April Showers 2012
Not so much showers as deluge with sound effects. The down pour started at around four in the afternoon and finished around 10 pm. We ought to have know something was on its way as both cats were in and demanding laps before the rain arrived. We must have had at least 12” as the plant pots were full and overflowing and the driveway to the gates from our house washed away again. Fortunately friends had just returned from the UK with our replacement wheelbarrow wheels.
We kept having to replace the inner tubes as the acacia thorns went right through the tyres. We were advised to either have the tyre filled with a silicone foam or to replace the phenumatics with solid tyres. We duly went along to the specialist who told us either option would be in the 40 euro range and that included discount. Bemoaning our woes to a friend he said he could get some via the Internet and drop them in the next time he was driving between Italy and the UK. He saved us huge expense as he not only got us the 2 solid wheels but snow chains for £35 the lot ! It may seem very penny pinching but with unexpected running costs happening all the time, new pergola roof, the new rates charges, extra taxes and so on every penny does have to count.
Easter was early with the daffodils and jacaranda in bloom together. Who would think chocolate was a luxury item with the size and quantity of eggs available, most with presents inside not more chocolates. Easter cards are still unknown in this part of the world so we sent e-cards out to family and friends.
The first week was still fine and the pots needed a watering and so do the gooseberries. Armed with watering cans I was almost done when something cold and clammy grasped my thumb. I dropped the can and was about to leap 40 feet upwards when I caught sight of a small bright green frog hanging on to my thumb for grim death. Getting my heart and breathing back to normal I watered the jasmine by the BBQ and popped the amphibian into the pot for safety and for my peace of mind. Naturally the weather broke and the temperatures plunged by 12 degrees sending night time figures into the minus area again. It felt more like November, except November had actually been warmer and sunnier.
One wet afternoon we decided to drop into the local Same dealership as they’d said we should attend their 50th anniversary that was being celebrated with demonstrations of equipment and light refreshments. The equipment ranged from garden strimmers to the biggest combine harvester we’d ever been close to. We were informed they do come a lot bigger but the fields and road accesses locally didn’t warrant them. The entire three generations of family were there, showing items, chatting with friends and offering platters of rolls, bruscetta, cakes, things to drink and try. We lost ourselves for a good couple of hours and left with accordion music ringing in our ears. They do know how to put on a show here.
The third weekend we attended the annual air show where private companies sell small light aircraft, parts, clothing etc. and demo their products. No we’re not in the market for a plane, helicopter or microlight but it is an interesting event. This year they had a fly past by two military biplanes, probably early trainers for the airforce, and a pair of stunt planes that did the most incredible vertical acceleration and death deifying spins, loops and stalls.
The two things caught our attention this year. The first was a Strike-T microglider that was powered by a lithum battery that gave a flight time of 20mins to over an hour, depending on the battery size. www.veleriadedalo.com Naturally it is a glider so a short battery time isn’t an issue and its an option when you consider the price of petrol these days. The second was a plane that was almost just an aluminium frame and canvas wings. Very light but very strong, aviation aluminium is phenomenally strong and a higher grade than the type used in greenhouses. The downside is that it starts at around £10k. www.aviad.it . The helicopters can in all shapes and sizes too, some shaped like bubbles on skis others looked like sharks with folding wheels. The smallest began at £134,000 and they use 30ltrs of fuel an hour to cover 70km, not an viable transport option except for those in a big hurry where money is no object. We asked who bough these and the reply was “people who haven’t room for a runway, these take less space”. Recession, what recession?!
The following weekend was the “colour the skies” event. This is where kite enthusiasts bring their collection of wind powered kites, banners, balloons and other rotating items along for others to enjoy. Naturally there are a few market stall holders who sell kites, Frisbees, wind-powered sail-skateboards but its really for hobbyists to show off their stuff. We were astonished to meet exhibitors from Venice, Berlin, Terni , Zurich and other Europeans, all proud to show off their skills, home made kites, the latest designs as well as antiques. It is also the weekend before may day and the tourist board promote Lake Trasimeno for people to walk, bike or ride around it either on their own or in groups with experts pointing out the fauna and flora as they do the rounds. A small area was set aside for inflatable fun for the young at heart , air tunnels, air castle and tumbling balls you squeezed into and rolled around the area, like a hamster exerciser on a carpet, for the more energetic.
April was suddenly gone and with the spring showers, swifts, lizards, butterflies, hoopoe, cuckoo and blossom, May was here.
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Michael & Peggy Hunt moved from Pembrokeshire to Italy two years ago. They now live on the Tuscan / Umbrian border in Locanda Delle Rose among 300 olive trees, enquiring neighbours and over-familiar wildlife. "Oddly, it is not so different from Pembrokeshire at all, " they say. "We have felt at home from the very beginning. "