Last month was going to be hard to follow but we hoped for a slightly gentler lead into the annual works. Our first job was to catch up with the grass that had begun its late growth, hopefully the last cut of the year.

Friends decided to go back to the UK early and suggested we meet in a Pizzeria we'd not tried before, hidden behind a petrol station and another restaurant with a vast windmill outside. We were surprised to discover it was a night club painted raspberry pink and black, very dim lighting, that the pizzas mid week started at just 4 euros each and they offered 10 different New York burgers (inc chips/onion rings and pint larger , or glass of wine for 13 euros ) and a grill specials. The only draw back was they didn't have a house wine and bottles started at 10 euros each.

Mach1 decided one morning he was fed up with his tinned food and he kept, dancing and muttering, getting underfoot constantly, until annoyed we shooed him the door, where upon we disturbed the biggest cock pheasant we've ever seen. Normally the size of a chicken this one looked more like a small turkey, he swooped across our car-park into the undergrowth, the sound of distant guns echoing across the valley. Mach1 decided as beef was boring perhaps this would do? He was most put out when we refused to follow up the idea so he trudged down the drive in a sulk to see if he could get the bird, he failed but returned later to tell us venison was on offer. Looking into the olive orchard there were 5 deer, 2 bucks sorting out the hierarchy, the does eating our foliage. Mach1 missed out on that meal too as we let them be.

The angels trumpet plant we gathered from the MOT station threw itself into flowering, we hope it over winters, and pruning was begun, first the soft fruit trees, plumbs x 3, apricot, 2 x nectarines , 2 vines & raspberry, we also sprayed for the moth that causes leaf curl, hopefully we're in time this year. We moved on to the olive grove, we've no olives so got on with de-sprouting and removing upward growths on the 6 accessible trees. Moving on to the 3 apples and 1 surviving pear tree. While in the lower level Mike also painted varnish on the top most sections of the gazebo which seemed to have bleached over the last year.

We were just sitting out eating lunch looking at the pool, which was closed last week with the huge cover tied and weighted all round, when we saw what looked like a huge air bubble lift up one edge and run around the pool, as if there was a dolphin in the water trying to get out. We ran to the pool and could hear a water rushing noise but as we got there the bubble subsided. Naturally fearing something was trapped, we undid the corner nearest to where the bubble had sunk but couldn't see anything in the water. Very odd, so we've emailed the lads to see what they think it was but we conclude it might have been a small “dust-devil” without the duct, sucking up the top rather than something lurking underneath Hunters came out in force, although well regulated the boar hunting will stop in January and all other on 15th March, Tuesdays and Fridays no shooting at all. PK arrived limping on a hind paw and we assumed he'd been hit by stray shot, but we think now he'd been in a fight with the stray from the stables and been bitten. Its hard to tell as he wouldn't let us look but he was on 4 feet within days and the swelling much reduced, so not an abscess. Then he had a second fight in the woodpile and it seems he fell, or was he pushed as several logs were displaced and he returned lame in the front leg. Not broken but badly bruised. Poor PK had a bad month.

We pruned the hard fruit garden in the second week and had a single handful of fruit over 5 of the trees we have decided to maintain creating 2 large bonfire piles that we'll burn in January.

Took 2 attempts to get the council Tasi charges sorted out at the accountant while getting conflicting information from all and sundry and the council website being less than helpful. In the end it turned out we had to pay 554 per annum, half now and the rest in December when the comune could add a top up amount if needed. Marilyn said that we were lucky as she and others had to also pay part or all of the IMU charge regardless of property type or it being a 1st home. A week later at the hospital while getting a bi-annual mammogram we picked up a leaflet stating how the various taxes are calculated and a link to the website that would do it for you.

Ann called in distress, she'd had to put her dog of 16 years to sleep and couldn't get her out of the car, so we went to help. That night there was a fantastic lightening show, all in the sky, no rain or thunder but at 4am the following day it came in and continued all day, bouncing the electric on and off. Ann then said she had to put the cat she's been looking after to sleep at 24 years old, blind & deaf but happy until a stroke which further disabled her so there was no choice. Having had such a dreadful week she went to stay with a friend in Rome to recuperate over the weekend. Having said that the weather was amazing 28+ during the day and 15-18c at night.

Our neighbours man of works arrived to ask if we'd help repair the road and pay to fill in the huge ruts that the rains over the year had caused, what could we say but yes. We were a bit put out that Mr Levie hadn't asked himself but with Niccola going back and forth each day to feed the dogs perhaps they thought he had a better chance to catch up with us. It cost 90 each and 2 hours work with 4 of us having a go. Mr Sofia arrived and said he didn't think the bank would fall again and his JCB was too big to dig out the ditch also he's got Parkinsons so he can't operate it anymore, so we gave it a go, but he did say he would do the road around April next year.

At Brian's birthday lunch with Ann, Jean & Nello, Nicki (daughter) and her sons Theo 4 & Henry 2 had a surprise for us as they asked us to join them for Xmas lunch. We said we'd love to if we could help by bringing something towards the meal, nibbles, a veg course, vegetarian option what ever would help.

Mike doing his virtual flying emailed a site regarding some of the software and got a reply from he Netherlands owner saying he and his wife had recently bought a property near Perugia and wanted to re-start flying for real when they move here permanently. Mike responded by saying he was withing 2 flying schools and gave lots more information. Then Francois said we must meet up while they are here at the month end, except the 26th as we're going to Brian's birthday we responded, and he said that was why they were here for his birthday on the same day too.

We found that a small bar between Magione and Perigia is about half way for both of us and situated opposite Eurospin, easy to find to meet up. We went to price new table bases for the 2 tables about to collapse due to rust, the tops still sound and worth keeping, then met Francois and Nina for a snack before taking them to Corciano to meet Stefano at the flying school., shopped on the way home.Saw this very fine property in Perugia. What a shame about the blocks of flats behind and the busy road at the front.

The last week of the month brought a shock of low temperatures, 3 nights down to 4c but feeling closer to 1c at night, so lemons & some geranium plants were rescued, pots turned over and the kitchen stuffi and lounge fire lit to stop the house cooling too fast , then it all changed and warmed up again for Halloween.

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