Water works - September 2013

The first Sunday in the month and lots on to do and see, we opted to visit Pienza and watch the cheese rolling. In the center of the piazza a skittle is sited amid concentric circles that are formed as part of the cobble paving. Each team have a try at rolling a pecorino cheese closest to the pin, bearing in mind  the cheese has sloping edges and depending on seasoning (min 16 months for this) weight  density and  skill all play a part. This is also the start of the hunting season and they were out in force from dawn to dusk, rifles, shot guns and dogs, but fortunately for the rest of the month there was just the odd afternoon of disturbed peace .

Well the worry about what would happen next especially when we had friends staying, happened the day we had thought to go exploring. Mike thought he could hear water running and on checking the meter declared it was whizzing round so something somewhere was on. The pool, the loos, and on the way to investigate the washing machine I found water slowing creeping across the floor in the back hallway. Panic stations erupted when the door to the boiler room was opened to a cascade of water pouring over the top of the header tank. Could we locate an off leaver? Mike dashed through the house to the mains only it didn't turn that room or our bathroom off just the rest of the house, a fine time to discover this. Calling Max, who installed the system he was told the overflow or ball cock had stuck and there was a leaver in the room somewhere. Pat and I were, by this time, following each pipe that thrummed with water passing through it until we found the leaver tucked away behind the huge storage tank under 2 pipes. So now we know! Ladders and mops later we found the ball had fallen off the leaver arm of the tank filler, there is now a plastic one that wont rot off.
Just 2 days later and our loo stopped flushing, the ladder was still to hand and Mike found a split pin had sheared and the mechanism had popped over the top of the flushing spindle. It was quickly fixed thankfully.

We enjoyed a trip to the crystal museum at Colle val d' Else, tiny town perched on an outcrop of rock but very representative of the lead glass industry over the centuries.  The remaining factories in the area that have moved out of the town into the surrounding countryside although some remains, like the tall brick chimneys, can be found on the edge of the main street being supported by a rope to the road metal barrier as work starts reclaiming the old grounds for new development. The factories do pressed, molded and cut crystal in both traditional and modern styles  supplying 89% of all the crystal exported from Italy. The museum was modern and well laid out and hidden behind the older central plaza,, and worth a look around all be it pocket sized. The town was spotlessly clean with lots of places to eat. We called into one of the factories and explored their outlet shop, tours have to be pre-booked well in advance.

On the second Sunday we visited Cannara to see the onion festival. It started at 6am with dogs looking for the vegetables over a course and a tour of the town by the motorbike association of Italy, we missed both arriving at about 10.30am followed by a huge gathering along side the river. Amazing bikes, Harleys, Ralighjes, Triumph, Vespa, Motorgussi and many we'd never heard of before. There were stalls with products, shops decorated with them and there were 5 specialty tents with onion based menus, many courses and very reasonable but only for the evening. Located on the plains opposite Assisi it was an interesting place to visit, the people were charming and very friendly and easy to reach.

The 15th and we went to Castglione del lago air show, it was by pure chance we saw a poster for it while shopping, it was supposed to start at 2pm. We arrived amid lots of others who were having a picnic along the shore, buying food from the stalls, or shopping at the various stands. 3.30pm and the first of the fly-bys happened, a small Cessna type plane that loop the looped and spirals just off shore. This was followed by an assortment of others that did similar things but our clear favorites were the trick by-plane that was piloted by a true artist, the two powered gliders that made flying look so serene, graceful and effortless despite flying a hand span apart through out the display and the Italian version of the Red-arrows, 10 jets in perfect formation screaming over head to divide and re-pass from opposite directions and the final where they streamed the colour of the national flag. Astounding and all completely free. Getting home took the long route around as the police diverted traffic to ease the congestion as it seemed everyone and their dog from 100km had been there.

The event braced us for the start of the autumn pruning, fruit trees, vine -that had reached the upstairs kitchen, budlias and roses that all had doubled or trebled their growth in a season. Mowing, varnishing, teak oiling and sorting out the furniture for the winter, getting to the walnuts before the squirrels. Closing the pool too, which always makes us think winter is on its way, although this year the trees are still green and not autumnal at all, and the last 2 days of the month we had a terrific thunder storm that lasted 16 hours, on and off, ending the month on another damp note.