Pa’s operation on the first of the month went well despite his heart rate and then after he got home it returned to normal before going crazy again. Unfortunately the news from both Pembrokeshire & Eastbourne wasn’t as good as both dads chemotherapy. However the Rances do intend celebrating their anniversary in Jersey as normal this year so its more of a preventative measure than an on going situation.

Car battery saga went on until we bought another and returned the faulty one for their engineer to test and that could take anything from a week to 30days depending on his work load, realistically we couldn’t be without a battery = no car. We had sent a photo showing clearly on Mikes meter that the Ah was down to just 13 and it is rated at 45 so obviously something was very wrong but they insisted that they couldn’t offer a voucher or replacement battery until they had made certain we hadn’t damaged it. A lady phoned, ”why had we sent the battery back?” Fortunately they had Deborah in imports/exports who translated, they had not received the multitude of email correspondence over the last month . So went through everything again. “did we need another battery?” no. “Ok we refund you on the one you just bought. I said no as the faulty one had been more expensive, plus I wanted the postage too. In the end as a sign of good will they said yes and refunded our card instead of offering a voucher which is all they had to do after 30 days.

Mike went down with viral gastroenteritis caused we think by a yogurt he’d eaten. We were trying a new type and he thought the sour taste was just because they were not as sweet as the ones he normally has on his cereal. He blew up, had terrible taste in his mouth like rotten eggs and the runs, poor lad wasn’t 2 feet from the loo all weekend. Got some Immodium down him to get into town and bought some antibiotics. They calmed his poor tummy down almost straight away confirming the chemists diagnosis. Went and bought a second pack 4 days later and we were assured that the attach would pass, literally, within 10 day and not to exert himself. Fortunately its was so hot all we were doing was watering the plants each evening and planning some painting inside once he was fit and well again.

We received a fat envelope with the defense from the insurance company whom we had taken to arbitration with the ombudsman but we had to respond within 10 days of the letter being sent. It was posted the 18th may we got it on the 6th June, delayed by the bank holidays in the UK at the end of May and here on the 2nd of June, not to mention at best we can only expect a delivery 2x a week if we are lucky and this was just the 4th delivery this year.

Mach1 arrived at 5am in the 2nd week with small she cat wooing him as he frantically beat against the window. The back door was ajar for him but he felt he needed back up as she wasn't taking NO for an answer. She is very sweet and small but with a huge bushy tail so looks more like a squirrel and timid, she took off as I went around the corner, it may be all that unfurred pink flesh on the move scared her off, the gallant came in snacked, slept 2 hours and got us up to open the door again!

ITV production company contacted us again. They contacted our friends, one after an absence of 25 years, although she has visited quite often and the other hasn’t been back in 50 years other than a week or so in the last few years. They also asked us why Malta and not the UK so we said we waned to keep with the sun and Malta is still in easy reach of family and friends, they speak both English and Italian as well as Maltese, who have to some of the friendliest and helpful people we’ve ever met. What’s not to like?

They sent a freelance producer/director Rob Gooder as he lives in Tuscany to do the pre-production interviews, naturally we offered lunch, and to suss us all out. Unfortunately his car broke down enroute from Annie who was interviewing as she’s going back to the UK after 25 years so we rescued him as she arranged to get the car to a garage. Lunch after our interview also included Ann, who he interviewed at ours, and Annie so she could get him back to his car. It cost 160 for the repair, blocked filter causing just 3 pistons to work, was cleared but he must have taken up a lot of dirt with his last top up because be broke down near Siena on his way home to Lucca and had to get a taxi, 260 euros and have the car rescued a second time. Not a fun day for him at all.

Sheila’s birthday on the 16th and with Jean’s 70th birthday celebration on 24th so just before she flew to the USA as birthday gift from her son-in-law and daughter, we held a combined party on the 21st .

Stephen & Anna along with family did a detour on their way back to Rome to visit for half a day. It was 43c at 6pm so we were grateful the pool was open for the 3 children, and adults, to cool off in. Fortunately the hire vehicle had air conditioning so they wouldn't roast on the way to the airport the following day.

Apricots half eaten by birds and only rescued a dozen Peaches, all gooseberries just disappeared & just 4 plants left, plumbs. Olives in dire straits as the long drought and high temperatures, in the mid 45c range, caused the flowers to perish. This will be the 3rd year of little harvest. There was a thunderstorm in the middle of the month dropping ½ inch of rain but although it may help the vines the heat is predicted to go on through to the end of August. As it was so hot we got the pool opened 2 weeks early by a local chap instead of the usual gang. He need our help but was very efficient and cost a 3rd less as we were speeding things up. He said we needed more sand in the filter as he could see we had still quite a few particles in the water after running the pump for a while. He advised with the sun we needed to invest in anti-algae treatment and get the skimmer tops replaced as they were cracked allowing detritus get into the system over winter, leaves, snails and dirt. Easier said than done, 2 days on the Internet as no-one local stocked our parts as they originated from the other side of Rome originally. The special sand and chemicals were easier but not cheap, nothing to do with pools is, and exact instructions given on how to dismantle the filter too. We also got a new thermometer which having been left on the poolside hit over 50c and had to be rescued.

Mach1 spent most of his time in the cool of the woods, returning at 5.30am to snack and get us up to resume feeding and pool cleaning before the heat of the day arrived. Our regime was, clean, top up pool, rescue small lizards and see to small errand between 6.45am – 8.45am then breakfast. See to emails, orders, and do interior jobs, washing etc. 6pm resume outside chores, pool cleaning, rescue wild life from water to dry on crispy grass, chemical testing & watering plants. 12 midnight run pool pump to be turned off when feeding cat. Mach1 returns lunch time and 6pm to see what was on offer and remind us of time passing by.

Started making plans to make a flying visit the UK in September to celebrate Pa’s 80th.

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