Monday, 9 November 2009

Rain stops olive picking

We have had thunderous nights and soggy days.  Much snow on the Amiata.  Picking olives is not possible in these conditions for us as the quality of the oil is dependent on fast delivery into the press with a certain quantity.  If you leave olives for too long, especially if wet, they start to ferment and go rancid.   If we take 5 crates of olives in to press because rain stopped play it is too expensive and fiddly to take to the press for 6 litres of oil - for example.  Quality quality quality.  Sacrifices for trying to attain the best we can.   We need at least two days of good dry harvesting.  So - what do we do???  Start cleaning, painting and tidying up the mess in the castle after a heavy busy season..

The kitchen is the hub of life here at Potentino.  Since we moved in and did the restoration it has never been touched because we were always in it, cooking, eating, warming by the fire and playing silly games or talking or singing.  It needed a bit of attention as we did not notice it had got decidedly GROTTY.  The spider webs were the least of the problem.

Everything was moved out.  The painting podium was assembled and off we went scrubbing gently so most of the vaults did not fall down (probably 14th century) and since there was evidence of an earlier  celestial blue under the filthy ocre sludge colour we had been living with, I decided to do that.

Lovely, refershing and somewhat spiritual like a  Renaissance monastery library studiolo UNTIL the morning after the first coat, when I went back in and the ancient smoke damage had seeped through my heavenly blue to created a tobacco stained eau de thames diseased surface.  It had to go and with the aesthetic courage of a petulant interior decorator manque' I made everyone start again.  We painted it more or less the same colour it had been.

You may see the difference.  It is a very happy environment once again for the meals that provide the stomachs that run the bodies that make the wine and oil that I hope you all enjoy.  'Ces' was immediately inspired to prepare a delicious mollusc and crustacean delight (crayfish).

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