Many years ago, the Royal Air Force sent us to Fife, in Scotland. It’s fair to say that we were not your normal Air Force family. While Scott was busy commanding a front-line squadron of Tornado F3s, I was running a farmhouse kitchen company called Well Oiled. I spent my days making fresh pesto (green and red), tapenade, antipasti such as peperoni sott’ olio and, of course, I spent time drying herbs and chopping garlic in order to create delicious tasting infused Italian olive oils, to sell at the local Farmers’ Markets in St Andrews and Cupar. We kept chickens in the garden, and rather than Labs or Spaniels, we had a pair of scruffy rescue dogs. And, of course, we had the ponies.
During these years, we kept the ponies on a local farm, owned by our friends, Harry and Jill. Jill and I spent many a happy day stealing (or as we called it, schooling) the ponies owned by our respective offspring, and covered many a mile, always accompanied by Tansy, Jill’s faithful Labrador – my dogs behaved too badly to join us.
What does this have to do with an olive farm in Sabina? Well, for me, these years were the only time in my life where I had ever been allowed to enter fields with standing crops, as Harry tolerated us riding through field after field of wheat, along the “tram lines”. The only time until now, because today I gave the go ahead for our Indispensable Neighbour to plant winter wheat in the couple of hectares of arable land that surround our vineyard, and so:
I hereby give myself permission to ride any future ponies that I own along my own tram lines …
I’m using “our” loosely here, of course, because it still is not ours. But the proposta has finally been signed, both by ourselves and by the vendors, and we have been presented with our first bill. Coincidentally, Friendly Mortgage Advisor has also been in touch, to promise that she continues to chase the bank, and that we should have our mortgage within “un paio di giorrni“. This is also the promise she made us when we met her in June, and on every subsequent communication with her. But today, surely it means something, as today she volunteered this information, instead of us asking her for it!