Battle of the black tubing

We have a small garden here in Citta della Pieve, but the soil is very light and sandy.  Plants need watering regularly with temperatures in the 30’s at midday, and so we decided to get an irrigation system.  This sounds rather grand but involves a length of extremely unruly and completely uncooperative black pipe that has been punctured at intervals to allow little drops of water to gently drip out and keep the plants alive if we go away for a length of time or even now when getting in and out of the house is so tricky.

We found a nearby general store in Castiglione del Lago, when we went to buy our   griffon taps, and the assistant there worked out what we needed and kitted us up with all the relevant bits.  Easy, we thought; now all we need is a timer.  The store only had battery ones and we wanted something you could plug into the mains as the shop assistant and friends had recounted horror stories of flooded roof terraces and huge water bills, with water gushing uncontrollably from unattended taps.  My technical assistant JP was on the case though, and we found an all singing and dancing thing that should do the job.

We went to the house this evening and battled with the wretched coiled pipe, designed specially so as not to run in straight lines it seems but to whip back on itself and decapitate precious plants in the process.  We managed to cut lengths away from the soil and with the little elbow pieces thought we would connect the ‘straight’ runs with short angles.  Great idea if the elbows were even remotely easy to fit into said tubing.  Every time Jamie tried to fit one, the pipe flipped up.  The long securing pegs should have held it all down in the sandy soil but each one proved harder than the last to get into the concrete-like ground underneath.

Time to give up. Time for supper as it was by now nearly 9pm and as we need other bits we will ask at the shop if there is a trick to fixing this stuff. At the moment it might have been cheaper to pay someone to come in on alternate evenings to water than buy the pipes, and bits and timers and the rest!

Off to New Castle for a plate of home-made ravioli stuffed with mascarpone, smoked ham and pistachios served in a sage butter and a plate of pasta all’arabbiata for Jamie, a glass or two of local wine and back to our temporary home……


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