Monday, 31 August 2009

Across The Enza

Well on Sunday the weather finally began to change with the arrival of light drizzle and I realised that if we didn't cross the river this weekend it might no longer be possible this year.
In fact it is really a torrent and in the summer bone dry, whereas in the winter it can flood and cut out new banks.

As usual we missed the easy path up the other side and ended clawing our way up the clay slopes to the top. The ridge at the top separates the provinces of Parma and Reggio Emilia. There is a lovely view in both directions and we could easily pick out the aforementioned easy path just 50 yards away.

Half hour's walk along top of ridge

Walk back down road before crossing over into familiar territory. As you can see the village is overlooked by two castles. The nearest is Rossena and the other is the more famous Canossa.
Finished off with a cappucchino in the centre before reaching home.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

What is this??

I am NOT happy with my Christmas tree, and neither is Lessie. It looks more like a yeti or a dollop of ice cream. Where are the branches? I followed the pattern methodically through.
Perhaps with 24 decorations on it'll look better.
Anyone out there fancy contributing an ornament or two? I'll send one in return to anyone who sends me one.
I like the ideaof a tree (or dollop of ice cream) decorated with trinkets from all around the world.
PS What book am I reading?!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Camminate delle pinete

With summer neverending this year, we decided to esacpe the heat by joining in the afternoon fun run around the pinewoods of Castelnovo ne'Monti. (700m). The capital of the Appenines of this area. We saw nothing of the original Castrum Novum built by Matilda in 1111 on top of the pine covered slopes but the place was idyllic all the same.
I don't know where all these people got their energy from. We tagged along at the rear with the other keen walkers to complete one 4km lap whilst the serious competitors ran round twice.
Lovely shady woods to beat the heat.
Everyone who completed the circuit was awarded a free packet of spaghetti and a plate of pasta!

Just to make sure that nobody confused me with a real runner, I left my knitting poking out of my bag. And in midsummer my mind naturally turns towards the winter with a project which can't slip by unnoticed...a christmas tree made of imitation fur yarn.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

A knitting PS

Dedicated to Bob Marley and a bit of 'jammin'....

Grapevine Shawl in Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester 2/8.
Pattern by Robyn Gallimore Reb Bird Knits.
Judged a success although the last rows took ages to knit.

Can't exactly say what this is but piccy taken in front of Pania Di Corfino. A limestone massive with one face turned to the sea the other to the Apennines.
PS Last weeks 'spaghetti tree' was in fact untreated hemp which I have challenged Ambra to so something with...

Ferragosto Bank holiday weekend

Encouraged by exceptionally nice weather for a bank holiday weekend we decided to cross over the Apennines to Garfargnana in Tuscany via the Passo di Pradarena (1579m). Following in the footsetps of medieval pilgrims travelling from Canterbury to Rome.Here we got our first glimpse of the marble Apuan Alps, separating the Apennines from The Med. before making our way down the River Serchio. The hills are completly forested with beech, conifers and chestnuts with olives and cyprus making their first appearance further downhill. The villages are all perched on hilltops in true Tuscan fashion.

But the main surprise was in the evening when we visited Barga. We should have been suspicious by the red phone box in the main square because the place was filled with Scots! After checking up on Internet I find that it is the most Scottish town in Italy. Locals immigrated to Scotland for work (what work?) in the mid 20th century and are now coming back. The waitresses were Scottish...the food undeniably Tuscan. It appears if we'd come a bit earlier on we could have joined in the annual fish and chips festival! But I can't blame them, a beautiful place.

Breakfast will never be the same again! Look at that view from the terrace.

Not to mention huge buffet and newspapers in every possible language.

Thunder clouds gathering over Tuscan Appennines

On our return we stopped at Orrechiella, a national park situated at the foot of the jagged limestone mass of the Pania di Corfino, home to Golden Eagles. Being a 'bad map day' and extremly hot we gave up on the signposted walks (we couldn't find any signposts!) and strolled. And even amidst the crowds we found a quiet spot to eat a picnic.

Savoury wheat pie and local ham sandwiches. One of us knit a few rows whilst the other nodded off. The area still has some traditional thatches cottages used by shepherds in the summer . Any wild animals were in enclosures (including a family of brown bears) but they seemed happy
had plenty of space and even a pool.

We crossed back over the Passo di Radici. A beautiful drive although I think V has done enough this weekend to last him for a while.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Summer nights

Last night they had a lovely firework display above the castle. You'll have to take my word for it and not judge by the photos. When we got up to the top of the hill I realised I had no idea how to use the new digital camera and by the time I'd got Linda on the mobile to talk me through the display had started. This was the best I could manage

August promises to be a very lazy month. I've given in to doctor's orders and to save the old gamey leg have decided to cut down on the walking for a bit.
A sly move really as it justs means more time for knitting.
Bamboo sweater. Wool Mondiale. To narrow the long self striping yarn I used two balls at once. The finished article is much warmer than I'd imagined. Definitely not a summer pull.

Trouble on the way. I've discovered a German online yarn shop. All in Euros and fast delivery.
I love this Zauberball sock wool. The colourway is called Tropical Fish...hence the imaginative scenario!!
But much too nice for socks I'm making a hat but I shall have to add dreadlocks to get the real effect!.

Now this may appear very uninSpiring to most but Ambra should know what it is. We were talking about it just the other week and then, miracle, I found some at the local flea market on Sunday.
What could it be?

Last but definIiley not least. More socks. The beauty in these being the heel which isn't very clear here but the model was getting bored.
Thanks to Laura for sending me this Sock a holic sok wool from the Knitters Brewing Co in US of A