Wednesday 10 April 2024

Project update...

New floors are in the process of being laid - everywhere that we have floors which have been seriously compromised over time (ugly tiles, or general damage), we're hiding them under new floorboards, and hiding all of the service runs and wiring at the same time. Wherever the old cotta tiles are still good (more than half the house, fortunately), they will all be lovingly restored to their former glory. But, this week, Michele and Asdin are installing all of the supports for the floorboards, which will then be positioned next week by the plumbers, at the same time as they fit all of the pipes and drains and the central vaccuum system (which is the TD's particular baby), and put the new floorboards in place. 
Last week, we finally located the point at which the house connects to the external drain (which was timely).

Two weeks ago, when we were in London, we left the builders to whitewash the entire interior of the building. Which was optimistic, on our part. When they assured us that they had loads of experience using latte di calce (whitewash) with an industrial sprayer, we believed them, when what they actually meant was that they were confident it couldn't be too difficult to do, and that actually they'd never used whitewash before in their lives, and they they had no idea how it works. Which isn't like paint. Despite having been told exactly what proportion to use of product-to-water they chose not to believe it, since it came out effectively transparent....and so, they kept on adding more and more product, until it came out looking - to their eyes -  satisfactorily white... and immediately it gummed up the machine, because the mixture was far too thick. Fortunately, we returned before they'd managed to destroy the entire paint sprayer, and forcibly we got them to use the mixture at the correct level of dilution (they wouldn't believe us that the stuff only turns white as it dries. Fortunately, it was a sunny day,and TD demonstrated the effect by painting a white line on the hot road surface outside, which dried immediately to a dense and pristine whiteness that brooked no argument). Even then, they didn't really believe it, and were amazed when they returned  several days after they'd finished the job to find the entire house entirely, beautifully white!

And while they've been labouring indoors, I've made some progress with transplanting the garden. The Hanging Garden of Pieve takes shape, with a broad selection of flowering shrubs now clinging to the rockface - about twenty metres of it - which rises sheer behind the frantoio building. Thus far: 15 Camellias (and about the same number again, still to go); 38 Hydrangeas (7 to go); Acers (4); Viburnum (1); Azaleas (14); Euonymous (and another to go); Edgeworthia (1); Loropetalum (1, and 1 to go); Gardenia (ditto); Deutsia (1, and two others to go); Daphne (1, with wonderful scent!); climbing roses (7, and about forty to go); Crinums ( a mass, and even more still to go); Wintersweet (1); Lonicera Fragrantissima (1, and 2 others in waiting); magnolias (2, and 2 to go)...and that's without counting all of the shrub roses, abelias, indigofera gerardiana, choysia, wygelia, philadelphos, and on, and on...

The original idea was to move house in May, and I suppose that if we were to bust a gut and have a generally stressful time, then that might still be vaguely possible....but the warm weather we're now having probably means that the window for transplanting the garden will be shorter than expected, and so we'll probably extend the garden move through until after the summer. Doing it all 'con calma'....maybe with the last period of moving actually being after we've moved ourselves, when it will be a question of being based at the frantoio and travelling back here to Pisa on a daily basis in order to retrieve the remaining things we want.

Tonight's dinner:

Lentil soup (before we leave winter too far behind...)

Scaloppini alla milanese; sweet and sour courgettes

Lemoon Tart