The wet April and May with temperatures well below average ( May mean temp this year 13C v last year 17C and the year before 19C ) has had a couple of benefits. Firstly the grass in the fields that is used for feeding the cows in the summer when they go into the sheds to escape the sun has grown like no one’s business. In many fields it about 6 feet tall and the tractors cutting it almost disappear into it. I hope the cows are hungry as they have a feast on their hands this year. Milk production should be at record levels this year which should please the Mafia guy around the corner who controls the milk price for all the farms in our area. Maybe he will update both his Porsche Cayennes this year.
The other benefit is along the hedgerows that I walk every day . The wild flowers have gone crazy this year and are in full bloom.
It rained this afternoon just before I set off and so the air was just full of fragrances.
I bought Beth Catto’s book Gravel Garden some time ago and now we are finally planning a gravel garden I dug it out ( all puns intended) and had another look at it. Incredibly she planted what I see in the hedgerows growing wild around here. So once it is taking shape I shall be out with the wheelbarrow picking up specimens to go in the wild bit of our gravel garden.
However the first job is getting some gravel. The stuff up here near Martina Franca is very chalky and creates loads of white dust which means it is carried into the house by anyone walking on it. So the French across the road sourced gravel down at the beach and had it brought up. It has almost no dust and is more like the gravel I am used to in the UK.
Of course it means a trip to the beach to find the gravel pit but that for me is no hardship at all. It is just 25 mins drive away but because of the height we are at the temperature down there is a steady 6C more than up here. Indeed on the webcam I access to see what the weather is like down there there are already plenty of people on the beach.
Italians love the beach and head there at the drop of any hat and as you can see from the video we have quite a choice with sea on both sides of us.
I was reading an article by Jeremy Clarke that other day and he had just come back from Sicily with his new girlfriend . He captured that spirit of Italians on the beach rather well and here it is
“I remember glancing up for a moment during one of Sharon’s jeremiads ( Don’t worry I looked this word up readers and it means a long, mournful complaint or lamentation) at five women standing and chatting under a yellow and white striped beach umbrella.
Chatting is perhaps too English a word to convey the proximity, the intimacy, the liveliness, the disorderliness, the conviviality, the laughter, the vivacity. Small children clung to some of the legs or played hide-and-seek among them. All the young mums wore surprising sunglasses and arresting swimsuits and were gorgeously tanned, but it was their unaffected delight in each other’s company, and in life itself, that stood out. And then I returned my attention reluctantly to this unhappy, tattooed, self-absorbed, orange-fingered, bottle-blonde English woman to whom I was horribly enslaved, and refocused my attention on her litany of criticism and complaint.”
Tomorrow the weather looks to be finally good enough to go to the beach and the Italians will be down there in droves . None will be looking for a deserted strip of beach though the way we Brits do. Instead they will look for the busiest section and pile on to it to erect their sunshade as close as possible to the next person’s and wait to be gloriously surrounded by humanity all talking ten to a dozen, eating shed loads of food and having a great time.
On Monday I’ll be there too , can’t wait.