Up into Tuscany on Saturday, to meet an old friend and make a new one, thanks to the efforts of another friend who is one of those people at the centre of intersecting circles without end. There was much good conversation, in which a trifling gap of, perhaps, 15 years was of no consequence. And on Sunday a visit to a wonderful little farm on which a young couple are trying to do the right thing by the land and their produce.
On steep hillsides they are growing chestnuts and local pigs (Belted Sienese), vines and rare goats, olives and donkeys (Amiata; again, a local rare breed). We spent a delightful morning first wandering the farm, then sitting in the comfortable kitchen tasting olive oil and wines and spreads and sausages and talking about their work and their philosophy, though none of us actually called it that. Enormous care and attention must be expended on olives to extract oil of the highest quality, but for them there was simply no point doing otherwise. It was, if you like, the final salute to the fruits, the trees, and the land that supported them.
I came away with half a dozen bottles of red, one of olive oil, and a promise to return. And a full heart.