The story began when I admired the mint growing profusely in a sort of pot/window box on the terrace of the bar. My pals noted the relish with which I crumbled a mint leaf in my hands, releasing that clean fragrance which so enhances lightly-boiled new potatoes. A day or two later, I was presented with a little pot with a mint cutting which I duly planted in the hitherto barren window box which stretches the length of the terrace of my apartment.
I confess that tending to greenery is far from my forte; usually, I need only look sideways at a plant for it to turn up its toes in disgust. Nevertheless, this little mint plant evoked some sort of spiritual renaissance in my gardening soul and I tended it with loving care and lots of water (but only after the sun had moved round to leave the plant in the shade). And it has thrived! After two weeks of TLC, it has put out little offshoots and looks happy.
Reporting this magnificent progress - with an unjustified element of pride - back to the guys in the bar, they subsequently proceeded to acquire from the local market a further half dozen herbs of various denominations. I therefore felt obliged to buy some compost to assist their taking root in my rather stony window box. Astonished to find that a big bag (more than was necessary) cost only 1.20 euros.
So now I am the proud owner of a herb garden, comprising parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (you can tell that we are of a certain age), as well as oregano and basil. Somehow, a stray strawberry plant has also appeared.
So not only will my new tatties taste delightful, my ragu will be ever more flavourful. Provided the damn things don’t die on me …