One sunny afternoon last week, Eve and I went down to our garden ready for work. It was the perfect day for planting broad beans. Luckily we hadn’t done it earlier as they would have been washed away by the rains. As it was, the ground was still nice and soft (easy for digging, not too muddy for the wellies…) and we arrived ready for action.
As you know I live in the countryside, on a hill and the actual road (if you can call it a road is really just a little windy path you need to walk along to get where you’re going and if you keep going it finishes in the wood. Some people drive their vespas along it and a few old men have three wheeled vanlikethings which sometimes bump up and down loaded with wood or manure. Our garden is not, as you might think, outside our house but a bit down the road… nearer the wood end. And that’s the end where all the old men and their vanlikethings are.
On to the old men.
First there’s Gino. Gino is the undisputed King of the wood-end of my road. His veggie garden is the biggest, the best and the most envied of the whole area. He was born in the house he lives in now and his wife was born in the house next door… You might call it destiny that they met and fell in love!
When Eve and I got to our garden gate Gino was feeding his chickens. He’s so great, he knows everything and understood immediately what we were up to. ‘Don’t worry I’ve got some beans for you.’ And he thrust an old basket full into my hand. Real Jack and the Beanstalk stuff.
As we were chatting in the middle of the windy path that separates his chickens from my garden an old scooter chuffed up the bumpy road. Lino! Lino was born in the road too but now he comes back only to visit his grandchildren and do the gardening occasionally.
Not long after Lino had passed by… Me, Gino and Eve still chatting in the middle of the road… one of the vanlikethings chuffed by. Dino!!! Dino was the first old man in Fontanegli I ever met. Marco and I very sensibly moved to our house 3 days before Eve was born! I had to have a caesarian and when they threw me out of hospital 2 days later it was Dino who kindly brought me home along our bumpy road. 200 metres up-hill is not really difficult but with a recently operated bump it was impossible. Dino’s vanlikething kindly waited for me at the end of our path and brought me to the door of my house whilst Marco walked behind carrying the new baby Eve.
(And here's some beans... and peas... in the garden last year)