Added on Sunday 4 Jul 2010
Ciao again folks! Hope all is well with you and that you are enjoying the fine Glasgow is at the moment. (It's funny when Glasgow has good weather. friends get in touch more readily to tell me). Well, we have picked our cherries, but unfortunately only all of 12! The severe winter and spring rain has taken its toll on some of the fruit trees this year but hopefully they will return to normal next year. A very good lesson in appreciating what Mother Nature can easily give us and what she can then easily take away! Not all is lost though; we have another bumper crop of white plums in the next couple of weeks. Our olive trees are flowering at the moment and it looks like their haircut (a.k.a pruning) has done them the world of good with a bumper crop now due in November. Speriamo!
In the interim of working the land, being bed and breakfast hosts, writing my monthly blog, making jam, I am also actively, (maybe that's too strong a word) seeking paid employment, which is like the Umbrian Holy Grail-there is absolutely no work available here at all!. Apparently its one of the worst regions to find employment, (obviously when we came over in 2007 this wasn't part of the plan but who among us knew that the economy was going to implode!). I do teach English now, albeit for a few hours a week to four lovely young people, it may not be much but at least it is a boost to my self esteem. The students now have increased confidence in pronunciation and I am preparing them for the University of Cambridge ESOL exams. Just hope I don't run out of English!, if that is possible. I showed them a clip from Rab. C. Nesbitt on you tube last week (I actually managed to choose a piece that wasn't too explicit) and they thought that's how someone SHOULD be speaking English, I soon informed them otherwise!
We also finally finished our path from the land to the house cutting down anything in its way. I must say it looks pretty good! We have also given our website `a wee makeover' with new photos of our rooms, olive oil and outside space. As a famous, or is that infamous, supermarket once said `every little helps'.
We have welcomed our first returning couple from Milano who only stay one night and always at the beginning of the month. They arrive in separate cars and every time he phones to reserve a room, he always asks if it is ok if he turns up alone! At first I was quite naive and asked them if they wanted separate rooms! I have a feeling that they are both married, but NOT to other and use our respectable bed and breakfast as a `knocking shop' .Maybe I should be charging the rooms by the hour and installing a red light bulb outside! We also had some lovely guests from Scotland who were so supportive and positive about what we are trying to achieve here, so that was a real confidence boost! They also purchased 6 bottles of our olive oil which is always a great feeling!
They left us a lovely message:
'Firstly thank you for everything, your hospitality and your attention to detail was incredible. And for both being so welcoming and genuine people.The Villa is beautiful, your setting is wonderful, your rooms are lovely and your beds deluxe. David's home made bread, yoghurt and cakes, and your home made jams are so special. You both deserve much success. Keep your focus and go for it, you are both special people - all things take time.'
While we are watching every penny at the moment we are always on the look out for any bargains we can find at out local Lidl store and this month was no exception. Sitting enticingly next to the deluxe gas BBQs was as a build your own BBQ for the princely sum of 19 euros! David was chuffed when he managed to assemble it only after 2 hours and there were only a couple of nuts and bolts left over! We christened it last week with some friends of ours who devoured kebabs, burgers and chicken drumsticks. David was BBQ chief for a couple of hours, which he loved, with the only drawback being with the combined outside temperature of 30c plus the heat from the coals meant that he managed to sweat or is that perspire? a couple of litres of water!
The World Cup is upon us and as I write I have my two soaking wet Italian flags dangling limply and precariously over the balcony which maybe is indicative of the Italian team's performance. You always know when you are getting old when many of the players you knew have retired. As usual they began quite slowly but instead of getting better they got worse and the campaign ended with a defeat to Slovakia so the defending champions are out along with France and England. So the flags have had to come down all too soon! Its so typical, as soon as I move to Italy, they put out the worst performance since 1974, bring back Del Piero, Toti, Paulo Maldini, even Roberto Biaggio, the team just wasn't the same without them, bring on the European Championships in 2012.
Next Time on Campogrande bed and breakfast diary-David making home made pasta and bottling up our olive oil quite literally at our kitchen table -a truly cottage industry!