Sunday 31 July 2022

Garden update

Well something is working, we haven’t had a garden invasion for almost a week apart from minor digging in one back door pot and the new kiwi uprooted again.  What a difference it makes waking up to find everything in its place and not spending ages cleaning and replanting.  Well done MrFF, sterling work, a few barriers and a lot of urine save the day.

The garden is burnt to a frazzle, I’m not convinced the lawn will come back from this, I’ve lost a lot of bedding plants and a few insignificant shrubs.  The ground is so dry now any water just rolls over the surface, I loosen and turn the soil around important plants in the hope that will get some moisture to their roots.  My greatest fear is if we ever get a downpour it will just wash the light dry soil away down the hillside.

There are as always some good surprises of course, little gems that are surviving unaided like this lavatera that is flowering under an apple tree.  

Or the self seeded sunflowers amongst the tomatoes, MrFF wasn’t happy when they first appeared, now they make him smile.  Sweet peas are my all time favourite flowers but they don’t thrive in the Italian heat.  Sunflowers are such happy blooms on high summer days that they have to be my flowers of choice here.

The upside of this stifling weather is that I haven’t had to weed for months because nothing is growing, even if it was necessary it would be impossible.  Dead heading is all I can manage so I’m living with the departed hebe, the dying conifer and the crispy bergenia leaves in the front garden. We all have to adapt.  

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Signing off

I’ve noticed a trend recently for customer services personnel to end their messages with ridiculous and inappropriate valedictions.  I sent about 10 emails recently when an online order went horribly wrong. Despite failing to understand my frustration or resolve the problem, the customer service people, a different one each time of course which meant I had to keep explaining what was wrong, felt it necessary to finish their message so annoyingly.   Here are some examples

Please do stay safe and have a wonderful day

Stay safe in these trying times

Stay safe and have a lovely day further

Stay safe stay amazing 

I found the inane familiarity irritating particularly when the operators never bothered to resolve the problem and were in fact responsible for me becoming cross, unstable and therefore completely unsafe.  And stay amazing, what’s that about, how dare they assume that I am amazing when I’m actually fuming.

MrFF recently had a debacle with our uk power supplier, the man signed off each time Love and Power, Steve.  Did he mean by power the gas and electricity we were being overcharged for or was he just wishing MrFF the strength to deal with the situation.

Whichever PR twit came up with this idea needs to know that customers would be happier with better service and the ability to deal with one people who is accountable when a problem arises, who sees it through till the customer is happy, sends emails that can be replied to and doesn’t just provide an inappropriate reply from the script or sign off in such an insincere way.  

Thursday 21 July 2022

Don’t let the badgers get you down

Actually it seems to be just one reeking havoc.  Last night I was woken at 3 am by the newly installed security light at the back door shining into our bedroom.  I had the shutters open in time to see a badger scurrying down the road.  Not before he’d upturned all the troughs down the side of our steps, first time they’d been attacked.  I went outside to check around, for the third night the pots on the lower terrace were emptied and overturned.  There were also some big holes in the lawn but the vegetables were ok.

However this time I’d set the camera in just the right place, I got footage of the horrible creature climbing into pots and throwing out the contents, often until the pot fell over.  

Another big clean up this morning, we are trying to think of ways to protect the pots but realistically it’s impossible to keep wildlife out.  I think MrFF needs a bigger bladder. 

Wednesday 20 July 2022

A slightly happier morning

MrFF rigged up more motion sensor lighting last night and I put out my wildlife camera at the scene of yesterdays destruction.  This morning only 3 pots, all out of camera sight, had been emptied and I have a video of the culprit, which unfortunately I don’t have the equipment here to transfer onto the iPad.  It seems one single badger is causing all the mayhem, travelling all round the garden, last night it arrived on the lower terrace via the balcony. 

So not so much repotting and cleaning up this morning but more lighting to install.  

As well as bright lights being a deterrent to garden invaders, I read that male urine will keep badgers away.  I’ve been telling MrFF he drinks too much, not water we can never get enough of that.   Perhaps I was wrong and should encourage him to continue with the beer and wine he enjoys every evening then pee outside,  definitely worth a try in the pots though maybe not on the tomatoes.

Tuesday 19 July 2022

Not a happy morning

It gets worse,  not only the big pots at the back door half empty this morning, there was total devastation on the lower terrace.  

We thought we’d fixed the tomatoes when we installed a motion activated light that seems to keep the invaders away.  In fact it’s just directed them elsewhere.

I’ve been out in my nightwear restoring order with extra compost, a little slow release feed and a good watering in the hope the plants will recover.  Nothing to say the beasts won’t be back of course.

Giovanni said he sets his alarm for 3 am and gets up to check his vegetables are safe.  He added that really this is the animals territory and we are the invaders.  He is a better person than me I’m just cross and very hot after this mornings work.

Saturday 16 July 2022

Another day another invasion

The uprooting of plants in the garden and in pots is becoming a regular occurrence.

The second time my new kiwi was out of the ground MrFF put wire netting round it, this morning a hole had been dug under the wire but the culprit had not reached the plant.  More uprooting among the tomatoes, pots overturned in the front garden  and worst of all a large pot sitting at the back of the house was destroyed, this was a step too far.

Giovanni is having the same problem, he says the creatures are not interested in eating his flowers and herbs just in decimating them.  He sent a photo of his balcony with pots overturned and plants and soil pulled out. I know nature is having a hard time with the drought but there are dishes of water all round my garden for the cats and I regularly put out old cat food.  I am doing my best to provide but the animals just aren’t playing fair.  Don’t they watch David Attenborough, we are supposed to live in harmony.

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. —Frank Lloyd Wright

Sunday 10 July 2022


Where did we get to with the water leak situation, we had friends to stay for a week so we took some welcome time out but now it’s back to work.   Finding no 4 was impossible, MrFF cleared the pipe route of undergrowth twice and we searched for a damp area but found nothing.  So he bought another 250 euro worth of plastic pipe and with help from Giovanni has bypassed another section with pipe on the surface.  This isn’t ideal and certainly won’t be in winter but the alternative was costly water wastage.  Here is the car loaded ready for action.

Once the work was done MrFF checked the meter, we have leak no 5.  This one is in the gully where we already have a bypass section or possibly under the road, it needs more investigation.

We had the first major wildfire last week, 48 hours of helicopters and planes dropping water.  Fortunately for us it was on the opposite side and well out of the village, worrying nonetheless.  Our Comune had recently installed a large open  water tank in the valley to reduce the time it takes for the helicopters to collect water, within days it was put to use.

Photo from our Comune website

Because of the drought animals are desperate for water, I keep several outside water stations topped up for the cats.  However the wild animals don’t use them preferring to uproot garden and pot plants in search of moisture and roots.  Our neighbours had told us wild boar were digging under fences to get to water pipes.  Yesterday my newly planted kiwi was out of the ground, today tomato plant roots are exposed in the orchard, even outside Enrico’s beloved hotel Splendido where he likes a summer display soil and plants have been turned out, Enrico probably slept through.

Some days if feels like we live in the Wild West, we are pioneers trying to scratch a living while being constantly beaten back by nature and man made problems, sadly my spirit of adventure is just about worn out.