You have visitors coming? Ok, then I will huff and puff and blow your garden to bits.


Today started as any Monday morning… with a groan. I rolled out of bed, wandered into the kitchen and started to boil the kettle for a nice cup of tea. Just as I plugged the kettle in, a bolt of lightning and a crack of thunder shot across the sky. Mmm that was close, I told Mrs Sensible.

As I wandered into the bathroom, two more bolts of lightning lit up the bathroom and then the winds came. There is a Latin name for the winds that suddenly appear in Piedmont  something like bigggusti flatulantisti windusti. A strange howling sound came from the chimney, it sounded like a Scotsman struggling with a very bad set of bagpipes, Mrs Sensible and I looked at each other with horror, as we watched the lounge ceiling start to vibrate. As we stood watching, the ceiling cracked where it was supposed to be glued to the wall and lifted about 10 centimetres. That’s about 4 inches in real money.

As designed by Isabel

As designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown and redesigned by a bit of wind. For you dedicated gardeners, can you spot my lemon tree?

We both, in a very calm British stiff upper lip way, decided that we should vacate the lounge and close the windows. The conversation and actions went something like this.

“What is the noise?”

“Don’t know”

“The roof is moving”

“What?”

“Look, it is moving.”

“Move, run, now”

“The windows”

“Close them, oh Dio!”

We calmly walked ran around the house like headless chickens, shutting the windows as the wind blew and the mad Scotsman in the chimney played his bagpipes.

A strange sound came from the chimney

A strange sound came from the chimney. Was it Father Christmas, a mouse or a strange Scotsman with his bagpipes.

The crazy man who converted, what should have been a lovely 1800’s barn conversion into a modern American style office building house, installed swinging windows that are 1.5 metres square (Five feet in English). When the wind grabs them then can spin 180 degrees and smash into little pieces.

This photo does NOT do these stupid windows justice.

This photo does NOT do these stupid windows justice.

In Italy, we have a small problem that blights the country; now some of you will be thinking of the mafia and some of you might be thinking of the glorious Italian bureaucracy, however the real problem is the blasted mosquitoes. A ‘proper’ Italian house, designed and built by anyone with an IQ above 25 makes sure that it is easy to install anti mosquito nets. Unfortunately because a moron designed this house, it took me 12 months to devise a way of attaching nets to our huge, swinging windows. The end result took over 80 metres of gaffa tape (for you non-English blog readers, gaffa tape is like sellotape, but wide and very sticky, it has the remarkable property of sticking eyebrows to lips and fingers to windows) 10 packs of netting and a lot of swearing. The end result is mosquito nets, which hang from the windows, the same way my old grannies knickers used to hang from the washing line.

Big and baggy, just like grannies knickers

Big and baggy, just like grannies knickers

They nets do stop 97.5 % of all known mosquitoes, the remaining 2.5% still manage to get in and bite me at around two o’ clock in the morning;  but because of the masses of gaffa tape needed to secure the mesh, the windows no longer close properly. Now this is not normally a problem, except the wind was blowing a hooley and the rain was raining horizontally!! We stood and watched as the rooms slowly flooded. I ran around in circles while my wife ran for the mop and some mats to soak up the water.

When the wind and the rain stopped, we surveyed the devastation. Apart from the three new ponds in the bedrooms, the destroyed shed, various roofs that had detached themselves from the chicken shed etc.; what most upset Mrs Sensible was she and to a lesser extent I, had spent the previous couple of days cleaning and tidying the house ready for our visitors.

I will huff and puff and blow your shed away.

I will huff and puff and blow your shed away.

We checked to make sure Luagina, our neighbour had survived the storm and then we started the clean up operation, so that we would be ready for our visitors arriving from the UK. Hopefully bearing gifts like piccalilli and HP brown sauce.

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54 thoughts on “You have visitors coming? Ok, then I will huff and puff and blow your garden to bits.

    • Hi Sarah, We have some very interesting cracks in the lounge ceiling, the lemons fell off my tree and the tin shed is doomed. But as Luigina, our neighbour said “we are all alive”

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    • Thanks we need it.
      I went chasing through the vineyard looking for a bed sheet that I thought had blow away. It seems it was never washed and that is why I couldn’t find it.

      Oh the alzheimer’s is kicking in..

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  1. Glad you and Mrs Sensible were unharmed. They had windows like that in my mother’s “retirement flat” block and all the elderly people got caught up in them trying to retrieve their tangled curtains on windy days.

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    • I have no idea, the temperature dropped from 36°c to 24°c in seconds, and then the rain was raining horizontally. It was so bad you couldn’t see the garden for all the rain and water.

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  2. I’m glad you are okay, was there any damage to the roof of your house? Your windows are very interesting, and look dangerous but I like how you devised your screens. 🙂 Enjoy your company and hopefully this is the last of storms like that for you.

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    • Hi,
      I think we will be due one or two more storms before the summer is out. I just hope we don’t get any of the mega hail storms, because they make a mess of the car.

      We lost a ridge tile from the roof. The main damage was the lounge ceiling and the loss of the tin shed.

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  3. I hope if I’m ever in an extreme situation like that, you’re not there. The sight of you running around flapping would render me incapable of doing anything constructive!!! 🙂 Glad you’re both ok though!

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  4. Cripes, that was some storm! I hope that the ceiling has been sorted and that you’ve got over the shock. Did the sausage-dog get blown away??? Your grandmother had impressive knickers, if your mosquito nets are anything to go by 🙂

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    • Granny had very impressive knickers 🙂 Gilda the short legged but incredibly fat sausage dog was hiding in the cantina, probably looking for something to eat. I am still in shock, will someone please pass me a glass of grappa!

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    • Would you believe the shed blew down about a month ago.. It was rebuilt a little smaller with the pieces that didn’t blow away into the next village. At the rate we are going, we might manage to make a dog house out of it. 🙂

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      • We’ve had a couple of big storms, no hail or destruction here though thankfully, just lots of rain and some impressive lightning. I hear there have been a few tornadoes around too.

        Rather spookily, just as I sent that message yesterday the sky darkened, a gust of wind blew the shutters to and then there was a huge crack of thunder and the heavens opened.

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        • It is nice and calm here at the moment and the temp is about 23°C

          I really enjoy watching the lightning storms, they are pretty impressive. Around here we have lots of cars full of dents, caused by the hail….

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  5. Glad you all survived in one piece even if the shed and your lounge roof didn’t! Glad too that Gilda managed to lie low! 😉 Very inventive with the gaffa tape and netting I must say and wow what a lovely view you have from your window! 🙂

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