It seemed fitting to celebrate the fruit which sustained so many Italians in war time on the same day that we raised funds to sustain Italians struggling after recent earthquakes in central Italy.
Sadly the famous wasp from the east has made the chestnut harvest very weak and heavily infested, so it was not easy to find good examples of these treasured fruits, however our families were willing to try and headed off happily into the chestnut forest.
Some of our guests were distracted by other forest goodies......!
Back at the Hazelhut we had prepared a chestnut rich feast for everyone - papardelle with mushrooms, chestnuts and pancetta, rabbit and chestnut stew and 3 different chestnut sweets! Chestnuts truly are a versatile and very tasty food!
After lunch we put our guests to work planting bulbs in aid of the Italian Red Cross. During the last earthquake the Hazelhut was full of children and we were forced to revise our idea that Italy would not need our donation. We now know that the crisis will not be over for many many months and we hope that the €186 we raised in the sale of bulbs will make some difference.
Afterwards there was time for the children to enjoy the sunshine, have a tractor ride, or finish their artwork.
Thank you all for your generosity in buying bulbs for the Red Cross and for being a part of our first Chestnut Day. We are sorry that the fruits were few, but we hope that you can all come and see the tulips, daffodils and crocuses in bloom next spring - a sign of hope for better things to come!
Three days later than most British people, we celebrated Guy Fawkes Day at the Hazelhut with some of the students from St. Dominic's School.
25 children and their English teacher came to find out about a special moment in British history, but first we played a game to get to know all their names.
Then, since it wasn't raining, we had our snack outdoors.
The students started their investigation by looking at the famous Anonymous mask based on the Guy Fawkes character from the film 'V for Vendetta'. Many students recognised it, but were not aware of the 'man behind the mask'.
So James filled them in on some of the historical facts about this much loved and feared character and how he attempted to blow up King James I who was oppressing the Catholics in his land.
As a whole group we read a poem about the events and then the girls went off to practice with Ottavia while the boys practiced with James. Then each group performed the poem for the other.
In the end the girls were rowdy but enthusiastic, but the boys had worked hard on their pronunciation and won the contest.
Next the girls headed into the art room to make an effigy of Guy Fawkes.....
While the boys ran around looking for wood to build the bonfire.
At lunch time the children sat around the fire as Guy Fawkes burned, just as he has every 5th of November since the famous gunpowder plot of 1605!
The children enjoyed the fresh air and the chance to play with the sports equipment and in the trees for a short while.
Then we returned to the dining room to reflect on the day's learning and to say goodbye to these wonderful enthusiastic, smart and fun kids. Please come and see us again soon!