Sunday 29 November 2009

Hard to believe...

...that we're cruising towards the end of the year. Despite the recent appearance of Christmas lights the length of Borgo Stretto, and across into Corso Italia on the other side of the river, the fact that December starts in only a couple of days doesn't really compute. Not when the days follow sunnily one after another, and it's still shirtsleeve weather in the garden...even warm enough to sit and drink tea on the terrace at the end of yet another day of hard-garden-labour, a couple of days ago, and trying not to dwell on h0w much more yet remains to be done before the garden will have started to take shape. (In truth, there are days of distinctly un-balmy the autumn storm, last weekend, which blew in part of the east window in the church at Santa Caterina...but for the most part, one mild and sunny day follows another.)

In the garden, new beds have had to be dug to accommodate the influx of plants, and the all-too familiar sight of strips of weed-cloth indicates the future location of paths and pergolas. The dogs love it; freshly-turned earth is their idea of heaven - both snuffling at it, and rolling around in it - and their challenge is clearly to shift as much of the stuff as they can from the garden to the inside of the house by the shortest route they can manage. My ambition is to have as little of the stuff accessible to them as possible (by dint of planting in it, comprehensively) and thus to cut off their supply!

At the moment, we're awaiting Signor Tempestini's quote for supplying trees for the new orchard, and plants for two (maybe three?) new shrubberies...and assuming there are no horrendous surprises in the price, then planting might get underway before Christmas. In the meantime, I've planted 500 crocus bulbs under the Douglas Firs and around the base of the Lemon trees ('Joan of Arc' - one of the larger and pure white crocus varieties, which look spectacular towards the end of February) and 100 double flowering narcissus, under the Nespola trees, and along the side of the raised causeway that runs through the centre of the garden. By the time they flower, my blisters from the bulb planter might perhaps have disappeared...

Tonight's Dinner:

Aubergine & Parmesan Tarts.

Poached Chicken Breasts, with a Tarragon cream sauce; Celery, braised with Pancetta in a broth of Guinea Fowl and Duck.

Layered Meringue Cake (from Harry's Bar - layers of Pan di Spagna and Creme Patissiere, baked inside a coating of Italian Meringue)

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