Archive for June, 2010

Italy exits the World Cup

Friday, June 25th, 2010

italian team

After Italy’s exit from the World Cup I thought of putting a picture of the defeated  team on the blog. However, when I searched google for images using the keywords: Italy World Cup  I got the pictures of victory celebrations from 4 years ago. They seemed even more poignant than the photos of defeat in the papers today. Needless to say the team were torn to shreds by journalists and politicians. One journalist described how watching the game made him feel that he wanted his mum beside him so that when the whole thing became to much he could hide his face in his mum’s lap. One politican said that the team should be returning home in business class instead of first class but added that if a trans-Africa railway was available then they should be sent home on that.

Bringing pets to Italy

Friday, June 25th, 2010


The lady in the picture is Michaella Brabilla the current Minister for Tourism and she welcomes you to the web site on bringing pets to Italy. The web site Bringing your pets to Italy is in 5 european languages, including English. It gives some general information about bringing pets to Italy and also has a search engine to help find hotels and restaurants who are animal friendly.

Not much comes up for the Marche but in our limited experience when eating in restaurants with Pam, Michael and dog Max there has been no problems with restaurants allowing the dog in. So obviously a work in progress.

Bat Boxes: the in-thing for your garden

Sunday, June 20th, 2010
bats bat box

A few months ago in a local supermarket they were selling bat boxes. I walked past the shelf not realising that I was missing the opportunity to buy what has, according to the Corriere della Sera, become the “must have” garden accessory of the summer.

Appartently if you can get a bat to live in your box then you are well on the way to mosquito free eating al fresco. According to the experts one bat will eat 6000 insects in an evening and 2000 of these insects will be mosquitoes.

The best time to put the box up is in March or April. So missed this year but will be ready next.

Calabrone in the garden

Sunday, June 20th, 2010


This year we have had lots of bees and beetles in the garden. We have also had lots of calabrone or hornets. They are about 2 inches long, and the queen is bigger. For someone, like me, who is allergic to wasp stings rather worrying. All I have read about hornets assure me that they are usually very passive and more interested in seeking out insect prey than humans. However, when I approach the hedge and 5 or 6 of them start to skim in ever widening circles ober the ground then I tend to back away.

Apparently in parts of Europe hornets are an endangered species. It could be something to do with the rumour that 6 hornet stings can kill a horse and 3 a man. In Germany it has been illegal to kill a European hornet or nest since 1 January 1987, with a fine up to 50,000 Euros. Fortunately this does not apply to Italy and so we have bought wasp spray which can be fired up to 6 metres away. 

News from the beach

Sunday, June 13th, 2010


A week of torrid weather predicted as an anticyclone arrives from Africa bringing hot (80 degrees) humid weather. So its time to head for the beach.

Rumours that there were lots of jellyfish around proved true and young kids got great delight creating piles of dead or dying jellyfish. Apparently they are the common moon jellyfish which does not sting. In fact it does sting but the stings cannot penetrate the human skin but this fact doesn’t make the thought of swimming any more pleasant.

Will beach sellers become a thing of the past? Last year there were an incredible number of people selling bags, sunglasses etc on the beach. Last week in Jesolo, near Venice, a woman was fined 1000 euros for buying a fake bag on the beach. Closer to home a couple of ladies were fined 250 each for buying fake prada bags. Some authorities say they are declaring war on the itinerant sellers on the beach. Fining the customer rather than the seller appears to be an effective way to stop the practice. In fact on Friday only one person came round selling things at Torette beach. However, whether a few highly publicised fines can stop italians on the beach buying fake Channel sunglassess or cheap prada handbags is very doubtful.

Is it too twee?

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

bird table

Following our great success with the bird feeder Bill, for his birthday, asked his sister for a bird table. The World Wildlife approved table arrived yesterday and is already swaying gently under the olive tree. It comes complete with a copper roof, a trellised fence to stop the birds falling out and is painted a sage green which complements the colour of the olive trees. But is it too twee?

Making the town even more beautiful

Saturday, June 12th, 2010


The commune has recently put a couple of park benches round by the castle wall. Now it is possible to take a short break under the “spreading mulberry tree”. So far two benches have appeared. Others are awaited.

Garden in early June

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
garden june 2010 garden june 2010
garden june 2010 garden june 2010

This year the garden is looking better than ever. Along the gravel path at the bottom of the garden the geums have begun to spread and look great against the dark green of the trees. Under the pear tree I planted a Lamium or dead nettle. We have the weed form in the garden which grows really well and so thought the cultivated form may do equally well in the shade and it hasn’t disappointed.

The sunnier part of the gravel path looks good lined with the spanish broom and once the broom finishes we should be getting the russian sage flowering. On the other side of the path  I have planted lavender, cistus,teucrium and convolvulus. Most of them are from cuttings made last year and so will it will next year before they really develop.

Finally have nearly finished the path leading down to the dip in the garden. We think there was a land slide sometime in the past and until recently it was full of weeds. We have christened it Dingly Dell and have started to plant it up with ground cover roses, rosemary etc.

The steps at the far side of the garden were made last year. The bed beside the path now has roses, verbena bonariensis and echinops (globe thistle) and is starting to look good. Beside the steps are lavenders, salvias, geraniums, lemon balm i.e. scented plants. So hopefully walking up the steps under the arching olive trees will be a pleasant experience. 

Smallest festival in the world

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
torricella torricella

On Sunday we were told about a festa in Torricella a small village up in the hills. The village was meant to be very beautiful, it was a wonderful sunny day and so we drove up the windy gravelly roads. We hadn’t realised how small it is. It makes San Giorgio seem like a metropolis. Torricella has a small piazza and one other street.

We had expected to stay about 20 minutes but 5 minutes was enough to see everything. Very pretty in a beautiful setting but even the presence of “Fred Magic” making animals out of balloons, or the local drammatic society who appeared from behind a painted curtain, or the presence of a group playing dance music to which no-one was dancing was enough to entice us to stay longer.


Saturday, June 5th, 2010


The fireflies are already out and giving a fantastic display this year – much better than last year. They look much prettier from a distance than from close up as the photo from World News Update shows.

Bill and I first saw fireflies about 20 years ago when we were walking through a vineyard outside Florence. It was at the end the end of June and so, perhaps because of  climate change,they are coming out earlier in the year. No matter how many times you see them they are enchanting.