Saturday, February 25, 2012


Today we went to Norcia to have a look at this market. Norcia is famous both for its truffles, pecorino and for its pork products. A Norceria is, as one guide book calls it, a ham and cheese shop. I think this is close to be slanderous given the fantastic things they produce.

This is Coppa which is made from the tongue, cheek and head of a pig. They add pieces of orange, pistachio and olive. It can sometimes be a little fatty but this was very good indeed.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What's my number?

Actually it's 3,242,344,623. I was the 3,242,344,623rd person on the planet when I was born. You can check your number at

Cool eh.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Go out and get some work - Italian style

The other week our boiler wasn't working so we called out an electrician who traced the fault to the element which was burnt out.

I therefore rang our boiler maintenance guy to get a new one. He said pop round and pick them up. I did and he said not to worry about payment as he had some design work that maybe Rachel could do.

This morning he came for a meeting and explained that he was expanding his home brewing operation into something more serious and needed some bottle labels and a brochure. He had recently been speaking Massimo, who we both know, and he had recommended Rachel.

Ben fatto.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Picking up the rhythm again

Today it was the first day of fertilizing the olives. 300 kilos laid down just before the heavens opened. We use an organic fertiliser which we spread at the upper edge of the canopy on the tree so the spring rains wash this down to the roots.

I also tend to have a quick look at each tree and see what I will prune which I will start straight after I  finish the fertilising.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weather driven emigration

Just been talking to a neighbour who was asking whether our olives are ok because of the cold and snow we have had. Memories are vivid here on the bad winters in 1985 and 1997 which destroyed many trees.

My neighbour reminded me that there was also a very bad winter in 1955/56 and this directly led to people leaving Italy to find employment elsewhere. This what my neighbour did. Leaving to go to France where he met his wife and then onto Canada where they spent a number of years before returning to the village of Manciano here.

Thankfully the weather has not been that severe here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The latest weather update from Manciano meteo

This was the view from above Casa Margherita this morning looking down into the valley with Spoleto at the head of the valley in the left distance. It was a clear sunny day so most of the lower lying snow has melted.

The outlook is getting slightly warmer and no snow so it's back to working outside again. Hurrah.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Roveja - wild pea

These are some sprouting roveja which I am planning to plant and try and grow when the snow finally disappears. This pea has recently been rediscovered and is being grown again commercially.

It has a real earthy somewhat mushroomy taste to it which we like a lot. Have used it a lot in soups but am also going to try it in a chill con carne.

On another note entirely, why have all the fruit producers super sized their product. Nowadays when you have a apple or pear it's like wading your way through one of Saturn's smaller moons and about as tasty.

Rant over. Too long stuck inside watching it snow.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


It,s a bit brisk here at the moment. Too brisk for any outdoor activities except dog walking which remains compulsory.