Tag Archives: Madonna

Feeling The Heat In Umbria

Umbrian Sunset, Rocking Dog

Umbrian Sunset

We certainly did feel the heat in Umbria over the weekend. With temperatures in the high 30’s and tipping into the 40’s, it was meltingly hot! I certainly feel more in control of my complex heat regulatory system in the spring or early winter in Umbria. A siesta is an essential part of Italian life, shutters close, shops close up, streets empty, market stallholders pack up, and the nation sleeps or eats, converses or rests.

After a truly delicious lunch under a leafy sun dappled pergola with our hosts, we sought refuge from the searing midday sun. Lloyd Loom chairs in a cool stone portico allowed us to stay outside, but inside. Incidentally, the lunch platter was amazing and included grilled lemon leaf wrapped Scormoza (a smoked mozzarella style cheese). Tomatoes, Parma ham, Ligurian olives, melon, figs and other Italian yumminess made the 4.30am dash to Bristol Airport absolutely worthwhile.

The landscape of Umbria in summer is so very different from that of the beloved olive picking season (late October/early November). The noise of happy and busy Cicada’s fills the air from the time the sun climbs into the sky until the air cools after dusk. Umbrian gardens’ are filled with fragrant lavender, Oleanders, Jasmine and showy Agapanthus. Meanwhile, fields are burgeoning with crops of towering Sunflowers, maize and wheat. Vegetable crops depend on lavish and frequent watering, and tomato plants do not require the protection of glass houses. Swallows swoop down over the pool refreshing their busy sculptural wings. Lizards bask in the sunshine, enjoying the warmth of the thyme frilled paving. Any interruption, and they dart into cool dark crevices seeking solace and protection.

Olives are tiny, they have four long months to plump up, blacken and ripen. The promise of a plentiful harvest is the hope of the entire nation. Nets will be unrolled and laid out, rakes and crates will be gathered, and the camaraderie of another olive picking season will begin.

Monday and Tuesday bought unrelenting heat. The only tangiable escape was to stay in the pool… or to retreat to the house.

A late afternoon stroll in the local hill top town of Panicale took us through shaded winding streets. I loved the tiled orange Madonna and child gracing one of the towns’ houses, its colours seemed to echo the heat of the day. Aperol Spritz’s were enjoyed in the town square- Umbrian sunshine in a glass!

Monday evening and with temperatures gently dwindling, we ventured out to a Lakeside caff’for food. Knowledge of the ordering system was preferable, if not essential. Pull ticket, await number call, hurriedly select food from a large covered glass cabinet. Steak, Calimari, battered vegetables, torte and non battered vegetables chosen, most were given a fiery baptism over charred wood. Another counter, another function, order and collect wine. Other counters, other functions, puddings, cheese, gelato. Pay. Head out to a Pine canopied lake view, tear your own tablecloth from banqueting roll. Eat, chat and watch the sun go down. Total cost about 45 euro’s for the four of us! Sunset truly beautiful and priceless, no digital retouching whatsoever required.

Fleeting visit, hospitable friends, lovely food and gorgeous scenery, molten temperatures and heat filled lethargy!

Welcome Lunch, Rocking Dog

Welcome Lunch

Seeking Shade, Rocking Dog

Seeking Shade

A Dip Perhaps?, Rocking Dog

A Dip Perhaps?

Orange Madonna, Rocking Dog

Orange Madonna

Orange Drink, Rocking Dog

Orange Drink

Busy Bees!, Rocking Dog

Busy Bees!

Lakeside Transport Caf', Rocking Dog

Lakeside Transport Caf’

Golden Veg', Rocking Dog

Golden Veg’

Moonlight Dip Anyone?, Rocking Dog

Moonlight Dip Anyone?

I Went To The Shops And I Bought…

£2 Madonna, Rocking Dog

£2 Madonna

Do you ever remember on long car journeys playing “I went to the shops and I bought….” The first player would say “I went to the shops and I bought a £2 Madonna”. The next player would then say “I went to the shops and bought a £2 Madonna and a jar full of buttons”, and so it went on. The list would get so long that you wouldn’t remember items from the list without a lot of prompting. It often got very silly with items such as rubber girdles, mouldy fish and American Tan tights on the list. The smutty innocence of a 60’s childhood!

So I went to the Vintage Jumble on Saturday and indeed I did buy a £2 Madonna (destined for our bathroom), a big jar of buttons (which I promptly smashed on our kitchen floor), a whizzy scarf and some fabulous fabrics. It is always such fun, and in a lovely venue, Rangeworthy Village Hall. Cakes and teas lovingly made as always by the WI.

I had a great chat with a smallholder who had bought a job lot of corsets in Brussels. They were so similar to the ones I remember my grandmother Nellie wearing. Laced, boned, suspendered and in that notorious corset pink colour, they represented functional rather than beautiful lingerie. Never worn and made in the 40’s/ 50’s they were a bargain for a mere £5 each. In hindsight I should have bought one for my nude mannequin housed in the bathroom together with £2 Madonna! Maybe there’ll be one left when the next Jumble comes around (27th June Box), but before then there’s the Spring Fair at Chipping Sodbury on 23rd May.

The question is what am I going to make with the fab’ fabrics. Would it be really wrong to make a baby dress from the wine bottle fabric?!

Button Jar, Rocking Dog

Button Jar

Whizzy Scarf, Rocking Dog

Whizzy Scarf

Fab' Fabrics, Rocking Dog

Fab’ Fabrics

Doggy Invite, Rocking Dog

Doggy Invite