In Spring Italian men’s fancy turns lightly to the thought of no not love as in the Tennyson poem but strimming. Not for us the dawn chorus to herald spring but the whine of one hundred strimmers firing up and attacking the greenery. Most Italians seem to fight a losing battle throughout April, May and early June with grass and weeds. The weather is perfect for growth with sun, cloud and regular rain. They attack the green stuff with rotovators, ploughs and the petrol engine strimmer. They are at it morning. noon and night only stopping , of course, for lunch. Today seemed to mark the first day of the Spring offensive and as I walked my walk almost every house on this half day early closing for all the towns around us was alive with goggled men and women and their strimmers
I cannot be seen to not be doing my bit for Italy in this war on greenery so out came my own this morning
I had to rush into town before closing time to have a new spark plug fitted but I am now ready to take on all commers. Let a weed shows its face if it dares. Actually I am a bit of a fraud as my neighbour down the road Paulo keeps 3 donkeys for reasons I have never actually figured out. Anyway to keep them in feed during the hotter summer months when the grass has withered and gone he and his son arrive in mid may and cut all the grass on my couple of acres and carry it all away. So I handle the grass growth and he gets his feed. We tend to firm up the deal about now each year and last year he engaged me in conversation. Now Paolo tends to mumble a little and so I guess what he is saying from the odd word I actually understand. I therefore assumed we were in donkey mode and countered what ever he had said about them by enquiring politely if he would like to bring them to eat some of the very lush grass now rather than having to harvest it later. He looked very confused shook his head and wandered off back to his house. His daughter who speaks beautifully clearly and slowly explained to me later that he was telling me about his grandchildren coming to lunch that day and I had asked if they wanted instead to come and eat grass. Hey an honest mistake .
I managed while on the walk to gather some wild asparagus
which we will cook this evening. another sure sign of spring is that my 3 rocket plants are going crazy and so I now have 200 grams of rocket as well. That goes into soup at this time of year as we will still have cold and rainy days interspersed with fine sunny ones.
Now normally I put some music to go with the writing but luckily I don’t think any Italian has ever done a song about strimming. Instead for a change I thought I would find a group that had Garden in their name rather than the song. So here is Il Giardino dei Semplici (The Herb Garden ) playing Miele ( honey)
Now while you are listening to them let’s go back to that Tennyson poem. The line comes from Locksley Hall that he wrote in 1835. Though not one of his famous poems it is considered one of his best. It tells the story of a soldier who during the war comes across the hall where he spent his youth and he remembers his time there and the girl he loved but was unable to marry as her parents didn’t condone the marriage. Now many people have used lines from the poem including Winton Churchill in one of his war speeches and Star Trek in the Voyager film but I was struck with the likeness to Brideshead Revisited with Ryder finding Brideshead and remembering both Sabastian and then Julia his love that he couldn’t marry because of her promise to God about her father taking the last rites. Did Waugh follow Tennyson’s poem . I wonder.
Don’t you love the words in Ryder’s soliloquies ?
Finally hope you noticed the deliberate mistake yesterday. Neville Shute didn’t write Ice Cold in Alex Christopher Lundon did. Shute wrote a Town Like Alice. Thanks Jonathan who spotted it straight away.