Cool Cats and Ex-Pats

It’s Hot, Hot, Hot ,as the Montserratian musician Arrow sang back in 1982, and I’ve had to make quick decisions between how much to grow, how much I can water and how much I can eat. The equation, grow enough so you can have enough to eat and don’t grow what you can’t water is sometimes a difficult one to work out as the weather is becoming even more unpredictable with a high of 40 C coming soon.

As some of you may know the tornado that hit our area at the beginning of March blew my allotment shed down and like the big bad wolf (or hyena as they’re known in Italy) someone helped themselves to my pump and both bush strimmers.

Thanks to the kindness of a friend, who found it surplus to requirements, I was given a brand new strimmer and thanks to a special offer on Amazon I got a Draper pump sent to me from the UK without any delivery charge and at a good price. Since I no longer had to pump water up from a vast distance a smaller  2.5 HP pump was fine.

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There was only one problem. The pump was delivered to me without a drain sump but luckily I found one at a local farm equipment repair shop (Ulivi on the Gallicano road) and, surprisingly, it fitted perfectly!

I then connected the pump so that it drew all the water out of the little rain-water-fed reservoir we’d dug last year. The water went into our thousand –litre tank.

It was necessary to extract all the water as it was rapidly evaporating in the heat and, besides, the hurricane had torn the plastic lining.

I’ve now bought a new plastic sheeting, rather tougher than the previous lot.

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I was able to examine the state of the orto. At least the tomatoes and courgettes were doing OK.

The olives showed some signs of producing their fruit much later on this year.

Fruit trees were also well on the way to maturing their products.

The problem is we have to be down there not later than seven. By eleven am it’s really too hot to do anything much unless one is dying to have sun-stroke. And if one goes into the shade those pesky horse flies are at the ready to bite you to near-madness.

Ah, the pleasures of an Italian summer in the orto!

One could, of course sing that unforgettable song by the wonderful Noel Coward as, in all respects, we’re living through a tropical clime at the moment.

I must quote it in full – it’ so good (and true)!

In tropical climes
There are certain times
Of day 

When all the citizens retire
To take their clothes off and perspire.
It’s one of those rules
That the greatest fools
Because the sun is far too sultry
And one must avoid its ultry
Violet ray.

The natives grieve
When the white men leave
Their huts.
Because they’re obviously,

Mad Dogs & Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The Japanese don’t care to,
The Chinese wouldn’t dare to,
Hindus and Argentines
Sleep firmly from twelve to one,
But Englishmen
Detest a
In the Philippines
They have lovely screens
To protect you from the glare.
In the Malay states
There are hats like plates
Which the Britishers won’t wear.
At twelve noon
The natives swoon,
And no further work is done,
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun!

Such a surprise
For the eastern eyes
To see,
That though the English are effete,
They’re quite impervious to heat.
When the white man rides
Every native hides
In glee.
Because the simple creatures hope he
Will impale his solar topee
On a tree.

It seems such a shame
When the English claim
The Earth,
That they give rise
To such hilarity
And mirth.
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,
Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo,
He, he, he, he, he, he, he, he,
Hm, hm, hm, hm, hm, hm.

Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The toughest Burmese bandit
Can never understand it.
In Rangoon
The heat of noon
Is just what the natives shun,
They put their Scotch
Or Rye down
And lie down.
In a jungle town
Where the sun beats down
To the rage of man and beast,
The English garb
Of the English sahib
Merely gets a bit more creased.
In Bangkok
At twelve’ o’clock
They foam at the mouth and run,
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.

Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The smallest Malay rabbit
Deplores this foolish habit.
In Hong Kong
They strike a gong
And fire off a noonday gun
To reprimand
Each inmate
Who’s in late.
In the Mangrove swamps
Where the python romps
There is peace from twelve to two,
Even caribous
Lie around and snooze,
For there’s nothing else to do.
In Bengal,
To move at all
Is seldom if ever done.
But mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday
Out in the midday
Out in the midday
Out in the midday
Out in the midday
Out in the midday
Out in the midday sun!

with one difference, of course. There are no mad dogs around (I hope…) but only our very cool cats Napoleone, Carlotta and Cheeky who follow me down the old mule track to the orto and have fun chasing each other around or just snoozing in the shade. They also help in digging things out, although I’ve told them the correct technique is to dig them in…..



3 thoughts on “Cool Cats and Ex-Pats

  1. It looks as if there is a lot of mud or leaves at the bottom to our reservoir the next time we need to put that net that we bought last summer and I wonder where it has gone? Before this though we need to place that thicker plastic that we recently bought and I do not believe that the tornado got our plastic lining as it would have ripped it all not just a section! The same applies to he battered shed proven by the theft of our tools! I am totally psychologically hurt and upset by whoever has done this to us it is not very reassuring and please do not forget to put a good lock on the gate. A word of caution regards dogs as there are not only dogs but sheep with horns that you have allowed to roam through our area! Well congratulations on the tomatoes courgettes what about the potatoes carciofi melons beans ceci corn. Seems like Carlotta has a zecca or tic on her nose do check!

  2. You write about all that hard work, give us the whole version of Mad dogs and Englishmen, and my reaction is … what nice cats. Calico coloured cats are supposed to bring their good luck to their owners, by the way.

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