Monday, November 30, 2009

Olive harvest 2009

The last visit of the year to Trullo Azzurro to close the place down for the winter and a very productive visit it was too.

Usual routine when we are flying RuinAir: straight from work Thursday evening to the SAS Radisson Stansted. A relaxing meal and an early night for the dawn flight to Brindisi and a sprint down the SS16 to Trullo Azzurro (tafka Hovel-in-the-Hills).

After a quick lunch at Trullo Azzurro we went to the bank to pay some gas bills and reinstate our Internet banking. That evening we went with Chris & John for a meal in Martina Franca.

Harvesting olives 2009 - Mark and John
Harvesting olives 2009 - Mark and John

The next morning C&J came round to help us with our olive harvest and a spot of lunch. Mary insisted on buying rather than borrowing the kit so we are now the proud owners of three crates, four nets (4m x 8m) and four olive rakes.

Harvesting olives 2009 - Nets, crates and haul
Harvesting olives 2009 - Nets, crates and haul

A couple of hours was enough to denude all our trees of their olives. We took them round to C&J's neighbours to add in to their harvest for pressing. Hopefully next spring we will get back a couple of litres of extra-virgin olive oil.

New patio paving
New patio paving

The other main reason for the visit was to admire, and pay for, our new patio (see "Trullo Azzurro works"). After lunch Donato came round to tell us about what he had done and receive his well deserved money. He has done a fine job and we are very happy with the enlarged sun-bathing area :-)

The rest of the time was bagging up all the linens into vacu-sacs, plugging in the dehumidifier and preparing the place for over-wintering. Job done it was home on Sunday. I travelled light: hand luggage only and that was a Waitrose bag-for-life!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Molly the Morris Minor leaves with her new owner

As previously written we put Molly up for sale after owning her for 14 years (1963 Morris Minor 1000 2 Door Saloon For Sale). Interest was sporadic and we were sad to see her go but I am happy to report we have found her a good home :-)

Molly the Morris Minor leaves with her new owner
Molly the Morris Minor leaves with her new owner

We had spent a load of money having her refurbished (Molly Goes to Bristol, Molly returns from Bristol) so we may have sold her at a loss but we have helped preserve a bit of motoring heritage.

As the new owner said, it may only be a lump of metal and glass but you do get very attached to them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

South Africa 2009: Wendy House

In South Africa sheds are known as Wendy houses and we decided we needed one on our terrace.

We have a couple of lovely shell-back chairs that have needed re-varnishing every visit and a barbeque which had rusted in the salty air. So a storage box to contain these and the sun loungers (and possible future bicycles) over winter seemed like a good idea.

We consulted the beach club regulations which prohibit extending your property without permission but did a free standing Wendy house really constitute a structure under the meaning of the rules? Anyway, it's not a Wendy house it's a "storage box", honest.

Wendy House on the terrace - 1

We decided to apply the adage "it is better to ask forgiveness that seek permission" and went ahead and ordered one from Tops Timbers at Bot River.

Wendy House on the terrace - 2

Being on the third floor presented some challenges. The floor and roof panels were too large to go up the stairs so had to go up the outside of the building! Then all the wall and door panels had to be carried up the stair well - no lifts.

Wendy House on the terrace - 3

We had specified a low roof to keep the sight-line close to that of the parapet wall but the Hennie of Tops Timbers had kindly made it taller so we would not have to bend as much to get the chairs in. When the thing was installed it was huge and at least a foot (30 cm) taller than we intended.

Wendy House on the terrace - 4

When we explained to Hennie he was the epitome of excellent customer service. He arranged for the lads to come the next afternoon, dismantle and remove the offending side panels. They took them back to the workshop, chopped them down and returned the day after to reassemble the now shorter Wendy house (sorry storage box).

Wendy House on the terrace - 5

It still looks massive but at least it is, mostly, out of sight.

And of course like my previous shed, Jabba [1], and current sheds, Arthur and Jackson [2], this too should have a name. And what better name than Wendy :-)


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

South Africa 2009: Paarl

On this trip to South Africa we flew out on our wedding anniversary. Normally we go away for the weekend to celebrate, and so this trip we decided to do the same. Instead of going straight to the apartment in Hermanus we went to Paarl for the weekend, a winegrowing district that we had not previously been to.

Cascade Manor Hotel
Cascade Manor Hotel

The price of very ordinary B&Bs in Paarl itself decided us, or I should say Mary as my personal travel organiser, to go out-of-town and for the same price, have a much more luxurious accommodation. The Cascade Manor hotel was a delight. Parts of the building are over 200 years old, and it has recently been renovated and refurbished. It looks more like an Italian villa than anything else.

Mary wine tasting at Laborie
Mary wine tasting at Laborie

As soon as we had checked in the first thing we did was get out and go for a wine tasting; we drove into Paarl for a tasting at Laborie.

Goat tower at Fairview
Goat tower at Fairview

On the Sunday we did a wine tour with André of Four Seasons Travel (, email:, Tel: +27 837 607 408) for a few more tastings:Vergelegen wine estate
Vergelegen wine estate

Monday it was a leisurely drive down to Hermanus taking in a couple more tastings and lunch at Vergelegen.We went via Tops Timbers to arrange for a man to visit to quote for a shed then on to Hermanus. We arrived in time to buy some electricity and supper for a quiet evening in. And so the holiday began :-)