We dined outside, in the Courtyard, last night for the first time this year! The strawberry glut is upon us....already, strawberry jam, strawberry sorbet, strawberries with balsamic, strawberry tarts, strawberry mousse...and we've invited all of rabbit's friends and relations to come and pick, as well, in order to stop the crop from entirely overwhelming us. The oldest of the new apricot trees fruited spectacularly well, a couple of weeks ago, and the jam that came from that is positively ambrosial! Our white peach tree - the one that Sarah got for us from Wisley, about eight years ago, and which she was sceptical about, when I proposed to transplant it from Fucini - is heavy with fruit, and will be ready to be harvested shortly. The fruit from that is so platonically perfect that there's no point in doing anything with it apart from to eat it exactly as it comes. Summer is definitely upon us...
And, after slightly more than two years of 'elements of refurbishment', Santa Caterina is back in action. The bells, which have an old fashioned, rather flattened and sonorous tone, rang out again last weekend, after a long silence. I image they must date from around 1560, after the big fire at the church (as the result of which, this house was built on a part of the church building which hadn't been restored - when we were installing the kitchen, under the plaster, we found walls which had been blackened in that fire). The junior four-footed, who was busy minding his own business in the garden when the bells went into action, was suddenly assaulted by the sound, looked entirely astonished, couldn't work out where the noise was coming from, and put back his head and howled. Fortunately - unlike San Francesco, which is far enough away for it not to be an issue - Santa Caterina does not ring on the hour every hour, but only on more specific and rarified occasions!
The University Choir is limbering up for a grand 'Welcome Back!' concert inside Santa Caterina, this coming Wednesday, and has been belting out rehearsals every evening this past week of Mozart's Te Deum and associated liturgical pieces. With the french windows open from the dining room, we've been sitting through dinner, night after night, with the music washing over us, in true heavenly-choir style. I think they sound rather good; the Technical Dept, on the other hand, thinks the thickness of the church walls probably enhances their performance immeasurably.
Salmon, Celery and Basil 'coupes' with spicy Gazpacho.
Pintade au Chou