Here at Bellaugello Gay Guest House autumn is upon us, a time for checking everything prior to winter. So it was that together with Bobby and Jenny I trundled off downhill in the Apetto down the valley to the river Chiascio for an early morning dog walk.
Down at the river, sun hot, a delicious heat, water cold, too cold for me, but the dogs had a rare old time…
And so back up the hill, wet but happy dogs in the cab, the views magnificent, autumn colours abounding, and wonderfully fresh clean air.
and so on to the fields. I decided to ‘beat the bounds’ of the estate, that is drive round the boundaries, checking on hedgerows, ditches and paths. Onto the large flat field and on to check the olives.
Bad news, as with so many olive groves in Italy this year, the olives are in a very sorry state. The wet summer left us a legacy of destroyed olives. Little larvae bury themselves in the folds of the new formed fruit and the resultant insect bores its way out leaving a telltale flight hole and damaged flesh. There will be no olive harvest this year at Bellaugello, the first time and I must admit I am sad, I so love the feel of the olives as they run through my fingers as they tumble into the nets, a sensation not for this year.
It is such a shame, but that is farming for you. Onward and upward, continue the tour of the estate. Into the next field, steep, grass still damp, but going in from the top was fun, round a few curves, stop to check a woodland track and then a reverse twiddle forward again, try to take the uphill corner and… Yeeks! Squeal! Bang! we fall over!! Yes the Apetto, complete with Bobby, Jenny and myself in the cab tips over and lands on its side.
We land in a wet tangled heap. Really weird climbing up out of a door and out to survey any damage. Luckily Apettos are light and almost seem to be designed to be easily righted. One two three and push, over and up, the Apetto is back on its three wheels. Damage control…. The rear view mirror is no more, the offside window has fallen out, the fixings were tired and worn and due for replacement, luckily the glass is not broken, a bit of grass and mud on the paintwork – just makes the machine look more authentic, and little further damage in evidence. Press the starter button, it fires up! Hooray!
So gingerly into gear, dogs trotting behind and slowly up the slope and back onto the road, broken bits in the back. I am off to the parts dealer today.