At the side of our house is a tiny scrap of land barely 60msq that belongs to Domenico; who also owns the ruin out front: Domenico’s Ruin. On this land stands two skinny olive trees, now the only way to these trees is through my gate and down the steps attached to the side of the house. A few weeks ago Domenico told me he’d need to strim the land in readiness for harvesting the olives in November. Being a good neighbour I told him we’d clean his land and strim it for him, which we did today: or rather Seppe did with his strimmer with chain attachment. I’d mentioned to Seppe that I’d like to put a fence around the edge of the land joining it to ours to keep the dogs from running down into the olive groves owned by other people, but would need to speak to Domenico first.
So today we’re finishing off filling the frame for the patio with rubble from the restoration and clearing Domenico’s land of weeds, when he appears. Seppe asks him if we can put the fence up to keep the dogs in, and at first he’s against the idea, “It’s my land,” he says. We explain that we know that, and we just want to make it secure. He asks what we are doing and we explain that we are building a patio, a gravelled area and a vegetable plot. “I used to grow my vegetables on this piece of land,” he tells us pointing to his 60msq patch. “Maybe you can buy it from me?” We ask how much and the price starts at €2,000 and we say no, €500 and so on until he says €1,500 and we say no more than €1,000 and we’ll think about it.
We agree that he can come to work on the land any time he wants and we’ll unlock the gate, “Oh, I only want the olives.” he shakes his head, “I don’t want to work this tiny piece of land.” We then say to him that we’ll keep it clean for him and not let it get overgrown. “Well, why don’t you use it for your vegetables then?” We are a little confused by this. “Shame to waste it, the soil is good, so why don’t you work the land?” We thank him for his generosity and he responds by saying, “And think about if you want to buy it.”
Buy it and turn it into an allotment, or grow on it for free… Deal or no deal?