We had tiny daffodils in window boxes for St.Davids day, spring like for the first few days so transplanted some violets, which have spread well on the banks under the trees, then a Siberian blast dropped the temperatures and wet days for the 2nd week but it did pick up again to be truly spring like.

Annie visited the UK for 3 weeks and collected the ring I’d lost 2 stones from a friend who’s a retired jeweler after a chap here loosened the setting when enlarging it several years ago for me, very reasonably but it is going to have to be kept for special occasions as the gold is now rather thin. Melanie relocated to the UK on the 13th without mishap after a lot of stops and starts to the sale of the property but it all came together just at the last second. She’s bought a brand new house in a small country town with a tiny courtyard garden, a total change from the country house with olive groves, pool and a 4x4 car.

Spring chores begun with knocking the blown plaster off the wall by front door and boiler room door to dry out, later the external wall will be sprayed with Ronseal water resistant treatment to try to stop the condensation issues on the internal North walls where mold had appeared. Sorted out the utility and dispencia as things tend to get dumped and stacked so they needed a good going through, they also with damp issues. Externally we brushed off the rust and treated the gates prior to painting, touched up the terra-cotta colour on the cement and the garden chores were begun, weeding, picking seeds and sorting the dead pots and those for re-potting, surprisingly a lot over wintered, topping up compost and rose pruning. When we thought to put the shoe rack back we needed to move the telecom socket and while undoing it the screw snapped!

Then it was to test and relocate the generator, the fuel on/off switch snapped - its becoming a theme - spanners, pliers, WD40 later it was turned (never to be shut off again) and the generator works fine. Mike then decided to move the phone charger, and when reconnecting into the multi-way socket the pins for the cell phone have snapped off inside, so we can't charge our phone as it doesn't use USB technology, this makes the 3 breakage’s for one day. Some time later all was in place again but it took a lot longer to put all the tools away as it seemed we had used every one we own.

Decided what to do for the next sewing project, an art nouveau window in appliqué using quilt as you go sections to overcome the difficulty in getting large bits through the sewing machine as hand sewing is not an option unless its very small sections these days. The pictures, to use as a guide, were found in a glass window makers templates and tiffany window cards but as they were all different sizes and shapes it wasn’t possible to up-size and reshape to the door size I needed so we took it to a local graphics are studio and they did all the difficult bits on their computer and printed it on to a long length of paper. They asked to see a previous work so we took in the Japanese lady and photos of the dragon hanging.

Our spring cleaning started and was a bit 2 steps forwards, 1 sideways and 3 backwards..........The fan motor on Bertha seized up, fortunately spring arrived so it was OK without the central heating but we missed the nightly baths as the shower just isn’t the same, Mike took it out and we discovered its Czechoslovakian but they don’t deal with the public! We found 2 suppliers in Belgium & Germany, so emails duly sent Belgium replied the cost is about 220 euros plus delivery and plus tax too and the German wouldn’t ship to Italy. We eventually located a replacement in POLAND for 136.00 delivered. Still the boiler room is immaculate as he gave it a real going over to get rid of the ash and dust.

I decided to re-pot a lemon tree into the plastic pot the lace tree was in as it died last year, that went well then thought I'd check the cushions in the plastic boxes outside. The one from Lidls no problems a few snails and spiders and a touch musty and a little damp but the one bought from Eurospin had an inch of water in the bottom and most of the cushions were mildewed and soggy. ughk!! So the remaining hot water from the tank cleaned out the box and then we filled the wood bins to soak everything in oxyclean and washing powder over night, although it won't get rid of the mildew stains it made me feel better, and then lemon juice and sunlight to kill the mildew off properly. I was trimming the geraniums and topping up the window boxes, amazingly they've survived the winter which means it must have been quite mild so why did we use so much wood - thin blood?

Diet started slowly, lots of salads but defrosting foods from the freezer and eating sausage rolls, pies, tarts etc, so not lost very much except will power.

Mach1 hunting lizards, butterflies and all that moves. Pk soaking up the ambiance and watching the antics of the finches and eagles & the cuckoo started on the 14th of the month, very early this year.

Managed to book the train trip to Naples at the end of June on the 17th with the travel agent as Trenitalia altered the website 2x in 3 weeks. We could see just one overnight train whereas she could see 4 and said it was impossible to book an overnight train….for the cost of 2 euro’s for her to sort it out its cheap at the price as it took the expert 2 hours to get done.

Ottello, large chocolate brown labrador, arrived for the third time in 10 days and had poor Pk on top of the wood pile this time, Mach1 up a tree the last time he came. The chap is very apologetic but thinks we must have a bitch in heat here as he only wonders off when the wind blows from the north. We assured him we have only cats and to cure the problem is a quick snip.

The last 2 days of the month were given over to strong winds and rain, the lower fields flooded and we were surprised the pergola survived but at least it was a warm southerly wind so no frosts.

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