We had a garden melt down in the first week. My small mower snapped the drive cable so push was just the option, fortunately after I'd completed the hilly bit, so managed to do the area under the washing line and where we park to car OK on leg muscle power only. Mikes big machine, not due to change the belts till next year, shredded the drive belt so wasn't going anywhere. We looked at how to change it and then phoned the man who came on the Saturday , and we've the belts in stock thanks to family buying them and getting them here as they're better quality and so much cheaper. Then the following day the strimmer a) ran out of string b) tore the string casing to shreds, so this all went on the list for shopping.

With the weather being very continental, warm and dry in the mornings, storms in the afternoon and evenings, we got trimming the back cypresses and tying them to look like the front ones sorted, sawing down 3 trees that are not leafed up = dead, and doing the windows and doors where the varnish had peeled off touched up and resealed. So didn't miss the grass cutting that much.

Our new family member arrived. Freddie, and took 2 weeks to settle into our routine and we hope Mach1 will resist chasing her up trees very soon. She loves a cuddle and that's nice as our two are very independent, only asking for attention when there's a storm or the food bowl needs topping up, actually they can be very affectionate but she's extremely affectionate most of the time.

Another kindness. Mike is interested in para-gliders and the like having spent many winter hours on the computer simulator and visiting Castiglione delle lago air-shows. We saw one landing along side the road when going to Magione so as we were returning to the radio amateur chap we thought to detour and locate the landing strip. Just as arrived the paraglider was getting airborne, we decided to wait as he would return in 30 mins or so. While waiting a fixed wing (ultralight) passed over and waved, shortly thereafter a man in a huge Range Rover arrived asking if we were lost, either the chap had phoned the owner or we'd triggered a security device. No said Mike we were hoping to speak to Giovanni who owned the strip, “My son was the reply, get in the car.” Have we been kidnapped? No he drove us across country to a very nice complex where his son and wife were catching up on the grass cutting, like us their mower had shed a belt so they were behind. Giovanni dropped everything (grass cutting has only so much appeal) to chat, explain his hobby – not para-gliders he built his own small 2 seater plane and his father has bought a used 2 seater ultralight but we needed to talk to a school as Mike had no experience above simulators. So he said “hop in I'll take you back to your car, then follow me to the school, Stephano there has agreed to wait to meet you.” 20 mins up and down a white track we met the teacher, 3 types of learner craft and a long list of what they do, how, why, coasts and legislation. Everyone was kind, courteous and probably think us crazy but they were so polite about it all. Armed with prices, leaflets, directions and contact details we left them to get back to their work. We drove on to catch up with the wonderful radio chap and his wife who took us in for coffee by Sant' Arc' Angelo and asked Mike to look at a couple of mics for him and source a swr meter for his equipment, which we printed out as he doesn't have a computer. He was clearly touched we'd remembered to get the information for the meter and gave Mike one of the mics as a thank you and said to return in 2 months to get some veggies from his garden. Lots to think about as it isn't a cheap hobby.

Max arrived to put in the drain and dig holes for the hibiscus that have out grown their pots. Bought yet another piece of equipment. Watching TV one day we saw advertised a cheap strimmer with string attachment, blade, hedge cutter, small chainsaw and extension arm for around 200 euros. Looking on the internet we discovered the same product for 160 euros and to keep what we've just paid to have hacked into order trim this seemed like the ideal product. Our first try was to trim the smaller cypresses round the back that looked shaggy compared to the neat job done done the driveway. The cisterna looks wonderful due to all the sunshine and rain.

While in CDL we popped into the vet to give her towels and blankets for the animal charity and to ask if she'd take the books and things collected to sell as the 4 so called volunteers have not responded to emails. It seems people like to be know to be associated with charitable deeds but when it comes to action they are no where to be found.

Went to Fabro to ask about booking to visit Parma and Modena in September, cheaper fares booked earlier and went on to see Tiziana who sold us the property back in 2006 to get her advice on when best to put it on the market taking the tax situation into account.

We are so please to have made the right decision not to try to stay in the holiday business, its a dreadful year for those who are trying to rent rooms. More than 50% of local B&B's, agritourismo's, country houses and the like have NO bookings at all. Several places are up for sale but with no turnover and masses of land to maintain. We are so fortunate, OK it cost to convert the paperwork but worth not having all the hassle, no guests and 10x the work load. Having said that we do feel for those who need the custom only to find the old communist countries are giving away B&B accommodation and they have sun, sea, sand, beer, vodka and sausages so perfect for the young & family market.

The “government” announced the implementation of the new IUC tax which incorporates IMU (rates), not charged on the 1st house unless its luxury but on land yes. Tasi, the council tax for lights, roads etc and Tarsi the rubbish tax charged at 80% of the square meterage plus city rates (2.5% for citta della pieve) and due on 16th June and 16th December. Whats odd is the comune are still saying the rubbish tax is due on the 16th August so we watch and wait.

No sign of Mr Sofia's chap to fix the road as yet but it isn't as bad as the road between us and Fabro, but they did turn up to look at the grass, which is now waist high. The lads continue to work at the church, odd crashes, grinding noises and thumps resound some mornings.

The weather continued to be “continental” with dry mornings with wet evenings followed by some sunnier days and thunderstorms causing continual grass cutting and weeding ready for photographs. We took the plunge and asked an estate agent their advice which was, try and see as you're not in a hurry it can't hurt.

A wonderful surprise, parents decided to fly into Perugia for a short visit. We had been disappointed that they wouldn't be able to come this year but by changing airports to Stansted, a long drive to London – or train journey which would have been our option) a short drive at this end as we can collect them and be home in an hour.