Monday, June 1, 2009


The poor old DIL has been into hospital for a “man’s” problem to be fixed. The operation went well, if you don’t count the loss of one of the scalpels and a bag of cotton wool after he’d been stitched up. He’s absolutely fine now and well on the mend. He’s had the Marchesa and the Contessa up to help him rehabilitate himself back into the groove, so to speak. So that will either cure him or knock him out completely. Only time will tell.

La speranza è ben presto

Self Immolation

The other morning, at some God forsaken hour, I was up making La D and myself an early, very early, morning cup of Red Bush tea, and I put the kettle on the gas to heat the water. I should say here that the cooker is half under the kitchen window.
I had just put on an old polo shirt as I usually feed the Berts and the community cats at the same time and have to nip outside with food.
I let Bertie out for a whiz and put his food down. He normally rushes back and gulps his breakfast as though it was his first meal for a month. This morning he didn’t.
I just stuck my head out of the kitchen window to have a look, but couldn’t see him. As I was doing this I caught a small whiff of burning and thought a loose thread had fallen onto the burner.
Then I looked down and saw a patch at the bottom of my polo shirt the size of my hand all yellow with flames.
“Oh dear” I thought “my shirt has caught fire. What a very silly boy I am” – actually it was a bit stronger than that but I am aware this is a family friendly blog.
I grabbed the hem of the shirt and rolled it quickly upwards and smothered the flames. Fortunately I didn’t burn myself , but I am now one shirt less than I was before the incident, which is not a good thing.
When I spoke to my brother about a year ago, he recounted the tale of him having set his jumper on fire when he was having a bonfire over in his house in Washington State, USA. I did think then, “What a tit” What is he going to think of his little brother when he reads/hears this?
Perhaps it’s in the genes. In fact I’m pretty convinced it is.


Definitely yes and no.
A week ago we were basking in sub tropical heat. Today is quite cool and rain, lots of it. Just like yesterday and just like tomorrow too if you believe the forecasters. Very odd. Still great for the garden and our water bill.

The Beetles from Colorado

Our potatoes have been invaded by the bloody Colorado Beetle. They are a real pest. Although we try to be as biological, eco and ever –so friendly in our veggie growing, but there comes a time when the only option is the nuclear one. Blast the bast**ds.
So I gave them a good dose of a permethrin based insecticide and they have gone down like ninepins. I stood over them in my shorts with my legs apart, large green plastic backpack sprayer on and spray lance in one hand and raised the other hand, clenched it tightly above my head and roared “Oh yes. Death to the invaders” to no one in particular, but I found it quite intimidating.
We are hoping that there will not be a recurrence but if they do I’ll have to do an Arnie “I’ll be back!”

Dogs – yes, that’s right, plural

Bert’s previous owners contacted us at the end of last week and asked if we could look after Jess (Bertie’s sister) and Rusty (a very small, three legged mongrel) as they were nipping down to Roma to see an old friend.
We met half way between our homes and brought the two dogs back here.
Although Jess is his sister, she doesn’t look anything like Bertie. She is about two thirds his size and black and has a very short coat. Extraordinary really. Bertie and Jess didn’t stop chasing each other all the rest of the day whilst Rusty just took things nice and easy, he’s an old fellah.
The trouble with Maremmas is that it is quite normal for them to be out with the sheep all day and night for however long the shepherd wants them.
So yesterday it was tipping down when we woke up. Let the dogs out and immediately Bertie and Jess were at each other. Roaring round the estate, biting, nipping growling at each other and generally having a great old time.
We have never seen Bertie as dirty as he got, and stayed, yesterday. He was absolutely filthy. Jess was too, but being black coated it didn’t show as much.
Of course the house became wet and dirty too. At least it is all tiled floors so it is easy to clean.
We are just hoping the weather will change to a bit of the dry stuff, which it is due to in the next couple of days.

Update on passed away neighbour

I know it’s an odd title about a person who has died.
Her eldest son came to see us a couple of days ago with an envelope. In it was a small card, with a picture of his mother and a few words attributed to Saint Catherine of Siena. It is a very simple but extremely moving memento to have been given. It takes pride of place on one the new shelves we have put up in our dining/sitting/reading/TV/everything room.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

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