May 2016

It was only the other day I said to Marcus … ‘since when did lizards become the norm?’ In England it used to be blackbirds or sparrows, but now its lizards. They’re everywhere … if they’re not scuttling out from under your feet in the long grass (and giving me small seizures every time due to the shock) then they’re leaping off the first floor roof onto the ground two or three metres below (and giving me small seizures due to the shock).

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With Spring well under way, and Summer just around the corner there’s signs everywhere of nature taking over. We’ve got tiny green peaches on our peach trees – plums, cherries and walnuts are all making an appearance, and the figs already look good enough to eat – but they’re not, they’re still hard, I tried one!

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I’d read about the postal service in Italy before we arrived here – it is not painted as the most reliable of services but it somehow works, like most things in Italy. However there’s a twist that they don’t tell you about, no matter how much you search on the Internet – we’ve since found out that it’s not so much of a service, more of a ‘fai da te’ or a ‘do it yourself’ system.

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We’ve cracked it – Marcus has managed to get our outside wood oven temperature up to 475degrees Celsius – perfect for the ideal 90 second pizza cooking session! Up until now we’ve been floundering around the 200degrees mark – with falling heat, probably warm enough to thaw an ice cube, but we definitely weren’t in pizza territory. But with research, and advice from a couple of friends and a neighbour we learned that the bricks on the inside walls and the dome need to be white – only then is it hot enough throughout the whole oven and only then will pizzas be a success.

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