Spot the Tomato…

Spot the Tomato!

Spot the Tomato!

At the back of our house is a little bit of waste ground that nobody bothers about so The Man decided he would make it a project and set about improving the look of it. He made terraces using some wooden beams taken from the roof when we made a roof terrace and arranged a wine press ( an old one that we don’t use) in an artistic way, threw in a couple of green vintage wine demijohns (even more artistic) – put down some paving and gravel. The Man generally made a rather good job of it and proudly announces to everyone, ‘I did all this without spending hardly any money, only hard labour and all the materials are recycled. I only spent €10 on screws!’

garden

I was in charge of filling the beds so I bought lots of rosemary plants, lavender, sage and other herbs. Then I decided to put in a couple of tomato plants. Yeah what a good idea. I thought I’d bought those cherry ones and looked forward to lots of little red jewels to put on our salad.

Everyone grows tomatoes here without any problem. I watered and fed them and they grew like triffids…amazing! They grew huge and are taking over the whole of the area but they are devoid of tomatoes – or are they? I have now spotted one or two but they are the buffalo variety – shock horror – where are my dainty little gems? Sadly they are taking a long time to get to anything like the right size for picking and as for going red…hmm – I think I’ll be making a lot of green tomato chutney this autumn.

Spotted one tomato...

Spotted! One tomato…

I had also put in some strawberry plants which did quite well and look as though they’re spreading well so next year there should be a better crop – if only I can stop the cat and dog using that particular area as their toilet. Not sure if it improves the taste of the strawberries as I was rather put off trying them…

On a brighter note, my flowers have done extremely well this year and I’m very proud of my cascading petunias, a wonderful burst of colour – aren’t I clever?

Petunia you adorable lady, well done!

Petunia – you adorable lady, well done!

And – I hope I don’t speak too soon – I have six oranges on my little tree, with a bit of luck they’ll be ready for Christmas!

Oranges...(or greens as they are at the moment)

Oranges…(or greens as they are at the moment)

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