Photo: A rare day off from working the land. The women thrashed the men at boule.
May 31st used to be a big day for us. It was Oracle’s year end. It dominated our working life for years. One year Colin started the morning of May 31st on 49% of his annual target. I finished the day on 151%. My best year finished up at 342%. Such was the life in sales at Oracle.
We hope May 31st will play a significant, but different, role in our lives in the future.
Our friends Gerard and Bernadette used to arrive in Cartoceto from the Netherlands in March each year and work on projects in the house and garden until the end of May ready to enjoy the summer.
During the winter of 2020/21 we managed the small matter of the garage, cantina and portico build. As well as managing our land we spent one day a week working on the land of our friends Joep and Jelina. As they have ten times the amount of land that we do they needed some help.
We had a great time during the winter. Felling trees, building fences, clearing land, manuring vines and chopping wood for both our fires. During lockdown we were allowed outside. It was a great way to get away from our place. A lot of work but a lot of laughs.
We were a team of six. Colin, Jan, Jelina, Joep, Coco the puppy and a Ferrari. Even though it was a tractor, it was still a babe magnet.
During the spring we experienced an extraordinary phenomena. We started work in the sunshine then felt a little spot of rain. At least we thought it was rain. It wasn’t. It was this.
The ground became so slippery even the tractor struggled for grip. Time for coffee and a fire. Our house is 2km from Joep and Jelina’s but our builders wondered what we were on about. “No snow here”.
Joep promised us prosecco around the bonfire to mark the end of this phase of the work.
During this time we did manage to establish a new tradition. The third Friday in the month became curry night. We just can’t get it in Italy so we have to make it ourselves. We did manage a major upgrade during the winter when we discovered poppadoms on sale in Pesaro. Jan’s homemade mango chutney is an essential and very popular ingredient for curry night.
On the 1st June we tried to establish another tradition. ‘G&B Day’. Gerard and Bernadette Day (alternative title ‘Gardening Basta’). The idea was to celebrate the end of our project work each Spring with lunch, and no work on 1st June. We managed the lunch but neither couple were anywhere near finishing their projects.
We’ll just have to try and finish by May 31st 2022 to get the tradition started.