Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Ready for Winter

The local and much-loved ritual of ripping off the dumb foreigner reached its usual annual zenith with the delivery by some locals of our wood for this winter. Gone are the days when Ron trudged off up into the hills with a chainsaw, jerrycan of petrol and can of chain oil. Sod that for a game of soldiers. Firstly, the consignment was to be seasoned oak and ash. The trailer had been bulked up with poplar. Then, where was the print out from the public weighbridge for the trailer weight? Much scratching of heads whilst staring at the ground and grunting.
Looks like I may have to get the chain saw out of storage not only to menace the peasants but also to chop down some of the Combo timber for next year. It never ends.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

One for Vinogirl

The rose-tinted image of grape picking is not even remotely near the sheer back breaking horror of it all. For a start, the lovely bunches of grapes are not at a good height, but low down so you have to bend down. All the time. And then, most of them aren't just hanging there neat and tidy, waiting for the, snick, precise snip of your secateurs. They may be squashed between vine branches or trellis uprights, many will have sent out hardy tendrils that clamp to other branches, lots are hidden behind foliage, there is the ever-present danger of the person working the other side of the row taking off one of your fingers, then there are the wasps and hornets that arrive in droves once the sun is up. Oh no, it's a tough life in the vendemmia season. And then there's your back, which when you are the wrong side of, er, old really doesn't want to carry on after about four hours. I had the misfortune to be working the rows with a 78 year old local woman, Adrianna, who doesn't understand the meaning of "please, I beg you, for the love of God, slow down". Started at 8.00am, finished at 6.00 pm, half an hour for lunch. Never again.
Not much grape selection here Vinogirl. Everything goes in, mildewed, rotting or not and then it's off to the local co-operative. We picked all barbera on Friday.

At least Piero's happy, the old dog.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Two New Additions

Here are two newcomers to the Combo drinks cabinet; Punt e Mes is one of Italy's oldest vermouths and China (pron. keena) Martini is an extra-herby version of the classic Martini Rosso that is drunk as a digestivo. It took a bit of a caning the other night from some Brits so some re-stocking may be called for. The Punt e Mes is OK (any port in a storm etc) but red vermouths aren't my favourite. Vermouth comes from the German word wermut which means wormwood, this being the principal ingredient in absinthe. Which did for the frog poet Verlaine, who fell off his perch at 51.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Country Boy

Spotted near a country trattoria at the weekend. New one on me. Diplo?

Friday, 4 September 2009

Red Cross Parcel

Friends from Blighty have arrived by motor car bringing vital supplies. Thank you, thank you, thank you!