House ‘work’

… and no fire without a chimney (at least if we want it inside the house and under control) so we had our next job on the list. The house when we bought it had no chimney, just a shiny patch of new roof tiles where the chimney used to be (a bit of detective work on our part as there was the old ‘stufa’ still in the kitchen with a flue pipe going into the wall and not reappearing again).

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For the very observant of you out there you will see a new title squeezed in between the usual options at the top of the page. Along with ‘A little bit of history …’, ‘Contact me …’ and ‘Home’ you’ll see the sparkly new heading of ‘Rustico Renovation …’

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Well we’ve reached that time of year where the ‘orto’ is now cleared of all edible elements, except for three of my failed yellow onions which now seem to be enjoying the colder weather and have put out strong foliage, and my rhubarb, which is looking even more spindly than through the Summer months. (The ‘carciofi’ have put on a bit of growth as well, despite us being in the wrong growing zone, but I don’t want to say this too loudly in case they realise and stop growing!)

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Well the first two months in our home in Italy have flown by … and what have we spent most of our time doing whilst we’ve been here? Building dry stone walls, of course. It’s true, we’ve built loads of them – and why not, when every inch of soil that we’ve dug into contains at least three or four rocks or slabs … it certainly saves a trip to the local builders’ merchant for materials!

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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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Well the rigger boots are broken in, along with my back, my forearms and my thighs! I made the mistake of adding a bit of morning exercise to my daily routine last week and I felt it for about three days afterwards. It didn’t help that the day after I had this inspiration to exert myself voluntarily in our awning, we went up to the house to do some more driveway levelling … every step up the incline was painful!

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You’ll be forgiven for thinking, from the above photograph of the cleanest pair of rigger boots ever, that we’ve yet to start work on the house … but you’d be wrong. I actually ordered this fashionable footwear after getting carried away with a mattock and a shovel on our last visit when I decided to do a bit of driveway re-levelling. I was knocking soil and grass out of my boot laces for days so I’ve invested in an old favourite – when we renovated and built houses back in the UK, I lived in my steel toe-capped boots so, with a bit of breaking in they’ll soon be like slippers again.

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