I hauled myself out of bed at the slightly later-than-usual time of 7.40am, but still feeling like I would much rather turn over and go back to sleep. After feeding the cats, I ventured outside for a rather grumpy and unmotivated exercise session - although it got better once I got into the swing of things. Once I'd finished that, I decided that, while I was already hot and sweaty, I would be proactive and tick off one of the jobs on this weekend's to-do list and mow the lawn.
I got the lawn mower out, plugged it in, managed to get the apartment lawns nice and neat and tidy, and managed a single stripe all the way across the main lawn before the mower coughed and gave up. At this point, Stuart was just settling himself down on the patio with his morning glass of grapefruit juice and his tablet PC, but on hearing the mechanical/electrical fail, he came to have a look. The grass had been slightly wet with dew, and it looked like the blade had got clogged up with wet grass. Once we'd cleaned off the blade, we tried the mower again, but it was dead as a dodo. Clearly the motor had given up. Brilliant. So, instead of getting ahead of things and getting a job ticked off the to-do list, I had both failed to complete the job AND created a new job: going to buy a new lawn mower.
I stomped inside to go and have a shower.
We then had breakfast and coffees on the patio in the beautiful morning sunshine, Stuart put in a call to his mum, while I pottered about for a bit, then we decided it was time to head into town. On the list for this morning were: posting a parcel to my nephew and nieces, collecting our pictures from the framing shop, visiting the hardware shop where we thought we might be able to get a new lawnmower, and getting some prices for chicken wire.
As we were driving down the hill, I suggested we stop at the post office in Pietrabuona to do our posting - to save us having to queue up in the big post office in town. We duly did that, and managed to get the parcel posted off for the grand total of €19. Time will tell how long it takes to reach its destination - hopefully before the girls' birthday in the middle of September!!
Next, we drove into Pescia, parked in the car park opposite the old flower market, and walked up to the framing shop. It was closed. There was a handwritten note on the door saying 'back at 15.30' (it was about 11am at this point).
So we trudged back to the car empty handed and headed for the hardware shop just outside of town. We'd visited this shop on a couple of occasions previously and knew that the owner is very friendly, but that he not only speaks no English, but he also speaks Italian very quickly!! He saw us perusing his stock and came to ask if he could help.
First, we asked how much he was charging for the two different types of chicken wire we were after - simple question, simple answer. We then started asking about lawn mowers. We had been a little disappointed to see only two models on show in his shop, but after asking us whether we wanted a petrol powered one or an electric one (we said electric), he quickly raced to his computer, called up his lawnmowers page and beckoned us behind his counter to have a look. He was only showing us the EXACT same make and model as was currently sitting abandoned in the middle of our lawn at home!!
We explained that we had already bought one of those, a couple of months ago, but that today it was broken. He asked us where we had bought it. When we said 'Obi', he rolled his eyes and gave us a look as if to say 'well, what do you expect?!'. We all had a bit of a laugh at that and we said 'never again' (or what we hoped were words to that effect), and asked if he had anything that was a better make and model.
He quickly leafed through his printed catalogue and found a couple of options that he assured us were a much better brand (with a slightly more expensive price tag, which is what we were expecting). There followed lots of gabbling in Italian and hand gestures, of which we only understood snippets, but next we were all racing back out to the front of the shop to have a look at the two models that were on display out there. These were both petrol powered, but he explained that a petrol powered mower would be stronger and would cope a lot better with long grass (and, presumably with slightly dewy grass...). The petrol-powered model in his shop was only €8 more expensive than the electric one he was showing us in his catalogue, so we decided that it was probably worth the extra and decided to take the plunge. Fully expecting him to unchain the mower from outside the shop, put it in the back of our car and take some money from us, he surprised us by saying that he couldn't let us have it until it had been checked over and filled up - which would be Wednesday. It seemed that buying a lawn mower was going to be surprisingly like buying a car! We agreed that we would come back in the week, and resigned ourselves to the fact that the mowing-the-lawn task would not be one we would be able to tick off our to-do list this weekend.
From the hardware shop, we turned up a back street in order to get back onto the main road, but as we followed the back street around, we became intrigued as to where the road led. So we followed it.
It turned out that the road went up the hill on the west side of Pescia, to the tiny village/hamlet of Monte a Pescia. There were some beautiful views from the road - on which were also several restaurants (with lovely views) that we hadn't heard of or seen before.
|View across Pescia (looking to the east).
|Looking towards the plains.
After gawping at the view for a while, we retraced our route to get back down into Pescia. Our next stop was the agraria in Santa Lucia that we had found closed last Saturday afternoon - we wanted to see how much they were selling chicken wire for, to compare prices.
We must have arrived just before they were about to close, as the clock in the car read 12.30pm, but the gates were still open so we went in. We managed to find out that their rolls of chicken wire were slightly dearer than those at the hardware shop, so we stored that useful piece of information and just bought a pair of ear defenders (so that we have a spare pair that Stuart can take out when he goes for a day's strimming work).
Before heading home, Stuart decided he'd like to try to get to Uzzano - a village perched just above Pescia that he had attempted to cycle to a few weeks ago, but hadn't quite found it on that occasion. We drove there and had a brief wander around. Another pretty village - perhaps not as beautiful as others we have seen recently, but that's only because we are getting spoiled. It was beautiful, with some stunning views!
|View across Pescia/the plains from the other side of the hill (looking west).
|Piazza in Uzzano.
|Church in Uzzano.
|How about that for a view?
|...and hers (although really also his).
|Neatly trimmed bank from the drive (so the geese will have an uninterrupted view!).