Sunday, 31 May 2009
Saturday, 30 May 2009
Friday, 29 May 2009
We went to buy a new lawn mower yesterday. Shopping here is different in one basic respect from the rest of the world. In the UK or the US the shopkeeper is delighted to welcome you into his store and help you in order to make a sale. Here in Italy the store owner will sit behind his desk and glare at you in silence annoyed that his sanctuary is being invaded. In the first store we waited for ten minutes while the assistant was on the phone.When he finished he ignored us. Finally I went up to him and asked if they sold petrol powered lawn movers."No!" came the reply. Would it be possible to order one I asked. "No!". What the service lacked in charm it made up for in succinctness. In the second store we waited for twenty minutes while the staff studiously managed to do everything other than catch our eye. Everytime I tried to ask a question I was told they were busy. In the end we gave up, came home and ordered on Amazon.
Thursday, 28 May 2009
The new lawn in the courtyard is growing at an alarming rate. I cut it two days ago and it already looks as though it has put on a weeks worth of growth. In Scotland everything about the seasons was temperate and the gardens grew at a slow but constant rate. Here the plants know that they have to grow and bloom before the summer sun cakes the earth as hard as a rock - as a consequence the growing season can best be described as short and sharp.
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
The boyz treat the pool with great respect. Wilf has twice in his life managed to fall headlong into the pool when he wasn't concentrating. On both occassions he had all the bouyancy of a stone and had to be fished out. Digby has fallen in once and now gives it a wide berth.
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Monday, 25 May 2009
We're back from Oxford, the boyz are back from the kennels,it's nearly ten at night and it's still 35 degrees !
Friday, 22 May 2009
The temperature is set to rise to 36 today ( mid 90's) and we're still in May - what is August going to be like? Up in the local bar the hotel and guest house owners have woken up to the fact that their bookings from foreigners are way, way down from last years levels. One guest house has just added twenty new rooms and only has three reservations from overseas for mid July through mid August. Thankfully, the absence of foreigners is being compensated for by a rise in demand from Italians who are saving money by vacationing at home. The problem for the hotel owners is that locals are much more cost conscious , and prone to haggle, than the high margin Dutch and Brits.
Thursday, 21 May 2009
It's another 33 degrees day ( 92 to those of you in the US ) without a cloud in sight. The two boyz have had their usual morning rosh ( rush out, saunter home ) and are now settled under the trees in the courtyard wondering what mischief lies in store for them. They had another coat trim yesterday to try to improve on the first attempt which left them looking rather unkempt.
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
The morning walk took place at six this morning. I'll wait to see if anyone raises the issue of the planned five o'clock start.
Monday, 18 May 2009
In the wider world the scandal over legislators expenses in the UK parliament has now entered its eleventh day. This afternoon we may get a vote on whether the Speaker, an ancient and venerable position, should be removed from office for complicity. The last time a speaker was removed happened was in 1652 . Don't let it be said that popular democracy is dead!
Sunday, 17 May 2009
After their six o'clock walk the boyz have contentedly settled down on the cool grass in the courtyard and are showing no signs that they will be moving any time soon. Wilf as top dog is on alert and looking around while his little brother has fallen into a deep primordial sleep.
Saturday, 16 May 2009
The ninth day in a row with the newspapers in the UK exposing the crass venality of our elected politicians. Yet another Member of Parliament has been exposed for claiming for a non-existent mortgage. The whole affair is banal but has generated a widespread anger with the ruling 'elite' that I've not witnessed before - a bit like Tom DeLay and the 2006 (or was it 2007?) Congress. The gravy train attitude of many politicians seems to have aroused the ire of a nation that believes that it is basically unfair for MP's to be living the high life while many of their fellow citizens are facing penury in the recession. I only hope frustration with the existing parties doen't allow the extremist organizations to do well at the polls for the European Parliament in June - once they get 10% of the vote under proportional representation they are eligible for state funding.
Friday, 15 May 2009
Thursday, 14 May 2009
In our quest for an environmentally friendly life style we have been busy planting trees. In addition to the standard fare of oaks, olives and pines we have also added walnuts and to us, wildly exotic pomegranates and lemons. For shade we've put in a huge plane tree to cast its shadow over the front of the house. All of this has required the return of the gardeners to make sure that everything is well staked and irrigated before the dry winds from the Sahara start to blow in June.