Saturday, July 17, 2010

The tragic demise of Robespierre

We realised at night, closing up the henhouse. Something was wrong. We had heard him all afternoon making his usual racket and then, nothing. In full daylight, Robispiere the rooster had been taken. Named for the style with which we had assumed he would eventually meet his end, Robespierre was taken from his harem long before his time. Initially we thought he might be roosting somewhere else for the night. But when we actually managed to sleep beyond 6AM without his morning call, we knew something was truly wrong.

I imagined that he had finally gotten a little indignant about sharing living quarters with 3 geese, and had taken off to geese free pastures. But would he really abandon his family like that? We found out the horrible truth when one feather led to another and we followed a trail of large white feathers from the back fence, down through the trees to the base of a large olive where a collection of feathers, including telltale white and yellow neck feathers confirmed our fears.

Poor old Robespierre. Could we have protected him better? Could we have given him a more auspicious name?

The same day that the rooster died, something else happened in the henhouse. One of the eggs hatched and a bright little yellow ball peeked out from beneath the mama's wing. A real circle of life moment.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My little rust bucket

A couple of months ago I got me a car, not just any car but a 1969 Fiat Cinquecento Giardiniera. And oh is she pretty! Tourquise blue with suicide doors and a roof that opens all the way back, I cant help grinning as I race around town in it. While considered a family or working car in its time, the giardiniera is so small by today's standards that you feel you could pick it up and carry it under your arm. She's not without her problems though, and since buying her I've come to learn a lot about purchasing and owning an old car. Here's some things I now know....
1)There is no such thing as good rust. (I did know that before, I just forgot when I saw her shine in the sun)
2)Take any old vehicle to a mechanic and smash repairer before purchase.
3)Look under the car and under mats and everywhere, even if everyones laughing at you for scrabbling in the dust.
4)If its pretty and you love it get it anyway, but love the rust as well.

Just because I love making lists, here is my pro list for buying the car:
1)The colour
2)The space- even though its tiny, theres enough boot for a beehive
3)The wooden steering wheel
4)The opening all the way back roof!
5)The way the seats fold down, making the back almost big enough for camping.
6)“il doppietto” the way you have to rev the engine before changing down gear
7)st anthony on the gearstick
8)it hardly uses any petrol- 10 euros to fill the tank!
9)The side hinged boot door

Just for balance, one big con:
It's going to cost another 2000 euro to fix the rusty floor. Ouch! Didn't see that coming.

Oh well, I love my little rust bucket.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

First days of summer

Summer is here and while the city swelters and sweats there are only a handful of worthwile sunday destinations. Choices are the beach, where most of Florence is already setting up summer residence, the mountains, the usual choice for nanas wanting to take the healthy spring waters and dance the ballo liscio (literally smooth dancing). Lacking in friends with swimming pools we today chose the only other alternative and headed to a secret river location to cool off. And while our secret river location was known to only a handful of people last year, this year has seen an explosion of secret river location knowledge and space was limited. Someone obviously has a problem with the word secret! Social networking has a lot to answer for. Hmph!

But we cooled off, swam a bit, and then headed home. While the boys went off to watch the world cup final I experienced one of the greater joys that the start of summer brings. The first figs from the tree. Mmm so sweet! There will be so many coming on as the summer progresses, so if anyone has any recipes for figs, cakes, preserves or anything else, shoot them through. Last year I discovered figs with ricotta and honey and as this year I have my own honey I'll be indulging regularly.