Well tomorrow is All Saints (whatever that actually means; is it the day for all the saints that don’t get a mention during the rest of the year?), and winter is definitively approaching. The clocks have gone back (don’t you hate it when that happens; I never know which way they go or what day, my tummy tells me to be hungry well before lunchtime, and it’s just disorientating) and the evenings are dark early now.
At the weekend the weather was still fine and we went to the chestnut sagra in Barbarasco again, this time with James who was over. Tuesday afternoon the clouds and wind started closing in though. By Wednesday the temperatures dropped significantly and we were enveloped in clouds and gale force winds swept through our village. I spent those 2 days servicing an old mountain bike of ours. The one I had been using is slowly starting to fall apart. It only cost me £50 10 years ago, so it did me quite well until now.
Yesterday a brief break in the rain was forecast, so I went to see Franco the bicycle man to sort a couple of things I could not do on my own, a bent chain and gear mechanism. He just got a big pair of pliers and bent everything into shape, straightened a buckle in the rear wheel, oiled the lot, pumped up the tyres and adjusted the gears. All in all just under half an hours work and he insisted on being paid with a cup of coffee. When I in turn insisted in putting a €5 note in his hand he rummaged through his pockets to give me €3 change. Well, can’t complain can I?
Susan in the meantime had started to walk to Arcola to our land and I met up with her half way there. On the land I was amazed to still pick a large bagful of green beans. This particular variety has done me extremely well! I think the seeds were a cheap bag from one of the discount stores. They are a dwarf variety that I planted so close together that weeds had practically no chance of getting through. They have been producing sweet, string-less beans since about July and there are still more to pick now. I have already dried a few of the beans, so that I can sow them out again next year. Don’t know what the variety is called, but they’ve been exceptionally successful.
We also still picked a few strawberries and a good bagful of windfall olives. It’s turning out to be a very good olive year this year, by general consent all over Italy. They are more plentiful and earlier than in previous years and are not too badly affected by maggots. We’ll wait for a drier day to pick them in the next week or 2. While we were still on the land the rain returned and we still had to make the long way home exposed to the elements.
During the night we had some serious storms and today it’s been bucketing down most of the day. So today, for the first time we have lit a fire in the kitchen, more as an antidote against the doom and gloom outside and to roast some chestnuts, rather than against the actual cold.