The end of the golden weather – not!

Our climbing beans have slowed down their remarkable production skills and the leaves on our squash vines are tinged with yellow. I’ve given up swimming at the Hampstead Heath Lido and have moved to the heated indoor pools in Kentish Town. Hot soup suddenly seems a sensible choice for lunch instead of salads, and last night I needed an extra layer on the bed.

But we haven’t given up on summer – not yet – and so it’s time to chase the sun south for a few weeks. We’re heading off again next week, driving down through France to Italy and then into Umbria where this glorious organic farm awaits us in all its beauty, along with projected temperatures that make you gasp and stretch your eyes, and imagine that you remember how summers used to be exactly like this in the Good Old Days (yeah, right).

Tomatoes. Figs. Plums. Peaches. Fresh mozzarella. Eggs from the farm’s hens, olive oil from their trees, and wine from their grapes. Salami made in the local salumeria. Breakfast on the front terrace watching the swifts and swallows gather on the power lines and have chirruping conversations about their coming journeys – I imagine them swapping route advice like the worst travel bores in the world.

Swimming in a pleasingly warm but unheated pool.

Walking up to Montegabbione in the late afternoon when everything’s turning pink and gold in the sun.

Drinking prosecco bellinis on the back terrace in the evening and watching the sun set behind Monte Amiata.

How wonderful is that?

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