Sunday, 31 August 2014

Everlasting Sweet Peas.

This wouldn't mean anything to anybody except me.
For two nights last week I was able to go over to Robyn's and stay until I had to leave very early the next morning.
I'm a carer, it's a rare thing.
We watched DVD's, ate ice cream. Did the things normal people take for granted.
And we drank this bottle of wine.
I bought it in 1988 in Italy, in the Co-Operative store. It was my last 'proper' holiday; a coach trip to Tuscany.
We stayed in a tiny village up in the hills, in a little hotel in a time before people built holiday homes or opened designer hotels.
I found a video on YouTube of another part of Italy I stayed in back then - a kind German Biker had driven around the place filming where he went from a camera on his helmet - everything had changed and developed.
I'm sure Tuscany has changed in the same way.
Each night we went to the villagers Co-Operative café to drink wine and coffee on the little square.
There was portrait of Lenin on the wall and Antonio Gramsci too.
All around us were the old Partizans.
There were plaques on the buildings to commemorate where comrades had fallen and in the little square the buildings were riddled with bullet holes.

Each year the villagers had a communal grape harvest and then when the wine had fermented in great barrels, they came to the Co-Op café with their own bottles and bought their wine.

It was as though the failed land reforms of 1946 had really worked in this little corner.

I brought back a couple of big bottles - a beautiful Chianti, mild and fine. An echo of the Tuscan hills, of yellow Ochre soils.

I drank everything I brought back (and I don't like wine)except for this one which I bought in the Co-Operative store in the nearby town.

I have no idea why I kept it - I'd always assumed I'd go back but never could.

Ordinary wine doesn't keep - it's pasteurised, it has a shelf life. The stuff people keep is already expensive and in cellars quite a lot goes wrong. But the people with cellars can afford that!

I never meant to keep it but as the years went on I put it off and as my last holiday got further away it got harder to drink it.

It was fantastic!

I have never drunk anything like it.

A September in Tuscany, fossilised in a bottle.

Saturday night, me and Robyn went picking Everlasting Sweet Pea seeds - these are wonderful plants from the Sweet Pea family which flower all summer if you keep cutting the flowers.

They are still semi-wild and self seeding.

They come up year after year whether you like it or not. And sometimes they don't come up or they wait a few years; they've got minds of their own.

Anyway when they are ready I'll offer them to you - as a thank you for reading this Blog.

There will be limited numbers and you'll have to e-mail me your address.

You can sow them in your garden or somewhere wild where you walk.

This will be nice - something to remember me (us) by. And I'm hoping some of you who've followed the blog from the beginning will mail me for some.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


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