It rained and it blew but we only got the edge of what America and the UK got hit with. The fields around the roads all flooded but the newly topped dykes held. Our land became saturated and the bank under the garage washed out 2 brick supports. Fortunately although we had rain we also got lots of sunny days too, it seemed to run 3 days of wet followed by 3-14 days of sun, and still very mild.

We celebrated Valentines day with 2 other couples with a lunch and decorated the table with as much citch stuff as we could find, glass hearts, heart glitter, chocolate hearts, heart folded napkins and we even made tissue roses as we'd not located any fresh at a price we were prepared to pay. Everyone dress in either red and or white and had a background cd playing old love songs. It was a fun day and we'd enjoyed putting it all together, there were even heart shaped biscuits with pink sugar and the carrot soup had a beetroot heart in the center.

The weather was incredible, bright sunny, blustery from time to time but spring like with birds, butterflies and bees emerging, even a few lizards. The garden chores called, not really keen but the weather is perfect so we must get moving again, before things collapse, disintegrate or fall down but we need to move a toad. We lifted a metal sheet by the shed, as we need to fix things either side and under, to discover a huge sleeping toad, it wasn't happy we'd woken it up. We told it (really we did) that things were going to happen all around it and gave it 24hrs notice to move under the shed or I have to relocate (evict) it - do you bury it in deep mulch or just shove it under the shed and assume it will take care of itself? Its odd this by hand or trowel has no issues for me but the spider Mike had to collect and remove from the bedroom had me in a cold and hot sweat and it took me an hour to recover and it was on the opposite wall! The following day it has moved on so toad house construction was on hold.

So we had to empty the garage and place the contents under the wood store , now almost empty as we'd used most of the wood, rebuild the support, fix the fence behind and aside before sorting the contents and refilling the garage again. Why despite throwing things out, like dried up tins of paint, why did it not go back in? Naturally as we were underway with this project the old and “temporary stuffie wood store” built 8 years ago listed like the tower of Pisa so we decided to relocate the contents early to the other side (over the toad's old location) but 1st we had to build a new fence and reinforce the shed sides at the same time and brick the ground to the shed level to form a dryish floor by dismantling the old cold frames. It had been planned to do in June but fate has a way of giving a shove, perhaps there's a good reason we'll know about in this space. While all this was happening look what we found amidst the flower pots eating slugs. We think it was a long toed salamander, poor thing was so surprised so knowing his home was to be removed we relocated it under the shed in the cool and dark. The rebuilding went faster than anticipated but the aches and pains proved we were out of condition. Still the mild conditions were a pleasure to work in and the nightly baths soothed the aching bits, a pity we don't shrink in the wet as all this extra work gave us appetites like lions, the diet suffered yet again.

The carnival season began the weekend of the 6th and we promised ourselves if we could get a dry weekend we'd go to Foligno as we'd thought to go the year we got snowed in and then last year each weekend was a wash out. This particular town run the event every weekend in Feb to the 2nd weekend in March to ensure they cover the costs of making the 3 enormous articulated floats they're famous for, along with traditional floats, school and club bands and Mardi-gras type procession with confetti cannons and fireworks in the evening. The crowds were 10 deep so the photos of the big floats are few and not too good but there will be better ones on the town web-site and a film later in the year so you can see the horses feet pounding the air, the ogre reaching out for the centures, the green lady opening her arms, the little fat elephant driver bounce and the elephant trunk and legs raise up and down.

Seeing these vast things compress down, arms and legs pull in so the make the corner and don't rip down the over head cables, while inching between the buildings is a sight to behold and why no-one got squashed we'll never know.

A fun afternoon, not too chilly and on the way back we discovered a liquidation store with some huge Ali-Baba pots that must be over 4' high and 2' round very cheap, the cost of transport would be more but they have car sized pots we can afford too so another day out in the future. The government collapsed again but not before it had thrown a spanner in the works with a new tax on world wide owned assets with so many if's and buts no one was sure who, if anyone it applied to. It was announced on the 16th , referred to the 1st and wouldn't be implemented until June with 15 September 2015 as a “do before date”. The bank, accountant, tax advisor and investment advisor all got emails asking for advise and the emails flying around the ex-pats community made the internet connection locally stutter almost to a standstill. Then the news came that the process had been canceled until July, by when we hope they will have refined the matter as it was supposed to catch Italians selling or renting property abroad and bringing the money home, not to catch ex-pats and pensions being transferred.

With the mild conditions the herbage took advantage to bolt skywards so we had to start strimming before fence fixing and planting onto the ground could start. Grass cutting is at least a month earlier this year.

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