19th June 2008
When we thought of moving to Italy, one of the overriding sounds that I always imagined and hoped for was a similar faint, distant hum of Summer, but this time caused by crickets, bees, or simply the hazy heat rising.
Unfortunately I was wrong.
That sound here (especially at this time of year) is nothing to do with nature, it is the buzz of the ubiquitous ‘decespugliatore’. Americans know it as the ‘weed-whacker’ and, in England, it is simply called a ‘strimmer’.
To memorise and then to be able to pronounce this inexplicable word makes you an honorary Italian in my eyes and, despite the rising heat in Italy, my decespugliatore was hard at work today, along with so many thousands of others across the country.
Yes, grown men in orange boiler suits, you know the ones, spend hours each day strimming Italy’s countryside.
Some say Italians are a little obsessed with this method of weed control, I say no.
Once you’ve strapped on one of these beautiful machines with the correct mix of petrol and oil (‘miscela’ it’s called, available from country petrol stations on request) you can see why the hours seem to fly by.
You go into a kind of hypnotic trance, strimming away at anything that has the temerity to raise its head above about an inch off the ground. It’s mesmerising.
In England I used to feel quite sorry for anyone with that job, I just couldn’t see the attraction. Now I know that they are the lucky ones, not those fancy uniformed and sunglassed helicopter pilots.
The stupidest thing I did today;
Just got a bit carried away with my decespugliatore…now I have a little explaining to do.