Added on Saturday 29 May 2010
It seems finally or should that be finalmente! that we have reached spring after such a long hard winter! (see previous blog). As I write, this has been the first sunny day after 3 weeks of rain, whats that about? I blame the Icelandic volcano myself as this is very unusual weather for this time of year.
Thank goodness though, that our fruit trees have blossomed which means we should have a decent amount of fruit this year-cherries, apricots, white plums, peaches, figs, and later, quinces and crab apples, speriamo! (we hope!) I have started planting my herb/kitchen garden at the back of the house with parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary and Melissa (lemon balm which is part of the mint family) and a cutting from a larger plant that I have been growing further down the garden. This plant has a very medicinal smelling aroma but I have yet to identify it........answers on a postcard please to............. I have asked a couple of my neighbours but although they recognize it they don't know its name.
The acacia trees are also, all of a sudden, out in full blossom, making up for lost time I suspect! At the front of the house all you can hear at the moment is the reassuring hum of the bees that have made a beeline (no pun intended!) to the acacia. We also had our first guests of the season at Easter which was great; a couple from Modena in the North of Italy and a further two couples from Rome at the mayday holiday (apparently a big thing here).
About 5 weeks ago I was invited by my good friend, who is also from Glasgow and lives here on a full-time basis, a very rare and thankful coincidence indeed! to go to a plant nursery (viviaio) open day nearby. There were cookery demonstrations and a free buffet with risotto and chocolate profiteroles. It was a surprisingly sunny day and every expat within 50 miles seemed to have made an appearance-American, German and of course `the English'. I was admiring the different herbs they had for sale and looking wistfully at the Italian archetypal Cypress tree that was way out of our price range, when my friend nudged me to look over to see who was in the queue. I didn't really notice at first, just thought another English person with a very loud voice but it was Colin Firth, the actor, taller and thinner than I thought, oh and greyer, sorry Colin!
He was wearing the quintessential dark sunglasses that usually accompanies these `types' and was talking to his two little boys who were also in the queue. He was very casually dressed in the `studied carelessness' that my mum used to always say about such people, hipster jeans, with a white shirt under a navy pullover. I am quite sure it was probably very expensive by a famous name but as I am not really interested in such things, lets just call them jeans and a jumper! His wife, number two of course, is Italian and she looked stunning and very elegant (her parents have a house near my friend, 10 minutes down the road). I was waxing lyrically about how he hadn't done anything decent in years when my friend exclaimed that he was right behind me but I'm quite confident he didn't hear me (I hope!). They were given their own table and he was pretty much left alone.
He seemed nice enough and his wife asked me if I had seen her sons, which I had, and explained in Italian where they were. Neither I nor anybody else took any photos of them. I thought this was a much healthier attitude to stardom than the usual `paps' for `Hello!' magazine.
For those who are of a non cyclist persuasion, Giro D'Italia is an international cycle race, not as famous as its French counterpart Tour de France, but certainly in the top three. It was raining that Sunday so not too many people turned out to watch, only some of my neighbours who are English, German and an Italian couple who asked us if we didn't mind them parking their car on our land. After 30 minutes they gave up and drove to another part on the race route. The Giro eventually passed us at 1.10pm, for all of 5 seconds! There were probably more publicity cars and motorbikes than the actual racers! Unfortunately they were going far too fast for me to try and sell them any of our olive oil, but it was a good thing to see on an otherwise rainy Sunday.
Every month I'm always concerned that I don't have anything to write for the forthcoming blog and about 5 minutes ago some `man' who I believe would be classed as a `vagabond' arrived on a bicycle and knocked on our door. He gave me his empty small water bottle and asked for it to be filled up with wine! I thought that's a new one! I duly obliged then he asked for a bit of bread and I had to disappoint him with that as we hadn't been shopping yet. I think I liked the fact that he didn't ask for any money (as he would have to have left empty handed!). I realized too late that I forgot to return his bottle top, but he still went merrily on his way walking his bike while sipping his wine! It's never a dull moment here. I just wonder if I would have been so accommodating back in Glasgow.
Next time on June-Campogrande bed and breakfast diary
The gearing up to the World Cup 2010 (that's a football competition, Michael). I will be supporting Italy of course; I have my Italian flags at the ready. And how to teach English using Rab. C. Nesbitt! also hoping for some cherry picking too! Stay tuned!