Monday, 10 March 2008


Spring finally arrived and all the hard work I put into planting hundreds of bulbs, has paid off. The farm is covered in patches of wonderful daffodils which smile at me as I gaze out of the windows.

My crocus are nearly over now but the willows are out, the jasmine is another happy yellow splash up by the main gate, and before the big storm of three days ago, my mimosa was magnificent.

Suddenly we were warned to batten down the hatches as our beautiful spring weather was coming to a halt and that the weather men were expecting snow and high winds. It came in roaring and I was completely cut off from the outside world until the motor saws were brought in to clear the roads. Wrapped in the wind were hail stones the size of large olives which were hurled sideways across the valley.

I couldn't get out to feed the ponies or cats because I would have been knocked over and I've been there once this year!!!

Trees were knocked over and so were the spring flowers and my mimosa. I could cry they look so pathetic now.

We have had to prune them to see if we can save their lives.

All of my peach trees have been stripped of their pink blossom and the almond trees had also just burst into colour.

What rotten timing. I wonder if my bees had the time to pollinate a few of the flowers or we will short on fruit this summer.

At least the little Princess is safe and dry.


I have been very remiss at keeping my blog up to date. Sorry to friends all over the world. I was sure nobody was reading it and as not much happens here I so sort of lost interest!

We will draw a veil over Xmas. Not the most successful. I had just returned from London where I had spent most of my visit in bed. Went out to dinner with friends and upon leaving their nice warm house fell over and woke up eating gravel.

My face looked dreadful and it was quite interesting to see the reaction in the Co-op. One man followed me around the shelves and was so riveted at the check-out that he dropped a bottle of vinegar on his foot which immediately shattered and left a rather pleasant smell reminiscent of days spent pickling cabbage in my kitchen!

I now know how awful it must be to be born with some facial deformity, people just stare at you with absolutely no sign of embarrassment, that is until they run into a lamppost or drop vinegar all over their feet.

Aziz has been traveling a lot for the past six weeks and has made several trips to NY, Atlanta, North Carolina, etc., to meet WPP clients. He is off at the moment meeting Coca Cola. Poor chap had one whole week in some hotel outside London just after Xmas having to make a presentation to over seventy companies on his ideas of how to improve their operations. I think that really stressed him as his drumming fingers and tapping feet have returned!!!

He gave me a list of his dates the other day when I asked if he was going to be here in Italy to see any of our guests over the summer. Note to guests. Don’t count on it!!!!!

Rather him than me. I would rather poke my eyes out with a stick than get on all of those airplanes. It takes me all my courage to fly back to London once or twice in the winter!!

I read a long article in Vanity Fair last night about all the would-be hi-jackers, bomb makers, the inefficiency of the airport officials, etc., etc., and now I don’t think I will ever get back home.

Sally came out for New Year and we had a great time eating, drinking and exercising. The ponies, that is!!!

Perhaps I will drive back to London now that I have a car! What with the Fiat catching fire and the Range Rover being stolen whilst in a garage having a service, I have been using hired cars for the past weeks. AC was insistent on buying a good second hand R Rover but couldn’t find one here so I have bought a friend’s 4 x 4 Nissan, (don’t tell AC), which is luxury compared to the old car. It’s dark blue, cream interior, heated everything, a radio that works, sat nav fitted so it doesn’t fall on the floor when you go around a corner like the old Tom Tom did, a camera at the back to avoid running into the dogs or over a sleeping policeman!, and speed that gets me up to Cortona in half the time.

I collected AC from the station in it the other day and he pretended it didn’t exist. Designers only comment on something if it looks right!!! Never if it works perfectly!!! Maybe it is so awful that the thieves will take something else next time.

The little Fiat was delivered back after being completely rebuilt looking shiny and new.

Hessi and Piero with our new car!

Having driven it for a week or so Aziz sent it back for a few alterations for which we waited another month. All in all the rebuilding since the fire had taken over eight months.

Finally the body-worker rang to say it was ready and should he deliver it to the farm the following weekend.

As the low loader parked, the engineer got out looking like a ghost. Coming up the final hill he had taken the wrong turning and on backing the loader it had fallen into a ditch and the little black car had bounced off and shot off on its own!!!!!

He had re-loaded it but of course it had suffered more damage!!!!!

Long story short, I gave him a snifter of brandy and sent him on his way. He had been driving for 30 years, hundreds of thousands of miles under his belt and never once had he lost a car or had an accident!!

Of course it had to happen to us.

I am still awaiting the second coming of my badly treated little car!

Having prayed for rain and observing our two dried out river-beds since the end of last February I began to worry about the state of our wells. I should have known better as we were suddenly inundated with the blasted stuff.

The other night I had tucked myself into bed with a book, I won’t say good, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by the author of The Kite Runners, when suddenly we were hit!
I had heard some rumblings in the distance whilst gardening but at about ten o’clock at night an explosion of noise rushed down the chimney in my bedroom, I was hit by something falling and I thought I was being attacked physically. The room had lit up as if daylight had come early.

The house had been hit by lightning and thunder simultaneously and the dog had leapt from its bed in the corner of the room in terror and had landed on me from a great height. I don’t know who was more shaken, the dog or me.

She shook like a leaf and crawled whimpering under the bedcover. She must have been scared because if she as much as puts one finger on the bed she is usually told in no uncertain terms that this is not her territory!

We shook together for about an hour before the firework display stopped and she rather sheepishly crept back to her hole and I smoothed my nerves and read another chapter of the killings and beatings of women in the muslim community!

A wonderful, old apricot tree was hit and leaves a horrible hole.

Lovely day today with the joyous sound of rushing water in both river and stream but as usual after a storm, absolutely no power. This happens every time the wind gets up and we have paid so much money to find a way to stop the television, electric gates, computers, telephone, etc., nose-diving. This time bodies will be found hanging from the cypresses after they have fixed the problem.

I’ll blame the Taliban if anyone asks about the bodies.

You can tell I am really scraping the barrel when I begin to talk about the weather. Sorry.

Another year has passed and I still don’t speak Italian. I am ashamed but am at least making a bit more of an effort. I have completely lost my confidence in most things as I get older. I think it is because one loses concentration and doesn’t want to feel foolish whilst practicing. However, Julia a friend who is the brightest thing I have ever met, has let me download her Pimsleur Italian course which I play during lunch times and on my iPod when gardening and I am even surprising myself when I find myself constructing sentences!!! Not many but enough to get me by.

This course is brilliant if anyone wants to learn a language. No learning reams of verbs, it all comes neatly wrapped in words and phrases.

Soon I will be writing this blog in Italian!!!

I will finish this tomorrow as I have visitors wandering down the driveway.

The Visitors, one Italian female, the other tall dark, impeccably dressed who looked Japanese/American, wore two black bags over their shoulders.

He was from Pittsburg, she seemed local and they were both staying in Arezzo. On arrival he was pleased I spoke in English and when asked how on earth had they found me up here in the woods and hills and he said an English name out of the phone book! Can you get any more non-Inglisi name than Cami?

The matching black shoulder bags should have told me the reason for their visit.

He said that someone had once stated that the axis of evils of the world were caused by religion, Judaism, Muslim, Catholicism and Christianity. I agreed and said that was why I was not interested in what he had to sell.

His piercing eyes clouded but his smile stayed frozen on his lips! He could have been a politician he was so good. I think that after such a long trip up into the forest he wanted to spill the beans!

She began to pull booklets out of one shoulder bag and he kept his eyes riveted on mine. Can you believe that as I saw them driving down the driveway that I had thought I should smarten myself up a bit and do my hair! They parked just short of the chain. I swore as these people always arrive at lunch time.

He asked me if I went to church in Italy and when I began walking away backwards, he began to step over the chain that stops cars from coming to front of the house. My guard dogs meanwhile were totally mute and sniffing the visitor’s shoes and wagging their tails.

I told him I practiced my religion in every day life and mentally damned to hell the God who had sent the thunderstorm. Normally the electric gates would have saved me from these unwelcome intruders.

He then began to ask me how long I had lived here, how much land we had and how much had the farm cost!!!!

I am now wondering if he really was a religious nut or something even more sinister!!!

I have been watching The Sopranos boxed set of television programes, so everyone now is part of the mafia in my imagination!