orWine Tastings in the Comfort of you own villa or B&B while on holiday in Tuscany or Liguria

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Tuesday, 15 April 2008

rain, rain, rain...

This is possibly the longest stretch of unsettled weather we’ve experienced since we’ve come to Italy almost 4 years ago. Ever since James and Alison arrived last Sunday we haven’t had a day without rain, some of it heavy with thunder storms, hail and all. It hasn’t been particularly cold though, so everything got a real growth boost, especially the weeds. The day before the rains started I strimmed the top 10 terraces at Arcola almost back to ground level and in 9 days the grass has grown back by about 2 inches and as for the bamboo… I have heard that bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth and I can well believe it, up to 3 foot in a week!

So what were we up to in the last week? Saturday we were invited to a book launch. Our neighbour, Mauro Manicardi, who I have mentioned previously in this blog for playing traditional music with his band Tandarandan, has finally after 8 years of research finished his book on the music of the Lunigiana and the Val di Vara. The traditional music of the region has not very many proponents any more and Mauro has interviewed many of the older folk in the villages and recorded many of their tunes and songs (both in print in this book as well as on CD with his band). There are also articles on the carnival traditions and dance steps to accompany the music. The launch took place at a museum in La Spezia and of course it included some musical samples and some aperitivi. Here is a link to the official website of Tandarandan: http://www.tandarandan.it/. This Thursday both Mauro and our other neighbour Marco will be playing in a concert with Riccardo Borghetti again. Remember we saw them playing at his official launch of Riccardo’s new CD. This time it’s going to be a proper public concert at the Teatro Civico in La Spezia. So, something to look forward to.

Yesterday James, who is a bit of a whiz kid when it comes to plumbing, came out to our plot in Arcola. We always had a water tap out there, but could never quite work out how to get it properly connected. So we kept either borrowing water from the neighbour or carry some up in large canister’s. This was not nearly enough during last year’s extremely dry winter and summer. In the pouring rain yesterday we bent over a manhole in the road looking at some seriously corroded piping and dodgy connections. After a lot of experimenting around we finally got all 4 valves between the main pipe and our tap open and hallelujah, there was water! James from now on will be venerated as the water god by us. Not only did he fix our water connection, but whenever he is in Italy, it’s raining. Next time we are threatened by a drought we’ll just pray to him to come over…

Today finally it stopped raining for long enough to do some work on the land. We sowed some runner beans (dolico), parsley, rocket and 2 types of lettuce (green and iceberg). In the flowering cycle the sweet cherries and pears are now finished and the apples (above) and sour cherries are in flower.

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