Friday, August 19, 2005

Sweetpeas, tomatoes, rural holiday

A few days ago I noted the pleasure of picking sweetpeas after it had rained. Today, when I picked them while it was still raining, I was surprised by their resilience and by the strength of their perfume.

In the greenhouse, the cherry tomatoes continue to ripen, but it is the big, thin-skinned, Costletto Fiorentino unevenenly shaped and of varying proportions that give the greater pleasure for their appearance and flavour.

In Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent, I come across the French word villiegeture (there is an acute accent over the first e). It means a stay in the country. Reference to different dictionaries shows that it is derived from the Italian Villeggiatura, residence in a country villa. The Oxford Dictionary recognised the Italian form as an English word and quotes Shelley "Lord Byron is in villeggiatura near Leghorn.

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