Not Sure We Should Be Doing This In August….Part One

The Pool

This is usually the point of the week where I’d be giving my verdict on the week’s New Wine This Week. This week being Vinho Verde. But I’m a bit stuck really. I’ve taken the missus for a bit of R&R to my parents place in Piemonte in Northern Italy, where we’re going to be staying til the start of September. Doesn’t sound bad does it, but it does bugger up New Wine This Week for a bit…

Problem being is that in Italy, a lot like in France and other major wine producing countries, it is nearly impossible to buy anything other than Italian wine. Not just that, but we’re out in the sticks here, so it’s pretty much only wine from within a 20km radius. I’m not complaining that much, it does include the villages of Barolo and Barbaresco, the other grapes of Moscato, Barbera, and Dolcetto, and dozens of wineries to visit and enjoy. Does leave me a bit stumped for Vinho Verde though.

So I thought “bollocks to it” (family motto) I’ll write up a bit about what we’re up to out here. My parents bought this falling down old shack on the side of a hill a few years back for a retirement project. My Dad’s a DIY nut, which kind of makes us all DIY nuts too. Every time we’re out here there’s something to do. The walls are now righted, the roof of the main house has been redone, and we’ve even got electricity and running water! So what next?

This is the first week out here, and we’ve got some pressing jobs. We’ve got one of my cousins turning up next week with her family (3 kids under 4 y.o.) so for the first time really it’s a bit of a pressing concern to “baby-proof” the bugger. So, the lawn needs redoing, the driveways need redoing, and the slope up to the pool needs redoing…


Digging up the old lawn sounds easy, but it isn’t. The weeds out here when you go away for a few weeks, then come back usually grow up to 6 or 7 feet tall (I am not bullshitting!) So we’ve decided to bite the bullet, realize having a grass lawn isn’t going to happen, and got hold of some astro turf. So, first and foremost the lawn needs to come up….

Day One

This is a shot of the back of the trusty defender covered in sods of earth. I potentially should have finished it in the day, but screw it, it was 38 degrees! And I’m a ginger!


Just cracking on with getting the sods up. Dad came back with 500 paving slabs for the drive way which had to be unloaded one by one….that was just a sheer joy! Better day for me today, only 32 degrees.

Day Two


My sister’s fiancé’s parents (follow that?) came down today, so not a huge amount got done, other than eating and drinking. I did manage to finish off getting the turf up, but then we realized the Land Rover’s battery was flat, so play was halted early doors.


Buoyed on by the arrival of my wife (who is a maniacal worker!) we started to lay the foundations for the astro turf area, and also for the new path way. We’d originally tried to use shingles, but the weeds couldn’t give a shit and kept coming through. So we’re onto the back up plan, paving slabs. We had a go at laying a few, and used the old shingles as a base for the astro turf.

Day Four

Four days in and we’re getting a bit tired by now, but the evening stroll through the local wine lists is helping out, as is the knowledge that after 5 days of treatment the pool should be up and running tomorrow! Time to cool off!




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