Monthly Archives: December 2014

Closer to Winter update – Working with a broken back

Some of the readers have met my partner Ana and would openly admit that without her things including my life would be at best, different. The house appears to run itself but that quite clearly isn’t the case.  She gracefully glides around fixing, mending, preparing, cleaning, planting, harvesting and all of that prior to serving a cold-beer and preparing some extravaganza for dinner.

There are of course those moments when she tip toes back to her home town for a short stay with her folks. SZJ62 has hardly left the runway when the chaos begins and stays that way until a burst of energy comes over me as I note Bucharest Airport announce the departure of the return flight bound for Pisa.

The last time however was a tad different. The departure goes well and the boys are happy to see me in the local but then arrives the strike the day after. My back finally gives up after another day of chopping in the woods and my ability to walk makes Bruno (81) look like a sprightly 20 year old!

So at least if I can’t walk I can always drive and accept the invite to one of my friends houses whose mother always takes pity on me when Ana is away. Eating 5 courses of home prepared Italian food and sampling the latest Grappa means that for a day or so the kitchen remains as Ana left it. I am advised to take a hot bath on my return home and proceed to the physiotherapist the next day. The bath is run and after 20 minutes I manage to undress. Being placed on the planet as a bloke that equates to using all available floor space which when you’re on your own is fine. I have a beer placed in one corner of the bath and the mobile in the other. The beer is obviously for medicinal purposes and the phone just in case I can’t get out! Halfway into the water and it strikes me that if I can’t get back out then I will need to call an ambulance. That means others seeing the state I have left the place in!

Clearing the bathroom, getting to my friends house, eating for Italia, sampling his latest Grappa with an anti inflammatory left me somewhat tired and I manage to catch some sleep or pass out, I’m not sure which. I decide again as a bloke that there’s no need to rush to the physiotherapist and thankfully as its Friday it would be best not to disturb her until Monday. Sadly Monday comes and whilst I knew Annalisa before at the bar I know her a lot better now. I had never realized previously that a bad back could have absolutely nothing to do with your back!

Fixed up and ready to go again, I have the burst of energy as news of the departure of Ana’s plane streams over the internet. The gliding begins once again and the mad Englishman takes to chopping trees. Its late afternoon when I hear the whistle from the house to tell me it’s time to down tools and head to the house for the cold beer…..the view on the way back suggests that maybe I could at some point take away the “mad” tag….

Dave View

Almost Winter Update: December 12th

The winter veg went in some time ago and apart from daily slug patrol and the odd escapee chicken things are going in the right direction…up and out! We’ve got broccoli, fennel, cabbage, winter lettuce, kale and Brussels sprouts (especially for my son Jimmy). September was beautiful and for parts of October and November a 5 minute post lunch break has been spent sitting in the sun. This has all helped alongside the inevitable periods of rain.

The vines that weren’t so happy due to the mildew had some small snorting visitors at the beginning of October and were seen off almost entirely. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, the wild boars are not my friends. Drinking wine is also beginning to look like something you do when you have Lay and Wheeler around the corner.

Sadly this time I can’t even blame them on Bruno. His cannon did not last long. The initial phase lead to the wildlife using my back garden as an oasis in the desert and on returning to his they soon realised that it was a cannon-less cannon. He told me over a recent drink (not made by either one of us) that the cannon was up for sale. No small relief to us!

One triumph of the autumn however, has been the bees! Stefano finally made it over to have a look and with the last burst of warmth the bees made some honey! We got around 5 kilos in jars and the rest on the frames as due to my inexperience I failed to notice it crystallising so it can’t be extracted in the normal manner. In fact the truth is I failed to notice on my previous visit that they had made any! I have since learnt that honey made from ivy pollen crystallises super fast so needs to be extracted almost as the bees arrive back at the hive. I’ve made a note for next year. The positive however is that we scoop the honey from the frames on our dining room table onto bread, cheese or whatever else…