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!
Whilst I was fighting with nothing more exciting than roots and stones in my quest for ‘levelness’, Marcus was busy shifting a pile of larger stones up near the house to get the area ‘caravan ready’. However, he kept unearthing far more exciting things, in the form of spoons, a flask, an olive oil can, a couple of bowls, some wine bottles and the head of a spade. He had quite a good collection by the middle of the afternoon!
But it’s not all been about the work … we’ve also been socialising … but only in the name of ‘integrating into the community’ you understand. We have one neighbour who we’d not yet met, but in the usual ‘piccolo monde’ (small world) that exists here, this lady is the mother of the wife of the brother of our next door neighbour in the campsite … or in Italian terms ‘la mamma della cognata di Bruna’ … are you still with me? And in five hours of being at the house, where only two cars drove past on the tiny road, one of them was Rosalba, ‘la cognata’ who stopped to say ‘Ciao’ and to invite us to join her at her ‘mama’s’ house. Dusted down and glad of an excuse for a rest, we walked the ten minute journey to our next door neighbour’s house and were greeted by her whole family … three daughters, a son-in-law and a grandson, before we finally got to meet our mystery ‘vicina’.
We probably only spent about an hour there but we came away with more knowledge about the house – we should have taken a pad and pen along with us to make notes! Francesco is a ‘muratore’ (builder) and has done a few jobs on our house over the years, and he’s the person responsible for our ‘missing’ chimney (having closed the roof at the request of the previous owner when the house was left empty). We were advised on the various fruit trees we have along the roadside (which include some wild peaches that are very tasty apparently) but we must clear them of brambles quickly or they’ll soon be taken over – that’s another job added to the list! We learned a couple of important factors about choosing a ‘stufa’ to heat the whole house, and were advised on where we could buy a couple of large water storage tanks for our ‘orto’ (vegetable garden) because of course we’re having an ‘orto’ aren’t we? This was all whilst being fed copious amounts of homemade cake along with cups of hot black coffee – not a bad afternoon’s ‘work’!
So as the sun started dropping and with Marcus’ haul of ‘treasures’ neatly stashed to one side (or in my words, handily placed in a pile ready for the next bin bag), a more level ‘piazzola’ ready for the caravan and very excited couple of robins flitting around the patch of newly turned soil, we left for the day, ready for a shower and a cup of tea (we’ll always be a little bit British). The next time we’re back we’ll be on bramble clearing duty around the peach trees – we don’t want to have the neighbours talking do we?!