After feeling a huge amount better for having had a rest yesterday, I decided I would continue with the recharging of my reserves and made no effort to get up early today - in fact, I woke at 9am when Helen came into the bedroom with a mug of tea for me, a lovely way to start the day. It would have been silly of me to then get up and take my tea back downstairs after Helen had expended all that energy carrying it up them, so I did the respectful thing and lay in bed with my head in a book for half an hour, a real rare treat that I thoroughly enjoyed. I probably should have let Helen know that was what I was doing though, as it turns out that while I was enjoying some extra sleep and the half-hour with my cup of tea and book, she was downstairs worrying that I was slipping back to my pre-Christmas levels of tiredness and lethargy.
After getting up, I quickly demolished a bowl of cereal for breakfast before heading out for a shopping trip out with my in-laws while poor Helen continued to toil away in the office. The day was decidedly chilly and grey - it was as if we were stuck in the cloud, a very different day from yesterday and not what we'd been expecting.
As we needed methane for the car, I decided we might as well drive out to Montecatini and have a look in OBI for a few things - top of the list was a UK-style gardening fork, the thought being that as Italians don't seem to go in for what we know as a garden fork, the Germans might offer us one that would be more familiar. They did indeed, but what they were offering didn't look very sturdy and having already snapped a tooth one fork digging up bramble roots, we decided against this particular purchase. We didn't leave empty handed though - we left with a trolley full of goodies including tools that I didn't even know I needed, and potato and onions for planting.
After loading the car, we stopped for a coffee in the main shopping centre, accompanied by a jam tart each - well, why wouldn't you? (sorry Helen).
Our next stop was a garden centre on the outskirts of Pescia to try and find some agricultural lime and maybe even a decent fork. Lime we found, fork we didn't, but we also left with six small fruit trees to add to our small but growing orchard as they were selling them for a mere five euros each! So, to add to our fig, peach, apricot and almond, we now have two types of pear, two types of plum, an apple and a cherry, it's going to be long wait for the fruits but will be a momentous occasion when they arrive.
It was close to 1pm when we finally got home, so we went straight for lunch - an indoor lunch today as it was still chilly and cloudy outside and definitely not al fresco dining temperature. After clearing away lunch, Jill, Mike and I got the tools out for an hour while Helen finished her shift for the day. In that hour, the in-laws and planted another row of potatoes to give us an entire bed of potatoes, and then raked another bed before filling it with shallots and two types of onion. I can't tell you how exciting it is to see things actually going into the ground and on such a scale too, but we've got our work cut out over the next few weeks if we are to get everything we'd like planted at the same time as strimming all of these terraces we now have uncovered that are now growing vegetation at an alarming rate.
The mobile phone rang just after lunch - it was a courier letting me know that he would be arriving at the gate in five minutes. I told him I'd meet him at the end of the drive and hung up. I knew I didn't have any outstanding orders, so guessed it would be the collection of our now broken Skype phone, which is being DHL'd back to China under warranty. I'd been sent the documents and some labels from the seller in the UK but as yet they hadn't confirmed which needed to be fixed to the outside of the box, so I ran down the driveway with sellotape, scissors and package in hand. The courier pulled up shortly after I'd arrived at the gate and hopped out of the van with a parcel. We each looked at the other's parcel with the same bemused expression for a second, until I realised that this wasn't the DHL courier after all, and this courier had an Amazon parcel for me. I duly signed for the parcel and walked back home. Confused, I could only reason it was an early birthday present, but I'd not had any advance warning from anyone, so Helen offered to open it for me to check. While I waited outside the room, I heard her start laughing and she called me to go and look... it was only a pair of brand new, top of the range channel lock grips from Zach and Holly! My old pair of budget ones had disintegrated while Zach was removing our sink and toilet a couple of weeks ago, and he obviously felt the need to replace them - an extremely generous and really unnecessary thing to do, but thanks guys if you're reading, it's really appreciated and made us both smile - I will
always think of you when I use them in future!
So today we manage to bring you another set of photos that are not dominated by terrace photos. There are still plenty of Reggie though, as despite our best efforts to have some dog-free shots he seems very adept at photo bombing.