I'm happy to announce that we have finished all of our jobs, at least those that we considered necessary before our holiday.
After 2.5 months of heavy lifting, shovelling, dragging, loading, moving, cutting, sawing, wheelbarrowing, etc. we are definitely ready for a holiday.
I'm tired and sore and I feel like the Incredible Hulk.
This morning, I cut a few prickly trees out of our hazelnut grove with the handsaw. I noticed that each truck had a thick coating of ice on it. I learned that handsaws can cut ice.
This afternoon I helped Stu move some roof tiles. Clay tile roofs are an architectural feature of most Italian houses and ours is no different. These tiles are not attached to the roof or each other in any way; they simply overlap.
They last about 50 years so they're a fairly good investment, except after a snowfall when the weight of the snow can make them slide off the roof. Needless to say, walking under your eaves after snow can be quite a dangerous activity. Most Italians do a 'walk around' to check the state of their roofs. The tiles can also crack in severe temperatures. After last year's winter, our neighbour had to replace most of his tiles because his roof points towards the north.
Anyway, the other compelling thing about these tiles is that they weigh about 4kg each. This is a particularly interesting fact if you need to move them.
And we moved 160 of them today...
We have about 300 of these tiles stored on the second level of our fienale. Unfortunately, earlier owners stacked them on top of each other across the arched ceiling of the lower level. There's now a rather ominous crack along the ceiling directly under them so we decided moving them had become an urgent job.
The tiles are quite brittle and will crack and break easily if they fall on each other. So we dragged an old mattress out from the house and placed it on the ground outside the fienale.
Then Stu stood on the second level and threw each tile carefully down onto the mattress. This was a rather difficult task because they tend to bounce in unexpected directions like a rubgy football.
After about 6 tiles, he would call 'OK' which told me that it was safe to move in with the wheelbarrow and load them, cart them and offload them at the rear of the house.
While I was away, he would throw down the next lot of tiles in time for my return.
After about 10 wheelbarrow loads, I was more tired and more sore and I felt even more like the Incredible Hulk.
When I returned to the mattress, I looked at the tiles, laying there haphazardly in the morning frost and I thought of the girls in Little Women, who huddled together in bed to keep warm.
'What's wrong?', I heard a voice from above.
'Oh nothing', I replied to Stu, forcing myself back to the task.
He must have sensed my tiredness because he started going up and down the steps to move the tiles off the mattress while I was away offloading. By the time I returned I had two lots of tiles ready for my next wheelbarrow load. Clearly, my pace had slowed down, which is fair enough when you feel like the Incredible Hulk.
Tonight I glanced at myself in the mirror.
I was incredibly tired and excruciatingly sore.
The Incredible Hulk looked back at me.