Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Climbers Spring 2018






Figs



Bloody Hunting

One beautiful morning in Abruzzo I was sitting quietly in my garden reading when a man carrying a gun parked in my garden and stood looking at me. I told him to move his car as he was in my garden!

For more than 2 hours I had to stay inside my house as more men arrived and stood in my garden with guns.I could not carry on working in my garden.

Being British I am not used to men I do not know standing in my garden with guns
I was very frightened.

Why in Italy are hunters allowed to frighten citizens without anyone doing anything?

This situation is a disgrace.

Frustrating Day

Having one of those Italian Weekends that leave you totally fed up and fuming!

On Saturday my neighbor dropped me off in a nearby town where the fabulous cheese shop is.The woman who owns it makes all the cheeses herself from sheep and goats milk.

My pecorino store was totally delpleted and I just couldn’t resist buying a half of semi seasoned cheese that would have set me back £30 in Waitrose but here was just 14 euros. Each cheese that she makes is totally different in shape! She seems not to have a cheese mold but who cares when it tastes so delicious.

After that I just went to the ferramenta to buy some hooks and finally to the bar to download some podcasts and check my Facebook page.

By now it was midday so I thought I would have a Campari soda as I’d not had any breakfast and this comes with a bowl of peanuts or crisps. Not this time. Sussing my non local status.although I have been in the bar many times) the girl plonked down my Campari minus peanuts, she obviously saw no reason to waste good peanuts on someone who wasn’t familiar with the set up.If it wasn’t for the WiFi I’d probably not bother with the place again!

To get home which is a journey of 2 miles I planned to catch a bus which due to a road being closed had to make a detour towards this town. I arrived at the stop with 20 mins to spare and I was just getting up to cross to the right side of the road when I spotted the bus! I ran out waving frantically for him to stop but he just drove past me. Fuming I ended up walking all 2 miles back to my house.

I’d only just had the time to drink a large cup of tea when a car drew up the dogs went mad. I went out to see what was happening and a couple of well dressed men got out. Generally speaking seeing the dogs most visitors sound their horns until I come out but Jehovah witnesses are made of sterner stuff.

Just what I wanted. I screamed at them like a banshe toleave me alone and the site of me was enough to deter them.They drove off to pester someone else thank goodness.

Another thing that’s annoying me is that on 2 occasions, Saturday and Thursday the recycling van just drove past without picking up my carefully sorted recycling.

My friends were going to phone the numero verde and complain but I caught the man today and did it myself. Needless to say he blamed his colleague.Lets see what happens this Thursday when he should pick up the plastic bottles.

My final (hopefully) moan is the young Enel worker who turned up today to put in a new box. His boss had already done it 2 weeks ago but no one seems to have told him!



Lime Wash

I was lulled into a false sense of security by just how easy my first limewash experience was.I applied 4 coats of coloured limewash made by myself to the wall of our recently lime plastered bedroom. It was May but not too hot and each coat dried smoothly and evenly in 24 hours.

The walls looked great 7 years on.

Our kitchen however was totally different. A didn’t like the plaster finish so he put a very thin coat of bio Calle 00 zero over to smooth it out.This plaster is a fine one with lots of marble dust and he likes to work over it once it’s set. This makes for a tricky surface and to add to the problems the room has always had high humidity levels meaning things take ages to dry.

The main issue with limewash drying is that you want colour limewash to dry pretty evenly or there can be some differences in colour as the quickest parts to dry are lighter in shade.The best way to deal with this is to do the job in warm breezy dry weather with all windows and doors open for as long as possible. If you choose a wet day there will be more issues.

Generally it takes 3 or more coats to get to the final result with the last coat being a 50/50 mix of lime putty and water. This is quite a thick coat and previous coats must be weaker or the paint could crack and flake off.

Getting the wall wet but not so wet there are runs is another difficulty and dry rooms will need more wetting with a sprayer or clean brush.Some people mist spray lime wash after painting but this is usually only outside with sun on the walls.

Or if the walls are very dry and suck in water quickly.

I’m now waiting for my walls to dry off some more before mixing up the 50/50 coat and applying. I want to do it when I can be in to leave all the windows open. Fingers crossed.

On the other walls I have applied just one weak colour wash and it seems to be working well.the plaster was a pinky grey and if you want this as a base then a single wash will work as long as you are not looking for a totally finish.

It’s now possible to buy a white eco plaster from our builders merchants so I will try that and see if that will cut down coats. Then you have more choices for colour as a yellow wash will go over white very easily.



Applying limewash in 3 to 5 coats is very time consuming so ideally you want to do 2 rooms together. Unless it’s very dry and warm doing more rooms can make the house temporarily quite damp and you will need to keep windows and doors open for a week as 24 hours minimum is needed between coats.

After reading this you must be asking yourself are there any advantages to using limewash?


  1. Although it’s time consuming it’s very cheap and costs just a few £1 for 5 litres
  2. It’s not damaging to health or the environment
  3. The possibility to mix a huge range of subtle and bright colours to suit your taste
  4. It’s easy to apply although very messy people should steer clear as it is not a good idea to cover everything in drops of limewash.Limewash is dangerous if it gets in your eyes!
  5. Lasts at least 5 years then you can repaint one coat on top of old one.


Disadvantages are just to do with the time it takes to do it! If you can rope in some help this won’t be a problem!

Abandoned Land

Across our road the olive groves are beginning to turn into a wood with wild flowers, brambles and small oak and hornbeam saplings aging ground and slowly coming to dominating the few very old and shabby olive trees,branches broken by the snows of several winters, left to fall on the ground.

A neighbor in her 70s remembers a time when wheat was grown between the olives and the land was ploughed every autumn.Now young people are not interested in working on the land and this plot has been abandoned for 25 years.We joke that the only crop now is of cinghalie who root about in the soil creating crater like holes everywhere.The dogs hate them and the racket the dogs and wild boar make on some nights makes sleeping impossible.

But is this a bad thing? Today in early October I see clouds of butterflies everywhere feasting on the nectar of wildflowers brought to life after the drought of summer and now blooming in quantity. There are so many different types of insects it’s difficult to walk through the grass without stepping on them and a Praying Mantis seems to particularly resent me for trespassing on his territory.He is a straw colour unlike the ones up in the honeysuckle that are bright green. They must change colour like chameleons so that they blend in with their surroundings?

Foxes make their home in bramble thickets and creep out in the evening if the dogs are sleeping.Food for them is plentiful with so many rodents and the edible dormice.

Olives unsprayed and unpruned are full of birds,blue tits,great tits,nuthatches,woodpeckers owls warblers and maybe a Wryneck? Lizards conduct their territorial battles on the trunks,disappearing into holes and crevices when defeated.The large vivid green lizards prefer to hide away in the long vegetation as their bright colours attract predators.



Across our road the olive groves are beginning to turn into a wood with wild flowers, brambles and small oak and hornbeam saplings aging ground and slowly coming to dominating the few very old and shabby olive trees,branches broken by the snows of several winters, left to fall on the ground.

A neighbor in her 70s remembers a time when wheat was grown between the olives and the land was ploughed every autumn.Now young people are not interested in working on the land and this plot has been abandoned for 25 years.We joke that the only crop now is of cinghalie who root about in the soil creating crater like holes everywhere.The dogs hate them and the racket the dogs and wild boar make on some nights makes sleeping impossible.

But is this a bad thing? Today in early October I see clouds of butterflies everywhere feasting on the nectar of wildflowers brought to life after the drought of summer and now blooming in quantity. There are so many different types of insects it’s difficult to walk through the grass without stepping on them and a Praying Mantis seems to particularly resent me for trespassing on his territory.He is a straw colour unlike the ones up in the honeysuckle that are bright green. They must change colour like chameleons so that they blend in with their surroundings?

Foxes make their home in bramble thickets and creep out in the evening if the dogs are sleeping.Food for them is plentiful with so many rodents and the edible dormice.

Olives unsprayed and unpruned are full of birds,blue tits,great tits,nuthatches,woodpeckers owls warblers and maybe a Wryneck? Lizards conduct their territorial battles on the trunks,disappearing into holes and crevices when defeated.The large vivid green lizards prefer to hide away in the long vegetation as their bright colours attract predators.

In April an astonishing variety of wild orchids flower in shades of pink,purple, yellow, brown and white.The orchids must have lain in wait during all those years of ploughing and when the time was right they reappear. At the same time a nightingale arrives and begins calling as soon as dusk falls.

So although it’s abandoned it’s not unproductive and undoubtedly supports many more species then ever before.








In April an astonishing variety of wild orchids flower in shades of pink,purple, yellow, brown and white.The orchids must have lain in wait during all those years of ploughing and when the time was right they reappear. At the same time a nightingale arrives and begins calling as soon as dusk falls.

So although it’s abandoned it’s not unproductive and undoubtedly supports many more species then ever before.

Friday, 10 July 2015

pics from June 2015



 New stone added


lazy afternoon


1960s Chair from Portabello


Temporary (ha ha) kitchen


New hallway bricks


My birthday marble table -£38 at Mercantino




Agapanthus from Cornwall -will it survive the summer