Saturday 25 May 2024

The garden room

I quite like pretentious room names.  In Scotland we had a large room above the double garage that we called the morning room because it got the sun am. I know a keen weaver and spinner who called her workroom the loom room, you get the idea.  The garden room sounds better than the room under the balcony and makes it acceptable to be a mix of outside and inside.

So the garden room is coming on, it’s decorated, cleaned and partially restored.  I’ve been applying linseed oil to the unsealed terracotta tiles, i love the smell of that stuff, and they look much better.  MrFF has cleaned and repaired the fireplace, it was pretty awful with crumbling plaster and mortar splattered bricks.  

The room was full of brown furniture, we donated the table, bench and chairs to someone opening a taverna down in the valley, the brother of our local bar owner. We have a white wooden garden table and chairs that are far too heavy to move in and out that we can use instead to fill the space, I doubt we will ever wish to traipse our meal downstairs.

I am toying with the idea of chalk painting the large dark dresser as there is far too much brown in the room, it needs lifting and the change would be worth the effort.

Between the spiral stairs and the room we have made a library.  I enjoyed dusting and re-shelving all the books, most of which I’ve read. 

There’s still work to do and it feels rather make do and mend but when I remember that two years ago water was pouring from the ceiling and the walls were black with mould it does feel like progress.  It’s not the beautiful space it could be but neither is it the embarrassment it was, for now we’ve spent enough time and energy on a room we have never used.

Thursday 16 May 2024

Oranges and Lemons

A slight blip in posting as I was logged out of my account, all fixed now and nothing compared to the hassles of Italian life which goes like this.

Two weeks after our meeting with the geometra who as usual told us what he needs to do, nothing has been done.  

The room below the balcony, which I have decided to call the garden room, is almost finished.  It certainly looks better than it did when water was pouring in and the walls were covered in mould but the floor, which has unsealed terracotta tiles is not great and neither is the old furniture in there.  I may do a post to show you.

MrFF ordered some aluminium posts to support a new sun sail for the balcony, to be delivered to our house as they are quite large.  Delivery was due on Monday, by Monday afternoon delivery was due Tuesday.  On Tuesday the tracker said our address was invalid and the courier awaited instructions from the sender.  We’d provided our full address plus what three words identification and our Italian landline number to make sure they’d find us.  So MrFF sent to the supplier a copy of a letter from our Comune that showed our address, they replied that delivery would be on Wednesday, we knew it wouldn’t.  Today Thursday the tracker says the courier is waiting for instructions for re-delivery which is odd since the have definitely not been here to try to deliver, and we have camera evidence, or even tried to phone us.  I am thinking the couriers should offer different delivery options - this year, next year, sometime, never.

In happier news the sun is shining and yesterday we had a morning doing nothing before returning to the work.  The garden is great and my lemon tree is filling me with joy, lots of beautiful large lemons and it’s covered in blossom and bees for the next crop. Not only that, my single orange is gradually changing colour and there are a few more flowers on the tree that I have nurtured for 20 years.  There are also a few flowers on the little kumquat, but the bees are so busy on the lemon I worry the latter two won’t be fertilised.  

We had a wonderful Sunday lunch with friends, so nice to be out socialising after all the decorating and cleaning.  I came away with a large bag of bitter oranges from one of their many ladened citrus trees.  I made 15 jars of fresh fruity marmalade, the taste isn’t quite the same as Seville oranges and it was a challenge getting a set but I was determined.  With all the challenges here I have to be.

Wednesday 1 May 2024

Italian update

We’ve been here just over two weeks now and progress is good.  As usual the garden has been my priority.  I’ve lost a few plants, the badgers seem to take the tuberous ones so little sign of irises or dahlias, but generally everything is thriving.  My single orange is still on the tree and changing colour, it also has several new flowers which I hope will set.  My lemon tree is amazing, having been told it would never grow at our altitude, 750 metres, it’s full of fruit, new flowers and happy bees.

MrFF has been busy in the room below the previously leaking now retiled balcony Over the winter the walls and ceiling remained dry so he’s removed the old black mold, which fortunately was superficial and is busy redecorating.  He’s happy to work on his own with me joining in as required to do the cutting in round skirtings, switches etc and help with the cleaning, there was a lot of sanding down that filled the room with dust.

We’ve never used this room which is a pity.  Its huge room and opens onto the lower garden, it’s very private and slightly cooler in summer than the rooms under the roof.  I’ve always had a desire for a day bed in there or maybe a hammock for afternoon snoozes. 

Sadly there is no sign of Grigio.  We’ve walked out and called her a lot, it doesn’t look good as she hasn’t been seen since Christmas.   Meanwhile a youngish ginger cat has appeared.  At first we ignored him but since we have cat food to spare it seemed mean not to give him some, we are a soft touch.  He’s quite friendly, we can stroke him and pick him up, but he doesn’t hang around too long after he’s eaten. We get the impression he has a home which is fine, we like to see him but are glad he doesn’t rely on us.  We really don’t want any more of the stress of leaving a cat for months on end however well we provide for it. So for now we have Vincenzo our time share boy who is very sweet, we are trying not to get attached.

Finally we have a meeting with our geometra on Friday early evening about the planning violation.  He seems incapable of action, so far as we know he hasn’t made any approach to the Comune since we asked him to help us last August.  However his recent email acknowledged we were returning to the village after Easter so he was on programme, his own programme which bears no resemblance to ours.