An update is long overdue but we've been up to our eyes and ears cleaning, painting, polishing, varnishing and trying to whip the unruly landscape into some semblance of order with the help of family and friends. Amidst the chaos we had a couple of real paying guests from Knaresbrough. They were cheating really because they're spending the summer couple of hours away from us but came to check us out anyway. We hadn't had time to hone our hospitality skills, but we somehow managed to produce something that passed for breakfast and dinner on both days they stayed. Fortunately, they thought the place was all rustic charm and the Knaresborough connection meant they were willing to forgive a bit of amateurishness. Thanks Rich & Rosi!
Not having an internet connection out here in the wilderness has severly hampered our blogging efforts, but more importnantly, it's holding up the launch of our website on which everything depends. We're too far from the telephone exchange to have a decent cable service and so we're pinning our hopes on satellite broadband and praying that next week this too will be sorted out. We have however, had a trickle of bookings from Italians who stayed here when the place last took guests – nearly four years ago!
Unhappily I cannot claim that our language skills are improving all that much. All this in-house activity has left us little time for mixing. We can cope with ordinary situations without too much trouble, but talking on the phone to Telecom Italia stretched me to the limits. Tell them to slow down and they set off talking again at mega velocity. All is not gloom though – Last Sunday a couple of ladies and a dog dropped by on the pretext of needing some sage (it's abundant in our garden). Before they left they invited us to lunch down the lane at the priests house. When we arrived at the appointed time three tables were set and we had lunch with 24 members of the extended family! Even though they had cooked rabbit for lunch they didn't let on if they thought our vegetarian requirements odd and produced a feast for us – much more than we could possibly eat. We were full after the first course and I think they thought we were real lightweights as they put away mounds of food at lunch time. The alcohol flowed freely too... Paul moderated his intake, but I drank several glasses of local red wine, a huge glass of Vin Santo, a cherry grappa and a herbal liqueur. This improved the language skills no end and there was much mirth, merriment and leg pulling with the head of the household asking me if I'd have to go home and take tea in bed all afternoon. I may have been tipsy, but drink or not, I can still recognise a sleight on the British character! Glad to say we now have a standing invite every Sunday for the summer. It was heart warming to feel welcomed.