Well it’s been a few weeks since the last posting and the reason is that we’ve been incredibly busy making several flying visits to our place in Italy. We’ve been having some landscaping and building work done with us doing the labouring when possible. In the shot above you can probably make it the new retaining wall at pool-level which neatens things up enormously plus a new path way that we’ve almost finished down to the pool with a logged retaining wall to hold that severe slope at bay. It’s also a big help in managing to keep the slope trimmed and tending to the olive trees. I’ve lost count of the number of times my ladder has slid down the hill with me atop it during olive-picking.
We’ve decorated more rooms and restored more furniture inside the house as well as installing a new patio at the back of the house – the old tiles are now the top tiles on the retaining wall above. We’ve even got a pool hut almost finished off for the first time since we got the house. But the biggest job we’ve undertaken is getting our beautiful pool restored to its full glory (again!). I think I may have mentioned in an earlier blog that the pool had gone all manky when we had to leave it uncovered last winter. The old pool cover had split and we had to tear it into several large pieces to get it out of the pool. Over time we’d removed a lot of the old vinyl cover but the largest piece was left lying on the section of the pool-side to the right of the picture above. And as the pool water turned more brackish the frogs and toads increased as they made home in the dampness under the vinyl.
Some weeks ago when we’d got round to attacking the garden again, I was trying to tear the vinyl into chunks that I could take up to the recycling waste bins but it was stinky crappy work. None of our scissors nor secateurs could make an impression on the really thick vinyl so I was stood atop it literally trying to tear the vinyl apart down its seams with my bare hands. That was until I spotted several things dark and slithery quickly disappear when I lifted a section up to tear into. Errghh…definitely reptilian and without legs. We’d come across the odd-snake skin in the garden and found a live baby one nesting in the breeze blocks which we used for the pool hut. But although I’d always feared coming across one doing the endless strimming of the deep grass and weeds, I’d never actually come across a single substantial live snake. Now I was standing on top of a possible nest of them and all that separated me in my shorts and pumps from my personal phobia was a bit of pool cover.
I’m carrying a bit of timber these days but I can assure you I bounded off that bit of plastic and up the slope like a startled gazelle. I told C that the removal of the vinyl was one job I’d have to delegate which meant a call to Andrea our v handsome and also v expensive pool guy. But whilst we were home over the next few days they came and cleared everything and got the pool cleaned and re-filled/re-stocked. It’s cost a small fortune but what a difference.
And the creatures from the black lagoon? Well we’re told that they had to dispose of just the 20 (!) snakes from beneath the vinyl – including several vipers, which had been no doubt feasting on the frogs and toads. And for weeks I’d been wandering around there pulling at the cover and yanking up weeds etc in little more than flip flops and flappy shorts within inches of the buggers. But thankfully St Peter, St Paul and the archangels must all have been looking out for me in the valley of the serpents.
There’s never a dull day in Italy….