Just had to upload this photo of Edo taken the other evening.  At a glance it looks photoshopped but it’s not, the sky was full of grey clouds streaked with red, but it is strange how Edo seems to melt into the background. I’m pleased with the pic.

Edo on the hill at sunset

Edo on the hill at sunset

I was just coming to terms with the death yesterday of Farrah Fawcett when I hear this morning of the death of Michael Jackson.

It is bizarre how the story developed through the day from first unconfirmed sympathetic reports of his being rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack, through interviews on the BBC  with his lighting technician about  recent unpredictable behaviour in rehearsals, and then satellite banner news headlines about cupboards full of prescription drugs.

I guess the truth about his last days will never be known, what stands out is how the media manipulate and control and possibly invent to keep the story alive.

At the end it seems sad that somebody who was commercially successful and obviously gave pleasure to so very many fans remained a troubled unhappy person, but that is maybe me believing too much in what the media reports?

A month ago I was very fortunate to meet a lady from Perugia who was thinning plants her garden.  She has a small garden just on the outskirts of the centro storico of Perugia, indeed part of the city wall forms a boundary to her terraced garden.

I was very kindly gifted fifty Iris corms.  I adore Irises and have done for many years.  They grow well in Italy.  In Scotland I always planted the corm with the upper third sitting on top of the soil, for I understand they rot if buried.

Here in Umbria they are best buried, the weather is dryer and they prefer a slightly cooler temperature.  I thought these were the only reasons but no.

I had this crazy idea to start an iris walk on the path leading down to the site of the saunas.  There is a slight raised bank on the right and I fully imagined in a few years when the irises has multiplied a colourful array of delicate spring flowers bobbing under the fig trees

Oh what a fool!  Last year I planted a few irises in the bed near the front door, only to find they had been systematically dug up, but by whom?  This year my friend assured me that her corms would survive…

Well they did for six weeks or so.  Every evening I meticulously watered the planting spots, and talked encouragingly to the corms, and sure enough they began to grow.  The iris walk showed promise, ok only fifty plants but a positive beginning.  Then four mornings ago I saw one uprooted, the one furthest from the house.

Three mornings ago, a further three plants dug up, annoyingly, the corms are only half eaten, but the foliage ripped off.  Someone or something is working its way towards the house up my iris walk.

The culprit, an Istrice.  What is an istrice?  In english, a porcupine.  A rodent about 50 cm long with quills that detach when the porcupine shakes or comes into contact with another animal.  Indeed one of the dogs returned home last year with three porcupine quills sticking out of her muzzle.  The quills have barbs making them difficult to extract.  Porcupines seem to love any form of bulb, corm, potato or bean.  I guess they are working their way up to the orto where the potatoes are in full bloom.  Honestly it is not my intention to garden to feed the wildlife!

Maybe I should collect up the rejected quills and place them round the remaining irises, it’s either that or resorting to chicken wire fencing round every plant. Suggestions welcome for iris preservation.

Big celebration!! We have clear sparkling fresh water from our own spring.  This morning the pump went into the tanks at the spring, and was then connected and switched on.  As I write the tanks on the hill above the house are half full.  Water descends from the top tanks to the house by gravity, just perfect for watering the gardens..

I will write a fuller story later, but now I’m off to give the dogs a bath!!

I still cannot quite remember if there were more dogs or humans at Penny’s lovely house for dinner last night.  I went over with my three, Penny has five and Tina also brought her dog.

Dinner was ‘hosted’ by Mark who is staying in one of the delightful apartments to both say thanks to Penny for her help, and to say ciao to Stuart, who is flying back to England today on the ryanair Perugia – Stanstead flight.  Needless to say as is Mark’s style large cocktails were served, I think Mark had cleared all the stores in nearby Umbertide of alcohol, they were good but decidedly dangerous and safest in moderation!   Dinner was rather delayed by the omission to light the barbecue in time.  Worth waiting for, When they finally arrived the fish spiedini and grilled sardines smothered in garden herbs served with new potatoes and Penny’s ‘green’ sauce – pounded herbs, lemon, oil and garlic were utterly delicious.  An assortment of puddings were accompanied by ice chilled limoncello, and chaos as all the dogs decided they needed to eat too… Using one of the sofas as a bowl, I’m just glad my team did not lead the way, they were too buy chasing the cat!


Dinner at Penny's

A really non-stop day yesterday with masons busy on the garden wall of which more another time, and plumbers laying tubes in trenches to connect the tanks now in position on the tope of the hill behind the house.  The sun shone down relentlessly, I can’t wait to get these jobs finished..

My plans to get to Ikea in Ancona and then a wee relax on the beach at Cirollo were thwarted by too much work here and an offer from Sara to do my shopping for me as by co-incidence she and Salvatore were also planning a trip.

Good result, this evening super cool looking black parasols grace the suites’ terraces, maybe not the most sensible choice of colour, but they do add a touch of pazzaz  and on hot days like these will be much appreciated