25 November 2012


Overheard in the discount supermarket just outside town. A woman is at the check-out, bagging up her purchases when her husband comes running with two big bottles of nasty-looking wine.

“What’s that?” she asks.

“It’s for bottling in vinegar,” he says (sott’aceto). “We can mix it with the vinegar.”

The wife looks dubious, the boy at the till even more so.

“You’re not going to drink it, are you?” the boy asks, worried. “Because I really don’t think I would. Well, in fact, I wouldn’t.”

That’s CdP salemanship for you. Far too honest.

We have lost a huge chunk of field, way over on the far side where it has slid down into the valley. It was days before we noticed it: I had walked down as far as the big field maple, then up through our neighbours’ property, but not out to the point of our land, where it projects towards the stream valley. Well, now it doesn’t project so much as wend about. I try to convince myself that it’s just terrain seeking a point of stability, that it will form a half-way stage platform now, rather than being a plunging precipice. But I’m not really sure, of course. I just hope it doesn’t go any further. It would be an impossibly huge front to work on. And anyway, there’s no way we could get the kind of earth-moving equipment we’d need down there because even the narrow path down into the valley is shearing away now. It feels like nature is doing just exactly as it wants to do. It makes you feel very powerless.

I was in Rome today, showing the apartment to people. It felt luxurious, being beneath azure skies at 20+ degrees. We have had a band of mist rising and falling, rising and falling, keeping us on tenterhooks for the past few days. There’s a sea of the stuff, floating up out of all the valleys of the area, to about 450 metres above sea level. CdP is above that, just. So cycling up from here to town for breakfast starts clammy and damp and very mysterious; and ends up bright and warm and autumnal perfection. Each time it seemed the sun had come out, it only took the time needed to locate my wellies and gardening clothes for the mist to rise again and make being outside very unpleasant indeed. In the end I gave up – good for getting inside things done but very very bad for my poor neglected garden which is looking positively primeval.

The fields from Fabro on down, right past Orvieto and into Lazio, still have a thin layer of water sitting on top of them from last week’s storm, and the Tiber is high and churning. Along the river banks are mountains of uprooted branches, all ready to be swept downstream with the next wave of water. Which may, or may not, hit us on Wednesday.

I keep clicking on Meteoblue. It’s conflicted. Sometimes it tells me to expect 25cm on Wednesday, with a severe weather warning. At other times (like right this moment) it promises a paltry 5mm. Algorhythms going crazy.

For many months I was amazed by all the people happening across my blog, people from Italy and the UK and Australia and NZ and the Americas mostly, but also from exotic climes, like Indonesia and and Brazil and Mali. I wonder what they make of these inconsequential ramblings.

But then I started noticing patterns: visitors from certain places always clicking on the same recipes: Australians on celeriac soup, Irish on lemon marmalade – coincidence or repeat visits?

I’m getting greedy now. I’m longing for comments. I’d like to know who’s returning (if they are), from time to time, for the same recipes, and what they think of them. And I want more people to find the recipes, at least, useful. WordPress reminds me endlessly – as if I didn’t know – that I need to publicise my efforts more, but I’m reticent (hopeless?). How silly is that?


About Gardens, Food & Umbria

I am a garden designer, working throughout central Italy. I have lived in Italy for over 30 years – for many years in Rome but now in the wilds of Umbria where I have fixed up one wreck of a house, am working on another, and tinker endlessly with two and a half hectares of land, some of which is my garden.
This entry was posted in MUSINGS FROM UMBRIA. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s