Normal, but Counting Our Blessings

I haven’t written a blog post in AGES, because recently I haven’t felt as though I’ve had anything to blog about.

The truth is, we now live in a very nice, but perfectly normal house. No more building site living. We have a normal kitchen, several normal bathrooms, four normal bedrooms, waterproof windows, a roof that doesn’t leak, and 8 hectares of farm that we more or less know how to look after.

Everything is, well, normal.

Ordinary, even. Literally nothing has struck me as blog worthy in the last couple of months. We’ve unpacked most of our belongings into our home. We’ve hung pictures on the walls, curtains at the windows, cooked, cleaned, and even had a house-warming party, and a couple of house guests. Yes we live in Italy, but even that has ceased to feel strange!

Of course in 2020, nothing is normal, and for a couple of Brits, Italy will always remain anything but normal.

So the run up to the house-warming party included a couple of days celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary in Venice:

Our train home was delayed die to a wild fire in an olive grove just outside of Orvieto. This never happens in Blighty, partly due to the fact that there are no olive groves, which is sort of the point of our being here in the first place. And then it being 2020, we had to disinfect the entire house before welcoming our guests to the outdoor, socially distanced party, which would have been the case wherever in the world we had held it. But this is Italy, so of course we had no water for the 36 hours running up to the party. The water supply had been sporadic for the whole summer, due to a “perdita” from the aquaduct – a mysterious leak that seemed unfixable. But even the broken water supply seemed normal, if rather inconvenient, because, well, no water is normal, for now.

But just before lunch, as I was emptying the bin, I realised that we will always have something to be amazed by, as long as we continue to remember that every day is an adventure.

It’s raining today you see, and so emptying the bin required a coat, hat, wellies and a trip to the hens, because they eat our food waste. And this week my son and I (yes, another thing, he is here helping us through the harvest season) had to give Elvira a warm bath, because she was egg bound. Apparently giving a hen a bath is normal now.

Then I took the rest of the organic waste to the compost heap, loudly singing a little song that I have recently created, called “Bugger off Higgedy Piggedy”, designed to frighten off any wild boar that might be gorging themselves on windfall apples in the orchard.

The pictures below are a snapshot our new normal:

We’ve harvested our white grapes, with the help of friends who are seeing out the Pandemic and Brexit at their home in Sabina. We actually knew what we were doing this time, so the grapes were picked, destemmed, crushed and transferred into their fermentation vat without incident. The red grapes are in their vat too, what was left of them, as the local foxes and of course, the wild boar had scoffed most of them by the time they were ripe enough to harvest. We’re currently complaining non stop about the cold, wet weather we are experiencing, as the olives are not ripening. But we’re not worried about The Dreaded Fly, as we know that it is too cold for this pest now. Last night we drove half way up a mountain to meet other friends in their home for dinner. Friends that are even more bonkers than we are, as their house was an abandoned sheep shack in the middle of nowhere when they bought it. (It’s stunning, and available to rent by the week in the summer, by the way) Making us normal, when compared to them.

So here’s the thing. Even when there is apparently nothing blog-worthy going on in life, even in this miserable, ghastly year, we’re happy. We’re also healthy, having (so far) avoided contracting Covid. We love our new normal.

Normal feels good.

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