Thursday, December 31, 2009

The last blog of 2009

Wow. Here we are at the end of the first decade of the 21st century.
Can you remember what was happening at the end of the last decade? The thing that remains in my mind is that we were being told that “We’re all doomed” – to borrow a saying from Fraser in Dad’s Army. All the computers in the world were going to stop at one second past midnight because computers couldn’t cope with the two digit date structure going from 99 to 00, as 00 is earlier than 99 not later, and the world would be plunged back into the dark ages. Unless, that is, you employed lots of freelance IT “experts”, whose rates had suddenly increased. Ahem.Still, poor loves, I bet they had some super holidays and even new homes in 2000.
Anyway, surprise, surprise the world was not plunged into the abyss, which was just as well as I had a thumping hangover the on the 1st January 2000, in common with lots of other people. I don't think I could have faced global meltdown as well.


I did think of doing a Christmas entry and calling it a Yule Blog. I’m glad I didn’t now as I can hear your groans from here!
La D and I had a lovely time. I have probably mentioned it before but we have set up some video call links with some of the family and did a lot of video calling. It really is very good. As long you have a web camera and download the same software, which is free, you can talk to and see each other for as long as you like. The call is also free which of course is a great benefit.
However there is a downside. The microphones are very sensitive and if for example I wanted to say to La D that uncle Rodney was wearing a hideous shirt/jumper I couldn’t just blurt it out without causing some embarrassment, particularly to La D as Rodney is her uncle and I don’t like him anyway. Still you soon learn the little dos and don’ts of video calling. Uncle Rodney’s still not speaking to either of us. But his shirt was appalling.

We had a good call with the DiL and MiL and assorted brothers and sisters several times over the period. In fact we had one yesterday.
Now in La D’s family, as it is rather large, they operate a sort of Family Secret Santa. You know where from a group, one person buys a present for someone else on behalf of the whole group. It works well. I was down to buy the DiL Christmas present. He’s a bit of a gadget man, a bit like myself. He was very interested in a little weather station that La D bought me for my last birthday so I thought I would get one for him as I knew he would love to get it set up straight away and start to measure temperatures around the house. Right up his street.
I wouldn’t say I was appalled, merely saddened, when he said yesterday that he hadn’t got round to getting two batteries required for setting up the outside sensor as he had been, and these are his exact words, “That busy”.
A fellow gadget man, unable to install a fully functioning gadget because he had been too busy to nip into town and get two small batteries. What is the world coming to?
As we ended the call, a small tear welled up in my right eye, no left, or was it my right? Well it doesn’t matter. Oh dear.

Bertie’s sister Jess was really good. We got out for some good walks and tried to tire them out, not with any great success, but they certainly enjoyed them.

The weather was quite weird. About 5 or 6 days before Christmas it was absolutely bitter. The temperatures never rose above 0° at all. On Christmas day at lunchtime we had a temperature of 21° outside with a slight balmy breeze. Very strange and not very Christmassy at all.

La Marchesa, one of La D’s sisters, sent us a box of goodies and in it was a present for Bertie. He loves it.

Yes, Mrs Malaprop is here again.

We were doing a crossword the other night and one of the clues was, “someone who receives stolen goods”.
La D piped up almost immediately and very brightly, 110% certain, “A hedge”.
I really couldn’t contain myself and just roared with laughter. If it hadn’t been the season of goodwill to all people, I fear I wouldn’t be sitting here typing up the blog.
“No darling” I said, still chortling. “It’s a fence”.
“Don’t darling me, you patronising little man. Hedge, fence what’s the difference? Bit like Smith and Smythe isn’t it?”
There really was only one option open to me; that was to agree

New Year – a few funnies

New Year's Day Quotes

New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.
Mark Twain
One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.
John Burroughs
Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.
Oscar Wilde

A New Year's Wish

On New Year's Eve, Marilyn stood up in the local pub and said that it was time to get ready. At the stroke of midnight, she wanted every husband to be standing next to the one person who made his life worth living.

Well, it was kind of embarrassing. As the clock struck - the barman was almost crushed to death.

One last one for those of you who are religious in nature, a New Year's Day Prayer:

Dear Lord.
So far this year I've done well.
I haven't gossiped, I haven't lost my temper, I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent. I'm very thankful for that. But in a few minutes, Lord, I'm going to get out of bed, and from then on I'm probably going to need a lot more help.

All the very best to everyone for 2010. Felice anno nuovo.
May you be healthier, wealthier and wiser. Just remember if you are thinking of embarking on yet another failed diet, that “stressed” is dessert spelt backwards!

Ciao, mantenere la fede. Vi vedo anno prossima

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Sorry for non-blogging in the last couple of weeks. Nothing was very forthcoming.

Autumn fires

Oh yes. I have had a couple of beauties. The heat has been enough to vaporise the mist that we have had whilst the beautiful, dense billowy smoke has enveloped the entire hamlet – by the way what’s the difference between a village and hamlet? One is where people live and the other is a play by Shakespeare.
Yes, there has been loads to burn already and with the pruning under way there will be a lot more.
We had also cut down some of our bamboo a. because it just grows like
billy-o and in fact some had totally obscured an olive tree, and b. because we will be needing some new canes for next years vegetables.
Now you may not know this but small sections of bamboo make the most fabulous bangers. If you get a length of bamboo and cut a piece off just below a knuckle and then above the next knuckle, so you have a complete piece of bamboo between two knuckles, you’ve got a cracker – literally. It must have sounded like an arsenal had caught fire here. The bangs were echoing all round the valley as the fire consumed all the old bamboo stuff we didn’t need.
So, flames, delicious heat, billowy smoke and big bangs. I mean, what more could you ask of your humble garden bonfire?

Mrs Malaprop rides again, and again

La D has been at it again. Using correct words and sayings incorrectly. Mind you, it gives us a laugh. I even caught a glimpse of a smirk on Bertie’s face but he soon switched back to his inscrutable doggy features when he saw me glancing at him.
Here’s three of note:

We were walking up the hill in the garden after a walk when we went past the vines which were due to be pruned.
“I’ve had a pre-cursory glance at the book on pruning L’uomo chi fa .. …Why are giggling, you silly man?”

One night we were listening to the new Foo Fighters single (at least it’s new over here). There’s a very good guitar solo in it.
“What a great skiff” La D said.

The other night we were playing Bezique and in the middle of one of the games I had to keep getting up to tend the fire, get more wine for La D (and myself of course), let Bertie out, let Bertie in, etc., etc.. As it was difficult to maintain a good flow of card playing, La D said exasperatedly, “Oh for goodness sake L’uomo chi fa, you are up and down like a fiddler’s elbow. Sit down. What have I said now? Oh alright, like a tart’s drawers then. Satisfied? Now can we please get on with the game. I’m just about to lay down a royal marriage, a sequence and double-Bezique, so just you dot your “I”s and cross your “T”s!
There are more, but I am saving those for later.

The Orti and Galline

Not much to report at the moment. The weather has turned almost wintry with cold rain and mists. November was lovely. So it has been too damp to do much turning over, but it will be done when it is able to be done.
The Three Degrees are still popping out three eggs a day, which considering the lack of light and the temperature is pretty good going. And of course the eggs are just fantastic. I worked it out the other day. If you discount the costs of setting up a run and coop and buying the birds, we have been getting 90 eggs a month for €5,00’s worth of feed. The shop price for 90 organic eggs is about €40,00. That is not too bad, I think you will agree.
The other thing they do of course is help fertilise the orti, either directly, by scratching and picking it over and pooping on it, and non-directly by us composting their bedding and poo to use on the orti later on. Brilliant.
We have had a lovely cauliflower last week and we have a few more almost ready along with some fennel. The peas and beans and onions that we have planted are all doing nicely.


Very organised this year. We have got all the presents sent off in very good time – we were worried about the postal strikes in the UK, but I think that has all been sorted now.
We were looking forward to a relatively peaceful time, until…………..
Bertie asked if his sister could come to stay. Well something like that.
They are a bit like children. They are quite manageable, most times, on their own, but when they are together, it’s a different story. It’s like having two giant Mexican jumping beans constantly on the go. Going this way, that way, some other way least expected. At first we probably won’t have to take them out much because they just chase each other round and round and round until they are knackered and, with this weather, disgustingly filthy. I think I’ll get the hose out again and set it up. We’ll probably need it.
I’ll report back next week.

Ciao, mantenere la fede