Monday, January 31, 2011

Saturday night...........

Saturday night was the dinner to celebrate the patron saint of our village Manciano, Sant Antonio.

I was a great night with good food and good company. There was also some great singing of local songs during the pauses between the six courses some of which were quite ribald.

Can't wait for the next one.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tonights view

Mist in the valley and the sun low in the sky combined to give this eerie view late this afternoon.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sant Emiliano

Sant Emiliano was the first Bishop of Trevi and after he died on the 18 January he was adopted as the patrol saint of Trevi.

Today therefore Trevi was in festa with all the municipal offices closed etc. Today is also normally market day in Trevi but today no. There is a bigger market tomorrow.

The lack of the normal market today was a surprise to us and also to the fishmonger who was there with a van loaded with fish and the Piazza absolutely deserted.

He told someone to tell the priest who was taking mass to tell the congregation to buy some fish after.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hunting high and low

The countryside of Umbria is dotted with these hunting cabins. Some such as this one are well camouflaged but others have none.

The hunting season ends on Monday 31st and so these cabins will remain quiet for a while.

I am neither pro or against hunting but do not take part. One thing I don't like are the spent cartridges that are left to litter the groves but this is just the Womble side of me coming out.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I am very pleased to introduce...


This is one of the cats that live where Rachel has her studio. He has developed a keen interest in the art of print making and was last seen sporting some blue on his tail.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Know your onions

Yesterday at the farmer's market in Trevi I picked up a couple of strings of onions. They come from Cannara which is a reknown onion growing area locally.

With these hanging up in your kitchen you can feel like a culinary god even if your actually a slave to the tin opener.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Starting up again

The Italians have a nice way of saying getting back in the swing of things - riprendere il ritmo - literally to retake the rhythm.

As so today was the first farmer's market of the year in Trevi. It was a cool 3 degrees and so it was slow, very slow.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sant Antonio

The 17th of January in Italy is Sant Antonio's day.

He is also the adopted saint of our local village Manciano. To celebrate there is a lunch this Sunday and then a dinner next Saturday for the residents of the village organised by volunteers from the village.

San Antonio is the patron saint of animals so you can take your animal(s) to Mass this Sunday to have them blessed.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Misty mountain top

A misty morning here in Umbria. You can see the steeple of the San Martino monestry but Trevi itself and all the lower valley is concealed in a layer of mist. This often happens with us here at Casa Margherita completely free of mist.

Later on the mist lifted so as to envelope us and leave the valley below clear.

Even stranger is I have just loaded this blog overwriting a website called "lawn mower forum". How scary is that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm gonna be a star

Little did I imagine when I left London five years ago that I would receive a call from an Italian production company asking if I would be interested in appearing in a piece they are doing on Umbrian producers and their products. Yes, I said, of course I would like to get Casa Margherita olive oil on TV.

There is a long way to go on this and it may be that my chiselled goods looks don't get to be on TV but it is a mad mad world.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Don't move or I'll shoot!

Norcia is a town famous for it's hams and other pork and wild boar products and is well worth a visit if you are ever in Umbria. This display is from one of the shops there.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Trimming the vines

We have been trimming the vines that we have planted along the fence that encloses our vegetable patch. They had a very good year last year putting on a huge amount of growth. We have cut all this back to leave just two laterals.

Internet savvy

It is very fair to say that Italy has not been at the forefront of the internet revolution. Many businesses here have no internet presence and the phone and not e-mail is the preferred means of communication.

We have quite often e-mailed Italian businesses and have never received a supply. I have recently received a response from the Italian post office, whose website states that queries can be made by phone or e-mail.

The e-mail I received contained a word document which asked me to call the freephone service.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


This is a close up of lichen on the bark of a oak tree which I have felled and chopped into logs. There may well be some inspiration here for the artist is residence at Casa Margherita. I need to have a word. Something abstract.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wild boar digging

This is the results of wild boar digging. There is quite of lot of this around this time of year as food will be harder to find. You can see that they are very powerful animals.

You can hunt boar legally here if Italy. They have changed the way permits were issued recently so that they were area specific and so hunters were not at liberty to hunt over unrestricted areas. The result has been that some hunters lay down regular supplies of food so the boar do not leave their area in search of food and so guarantee better hunting.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Olive spread

This is one of the fields in our local village, Manciano, where the local olive mill owner spreads the waste from the milling process. There is a limit to how much he can dispose of this way as it is quite an acidic product.

This by product can in much larger mills be further processed and more oil extracted.

The 'woody' by product of leaves and bits of branch can be further processed and turned into wood pellets or just burnt as they are.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Stacked, stocked and stashed

This is our smaller wood pile which we finished filling this morning. These logs will now dry out over the summer months ready for use next winter.

Today was quite mild with a blue sunny sky which is deceptive as you start thinking of all the gardening jobs you want to do but it is still way too early for most of them as it's only very early January. Some patience required.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Back to work

With the Festive season well and truly over its time to get back to work. Having spent the last couple of weeks eating and drinking well its good to get back outside.

I have been chopping logs to refill one of our wood piles which is great exercise.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


The eve of Epiphany is when, according to Italian folklore, the witch Befana visits all the children and if they have been good for the last year, they get sweets, and if they have been bad then they get a lump of coal.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Meet the Manciano flock.

This the Manciano flock grazing past our house yesterday. Normally we don't see them in winter but the grass is good this year so they have passed by a couple of times.

One of them wears a bell and so the others follow the sound of the bell. This instantly sends our dog, Winnie, bonkers so we are normally glad they don't pass us too often.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Walking the hound

Walking our dog, Winnie, can often be a pleasure and sometimes a chore. However one of the pleasures is that you get to become very familiar with your surroundings and any changes that occur and you notice the passing of the seasons and the different colours that the landscape takes on in the seasons.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Finally it's happened

Having left the gate to the veg garden open time and time again without any problem last night we got done. Wild boar ( maybe just one) have eaten all the winter vegetables.

Piggy revenge for us having roast pork for dinner.