An interesting morning in the 1st week . It started when we went into town after shopping when we were hailed by the postman. He was ranting on about our gates and he'd left something to tell us he had a packet to sign for and his car was now being taken by the ACI lorry to be we signed and got the packet . When we got home all became much clearer. The idiot had driven over our stones that show up the step in the land to the car park level from the edge of our concrete driveway, the big one painted white had been dragged 6 feet and there was broken plastic all over. These stones have been in place for 8 years, he knows they're there and still he ran straight over it, not even reversed over it!

The surprise delivery had some beautiful shot cotton samples from David & Margaret as a new years pressy, a complete surprise and a delightful one, its almost too nice to use so I spent a long time choosing a perfect project to show the beauty of it. I decided to make a “Tiffany” inspired stained glass hanging with a central panel of a peacock and side panels of flower, to be done in a “quilt as you go” method so I’m not struggling to quilt it later. I had to photocopy the images I liked but then had to take them to the art shop to have them enlarged and proportioned so they fit my idea, which was then printed onto a single sheet so I can work from it using fusible and freezer paper methods. I suspect it will take a year ir more as the list of painting chores and things to do is ever growing.

Very chilly, snow up in town - just 1"- and flooding in Chiusi . We've got the usual suspects round for Sunday lunch, I'm using the "chicken chasseur cook in bag" as its wonderful, so we'd fires burning all through the night as Nello, Ann & Annie are very cold mortals, we didn’t get up to 20c they're used to as we live at just 17c so we advised 4 layers and a coat inside. Annie went off to Venice for the carnival on the 12th , then skiing in the Dolomites, home for a week then to the UK for 3 weeks. She’s here until the late autumn then.

We had received 2 vouchers from a super glue promotion for 2 to eat as 1 and the only local restaurant participating is located in CDP, so we went down to see if what they would exchange them for. The owner was delighted to see us, explained the vouchers could be used Monday to Thursday, lunch or dinner, Pizza or a full meal. Wine and the table charge are excluded, fair enough, so we booked for the 16th to celebrate a late Valentines. It was all right but they thought us visitors as when we ordered the table wine at 5 euros a half ltr they bought a 14 euro bottle instead, they apologised for the mix up but we do wonder….we have a second voucher so we’ll see if they try it again.

Annie gave us her ebook reader thing. She said she couldn't work it and yet we turned it on and found the books we'd loaded in  I scrolled through and picked "Tomato a fable" and its a story about Lucca and around Tuscany. Not in the style that's easy to read but a fun story.........good things do come in 3's.

PK's would is still weeping gently, he's eating a little better but he's just holding his own really, although there was a Sunday in the first week when we thought his kidneys had given up and so had he but on the Monday he rallied so we deferred the trip to the vets and got more antibiotics, 14 days this time but we were warned this was the last try. We bathed and anointed the 3 wounds as much as he’d let us and got 90% of the capsules down him by buying expensive cat food, we just hope he’ll eat normally later on. By the 22nd he was trying to walk on his leg but it was still sore,, but each day was an improvement and he was eating well and asking for cuddles again.

We went to town for their first ever mask parade on the afternoon of the 15th. It was for the junior school but parents and older siblings joined in. There was a swing band and the town band in the parade and at the market hall offerings of various carnival sweets and wine to try. For a first attempt it was well done we hope the local organisations, scouts, WI etc will get involved too as it was a fun, noisy and well supported.

The 3rd Sunday in the month we were invited to meet for lunch near Perugia and afternoon tea near Tavernelli, so we decided to make a full day of it and explore as we went, shopping and looking for a replacement steam cleaner in the large Chinese importers. The shopping was a series of dashing in and outs we got the weeks food, some items that weren’t on the weeks list but will be needed shortly or in the future and some gifts but no steam cleaners at a reasonable cost. We found 3 castles by accident on back roads with no signs, both now expensive hotels, and castle Gaiche on top of a mountainous, (almost vertical only just made it in 1st gear), zig-zag tarmaced road of 2km with views almost to the coast in both directions. We walked around what are now the private condominiums terraces and higher up there was a cemetery, now not used for burials understandably, we walked around the walls of the mausoleums to see the vistas and noted the access road is now a mountain bike trail. The weather was a pleasant 12c it threatened to rain several times with dark clouds, then it cleared each time we wanted to walk around.

We descended back to earth and took our cheese scones to tea with Francesca who provided the Italian portion of the meal. We had fun explaining scones can be savory or sweet like bread but they’re more cake like as they don’t use yeast. She introduced us to local breads and salami’s. A very pleasant interlude with her top cat Fuorie (crazy) trying to get his share when he wasn’t leaping on the kitchen units. Her other 3 cats sat demurely on the balcony ignoring the antics of their fellow companion. Cats are the same all over, out to embarrass you at every opportunity!

The weather improved so much so we hardly ran the heating and ate outside at the end of the month at home and out to lunch to say farewell to Melanie, who is relocating to the UK shortly. PK soaked up the sun and ate well so looked to be 100% on the road to recovery, at last after 2 near death days, and to cap it all the saffron crocus bulbs we planted 3 years ago bloomed for the first time after just producing green shoots for the last 3 years.