Thursday, 27 January 2011

Tuesday 25 January - a no ski day

I need to go to ski school.

Passo Lanciano, view from the house
Skiing on an occasional, ad hoc basis is not for me.  Maybe skiing's not for me, but one thing's for sure doing it this way is not going to work.  I didn't even make it onto the skis this time.  One look at the chaotic slopes at Passo Lanciano, with people hurtling themselves here, there and everywhere, with little care, control or direction, was enough for me.  Another day of going up and down, up and down the nursery slopes, or scaring myself silly plunging down a mountain on nothing but a wing and a prayer, without brakes or steering, just wasn't going to happen.  So, having driven all the way up, we drove all the way back down again.

Ski school it is then.  If ever I am going to do this I need proper brakes, steering and gears.  And the only way to do it is with consistency and building, slowly mastering each skill before moving on to the next.  Everyday, with tuition.

But the day wasn't entirely wasted, well, not for me, although I'm sure KP would far rather have been up playing on the slopes than chopping down trees or knocking down walls, but that's what we did.

Once more the skies were a brilliant blue and the sun was so warm you could almost get a tan.  So an afternoon working outside was an incontrovertible absolute.

Job number one was doing some serious chainsaw surgery to the walnut tree next to the house.  The old owners said it was dead, and it certainly was blocking a lot of light from the house and the mandarin tree below it.  It seemed a shame to cut it down completely because (A) its pretty, (B) its not completely dead, and (C) I like walnuts.  Some major branches were therefore lopped by a very dangerous looking KP perched far too precariously for me up a rotten old wooden ladder that, unbeknown to him, had been salvaged from my "totally useless, but very pretty" pile.  But KP did survive the ladder and the falling branches, and the tree was left in a greatly thinned state to see what happened over the course of the year.  A decision on its final fate will be taken after fruiting at the end of the autumn.
Mountain man

I then got on with the job of chopping up the branches and starting a new wood pile of green wood ready for next winter, whilst KP knocked down and pushed out the back wall at the end of the barn.  And, Wow!  What a transformation.  This is where the main chillin' area has got to be.  The views down the valley and to the mountains beyond are simply breath taking.  This area will be built up into a huge sun filled terrace dotted with deck chairs, barbecues and a big old table for sitting around, eating around, making new friends around and drinking and nattering into the early hours around.  Facing south west, watching the sun slowly melting into the mountains will be a truly spectacular treat.

The view revealed

And now we must return to the rats.  They are not long gone, as I'd hoped, but they are still here, very alive and kicking (or rather jumping) under our wood pile.  As KP found out yesterday.  Quite sweet, he said.

Now, I know rodents are a fact of rural life, and urban life for that matter, and I don't mind the odd mouse or two.  But rats?  No, sorry.  They are going to die.  Fact.  Decision made when I saw one jump from the window sill (the barn window sill, that is.  Not the house) into the wood.  Off to the agricultural store tomorrow.  War has been waged, and there will only be one winner.

Oh please, oh please

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