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

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Saturday, 31 January 2009

of computer problems and climatic anomalies

Well, again some technical problems forced me into a short break from posting on this blog. This time it was a virus on my computer. A pop-up claiming I needed to update my Google tool box turned up on my screen and couldn’t be clicked away. Alarm bells should have been ringing then, but foolishly I clicked ok, the only option that seemed to work and bang! there it was. I couldn’t access the internet for a bit. Our extremely helpful and friendly neighbour Marco came up with a solution though and everything is running smoothly again without any permanent damage. Thank Marco for that!

Talking about technical problems, my printer, a Canon Pixma IP 2000, was also playing up. A message told me that it’s ‘ink absorber’ was full and that I would have to take it to an authorised Canon service department. Marco did a quick internet search and also found a solution to this problem. All I had to do was press a few buttons in a specific sequence and, hey bingo, the printer works again. Is this some sort of scam by Canon to get their service departments some work? You take your machine to one, they tut and hah: “ooh, that’ll cost you mate…”, give it back to you the next day and charge you €30 for a 2 minute job. Sort of an inbuilt, pre-designed fault to make you spent some more money with their company? Sounds ridiculous to me.

Anyway, what else has been happening in the meantime I hear you ask. Well It has rained a lot. A hell of a lot! Shortly after the last post it started. Some villages along the rivers Magra and Vara were cut off from the outside world due to flooding. Below you see a photo of the Magra on one of the few days on which we had a break in the weather and judging by the rubbish stuck in the trees (which normally stand on dry land!) the river was up to about 2 ½ metres above it’s normal level.
This weather is being blamed by a wind called the Scirocco. It’s a south-westerly originating in the Sahara desert in Africa. Now you’d think a wind coming from the desert brings nice warm and dry weather to your shore, but unfortunately it crosses a fair bit of the Mediterranean on it’s way here, where it can pick up plenty of water. Once it arrives up here with us it meets up with a cold air sitting on top of the alps and northern Appenines and simply dumps half of the Mediterranean Sea over our heads.

And talking of climatic anomalies, our car appears to have developed it’s own micro-climate. Somewhere it has sprung a leak and with all that rain there are some serious puddles, if not to say ponds inside the car. This means, even when the sun is shining outside, it’s raining inside the car. It’s like a tropical rainforest. I need wipers more urgently for the insides of the windows than for the outsides! And with us transporting a lot of freshly cut wood in the car, we have introduced quite a varied wildlife to the car as well. In one of the ponds I believe the first signs of some primeval life form have started to evolve.

Enough of all that. Since about Wednesday the weather has finally improved again and the sun is back. We built a small poly tunnel as you can see above and will sow some early lettuces out in there this weekend. Today I sowed the first indoor seeds, namely various tomatoes, various peppers, aubergines, melons, cucumbers, chillies, basil, savoury, chervil, dill. And the best news of all, Mickey the kitten is finally over her period of being on heat and doesn’t miaow at us all night, nor do the toms outside.

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