Wednesday 31 May 2023

Oh happy day

Today is one of my favourite in our Italian calendar, the day I decide it’s safe for MrFF to cut some paths through the orchard because enough of the wild flowers are seeded and the cherries are almost ripe.  Now I can walk to the compost, the bonfire and the fruit trees but most importantly Grigio and I can enjoy our evening pre dinner stroll round the orchard when one of us usually climbs a few trees.

The wild flowers this year have been beautiful and there are still plenty performing, the whole orchard will need strimming but not just yet. 

Friday 19 May 2023

A wet week

You may have seen the devastating floods in northern Italy this week, the worst for 100 years with 14 people dead and 10,000 evacuated from their homes.  You might also have seen the sodden stages of the Giro d’Italia, in fact today the long stage was halved because of dangerous conditions having already been modified because of risk of avalanche. Those boys like me must be so sick of the weather.  We’ve had plenty of rain here, 5” fell on Tuesday, there hasn’t been a dry day all week.  

Fortunately on the side of the mountain the water drains away quickly but the damp and depressing low cloud remain.  It’s meant MrFF has not made much progress with the terrace.  The various people we had to price for re-laying the 1000 tiles all made a fuss about the marble edge, much tutting and head shaking so MrFF decided to do this part himself. He is bound to make a better job of getting the levels correct with his laser level and me chasing the red dot.  He has already set out both edge corners and started setting out the two opposite edges which are at the top of steps.

The guy whose price we accepted now says we need to be patient and he will give us a start date soon, that was two weeks ago.  We are used to being ignored here despite being the paying customer, but he might just do himself out of a job and several thousand euros. I wonder if the Italians have the expression if you want a job doing right, do it yourself, probably not.

Sunday 14 May 2023

Say cheese

We kept hearing tinkling bells on the hillside and sometimes in the olives below our orchard.  We both assumed it was a stray cow or horse and when we took a late afternoon walk there was plenty of evidence on the paths.  However we were wrong, it’s the sheep who haven’t grazed around us for a couple of years since Piero reduced the size of his flock.  

They seemed to be totally unsupervised, Piero the shepherd wasn’t in sight, but working as a team they first went up the road towards the sports ground then descended the hill and wandered down to our back door.  At this stage MrFF got worried about car and I got worried about my pots of plants, needlessly.  Suddenly a large black dog appeared, herded them together and marched them home.

It was so nice to see the sheep again especially the new lambs.  We are already enjoying their pecorino and ricotta produced less than a (food) mile away.

Saturday 6 May 2023

A day to remember

We were able to watch the coronation on the BBC though it was also broadcast on Italian stations.

I thought the event was magnificent, Charles and particularly Camilla looked tense at times, who wouldn’t balancing all that gold and assorted jewels on your head in front of the world.  Penny Mordaunt took a prominent and dignified role, she handled it like a professional.  Princess Anne was straight out of the abbey onto a horse to ride with the troops in her brother’s procession.  The pageantry was as always immaculate.  Job done.

My youngest grand niece Elodie and her family celebrated with a picnic in the garden, good for them. I hope Elodie and her sister Isla might remember this day as I remember the late Queen’s coronation, and I am so pleased the jumper I knitted continues to be worn especially on such a special day.

Tuesday 2 May 2023

My neglected garden

I often wonder about my Italian garden when we are back in Yorkshire and it’s always a pleasant surprise to find how well it copes without me.  Despite cold weather in our absence the majority of my terrace pots, left tucked away in a sheltered spot, are flourishing, the geraniums and dipladenia are the best I’ve seen them at this time of year.  Some years I have to do a complete restock but this year I won’t need to replace any.

The lemons are ripe and already the tree is flowering for the next crop.

The wisteria is as lovely as ever

We are undecided about growing vegetables this year now we can only stay in the EU 90 days.  It’s a pity as we love being self sufficient but if we plant now we wouldn’t get much return before leaving and certainly its not worth irrigating for the 90 days we will be absent, which applies to the pots too.  We have to accept a different way of gardening, obviously not as intense as we’ve experienced so far but considering how well the garden manages without us I feel fairly confident it will be ok.