Occasional readers of this blog may be aware of my phobia about snakes. I may have mentioned it a couple of times. So you may be interested to know I’ve had a close encounter of the dreaded slither kind, well almost. I forgot to mention in the last posting that as we were preparing to empty the pool I noticed what looked suspiciously like a snake lying on our slope bank down to the pool. Gulp. It was very still and I walked up gingerly to have a closer look, with a deadly garden hoe in hand… Continue reading

what’s the italian for birdcrap?

Well we’re just back from our first visit to Italy since May. We were desperate to get some time there before the summer was over – they’ve been having a heatwave and in England it’s been just rubbish weather all summer. Apart from that we needed to check all was ok with the house etc plus we were taking our grandson S for some quality time with him. It was quite a visit….

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bad day at the ufficio

This message was originally sent as an e-mail to friends in late September 2006.

Every single day we’ve spent in Italy has been better than today. I woke to the sound of knocking at the door. C was visiting the girls in London and for once I’d overslept and forgotten that Carlo was due to empty the septic tank. I dashed downstairs in my sloppy stuff and greeted him. He explained that he couldn’t get his huge slurry lorry down the driveway as our car was in the way. I of course couldn’t get it out of the driveway because of his lorry so I had to park it further down our garden slope in the middle of our olive trees, churning up what little lawn we had in the process. I had a feeling this was going to be one of those days….

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working like a paesano

This message was originally sent as an e-mail to friends in July 2006. I’d been working hard in the garden for days on end and was starting to miss ‘normal’ life. This piece also contained the first reference to ‘pasta paulie’, a handle I’m kind of stuck with now.

The scenery along our little valley is just wonderful; rolling hills, hilltop towns, tiny fields all cultivated with a dazzling profusion of crops, vines and other fruit tress. Every bit of space is put to use. I imagine the English countryside must have looked like this 30 years ago before they started ripping out the field hedges and tearing down the dry stone walls, just to create the English version of the prairies. Anyway the type of farming here hasn’t changed much, probably since medieaval times – and the landscape bears that timeless quality. I still find myself standing alone in the garden just staring out on these incredible views.

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bounteous overhang

This was originally posted as an e-mail message to friends in June 2006.

We have this huge pine tree 10 yards from our front door and 80 ft high. I can’t make up my mind if I like it or if it’s good for shade or a pain in the butt. We parked the car underneath it (reason 2) for several weeks until I realised it dripped unmoveable glutinous globules onto the body of the car. Nothing can remove this natural supergunge including diesel fuel. And then a huge branch suddenly started to crack away from the main trunk and was only caught from falling completely by a lesser branch. Even so it was 30′ up and needed removing before collapsing on the car or, worse, one of us or a member of the family or guest or Elisa, our lovely post woman or ….

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