This must be one of the most common expressions. A favourite with journalists as they create headlines around badly behaved politicians or celebrities. ‘He was caught with his pants down, as he enjoyed a drink in a remote bar with his mistress.’ Or, ‘you don’t want to be caught with your pants down at work as you surf the net looking for new shoes instead of working.’ We have all been caught in some kind of embarrassing situation but have you ever actually been caught, literally with your pants down? Well, today I was. Let me explain.

My ancient villa and farm in Tuscany that I am renovating to hold my women’s getaways sits on the knoll of a hill. There is a small castle above me in a medieval village, and below the land rolls down through olive groves to a river and woodland. In typical Tuscan style, the land climbs back up the other side of the valley through vineyards until it reaches the steep, medieval walls of the town of Montepulciano, which, high up on this neighbouring hill, lords over the entire valley. My eighty-acre farm consists of these woods, olive groves, two lavender fields and two vineyards. Now you would think I could find a quiet corner behind one of my hundreds of trees to have a quick pee, but there are builders, plumbers, plasterers, painters, etc.everywhere . They are on the rooftops, in the windows, in trenches – well, you get the picture. As yet I have no plumbing except for one bright blue port-a-potty used by the ‘ ragazzi .’ I think I have mentioned in other blogs that I am absolutely the only female on this site and there is not a chance that I am going in that portable loo .

This morning I casually walked along a ridge as far away from the construction site as I could, desperate for a pee. Finally circling the area like a dog with its nose to the ground, ears pricked up for sound, I found what seemed like a private area. With jeans and knickers around my ankles I was feeling like a successful boy scout butthen out of the undergrowth lurched our local truffle hunter with his two snifferdogs. They had sniffed me out. What do you do, what do you say? Pulling my pants up as casually as I could with, I am sure, a look of absolute humiliation on my face, he completely ignored my predicament as if he had met me walking along the cobbled streets of our local village. He just smiled as he fumbled around in his pockets, handed me the largest truffle I’d ever seen, and then strolled off whistling in what I know had to be bloody amusement .

What’s a girl to do?