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

To book an informative and fun wine tasting whilst holidaying in Italy or arrange for a wild food walk in your area contact me on tuscanytipple at libero dot it or check out my Facebook page

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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

I'm back...

This is not so much a gardening post, but an update on what's been happening to us.  Good god, has it really been over a month since my last post?  Thank you for all your enquiries about our well-being, we're still here, although our lives certainly haven't been boring.

The reason for my silence?  Well it was a tale of broken friendships, betrayal and sex and you really don't want to know about it...  Well I'm not going to tell you about it anyway, even if you do.  The consequences: Conspiracy Cousin is back in the Netherlands for the time being, but has threatened to return soon, we went on a holiday to clear our heads and another lesson learned about humanity.

Well this holiday turned out to be particularly eventful.  we went to see our very good pilgrim friends (you may remember them from the visit they paid us with their horse and dog last year) in Arles in the Provence.  Just 5 km into the journey we smashed the car against the wall.

It was very spectacular, with airbags inflating and all.  Luckily non of us was hurt and the car only had some minor damage.  So on we went to France to relax a few days with friends.  Eddie re-aquainted himself with his old friend from last year and the 2 dogs got on like a house on fire.  So when one day we went to see some vineyards in the region we felt it was safe to leave the 2 dogs in the house.  Unfortunately Eddie felt he had to live up to his name of Eddie, the B(eagle), named after the famous yet inept Britsh ski jumping legend, and jumped out of this fist floor window:

and got himself lost amongst the many lanes and alleyways of the city.  It took a few hours of wandering around and quizzing the neighbours until we finally located him, as he had been taken in (kidnapped) by a family and held for ransom.

At the end of the week we finally limped home on a flat tyre.  We had two very nice Norwegian helpXers house sitting in the meantime and looking after Mickey the cat and watering our land.

What else have been up to?  We went grape picking for some friends:

...and I'm finally seriously working on a book: edible and medicinal herbs along the pilgrim routes of Europe.  That'll keep me busy over the long winter evenings.

and in the garden?  Although the temperatures are still pleasant, autumn is definitely in the air.  We've had the first bits of rain after months of drought conditions and evenings are getting cooler.  Generally yields this year were lower than usual as expected due to the loss of topsoil during last winter's landlsides.  Weather conditions were almost perfect this year though, hadn't it been for that hailstorm, which destroyed much of our fruit crop.

Amongst the successes were litchi tomatoes, or rather as I prefer to call them by their less confusing scientific name (as they don't have much to do with tomatoes and nothing with litchies), vicious bastards.

It was Mr. H.'s sick sense of humour to send me some seeds of these.  Yes, they do grow really easily, are drought and disease resistant and very decorative.  But man! those things have some mean spikes on them!  And now that I have a whole lot of these fruits, what do I do with them, having got bleeding fingers from picking them?  They taste ok, a bit cherriesh, a bit tomatoish..., but I miss a bit of acidity in those things.  They are fine as an addition to a salad that involves real tomatoes.  So what else can you do with them?

Anyway, enough of this.  A second crop of green beans is coming along very nicely.  The first crop succumbed to disease and were finished off by the hail, but this lot's long healthy and is delicious.

Watering is no longer needed as seem to have enough dew at night to keep the soil sufficiently moist.  I'll try not to make the next gap between posts so long.

Oh and we had a little concert in our house as part of the annual poetry competition: