We have a family from Denmark staying next week so we have been getting everything spic and span for when they arrive. I cannot believe that Casa Leana generates so much work! Our usual routines have been rudely interrupted by Covid so I think we are a little out of sync.
Spent this morning mowing and strimming and finishing off a few jobs inside the house.
Over the last few weeks we have taken to walking in the mornings or the evenings. It is a bit too hot to go and do anything too energetic during the middle of the day and even though we've also been out on the bikes, walking always seems like a nice alternative in the cooler hours.
Having said that we went out slightly too early last night and by the time we got to our destination I was so hot and bothered I really didn't fancy the walk back! Obviously I managed to drag myself home but future walks will be done slightly later I think. Although we did see a Piaggio, not an unusual sight in Italy of course but I love these little trucks, I've always wanted one to move stuff around. It would have been so useful over the years although Leigh is not so keen, can't think why.
I am pretty sure we could fit in the front cabin together. I think he possibly sees it as too much of a drastic step down from the boy racer convertible Mercedes he was driving when we first met! Ha ha
The summer night markets are in full swing here in Tuscany and we usually go every week during July and August. The one in Anghiari is particularly good and usually has lots of lovely knick knack stalls, things for kids to do plus live music and other live entertainment.
It starts around 7.30pm but doesn't really get going until 8.30pm/9pm. We have never really gotten over our English dining habits which means we normally settle down for pizza and Prosecco at 7pm and often find ourselves walking back to the car at 9.30pm when most of the locals are just arriving! It's a good night though and worth staying until the end (although I am not sure we have ever made it past midnight).
Oh and I got my little car back today. I usually put her away in the garage for the winter and get her out when our guests arrive as when we have to clean the pool and water the plants at Casa Leana, my Fiat is a great little run around and easy to park rather than our giant Volvo which I never drive as I would probably be grazing the pavement or other cars on a daily basis. With the Fiat, it is so small even if I misjudge the distance from the pavement (which is apparently what I do) I am still on my side of the road! Perfect. We got it serviced too which is a must with these old cars.
Last year I broke down in Anghiari on my first run out of the year. Luckily I had parked on a hill so was able to push it and jump start it much to the amusement of the garage owner watching on.
Well, I think that's all my news. The fancy sprinklers are working well, everything around the pool is looking fairly lush so all good. Strawberries are being eaten by giant ants from what I can see which is really frustrating but the tomatoes and the potatoes, you will be pleased to hear, are still going strong.
Have a great weekend.
D I A N A xxx
I haven't written on this blog for a while as I have only just recovered from the Euro finals and in case you've been living on a different planet, England lost The Final (against Italy of all countries!). The evening wasn't helped by the fact that we spent it with one of our Italian friends, hmmm... An amazing few weeks as a football fan with quite a bit of socialising and Prosecco.
Now, back to normality. July continues to be beautiful here in Tuscany as always and we spent a few mornings trying to get the perfect sunflower photo. It’s a bit of an obsession and I never do get that perfect shot but I like to give it a go every year much to Leigh's amusement. Pictures (with my iphone) never really show just how beautiful it is here at this time of year and the fields in the valley below Casa Leana are just a sea of yellow at the moment, I never get tired of "ooohing and ahhing" at this spectacle!
The watering at CL is never ending during the summer months. It’s like having hundreds of baby birds who need constant attention and the worry when a brown or yellow leaf appears is madness but I can’t help it. So the most exciting thing that happened this week was the purchase of a new fancy hose and sprinklers! It will hopefully transform our lives on the watering front.
Oh, and another really exciting event at this time of year are the sales - amazing in this part of Italy I think. Everything seems to be half price or less and we have already been into Arezzo twice this week to go to the same shop. Ha ha. I have grabbed a few bargains, having not purchased anything for what seems like an eternity due to Covid. And I do like to shop in person rather than online so it was a lovely treat to go out and buy some new clothes and have a spot of lunch in beautiful Arezzo.
I forgot about the potatoes! Leigh's stepmum lives in beautiful Bantry Bay, Ireland and she suggested we grow potatoes in one of our raised beds. What a great success - who would have thought, potatoes from a potato?! Ha ha. We're very proud of our haul so far - just dig a few cm down and you come up with a handful of potatoes. We hope the CL guests will enjoy digging for them as much as we do. Little things and all that...
Well, that's it for now. We have a group from Denmark arriving soon so we are giving Casa Leana yet another spring clean.
D I A N A xxx
If you're not interested in football and the Euros then please stop reading now! Oh, we had the most amazing week. Tuesday, England beat Germany in the Euros football tournament. The next round (England V Ukraine) was taking place in Rome.. What? Leigh turned round and said to our Italian friend "shall we try and get tickets?" and our friend said "good luck with that!". Hmm.. a challenge we thought. First of all we got on to the English Embassy as directed by UEFA, that turned out to be incorrect information. Seriously. Leigh then spent the evening checking the UEFA site on how to organise tickets every hour on the hour. He is very determined. We finally got tickets and set off with some friends on Saturday morning on our little adventure. Forgot to say, we all had to have Covid tests the day before and ensure we had our IDs and proof of Italian residency as Italy were not allowing fans arriving from the UK due to Covid restrictions.
What an unforgettable day! Leigh is the biggest football fan and his enthusiasm is infectious. I made a large banner and sewed St George crosses on our face masks with not much cursing, honestly! The banner was super popular and before we got into the stadium we had our photo taken several times - hilarious. It all added to the excitement. The mood was joyous in and around the stadium and even the hundred or so Italian riot police were jolly while checking our details (I don't think our group of five looked particularly threatening).
Several security checks later, on the very last check, the guard took our banner saying that it was a personal message. I have no idea what they were thinking it said but the song the banner refers to was played on the screens in the stadium. Leigh entered into a fairly heated discussion with the guard but wasn't going to push it too far and risk missing the match. But don't worry we managed to retrieve the infamous banner when exiting the stadium. Phew.
The game was a blur with all the excitement and chanting, so many goals (four in total scored by England). The pressure was off after the third goal and even the Ukraine fans were chanting with us "It's coming home"!!!
Half way through the match our 'phones started pinging - we thought our friends may have been commenting on our FB post but no.. the photos that were taken before the match were being shown on the Guardian and Sky News websites. One of our friends commented "you two are everywhere". Ha ha.
On our way out of the stadium the atmosphere was still incredible, everyone buzzing and people asking if they could borrow our banner to take pictures with - that banner! And Italians tooting their horns and shouting "see you in the final".. What a day!
Still not over yet, Wednesday is the semi final and if we get through that, the final is on Sunday. We're spending both matches with friends over here in Italy (with the obligatory pizza and Prosecco) and I am sure most of England will be doing something similar.. Good times.
One last thing that I completely forgot about, The Tour de France is on at the moment and England's Mark Cavendish had his first stage win in five years after a long illness! He cried and so did I. What an incredible week for English sport.
I think there will most probably be one more blog regarding the footy as we have another fraught week ahead hoping that England get through but once the finals are done (next Sunday) we'll be back to the usual relaxed bike rides and al fresco coffees and pizzas. The sunflowers are out so I am wanting to take some pictures. Obviously the best time to do that is first thing in the morning and I haven't been able to get my lazy bottom out of bed for the last couple of days, must be coming down from all the excitement! It's coming home, I can feel it!
D I A N A xxx
If you didn't know or if you're not interested (sorry!) England got through to the next round of the European Football Championship. Very exciting for all concerned even though they didn't play particularly well. I am no expert but I think I could have done better than the £100m Harry Kane shot that went over the bar! No offence Harry but hopefully we will do better in the next match against Germany (hmmm).
I know I always say this but we have been busy again. I am not sure where the time goes really. Sunday we went for a bike ride and then it was Thursday. We have been giving Casa Leana another spring clean before our first group arrive next month, almost there now. We have a new industrial hoover so Leigh is “enjoying” that ha ha
Mowing and strimming as usual. The weather is hot and sunny at the moment so a few bike rides early doors and we have moved out of Casa Leana now, a bit later than usual but it is good to be away from "the job"!
The sunflowers are almost in bloom. I have a thing about sunflowers. I cannot help myself pointing out the fields to whoever bothers to listen even though I know I have pointed them out several times before! It is exciting to see them grow from tiny little buds to enormous flowers following the sun around. I will post some pictures (obviously!) when they start blooming. There are fields and fields of them in the valley below Casa Leana. The farmers, as you expect, change their crop each year, sunflowers one year, wheat another or corn another but there are always lots of sunflower fields just not in the same place. That is of course the reason I have to point them out!
Well that's it for this week. Oh, we had an enquiry for 2024 can you believe?! It was for a school summer holiday week. They sell so quickly. And we sold another couple of weeks for 2022 and 2023. Things are looking good for our little business during the coming years and we're just waiting for Boris to put Italy in "green" so that all of our lovely UK guests can come on holiday this year.
Anyway, that's definitely it for now. We are planning a few nights out this week and we have friends coming over on Tuesday for takeaway pizzas and Prosecco in the garden - €4 for a really lovely pizza and less than that for a bottle of Prosecco - only in Italy! I am a cheap date...
Hope you all have a fun week too.
D I A N A xxx
I have had an excellent week. We have had more bookings for Casa Leana (one for July this year, another for our 2022 season and two more for 2023!) and we have been busy, as always, in the Casa Leana garden - trimming hedges which is an ongoing task we have to do at least twice a year.
We also went out, not only out as the saying goes but OUT OUT! To the Mille Miglia, an annual classic car race which always runs through a town or city close to us. I'm surprised the week the Mille Miglia runs doesn't sell out sooner at Casa Leana, maybe we should advertise it more heavily as I love it when our guests get to see and do the things we enjoy.
It is an amazing event and even if you aren't into cars, it has a lovely relaxed vibe and the vintage classics are beautiful, there is no getting away from that. Comparing them, as we always do, to the modern day "boxes" they are a work of art. (Check out our Facebook post for images).
I think that's it, oh, we went on a few bike rides but I'm still feeling a little heavier than usual so planning on some more rides next week. It's been super hot here so we have to go out early to miss the midday sun - I forget what a lovely time of day 8am is - perfect for cycling or taking a walk! Even after all these years of living here, I love to stop and take pictures - it's ridiculous although it does give me an excuse for a breather! Ha ha.
Leigh, as usual, ventured a little further up to Convento di Montecasale on Thursday. I have never been there myself as it's a bit too hilly for me to cycle but apparently it is a very beautiful and tranquil spot to visit - I've promised myself to take a trip up there this year, goodness knows I need a bit of tranquility in my life sometimes!
Oh my goodness, I forgot to mention "the football"! We have watched both England games (Leigh has watched virtually all of the other games in the tournament too!) with friends and it has been an emotional rollercoaster as always with England but fingers crossed they will get through to the next round on Tuesday. I am sorry to those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, suffice to say we will be on a knife's edge here tomorrow!
D I A N A xxx
More going out this week, once I start I can't stop! The sun is shining here in Tuscany and it feels like every other summer in this beautiful part of the world, it may be that I am appreciating it more! Having said that yoga was called off because of an annoying thunderstorm on Thursday aftenoon and we'd mowed all the lawns and strimmed to make everything look pretty before the yoga group arrived, hmph. Oh well, a cake and a coffee in the local bar made up for it! Not quite as healthy I know but I have been out on two bike rides this week - that Covid weight is proving hard to shift!
It's been super busy this month with lots of enquiries and bookings for next season and 2023 so that's great news. Can't wait for this season to start next month, better late than never!
The new hammocks arrived (remember I fell through one due to eating too many honey nut flapjacks!) so Leigh put them up and we had a lovely lazy lunch and took a few photos and a video for our website. Off to some friends today for lunch and to watch the footie - I love these big tournaments. We have some flags and old England kits to wear.. Come on Eng er land!
D I A N A xxx
I love yoga, always have always will. Like a lot of people I sometimes find it a little bit difficult to relax. Yoga 🧘♀️ is the best thing for basically everything, relieving stress, toning, easing aches and pains etc.. and over the past eighteen months it has been a godsend for me.
And I have found the most beautiful, kind and talented yoga teacher here in Italy. Serena is a joy and our weekly yoga sessions always leave me feeling like I could conquer the world and doze off at the same time!
And she’s happy to provide classes for our guests too. What a great way to start the day, yoga by the CL pool or overlooking the vineyard is a special kinda wonderful. I have to pinch myself every time I do it.
Life seems to be returning to proper normality here in Italy. We wandered round the artisan fair in Anghiari yesterday, I’m having a girly lunch on Friday at a new wine bar in town and we’re off to the Mille Miglia in a few weeks - it’s a classic car race and I look forward to going every year. Stunning cars and sometimes celebs take part - it’s a big thing over here and a fabulous spectacle.
Now I just need to find something to wear to all these events. My usual most recent attire of pjs and scruffy paint stained jogging bottoms will have to be put to one side for a while I think.
D I A N A xxx
What a lovely day! We, like many others, have been fairly hermit like over the last few months due to Covid but now that Italy has opened up more and the weather is great we took ourselves on a day trip.
We're gradually easing back into normal life so decided on a picnic by the beautiful Lake Trasimeno which is only an hour’s drive from Casa Leana. I really love Trasimeno. There are some gorgeous little bars and restaurants surrounding the lake, boats for hire or you can visit the little beaches that surround it or maybe just take a trip on the ferry. Windsurfing, stand up paddling and pedalo's are also on offer. Such a fun day out.
So we made ourselves comfortable in one of our favourite little restaurants overlooking the lake, got coffees and a pastries and waited for the cyclists to arrive.
We go to watch the Giro every May as it always runs through a town or village close by and this year we were a hair's breadth away from the peleton as it whooshed by. I cannot believe how fast they travel - must be 40mph and they are all chatting away as they whizz along! Leigh has always been a big fan of cycling events and since I met him I've got to know how it all works.
To be honest, I just thought riders were in a big race with each other and it was all a bit boring but, honestly, it is so much more complex and interesting than that. I am now an expert on the subject (well sort of!) and a little bit addicted.
All in all a wonderful day out.
D I A N A xxx
Welcome to my blog...
Just a little insight into our lives here. After eleven years of living in Tuscany I thought it was about time to have a go at blogging when one of my lovely friends said she had received (what she thought!) was an extremely funny text from me, hmmm.. How difficult can it be?!
D I A N A xxx