Monday, March 21, 2011

I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK

Last week we had to take the Golf for its first Revisione (MOT). As usual I had been fretting about whether she would pass and how much it was going to cost to put things right. I don’t know why she wouldn’t pass as she is well looked after, but then, that’s me. Anyway it was fine and she is now OK until March 2013. Great.

So, with no expense associated with the Revision and after much cogitation and deliberation I finally went and got a chainsaw (petrol) to start on next Winter’s firewood. It was a difficult decision. I find – much to La D’s annoyance – that I have to cover all aspects of a major purchase from north to south, east to west, back to front, etc., and then spend a bit (OK, a lot) of time on the web researching the myriad options. My view is that we buy very little these days and so when we do, I need to feel comfortable with the decision, in other words, fluffy. Now La D is much more practical.
She’ll ask, “Do we need it/one?” If the answer is yes, then it’s JFBI.
Actually this is pretty good, because we complement each other

So in the end I plumped for a Jonsered. For those not in the know they are one of the top brands, made by Husqvarna in Sweden. Consequently they are not cheap but it should be a reliable investment and give us a few good years of service. I would much prefer to spend €150 on a pair of shoes that will last for 15 years r more rather than pay €60 for some that might last three. But there you go.
The reason I went for them rather than another brand was because the other good ones are all about the same price but the Jonsered dealer is the nearest. I felt it better to buy from a dealer because of spares (these machines do need a few consumables) and also if anything should go wrong they will be able to deal with it. So there we are.

First thing did when I got it home was to get out the manual. It was printed only in Italiano. Oops. Onto the net. Downloaded the manula in English, printed it out a d set to work understanding how it works and what to do. This “homework” continued on Sunday. La D kept throwing glances in my direction as I was obviously not giving her 100% of my attention as I should have done.
“Isn’t it just a question of click and go?” she said, rather abruptly. Oh dear.
“No darling, not quite as simple as that I’m afraid.” I’m not sure she believed me.

We went down to the bottom of the estate this morning and got stuck in. La D had a go but decided to let me “lumberjack” whilst she cleared up and piled the logs into graded piles. Oh yes, very organised.
We nearly had the tree sawn up by lunchtime! The only thing we haven’t been able to finish is the last bit of the trunk as it is lying awkwardly, so I need to give this some thought as to how we can finish the job. The trunk will provide us with some great logs.
We also felled the tree next door to it as it was leaning pretty precariously. We hope to make inroads on that tomorrow.

Of course there is just one problemette. We have to move the timber from the bottom to the top where the house is. It’s a stiff old climb just getting yourself up, never mind pushing a barrow of logs in front of you .I did one trip this afternoon. That’s why I decided to come in and write this blog entry!
Well you know the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I hope that’s right.

I’m expecting I’ll look like a body builder by the time La D returns from her trip to England for her dad’s birthday and to see her mum and family. Well, even more body builder-like than I do now. Ahem.

Ciao, mantenere la fede

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Well, where do I begin.
The weather has been atrocious all week. First we had torrential rain – 12 inches in 12 hours at one point! – then we had loads of snow, then more rain and then even more rain. This has been accompanied with 48 hours without electricity due to the very heavy snowfall. 5 towns near us were all blacked out. The regional government has called for a regional state of emergency to be declared. It’s been raining since and still raining now.
3 people killed. Rivers bursting banks. Road sides collapsed. Earth and trees pushed onto the roads. It’s really terrible.

Just down from us a huge amount of earth and trees had slid into the road, turning it into a one lane road. This morning as I went past it, more slippage had a occurred because of the continuous rain. Fortunately there were a load of workman there with several great lorries waiting to take away all the debris and a big digger that was pulling down more earth down - to make it stable I guess.

We hear that the coast has had it the worst, but goodness knows what it’s like over there, Must be desperate.
On Thursday we braved the weather and took Bertie out down to the river just to have a look. We’ve never seen it in full spate. My goodness what a sight. The walk down to little “Torrente Saline” – this is effectively a stream just dribbles along usually but comes into its own when the snow starts to melt on the mountains – was littered with earth and rock falls that we had to climb over. At the end of the path there is a water testing plant, pretty small. From there, there are some steps down to the stream. These steps had completely disappeared!!!.

We went down a different way to the river. Devastation. There was a path by the side of the river that we usually walked down once we had joined the proper river from the stream. A good 50 metre length of it was gone. This path was about 2 metres high and at least 2 metres wide. Just nothing there at all. The whole vista had changed. Bertie took it into his head to swim across, or rather down, but we had trouble getting him back as the poor lad was just treading water trying to reach  us. Eventually we were able to get hold of him and were together again. Phew.
From the right hand side of the log in the river to the side, there was a path 3 days ago. It ran from where the stream enters the river on the right, down as far as you can see. The river has almost doubled in width at this juncture.

The bottom of our garden is criss- crossed with little streams. The path that La D and I have carved out during our daily walks with Bertie is now a stream. Never seen anything like it.

Apparently the worst weather to hit this region for 40 years. Let’s hope there is nothing like this for another 40 years. We have heard lots of stories about how people have fared. We get this info through Facebook and the Italian Community website.

We have a big tree down at the end of garden, which in some way may be propitious as it could provide next Winter’s (or the one after definitely) fire wood supply. I just need to get a petrol-driven chainsaw – we have an electric one but it is far to far away. Such a shame. Ha, ha, ha. More gadgets. Can we afford it? Probably not. But, I should be able to get a saw for about €150.00 and the value of the wood I would think is at least that. So, cost neutral. It also means that I can venture into our woods and cut up quite a bit of old timber that is there that I haven’t been able to do before.

The poor chickens don’t seem to know what to do. They have been constantly wet. Don’t think Doris and Wilma – the new ones – have been dry since they have been here. But we are getting one to two eggs a day so that is good.

A sort of spin off from all this meteorological rubbish is that La D and I have cancelled our birthday break to Venice. We were going to go next Thursday for three nights, but we are looking after Bertie’s sister – and Rustic – again as their owners have gone to Venice this week-end. Whilst it is looking dry (but very cold) for the next few days, the time we were going is looking decidedly wet.  There was going to be hardly anytime for the change over of dog-looking after roles and the forecasr is for more crap weather coming our way. La D decided we really didn’t fancy leaving rain here just to holiday in more rain. So we bit the bullet and cancelled the little pensione that we had booked. We have lost the train fare, but it was a good deal so it’s not too bad. We are going to re-group and have a break maybe in the fairer weather.

Ciao, mantenere la fede