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Published: March 24th 2011
We ventured into the village to stock up on drinking water for the owners this morning.
Friends had warned us that a 9.30 opening time can mean anything from 10am to midday in Italy so weren’t too concerned to so see the shop in darkness.
The sign for opening times however said 9am so we tried the door and found it to be unlocked ….shelf’s upon shelf’s of what looked like valuable wines and spirits looked back at us, but no proprietor. In our hometown this place would have been cleared out faster than you can see. I tried calling in my best Italian accent ‘Buongiorno’!
But no answer, after 20 minutes we decide to wait outside instead and low and behold Paulo arrives in his car.
We try to communicate what it is we are looking for and he reacts with a very charming smile and beckons us to follow him up the hill behind the store.
No mysterious backstreet haggling however – the water is simply stored in a warehouse and after some nifty manoeuvring with Paulo’s forklift truck we were soon sorted and our way.
Next stop the library. We had seen signs at the village
hall for Italian courses being offered there. This time the sign read open from 9.30 as it was 10am we expected that to be the case, but no such luck. We sat on a little bench to see if perhaps someone would arrive to open up within the next 30 minutes or so. Several locals were also disappointed when they attempted to rattle the door for entrance. – ahh well, we’ll try another day.
It was time to tackle the lawns for me whilst Jaime continued his saga with the strimming of the olive terraces.
The lawnmower is another huge petrol powered beast that laughs in the face of the little hover mowers I’m used to.
I square my shoulder, turn up my MP3 and say o myself ‘your kung-fu is strong, you can do this girlie’. And do - I did.
The mower was very temperamental and spluttered to a standstill for no apparent reason every 5 minutes which left me having to yank the pull cord several times whilst stretching to hold down the throttle.
My lawns looked fab when I was done - I however didn’t – grass clippings everywhere and drenched in sweat
from pushing the monster up and down the slopes, it was time for a break.
We sit on our patio in the sunshine and enjoy a well deserved apple.
Then I go to help J with his terrace by clearing some rocks. I manage 3 wheelbarrow loads before the sun catches up with me and I collapse in a heap – enough for today.
J finishes of the terrace and I go to make us some lunch which we enjoy on the patio. Food tastes so much better outside and the sunshine has been fab today.
In the afternoon I start work on a little art project I’m planning – I’m making a sign for the veggie garden with a beautiful piece of wood I’ve found on the terraces. Jaime spends the afternoon CPR-ing my laptop for me as it has suddenly decided to have a good ol’ rest from my rantings. Thankfully the Jaimster knows his stuff – so alls well in laptop land.
Whilst J decides to sort through the garage, I venture into the bathroom for some laundry and am surprised by a little lizard that stares hopefully back at me from the bidet. He
runs on the spot but his little claws can’t get a hold on the slippery porcelain.
Jaime and I scoop him out and into a large yogurt pot. We then set the pot down outside amongst the rocks but our little friend appears to have taken a liking to the new mode of transport and hangs around for awhile.
Then its time for dinner and I venture into the unknown home of handmade pizza.
One with spinach and garlic from the garden and one with tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese. They turn out yummy!
Its market day in Montevarchi so we decided to do our weekly shopping trip today and head out early to ensure we win a parking space.
The market boasts lots of stall with shoes and woman’s clothing, all quite cheap and cheerful. There’s also a busy stretch with fruit and vegetables and we buy some delicious strawberries.
I find myself staring longingly into a shop window with a chocolate Easter egg display – which J manages to capture in the reflections of the glass. I am trying to be as healthy as possible and have completely cut out any treats – which until I
loose some serious weight includes yummy chocolate Easter eggs….sigh, it will be worth it in the end.
Then we head to the DIY store where Jaime gets all excited about the tools and I find myself drooling over some pink gardening kneepads – ahh how things change.
In the hypermarket I spot all the locals busily chatting over and evaluating a crop of artichokes. They seem quite excited about the availability of them and as I have no experience of cooking artichokes we give them a whirl for dinner.
I followed a recipe in my Italian cookbook that advised to remove the tough outer leaves, scoop out the inner core , stuff the middle with mushrooms and garlic and then bake the whole thing with olive oil.
There are few veggies I dislike in this world, but artichokes have just made the list. Maybe I did something wrong when cooking them, but they tasted horrible.
My cookbook states that if you place the stems in water the artichoke will open into a beautiful purple flower – I think I’ll follow that recipe for the remaining two in the fridge.
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