Today marks thirty days since what should have been the first day of the prelazione, the period in which any farmers whose land abuts The Olive Hill can check behind their sofas, under their mattresses and behind the stove, to see if they had forgotten that they could actually afford to buy the house next door that has been for sale for the last five years, and become the owners of the place that we have been patiently waiting for. Also therefore, today is the day that we should have been handing over our life savings (sorry kids), and thus receiving the keys to our mid life crisis.
But, of course, today is not that day, and I am writing this post in a crowded metro carriage, at rush hour, on my way home from work. As normal.
Because thirty days ago, two of the neighbours (who may or may not be farmers, nobody knows) were out when il postino bounced down their bumpy track on his scooter. Of course, The Three Sisters are wise ladies, and so the letters were sent to the neighbours by recorded delivery. This means that undelivered letters are returned to the Post Office, where they remain for fifteen days. After 15 days in the Post Office, they are automatically returned to the sender, and once they have been returned to sender, the thirty days of the prelazione can start.
The letters have not been returned to sender.
So nobody knows if the famous thirty days have started, or indeed, when the thirty days will start.
We can only assume that we are still six to eight weeks from completion.
No matter, we may not be able to bankrupt ourselves paying for the place, nor break our backs working the land, but we can spend Pasquetta having a lovely picnic in the sunshine!
Mother nature seems to be doing her level best to help us out, and although (as you can see) the citrus trees look worse than ever, our wonderful, Indispensable Neighbour has popped round to cheer us up, by showing us that inside the apparently dead trees, a healthy, bright green nutrient highway is delivering everything that the trees need to recover from the recent, horrendous weather, il dreaded gelo.
Time, apparently, is also a great healer in the citrus tree world.
And so we relaxed at Easter. We reminded ourselves how lucky we are to live in this beautiful country, and that good things come to he who waits. Then we chucked hard boiled eggs down the hill competitively. Because we are British, and that’s what hills are for, when it’s Easter.