Oranges and lemons

The lemon tree we brought from the UK is enjoying basking in the Umbrian sunshine and temperatures of around 30 degrees. The last few days we have seen a few clouds, thank goodness, so some relief from the sun’s rays and a pleasant breeze from the hillside. The scent of jasmine is everywhere as everyone seems to have a hedge of it or a pot by their front door. Even restaurants have it trailed around their outdoor seating areas. The other overpowering scent is from the flowers of the lime trees which grow around the town walls. Apparently a soothing tea can be made from these but have not tried it myself.

Summer has arrived in Citta della Pieve as restaurants have re-built their outdoor dining areas. These are platforms constructed on the roadside, in front of the restaurants, and provided with chairs and tables and troughs of plants under an awning or series of umbrellas; it is much nicer to dine outdoors despite the odd passing car. The only downside for residents is that now there are even fewer parking spaces as these platforms cover two or more bays.

Went to the house early this morning as we are expecting the delivery of our Seville orange tree. No more searching for marmalade or making-do with flavourless orange jam where the fruit has been introduced to the sugar but didn’t stay long enough to have any lasting effect. Now we can grow our own. Three lads from the vivaio struggled through our narrow hall and into the garden. I didn’t realise that orange trees have huge spines but soon found out. Oww! Jamie had already dug the huge hole for it and the chaps put a couple of bags of nice soil at the base and plonked it in. Amazingly, all the soil from the hole seemed to fit back in. No good pictures of the tree yet as we have left the huge honeysuckle in place next to it for a while, so the neighbours can’t complain about the new tree blocking their view.

Now all I need to plant are the trays of baby-lavender that travelled with us through Europe. Hope they can be squeezed into the beds; although our friend S wants as many as we can spare for his natural cosmetics and potions and lotions, so some will have a lovely home on a hillside nearby.

Life is much easier in the garden as Jamie has installed the outside taps, so no more struggling through the house with watering cans from the tap in the garage – bliss. I chose a tap in brass with the head of a griffon.

Builders, electricians, plumbers and carpenters have all been warned that today is the last day they can enter the house, as Marco’s team arrive tomorrow to prepare the ‘cotto’ floor for its treatment. Our electrician installed all the light switches and extractor fans this morning. Jamie wired in the lights for the bathrooms and tried to understand why our ‘designer’ hall lights didn’t work. Basically , the electrician is blaming the supplier, the shop is blaming the electrician and no one seems to know what they are talking about. Jamie had to go back to the shop and explain the cause of the problem. When they wouldn’t accept that, he had to insist they called the manufacturer who, not surprisingly, said: “no, you can’t do that.” So now we have to wait another couple of weeks for the correct transformers.

It was a lovely evening and so we ate outside at Da Laura’s, our local fish restaurant. A simple plate of linguini with scampi for me and a seafood spaghetti for Jamie. Perfect.



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