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

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Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Paradise Found

The search is over! After centuries of humanity’s search we have at last found the location of the fabled Garden Eden as described in the Book of Genesis and depicted in numerous works of art. Columbus thought it was in South America, others sought to bring paradise back to earth by either converting the rest of the world to their holy faith or, failing this, just slaying them. But it’s already here above the small town of Arcola near La Spezia, Liguria, Italy. It’s just like it’s been described, you reach up or down and you find something to eat. The snake seems to have moved out, but fig leaves are still available as items of clothing. Most other animals seem to get on with each other too, except me and the mosquitoes and the neighbour’s cats with each other. Incidentally there is an excellent book on the subject “Paradise – A History of the Idea that Rules the World” by Kevin Rushby. He follows the history of the paradise myth back from the Greeks (Pythagoras), the Persians through to Columbus, the pilgrim fathers of America to modern paradise seekers, like ourselves, looking for their own piece of heaven in foreign lands. The book is a really good read and comes highly recommended.

Sorry about the long gap between postings again. We’ve been busy keeping our little paradise tidy and well watered. It has rewarded us with plenty of produce. Apricots, apples and since today hazelnuts are all ready. Of course there are still plenty tomatoes and other veg, which is just as well as we are pretty much skinned at the moment and would be reduced to begging if it wasn’t for our own food. We’ve been busy preserving too, blackberry and apple jam, ginger and pear sauce (great with pork), green beans in brine with herbs, roast tomato sauce, dried beans, celery in brine (just an experiment, see how that turns out), mixed fruit salad in syrup.

The weather has continued to be warm to hot and dry with the exception of the main national holiday of Ferragosto, when normally virtually the entire population of Italy heads for the beach. This year they were a bit stranded, or un-stranded as the case may be, as it was unsettled, windy and showery all day.

Last week was our sagra at Ponzano Superiore, the Sagra della Scherpada, our local version of a covered vegetable pie. As usual it was extremely busy on all 4 days, although we only we went the one day, Saturday. Over the period of these celebration the population of our village swells from some 300 to some 3000 and the volunteers cooking and serving really have their hands full. On Sunday we saw our neighbour Mauro playing with his band Tandarandan again. They performed at the Ethnological Museum of the Lunigiana at Villafranca. That way we had a chance see the contents of the museum too and were amazed to see many agricultural exhibits and tools that looked exactly like things we still use now. I knew some of our tools are a bit old, but I didn’t thinks they were museum exhibits yet.

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