27 Nov 2016

Advent



Candles are alight in our living room this Sunday evening and the first one to have been lit was the Advent Candle.  Next to this I've placed a card from the local church that we received today.  The first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the church year in the Western Christian calendar and the season of Advent is an opportunity to stop and think about what it means to be a follower of Jesus, to receive once again the hope that this brings as we prepare for celebrating his birth.  Every year I've appreciated these weeks of quiet reflection before Christmas and will do so even more this year. My recent goal was to get well so that I could travel to Italy and to be able to get out-and-about locally here in the UK once more. It was good to be able to go to a church service today and to feel physically part of the church community. Over the last few months I've also known the prayer support and thoughtfulness of others. Of course, that includes you, my friends. Thank you so much.
       

24 Nov 2016

A time in Italy (2) Out and About


As soon as we got the car running and because the weather wasn't suitable for doing anything in the garden we went to the hill town where we're registered as my husband wanted to renew his passport. To get the paperwork started we had to go to the offices of the town hall.  Although there was a bit of a wait for some paperwork to be completed to start the process the clerk was very helpful. Whilst in the town hall office a lady who was also waiting to do business wanted to know what I think of Brexit. She was curious about the vote which has resulted in the decision to withdraw from the European Union. To the lay person it all seems very complicated with lots of implications for the economy, trade and freedom of movement. The Italian people have their own constitutional referendum on reforming the government (although not, in fact, about making any decision to leave the EU) on the 4th December. Listening to my husband's family debating it over the lunch table was fascinating. 



It was market day in town although most of the stalls are in an area outside the town walls and not in the main town hall square so it wasn't busy.  In the piazza was a fish stall, a  fruit and vegetable stall and a stall selling clothes, linen, blankets and other soft furnishings. Last year I bought some blankets from this trader. It was misty up in this hill town so the photos are not very bright.







We also went to the local social health offices on our way down to the car park.  We were thankful that we were walking down hill and not up hill as by then our energy was low.  



The steps down to the car park are through the metal gate on the right hand side of the above photo.


a view of the countryside from the top of the steps and
down below is the car park



We didn't stop anywhere for a cup of coffee as we usually do because it was such a miserably damp day, but went straight home and had a welcome espresso coffee when we got indoors.



Thankfully the weather improved and the next time we went out and about to the shops, the Abbey church and grounds we enjoyed the sunshine and this is reflected in the photos that I took and will share next time.

Meanwhile I wish everyone a good day and Happy Thanksgiving to those who keep this tradition,


20 Nov 2016

A time in Italy (1) house and garden


We're back from a trip to Italy. This year we were a month late in getting there, but we managed the travelling and were ready for the change of scene. This year we missed the gathering of the grapes and the beginning of the process for making wine. The harvest was poor due to frost and hailstorms damaging the newly-formed grapes and many of our relatives bought grapes from elsewhere to make some wine for their own use.  The olives have also been gathered and pressed to produce oil for home consumption. My sister-in-law and her husband who used to live in England were pleased with the amount of oil that was produced from their olive trees on the land around their house.  These trees are relatively new having been planted some ten years ago. As usual we were given fresh eggs, vegetables, oil, wine and other produce whilst we were there and invited for meals.





Above is how we left the grounds in April.



The vines this November, pretty to look at but a lot of work needed to
clear up the falling leaves.


The first afternoon when we arrived there was thunder, lightening and heavy rain so that the man with the tractor and mower could not come until the vegetation had dried out.  The land was once a vineyard until my husband decided to cut down the plants because gathering the grapes and producing wine was no longer viable, but the wild vines continue to grow through.  Rotavating the land is not an option. 





After two days of drizzly rain we woke up to frost first thing in the morning followed by sun and blue skies and the rest of our time we were thankful for good, dry weather.





Pruning the long branches on the vines and tying them back onto the supporting wires






One or two roses were still blooming.






Sundown and snow on the distant mountains




We were glad of the wood burning stove that runs the central heating and gives us hot water.
It's an alternative to the calor gas central heating system which we can also use.


the super moon 



Looking forward to catching up with your news.  Wishing you a good day,