Monday, 27 January 2014

A Parcel From England…….

Barking dogs alerted me to the arrival of the post lady today, whilst I was busy in the kitchen preparing lunch.
That woman starts tooting before she even pulls into the drive, and continues to toot as I pull on my old boots trying to get out of the door…..desperate not to hear the sound of another ruddy toot.
 Almost falling over my untied laces, I lunge for the door handle…….why won't she ever get out of that van run some fresh air through her lungs?!
I wear a big smile take the parcel, sign for it barely looking up and bid her a buoyant "buongiorno"!
Turning on my heel in the direction of the door, firmly closing it behind me without looking back, relieved to get away from her!
I had such a to do with her when we moved in …. …she tried every possible excuse not to drive up here….we had to have a post box down on the main road…..we had to have a number on the house,(even though we are the only house in the woods and the Italian posties and everyone else all know where  everyone lives).
She was frightened of the little poodle…Charlie hasn't a bad bone in his little curly haired body…teeth are for eating with he thinks………..pity!
A tale of the van suffering a knock along the track….anything not to deliver….in fact I once took in mail she had been sitting on, (probably quite literally!), for several months!
All the other ladies are soooo lovely, why couldn't we have the one who always blows kisses to me?!

As I tore at the padded envelope, dated the 10th January all bad thoughts about Madam Postie went out of my head.
I gently held the contents in my hands, tears in my eyes for the parcel was from one of my lovely daughters, Lauren sent for my recent birthday.
Two beautiful, hand knitted face cloths by her fair hands…with hand written brown labels…."Hand knitted Fairtrade organic 100% cotton," the other, "94% cotton and 6% silk".
Knitted with loVe by my sweet darling daughter….tied with ivory ribbon, in a bow.
In addition she had trawled the junk shops to find treasure she knew I would love…..that came in the form of a little vintage folder containing four old black and white/sepia photographs.
The first a delightful carnival float with a group of young girls, " The Belles of St. Mary's" depicting a piano, sheets of music and those bell shaped paper lanterns swinging above their heads!
The second was a photograph of a couple on a beach, she with a big straw hat across her face, pic-nic bag, newspaper and towels ….. at the top of the photograph a line of beautiful old cars parked!
The third was taken at The Rialto Bridge in Venice… with May/Aug.'60  on the back.
But my very favourite, is the one taken looking down into a garden, of a delightful little greenhouse surrounded by tall flowers and canes for beans, trees, a tall galvanised dustbin, hedges and two stripy deck chairs facing each other on the pathway.
I can just make out a lady lazing back in one……she must have been full of contentment sitting there, I am going to get this one enlarged…reminds me of the potting shed here with the raised beds surrounding it and the intense happiness I feel whilst at play amongst the vegetables!
And as if those well thought/searched for photographs and face cloths weren't enough……Lauren had also enclosed a copy of "Mrs. Dalloway," by Virginia Woolf with the most lovely, colourful cover…..I have always been so fascinated with the Bloomsbury Set!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart my darling, the most wonderful thoughtful gift.XXX

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Beckoning Light…….

25th January 2014

I awoke with the sun kissing my cheek this morning.
The beginning of a beautiful day.
Pulling on whatever I could lay my hands on, I hurridly
 made a hot fresh lemon determined to make the best of such glory.

I let the hens out to wander freely…….love to hear them clucking and watch them scratching around for grubs and any other tasty morsels……..and off I went for a walk through the woods.

Amazing what you see if you allow your eyes to wander freely at every level!

Ah…... there are my favourite Olive Trees……dancing in rays of sunlight!

Leaves sparkling..roots running through gentle mounds they perch upon terraces in the valley……such beautiful trees.  

Mountains partially screened by spindly trees, command my attention, I can never ignore such powerful splendour…..… I continue walking along the woodland path…..
A sudden blast from the sun draws my attention like a flash light, it highlights a smattering of  bronze leaves...

I momentarily  stop to say a prayer…….. 

Across the other side…..snow capped mountains peep above layers of hills and trees, embellished with colours associated with the time of year.

Light and colour greet me in my tracks…..

A tree lined hilltop interspersed with typical old stone Tuscan buildings…..  

Lush green moss stretches, rejoicing towards the light.

Smooth satin like chestnuts huddle within their prickly casing.

I return to find our cats languishing in the warmth of the sun!

Wahoo! I hope the sun is shining with you!

Friday, 10 January 2014

An Apology…...

If you are sitting somewhere in the world, (in one of the many countries I see listed in my statistics), reading this, then………... thank you!
I owe you an apology, I feel I have neglected you.
This posting has been a long time coming, the last, half written was holding me back I fear.
With such an interlude encompassing another season it made it so difficult deciding what should be noted and what should be omitted…so much has happened and I found other things pressing.
I promise you it won't happen again!

Life here, up a mountain in northern Tuscany continues to fill me with a deeper satisfaction than I have

ever experienced. Living this simple life replenishes my soul.

Whilst helping my neighbours pick olives recently, I found my head became full of thoughts concerning the important task at hand.
How important to collect all the fallen olives, for this was food, soon to become Olive Oil….. so intrinsically beneficial for our health.
Regular intake reduces the risk of heart disease, decreases blood pressure and helps to prevent certain cancers, acts as an anti-inflammatory amongst many other things……it's good stuff!

So lovely working in the fresh cool air with the banter and laughter exchanging between us. 
A man from the next village also helped, working up the ladder pruning as Laura and I picked and Luciano rattled his stick amongst the branches encouraging the olives to tumble.
Every so often, the man up the ladder  burst into song made us all smile.

Before I go……..looking back briefly over last year, I felt the most inspiring story I would like to share with you was that of Antoine, the lovely young Frenchman who arrived on his bicycle from Rome!
For those of you who don't already know the story.......Antoine was sleeping down by the church at the end of our lane when Genevieve, one of our lovely HelpX guests came across him.........our dogs disturbed Antoine so Genevieve invited him to meet us. I had just cleared a small table under the Wisteria ready to settle into some writing when I became aware of a bicycle being pushed into view and voices!
Offering Antoine coffee and refreshments we sat together exchanging stories about how we came to be at this place............he had recently had a holiday in Rome with his parents when he decided to return, buy a bicycle and ride back to France!
I was incredibly impressed that this bright young man should have the vision to set out on such a venture.
He cycled in the direction his fancy took him.......such a wonderful sense of freedom!
Rome is five hours from us, it took Antoine five days!

Soon after a funny coincidence occurred when I made an entry on my page (and do have a peep!).
Someone else had also met Antoine when he walked into a book shop in a town about half an hour from us a day earlier.
A lady who engaged in conversation as impressed as I, offered that he could stay with her and her husband over night!
Juliet wrote to me, we were not friends at the time, she had read my page entry.  
Another interesting liaison of which I am sure there will be more to discover very soon!

HaPPy New Year Everyone……..may it bring good health and much laughter……oh and a more open mind to embrace whatever next! X