Part way through being painted, the house looked like a Battenberg cake.
The new paint is magnolia Sandtex from Britain.
The house looks as if it’s very badly diseased.
Here Giovanni (on the right) and his friend Franco (on the left) sponge over where they’ve recently applied patches of rendering.
Our house has, quite literally, 360-degree views.
Sometimes I’m hard put to decide which prospect is best.
Clive’s favourite, a row of distant blue mountain peaks beyond the gulf of the olive grove, is actually my least favourite.
As I swim the length of the pool, I’m not sure which end holds more interest.
My point is this: we already had a lily, so why did I try to gild it?
We could have just had a lawn (doubtless not a very nice lawn in the hot summer) but somewhere to put deckchairs and for the dogs to play.
Why did I plant roses, lavender etc and why do I spend hours extracting thistles and bindweed?
Looking at the garden now, shining as it is after recent rain, I know why.
On our way back from the ‘piano grande’ we came across a sad little scene.
There was a house completely destroyed by earthquake, presumably the one in 1997.
Tell-tale 45-degree cracks crossed even the parts of the walls that were still standing.
Elder bushes had crowded close.
An attempt had obviously been made to prop the remaining bits of the house.
But the saddest thing was a couple of jackets still hanging on their pegs.
I know that some people were so traumatised by the earthquake that they couldn’t return to look for their belongings.
Even if their house was rebuilt, they could never live there again.
It’s not quite summer and it’s not quite snow, but it’s white where it shouldn’t be.
Chokri has been doing repairs to the outside of the house including the surrounds of the windows, which are painted ivory white as opposed to the muted pink of the walls generally.
The painter who did the original work left us scarcely any ivory white paint and it got used up.
As the repairs seemed very minor – just filling the odd hole and crack – I thought we could cover them up with the paint we used for the stairwell and upstairs corridor because it happens to be exactly the right colour.
However Chokri got carried away and painted the whole of two window surrounds rather than just the bits of repair.
The rain has washed this non-waterfast paint down onto the pink paint, in long streaks.
I’ve tidied it up as best I can so it’s not too obvious in the photo, but when we get more rain it will all be to do again.
Our 3 recycling bins aren’t exactly things of beauty.
They sit in front of a stone wall in a passage next to the house.
It could be quite gloomy there, but the rosemary which grows in the flowerbed at the top of the wall has decided to dangle its best flowers down towards the bins.
The 2 tufts on the left offer the highest flower-to-leaf ratio that I think I’ve ever seen in a rosemary.
These two flowers are the perfect complement one for another.
The clumps in the photo, which are by the bole of the big oak next to the house, originated as skinny little plants which I dug up from the wood at the top of the hill 4 years ago.
Being still our land, I didn’t reckon I’d committed any crime.
I’ve been wanting to visit the wood, or even just work my way round the slopes immediately below the house, because primroses and violets are everywhere, hiding in the dead leaves or the long grass. But I just haven’t had time.
I long for summer, but it’s still a shame how spring slips away.