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the raspberry queen in waiting

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It's been three weeks of compromises and coincidences...

Claudio, our farming consultant, delivered the good news that we have been awarded subsidies from the Comunità Montana to plant 200 more olive trees and 1,671 raspberry seedlings. It has taken six months of lobbying and I feel as satisfied as I do after a steaming hot bowl of Ribollita! I felt so elated that I even forgot what the inspector said when he came to check that we are a real farm and not a vehicle for money laundering;
“ You know you'll never make any money.'ll give you something to do when your husband is at work, I guess”.
Staring into his ruddy, bloated face, I bit my English stiff upper lip and reminded myself repeatedly why I love living in Italy.

I was so enthused by our success, however, that I almost grabbed my shovel and dug the holes there and then. Alas, my elation was short-lived. Claudio reigned me in and told me that the raspberry experts at Florence University predict a freezing winter, so it's best to plant in the Spring. It's frustrating but I have to compromise and do what's best for the seedlings. I have to wait until the sultry Tuscan sun and April showers nurture them into strong productive plants.

I'm not very patient, and certainly not as stoic as my alter ego.

On November 16th Kate Middleton and Prince William finally announced their engagement. Katie Waitie finally got that ring on her finger, even if it was her mother-in-law's! And what does this have to do with raspberry farming? Well, you guessed it, my name is also Kate Middleton (and also officially Katherine). As if that wasn't enough of a coincidence, they are getting married on 29th April and yes, you guessed right again, I got married on 29th April. If she starts cultivating raspberries at Highgrove, I'm going to think she's stalking me!

I'm happy for them, I really am, but I can't wait until she changes her name. It's not doing anything for my Google ratings! I also found out that she likes Issa – guess what? me too!!! Living in the middle of nowhere isn't conducive to dress shopping, so I tucked up the kids in bed one night, poured myself a glass of wine and flicked through the webpages of Yoox. I found a great dress, my size, reasonably affordable, absolutely no place to wear it but, what the hell, a bit of glamour to stir up the neighbors...and she did it again,  it was SOLD OUT DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND!

So as the other Kate Middleton plans her Spring wedding, rapt in the excitement of dresses, flowers and caterers, this Kate Middleton plans her raspberry patch, caught up in the whirl of electric fences, hardy raspberry varieties and the ever-doubting neighboring farmers!
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Philippa Challis 05/02/2011
We are thinking of planting soft fruits (particularly raspberries) on a hectare of gently sloping land on the shore of lake Bolsena (VT). To get the subsidies I guess I will need to take the exam too, any advice or suggestions? The soil here is of volcanic origins, very rich - what are the ideal conditions for raspberries.
Carri New 18/12/2010
I'm so envious! I'm in Ks in the US. I'm buying 20 acres this spring and starting an organic farm. Tuscany is my dream and I hope to travel there in the next couple of years. So many coincidences with Kate the 2nd! LOL
sicelidas 18/12/2010
invidia ed entusiasmo per una tale impresa: buona fortuna e buon lavoro.
Richard 15/12/2010
Love the wedding photo! X X X
eugenia 14/12/2010
L'importante è essere "regine" inside! L'eleganza e la nobiltà ( quella d'animo) sono innate: un carciofo, sebbene "ben vestito", è sempre un carciofo! Ciao e, se non ci rivediamo, auguri di Buon Natale a tutta la "Royal Family"!!
Anna 14/12/2010
Hmmm, I wonder how Kate junior is going to spend her time NOT making money while her husband is working... I'm also us european tax payees are supporting your raspberries. We'll come and help dig!
Peter Bailey 08/12/2010
I thought there was colour film when you got married! Good luck with the raspbery plants.

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