over and it's been fantastic with the best ever weather, we rarely ate breakfast indoors even in November. We made huge progress with the garden, all the front terraces and paths repaved, discovered the delights of having our own plunge pool, rediscovered our little kitties and cherished the time we have spent with them. 
It was the worst ever time because of the wildfires, scary that the inferno came so close and sad to see so many beautiful old trees lost. The only up side of the fire was that when we were evacuated I realised that no materials goods were that important, I was even ready to abandon the car when we couldn't get down the road for fire vehicles. 
The worst of times for visitors, we only had one night when anyone stayed with us which may speak of my hospitality. We hardly left the house, no overnights on the coast, we didn't go to the coast, no trip to Rome, not so many meals out but plenty of festas and I've loved the peace and quiet, I've been content. 
I did have a longing for a new yellow handbag for the summer but that didn't happen, as usual I bought far too many pairs of cotton trousers, culottes and shorts on the market, at 3 euro a pair I cannot resist them, but I did finally manage to wear out a few t shirts to create some wardrobe space. 
In July I got the best haircut ever at my regular salon, in September I asked for exactly the same and got such a bonkers cut I could hardly believe it. Giancarlo explained that the two cuts were exactly the same (not) but that the first was elegant while the second was powerful, something must have been lost in translation because I didn't see it that way but in November he gave me an extremely short, and chilly, cut that I love, we remain friends.
I read 24 books, knit 12 pairs of socks, lost some weight, it all felt so very very relaxing and comfortable, just like this

Thursday 16 November 2017

Can't stop

We are leaving in two days though nothing whatsoever is booked as we are being flexible. Piero is still here building the garden wall, he lost several days due to rain but the sun is back now. Mr FF has made a secure wooden house to accommodate the cat food dispenser, if those girls get much fatter they won't be able to squeeze in but happily they took to using it immediately, maybe they remember from last year. They also have two separate cosy outside sleeping options, we've done our best let's hope they stay around till we return. We are hanging on till the last minute to put away the garden furniture as we still manage breakfast outside but we've done most of the packing. Not looking forward to the long journey home while trying not to stress about it. I am looking forward to seeing family and friends after six months away and of course Ilkley and the penthouse. Mr FF has already got Jim lined up to rip out our ensuite bathroom in the new year, we need to select new tiles, fittings etc when we get so that can look forward to more disruption, I expected nothing less.

Thursday 2 November 2017

All is safely gathered in

I used to like the church harvest festival when I was young, the church decorated with fruit and veg, corn and straw, I liked the hymns and the way all the local farmers some of whom didn't attend church so often always found time to give thanks for another years crops. So I've been giving thanks myself that we managed a decent harvest here, 122.5 kilos of hand picked olives produced 24 litres of delicious oil. I would say delicious wouldn't I but truly because of our altitude and terrain oil from this part of Italy really is prized. Mr FF and I picked on our own over 3 days finishing yesterday which was my birthday. It wasn't great fun as Mr FF is always anxious to get the work done and I am always anxious that the olives are pristine so I spend ages picking out all the leaves, twigs and bits of bark while he complains I'm wasting my time. He doesn't complain though when we get a great yield, I maintain the debris adds to the weight but produces zero oil and all anyone cares about is your resa, a calculation relating to weight of olives to weight of oil with something to do with specific gravity thrown in. We used the local frantoio as they will do a run on small quantities, we delivered at 3 pm by 5 pm the oil was flowing, we barely had time for a coffee in our favourite bar which conveniently is opposite the mill. As ever we came home and made bruschetta, I think we shall do so again tonight, got to take advantage of the freshness of the oil. The bitter peppery taste is intense when the oil is new and the flavour lingers in your mouth afterwards. I'd decided before we started the harvest that I'd be content with 15 litres, we exceeded our expectations and that doesn't happen so often to a couple of 69 year olds.