Back to Le Marche…

If I’m honest, I wasn’t ready to return to Italy and our townhouse in Petritoli, not quite – I was still in honeymoon mode with Dorset and Bridport. But, once in the car and heading towards Poole to get the ferry to Cherbourg I became preoccupied with the ‘road trip’ and excited about travelling. I love a good road trip with the dog and The Man – we are all good travelling companions… something that The Man’s daughters could never quite understand… ‘you mean you’re going to spend five days in the car with…HIM? How could you do that?’ But, we rub along fine and always have plenty to talk about and when not talking we listen to audio books.

The ferry left Poole at 8.30 a.m. and we had to be there by 7.30 because of the dog, we decided to leave our little Dorset hamlet on Wednesday evening and stay the night at the Thistle Hotel, only a few minutes from the port. The weather was atrocious…rain falling in biblical proportions – very unpleasant. It was difficult to appreciate the close proximity of the hotel to the water until, also biblically, the sky cleared and sailing boats came into view… however, it only lasted long enough to walk the dog before bedtime.

Jpeg is a star traveller. She never complains and as long as she has her own bed, food and a chance to smell the local area, pee accordingly, then she will settle down anywhere, as long as we are there too. We have only been on Le Shuttle with her previously and the ferry was going to take 5 hours (should have been 4 but the French dock workers at Cherbourg were on strike so…). She was so good in the car. I gave her a herbal tablet to calm her down, (should have taken one myself) and thank goodness, they didn’t enforce the use of the muzzle…all that effort getting her used to it and then we didn’t need it. You’re allowed to visit your dog half way across the channel, which I did and taking advice from other experienced ferrying dog owners, I only crept up to look into the car without her seeing me. She was fine, sitting up looking out of the back window of the car across the blue, flat calm sea to the horizon. We were the last car parked, facing aft (get the nautical term?) and there was a wide opening through which she could see. I think she had a better view than we did.

twintownsign

Leaving the ferry behind us for it’s return trip to England we headed for St Vaast La Hoogue – twinned with Bridport, which is of course our hometown in the UK at the moment. It was a pretty little place with plenty of still busy fishing boats, the main catch being oysters. We wandered around the town in the French sunshine and from one lookout point it was possible to see the age old fortifications of Vauban along the coast, erected in the 1690s.

TheManon the Beach

Utah Beach

The Man wanted to visit the Normandy Beaches, I was interested but knew little about D-day except for scant history lessons many *coughs loudly* years ago.

There are many D-day attractions (that doesn’t seem quite the right word) to visit but for The Man it was a must to go the Pegasus Bridge the sight of the first landings by glider and parachute. The museum was full of original artifacts, photographs and so much information I couldn’t take it all in. A film was shown in English which made things clearer for me. I came away at the end of two days knowing so much more about the occupation and the liberation of France. It was of course both moving and upsetting. All those young lives lost and what for?

cemetary

It broke my heart to read the headstones at the cemetery in Ranville just a few miles from the Pegasus Bridge. English, French, German, Irish, Canadians and more, the majority of them under twenty-five.

Because we had taken the early ferry we had plenty of time to wander down the coast before arriving at our first night’s accommodation in Courseulle Sur Mer where we stayed for two nights. A fabulous spacious apartment, all brand new it seemed. We had to get there before 8pm because everything was locked up at eight…unusual for a hotel/accommodation until you realise it was actually an old people’s home. Well, an establishment for the retired, Domitys La Plage de Nacre – check it out. Great food taken in the town square at La Pecherie – so good we ate there two nights running. We love French food.

Next stop was Cahors a 770 kilometre drive – we listened to one of our audio books, The Elephant to Hollywood, written and read by Michael Caine. We can recommend it – loved his voice and his manner of speaking, he even laughed at some of the stuff he’d written. We felt, after several hundred kilometres, that he had been travelling in the car with us in the back seat. He’s now my best friend.

http://amzn.to/1ry95lR

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We arrived just after six and as it had been a long drive in dreadful weather, we thought we would eat in the restaurant attached to the hotel Terminus. It is a wonderful art deco building with furnishings and décor to suit. We should have guessed that it was not going to be an average meal when the barman turned out to be a sommelier, who’d written a book, with his son, (a chef) about local wines.

It was one of the best meals I have ever eaten, but the bill for food was twice that of the hotel room! I had a half bottle of Sancere with the meal and The Man had the best quality sparkling water, (he doesn’t drink alcohol you see).

We slept well that night which was just as well because the next hotel room in Carcassonne was not quite what we expected…

Approaching the medieval city of Carcassonne is the most amazing sight… from a distance that is. It appears in the midst of the green valley rising up above the trees, a Disneylike castle with turrets, arrow slits, high walls and well…really quite magical.

The satnav took us down some very narrow streets to the door of our ‘hotel’. It was outside the old city walls, but only a short distance for us to walk and discover the enchanted city, the situation was the best and only good thing about this accommodation.
First we had to unpack, take the dog for a quick look around and settle her down while we had lunch. We parked and carried our bags up the four flights of winding dark stairs into a garret apartment which smelled of drains – dirty ones at that. Not a good start.

Lunch was wonderful though, in a busy French Taverna serving Cassoulet – excellent. Fully satisfied we began our walk into the fairy-tale town and anticipate the best – always a mistake. The wind was blowing like a giant’s parp in a drainpipe, we could barely stand up, but we made it up the hill and in through the main gate, to discover that the outside of the castle is most definitely the best thing about it. Once inside the streets are full of swag shops, restaurants and little else. There was a torture museum which I cannot comment on because we didn’t go in. Street after street looking exactly the same. We searched for a tea shop selling fancy French pastries but couldn’t find anything so ended up in a restaurant having a cup of tea and apple tart with ice-cream (a dessert). There are only fifty permanent residents inside this town, according to the man in the only shop we entered where we bought a teapot…we like teapots.

 

The accommodation, Residence Saint Simon, in Carcassonne was truly dreadful and The Man has entered a review on Booking.com accordingly, but it’s still in moderation a week after writing it so I suspect it has been blocked by the owner.

The apartment was advertised with ‘toiletries supplied’ above is the sum total of those toiletries. Not even a bar of soap. Oh and the fridge had a welcome pack of stuff that were leftovers from the last visitors! 🙂

 

carmaguehorses

Next stop, San Remo and we drove there via the Camargue. I tried to photograph the famous white horses but whenever there were plenty of them grazing I didn’t have my camera at the ready so you’ll have to make do with a couple in the distance. We only saw a few black bulls, also famous in the area, but we did see what looked like several rice fields and on investigation, discovered that they do indeed grow rice in the Camargue. We took a detour through Arles hoping to get a glimpse of the famous bridge painted by, among others, Van Gough, but we hated the town, the traffic and gave up looking for the bridge pretty quickly and drove on to Aigues Mortes where we picked up a coffee in the pretty square. A medieval walled town that we would definitely visit again when we have more time.

coffeeinsquare

Square in Aigues Mortes

San Remo was fantastic! We loved the place and it was 27degrees, sunny and friendly. Our apartment was superb, central, clean, modern and equipped with everything we could need for a one- night stay. The owner, Alessandro, could not have been more helpful and welcoming. He certainly knew how to treat a paying guest. We can recommend Colombo Apartments in Piazza Colombo, San Remo.

As usual the dog behaved impeccably, as mentioned before, she is the perfect traveller. Her only problem is little white poodles which, when she sees them, turn her from the placid fun loving dog into a teeth bared, growling monster (I exaggerate of course). I leave you to imagine what our evening stroll by the port in San Remo was like as every other dog was a white ball of fluff either tucked under the arm, in a handbag or prancing along the pavement in a taunting fashion…

We said goodbye to San Remo and Alessandro and set about getting back to Petritoli on the last leg of our journey. We only stopped to empty ourselves and the dog and take on more water, coffee and fuel – it was another 700k drive.

Happy to be back on her own turf, Jpeg rushed immediately out of the back door to chase the local cats as though she had never been away.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog – I certainly enjoy writing it.  You may like to know that I have published a collection of short stories, The Cherry Tree and Other Stories, available here from Amazon.co.uk

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Olive Harvest…

olives

This year has seen a bumper olive harvest. The trees were laden with so many olives that sometimes they looked like bunches of grapes. To those of you who have never picked olives and imagine it’s living the dream – it’s not. But having said that, the first two weeks, with help from friends, the sun shining and the trees of a reasonable height then yes, it is magical. But it’s not so great by the time you get into week four.  The friends have gone home and you’re left with a hardened core of pickers. The weather has cooled as much as the enthusiasm, only the big trees are left to pick and each one taking up to two and a half hours with four people picking. One tree yielded 140 kilos…Amazing. Not as much as this one though – largest olive tree in Italy . The Man thought there was a bigger one in Sicily, but I can’t find that. If you know about it please tell us.

14boxes

14 ten kilo boxes from one tree!

Don’t ever ask The Man to cut your hair – if the way he prunes an olive tree is anything to go by then you would be lucky to be left with a strand or two.

From the lips of the local farmers, there’s a great deal of advice about planting, pruning, picking and pressing olives. It’s always contradictory advice too, one man telling you one thing and his friend/wife disagreeing. We’ve listened to it all, The Man and I. We’ve read books and researched the Internet, basically you end up doing your own thing and for us that can’t have been bad because – friends and family, we’ve picked tons of olives (3 tons in fact) and consequently many litres of oil this year. It is certainly worth the hard work.  I have never tasted any oil so delicious as the freshly pressed virgin oil from the newly picked organic olives. We’re not registered organic but the trees are not treated in anyway. They grow and flourish, only by drawing nourishment from the rain and sun… and a bit of love of course.

Before I came to Italy I had no idea that olive oil could be so good. It’s labour intensive to harvest and as The Man always points out, when you buy olive oil from the supermarkets for under €10 a litre then it cannot be good stuff.  There has been much controversy in the press about big oil companies cheating and mixing the oil but I don’t know enough to go into all that here.  All I know for certain is that our olive oil is wonderful.

oliveoil

Fresh green beautiful oil….

Olivespastavino will be going to England in the New Year so if you’re good to me and I bump into you, then maybe you’ll get a drop or two.

coffeetime

Coffee time in le Marche sunshine in November !

By the way, there’s a great deal of talking goes on around each tree during picking and I’m tempted to make notes or record the conversations because they are so diverse. Subjects range from basic recipes, shopping, best and worst restaurants, expats you love or hate, religion, politics, healthcare in Italy v other countries, tax systems… I could go on forever and so did some of the discussions. I’ve taken to sitting on a box while I lovingly strip the olives from the branches either with a rake or my gloved hands listening with interest to those declaiming and joining in as and when I can – I’m not so good in the sport category but streets ahead in the useless bits of information section.

 

olivespastavinopicking

Stripping the cut branches of their olives. I’m standing up, but only for the photo.

Walking…is good for you and for the dog but the cat will give it a miss thank you very much…

shadow of my former self

All this walking…will I ever be a shadow of my former self?

As you may know I tried to keep fit by using the gym for a few weeks but sadly (and you told me so) I didn’t keep it up. I found the, getting in the car, driving to the gym, working out etc., all a bit too much. It also made my elbows and knees really ache and I felt 103 instead of 36 (I know the numbers might be the wrong way round!!) We live in such a beautiful area and on the whole the weather is clement so the ideal exercise is to walk. The Man prefers a bike and he has got me into cycling, just a little bit, but I don’t like the hills, more about bike riding next post.

We invited Mickey to join us but he preferred to stay at home.

We invited Mickey to join us but he preferred to stay at home.

I try to do a good walk at least three times a week and this morning I set off for Montevidon Combate and back which is about 7k in total. I know this because I use an App on my phone which gives me all the  information. walkingwell Jpeg trots along just in front of me stopping every now and then for well…you know…the things dogs do when they go for a walk…but her meandering on the verges makes us a bit slow – so the App tells me. Of course I stride out as much as possible in between intermittent pauses. When we get to Montevidon we take a break and if the café is open I have a cappuccino con orzo, (its made from barley but don’t ask me how)  I’m not too keen on coffee. I actually took a croissant this morning too, in sympathy with another blogger Here’s to Appetite who would definitely encourage the taking of food during breaks. capcornetto

Jpeg behaving well

What an incredibly well-behaved dog!

It’s a lovely walk and this morning was no exception. Above my head the sky was blue and in the distance it was just a little hazy over the mountains. I tried to be more observant of my surroundings as I walked, appreciate the views and just…enjoy.

Blue Skies

Blue Skies

flowershop

Ikebana – The Flower Shop

The route out of town takes me past the flower shop and the Venetian house which is being renovated, it’s close to the theatre. Then I pass the Petritoli cemetery, which is on the outskirts, a tradition that dates back to the Roman times, I believe. They always took the dead outside the city walls to bury them. venetianbuilding and theatre

Petritoli Cemetery

Petritoli Cemetery

Mountain Views

Mountain Views

The walk out, is all uphill but only a slight gradient – total elevation 80m – according the App. The higher I get the further I can see. Although not crystal clear this morning the Sibillini to the west, or is it the north? They seem to move as I walk…Conero and the sea to the east…yeah I’m pretty sure that’s right.

meeting the combine and tractor

I saw a combine harvester that was off to cut sunflowers, I met some horses, I could see the sea in the distance. Along the way I glimpsed lizards darting for cover, birds in the hedgerows and on the wing.  All very back to nature….

myfriends the horses

Horses enjoying the morning sun

The best thing of all?  As people drove past several of them tooted their motor horns, waved and shouted, ‘Buongiono!’ or ‘Ciao Ninette!’ or even ‘Ciao Jpeg!’ How lucky to be walking on a warm October morning, stunning views and with so many people making me feel safe and at home.

montevidonbytree

Love you Le Marche… only thing is, miss my family and wish they could visit more often. Not too often mind!

Here's looking at you...Jpeg is still not great at the selfies but better...

Here’s looking at you…Jpeg is still not great at the selfies but getting better…

Petritoli - my home town.

Petritoli – my home town.

Creating, Cooking and a little Confession…

This morning I was determined to get on with writing. I’m part way through two online courses and I need to GET ON with both of them. One is memoir writing which I’m really enjoying but it tends fill me with nostalgia so I have to be in the mood.

The other course is for Creative Writing and the module I’m working on right now involves writing the synopsis for a novel and character studies for four of the main characters in the book, ‘piece of cake’ I hear you say well…I’ve got about as far as the title.

writing

I was also hoping to have been at Swanwick this week in Derbyshire but circumstances did not allow it. I was sulking this morning and day dreaming about being there and wondering what delights I was missing.

I sat and looked at the blank computer screen for about five minutes and knew I wasn’t going to write a single thing so I decided instead to cook. I made a banana cake and then launched into making my own pasta tagliatelle – the way Roberto demonstrated back in July.

Getting Ready

Getting Ready

I gathered all the ingredients together, flour, egg, oil, vino cotto. Took out my pasta board and rolling pin inherited from an American lady a couple of years ago. I don’t know where she got it from but today was its first outing, I hauled from it’s hiding place and put it to use.

 

Flour, egg, oil, vino cotto

Flour, egg, oil, vino cotto

 

I did everything exactly as I remember Roberto showing us. I mixed with my fingers and kneaded with love and emotion. My wrists ached and my mind wandered as boredom struck after only five minutes. I carried on, even though my carpal tunnel pain started up. The mixture was not doing what it was supposed to. It remained more like a cricket ball than a dough ball. Despite that, I thought I would have a go at rolling it out but it was dry and reluctant to stretch or roll out any bigger than a tea plate.

 

 

Rejected Pasta

Reluctantly, I threw it to one side and began again.

Now, here’s where the confession comes in. I made another lot but this time I mixed it in the Kenwood food processor (embarrassing admission) but it worked a treat! I had to roll it out by hand of course, to a paper thin translucent state, and cut it up and that was done without the aid of a machine – except for the rolling pin. This time it was entirely successful!

Perfectly Rolled Out

Perfectly Rolled Out

Looking just Like Roberto's

Looking just Like Roberto’s

 

tagliatelle

I wasn’t sure how long to cook it but I guessed about 5 minutes. I made a sauce of onion, mushroom, pancetta and wine with chilli and a small amount of cream added at the end of cooking. The verdict? Scrumptious.

Finished Dish served with Salad

Finished Dish served with Salad

It was easy to make the pasta when I used the machine and why put myself through the pain when the end result was so much better?

GBTasing

The Man was thoroughly approving and has requested that more should be made tomorrow!

Markets

vegetables

Last Sunday we went to the market in Rubianello, a small valley town about 5k from Petritoli. The sun was shining and I wanted to buy another pair of cheap comfy trousers to keep me going until the summer comes at which point I can’t bear to wear anything but a loose fitting lightweight dress.

The market people travel from place to place so you often see the same stalls in different towns. The stalls are varied; don’t think food with tempting pastries, pasta and other delights. These markets are functional, mostly clothes, household items, fruit and vegetables, flowers, shoes, haberdashery.

It’s a time for all the locals to passeggiare stroll and chattare chat to friends, take a coffee and browse the stalls. There’s lots of laughter and of course a great deal of gesticulating. It often seems when the Italians speak that they are in the throws of a massive argument as voices are raised and hands fly in every direction but usually it’s friendly banter, probably about football or husbands.

We bumped into a couple of people we know and did our own bit of chatting and we saw ‘our honey man’ from Petritoli. His small table was heavy with boxes of miele in favo honeycomb, several jars of different varieties of miele, honey, also beeswax and small jars of pollen. I’m not at all sure what you’re supposed to do with pollen it looks like a jar of Dijon mustard.
honeyman

We wandered over to the fruit and vegetable stall as I spied some rather delicious looking strawberries from Sicily. They were only €1 a punnet. The stallholder then cajoled us into buying some red oranges; actually, he cajoled The Man as I am never easily persuaded to part with my money. It always seems when The Man comes shopping we spend twice as much and come home with too many treats!

fruit

The flowers looked fantastic, so many bright colours, mostly pansies and primulas but there were a few early geraniums. We bought half a dozen daisy things to put in the pots outside the front door. It cheers up the place so much and it really feels as though Spring has arrived!

Flowers

Markets in Italy are well supported by vendors and buyers, I hope they continue to thrive even though there are now more out of town hypermarkets opening up. I love strolling down to our local market twice a month, chatting with locals, buying my honey and taking a coffee or two. It’s a great pace of life here in Le Marche. No hurry, there’s always tomorrow.

NOTE: I haven’t blogged for over two weeks…my ribs have been hurting, they’re much better now but that’s not the only reason I haven’t posted a blog. I am inundated with emails telling me that there is a [New post] from Bladiblabla – blog or whatagreatwriterIam – blog…Sometimes as many as three times a week! I think if you post too many times people get turned off but maybe I’m just jealous because I don’t seem to be able to blog regularly even once a week and on occasion not even once a month! Oh, It’s Wednesday again so teaching this afternoon, better put a bottle of wine in the fridge to cool ready for when I get back. 🙂

Delicious oranges and strawberries

Delicious oranges and strawberries

‘Tis the Season to Pick Olives, tra la la la la la la la la…..

Empty boxes in the field waiting to be filled. Beautiful November day.

Empty boxes in the field waiting to be filled. Beautiful November day.

One of the first questions I am asked when I speak to anyone about olives is, ‘Do you grow green or black olives?’ The answer is that all olives start off their life on the tree as green olives and then they turn black when fully mature. I didn’t know that myself until I came here to Italy, I assumed, as do most people that there are two types of olives grown, green or black. If picked in the middle of October, some of the olives will have turned black and some will still be green. I also didn’t know how beautiful olive oil could smell and taste; it was a complete revelation to me. As a young child my mother had put olive oil on my feet, I did a lot of ballet dancing as a child, I’m not sure what the olive oil was supposed to do but what I remember is the smell, ‘Yuk’, is all I can say.

The first time I experienced newly pressed olive oil I was completely overwhelmed with the freshness of the scent. I had been picking for a few days and it was as though the tree, the olives, the leaves, everything I had been working in and around, had been brought together in liquid form. It was amazing and I honestly felt I could just drink a glass of it. I didn’t of course but I did taste it neat from a spoon without any bread, salad or any seasoning. It was delicious. Mild and fruity, there was a slight after burn at the back of the throat after swallowing. Perfect! The great thing is that after five years of harvesting I still get a thrill when I remove the lid from the 50 litre can of fresh virgin oil, breathe in the perfume and get ready to taste the content.

Empty 50 Litre Oil Can...most exciting picture I've posted.

Empty 50 Litre Oil Can…most exciting picture I’ve ever posted. I suppose I could have pretended it was a full can, (it’s dark inside…)

The next question asked is, ‘What is extra-virgin oil?’ Well, as far as I know it’s the oil that comes from the first pressing and when the temperature of the press does not rise above 30deg. In other words the olives are not pressed so hard that machines get hot and the oil is spoiled. A true extra-virgin oil must be tested to prove that it is free from additives and contain no more than 0.8% free acidity (oleic acid)… bla…bla…bla…I don’t really understand any of this so if you want to know more I suggest you Google it. The oil I have is bloody lovely, that’s all I care about!

Bottle of freshly pressed oil

Bottle of freshly pressed oil

Raccolta delle olive (Olive harvest)

Each year friends and family help to pick the olives. Whether you’re Italian or stranieri (foreigners) it’s the same. Most Italians families living in the countryside have enough trees to produce sufficient oil to last for the year. They use huge amounts of olive oil, not just for cooking but plenty for eating too. They take it with bread or pour it over salad with a little lemon juice or apple vinegar and seasoning. The average Italian family probably use around 40 litres a year, so I’m told.

Helping Hands

Helping Hands

Younger helpers always welcomed! Some eager visitors!

Younger helpers always welcomed! Some eager visitors!

 

More Helping Hands

More Helping Hands

Picking starts in the middle of October, although I have heard of some who begin very early in September in order to have very green oil but I find that a little to bitter for my taste. The press normally opens in October and operates until the end of November or perhaps into the early part of December. At the height of the season the press will be open for 24hours a day.

Spreading the Net

Spreading the Net

A large net (or two) is placed under the tree and then everyone scrapes the olives from the branches either with their hands or with a short or long handled rake. It is difficult sometimes to reach the very top branches but The Man usually gets up the tree with the clippers or a saw and prunes the tree (drastically!). The branches that are cut off can then be conveniently stripped on the ground; onto the net of course. It takes quite a long time and any newcomers are very keen at the start of the day but after about four hours picking the enthusiasm wanes. It makes your back, shoulder, wrists and legs ache and you find muscles where you never knew they existed! Coffee, tea and snacks are provided and then pickers are rewarded with a large lunch and lashings of wine! So it’s not all bad.

Lunch !

Lunch ! (actually 2012 lunch)

The Dog Helping (NOT)

The Dog Helping (NOT)

There are a few dangers associated with olive picking, falling out of the tree and being stabbed in the eye by the very sharp olive leaf. It happened to me a couple of years ago. It makes sense to wear eye protection. It’s also important to take care when climbing the tree, as the older branches can be quite brittle and not able to take too much weight. Take note, The Man.

The Man...at the helm of the olive tree.

The Man…at the helm of the olive tree.

Off to the press with a full load

Off to the press with a full load

Arriving at the Press

Arriving at the Press

Loriana and Maria Pia working hard at the press

Loriana and Maria Pia working hard at the press

Weighing in...one of these big boxes holds about 250k of fruit

Weighing in…one of these big boxes holds about 250k of fruit

The olives start their journey through the press

The olives start their journey through the press

Olives enter the first stage of pressing

Olives enter the first stage of pressing

End Product

End Product

Phew! Finished picking now until next year! Plenty of work left to do with tidying up and more pruning etc., Think I’ll leave that the The Man…and his dog.

Summer’s Arrived in Le Marche

Beautiful Rose (Peace)

Beautiful Rose (Peace)

The roses are blooming the grass is growing faster than we can cut it. Summer has definitely arrived in Le Marche. It did have to be dragged out of hiding this year though, April and the beginning of May were very changeable. The kind of weather where you have to prepare for anything and everything before you go out for the day, taking with you, raincoat, umbrella, wellies, cardigan, T-shirt, sandals, suncream and sunhat. Get the idea?

Last week I mentioned the growth in the orto (vegetable garden) and it hasn’t slowed down. Today we’re going to pick most of the peas and broad beans, although the beans don’t look too healthy, some of them have black leaves and inside the pods is a sticky black substance…anyone enlighten me?

Peas...as if you didn't know

Peas…as if you didn’t know

In 2012 the apricots were prolific but, this year, two of the trees appear to be yielding nothing and the other tree just a few. I managed to make over thirty pots of chutney and several jars of jam last summer but this year there will be very few. Pity I gave so many away. Looks like there’s only one of each left in the larder.

One Jar Apricot Chutney One Jar Apricot Jam

One Jar Apricot Chutney
One Jar Apricot Jam

The cherries are looking good though so we’ll be harvesting them this afternoon too before the birds get them. So cherry jam will be on the boil later this evening. Such a fag taking out all those stones though.

cherries2

 

cherries1

 

May is a very beautiful time here, it’s warm enough to eat breakfast outside on the terrace but not so hot during the day to be unbearable. The mosquitoes are still sleeping so we don’t have to cover ourselves in deet. The evenings are drawing out and only goes a little chilly after the sun has completely gone, which, at the moment is around 20.45.

redrose

If you fancy trying out Le Marche there are some lovely places to visit and to stay. You could check out this link Marcheholidayaparts.com. If you decide to try them then mention olivespastavino blog when you book, you will be sure to get a favourable rate!

The Bougainvillea has survived the winter and is blooming!

The Bougainvillea has survived the winter and is blooming!