So you think you would like to live in Italy

This is our story, warts an' all. We have come this far since May 2004 and survived the bureaucracy, a freezing cold winter, a landslip and a diminishing money pot. Share our experiences, believe me the good ones far outweigh the bad and if you want to ask a question and we know the answer, we'll tell it like it is.

I found this little phrase in a Collins Italian Phrase Book published in 1963 ~ "passa ogni limite" pahs'sah ohn'yee lee'mee-tay which means: That's the giddy limit. Useful if there's anybody out there that quaint!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Turning the April Cornerstone

Gianfranco ~ 'The Bulldozer'. Actually, the digger man. (Someone taught him the word 'Bulldozer' which he applies to any big earth-moving machinery.) Everybody thinks of him as a loveable rogue, loveable he is but rogue he isn't, well only in the mischievous sense. His prices beat anyone else's hands down ~ he just doesn't turn up!!!

There are a number of things I would like to own, not desperately-above-all-else sort of like to own (otherwise I would have it) more like a power and pride sort of ownership. One of them is a digger. What a wondrous piece of machinery it is. I could trundle it up the road turning over cars and knocking down houses, so much power controlled by a couple of levers. I wonder if you have to apply for a 'responsible person' licence before you can buy one of these clanking great monsters! I watched from a window while Gianfranco toppled the old garage, jabbing and teasing the walls and roof until it gave up its strength. The great iron jaw bit into the roof, again and again until the concrete and steel, fused together for decades, groaned and bowed into submission. In the end the digger won easily. Gianfranco treats his metal destroyer like a pet and leaves it to sit atop the debris like a victor with his prize.

This is exciting news of course; it means that the demolition of the old garage is done, which in turn means that the building of the new house can begin. In fact it already has; I fratelli Memedaj are the chosen builders, the five brothers from Kosovo, and in just two days the fantastic five have completed all of the steelwork and concrete for the new foundations. This is a huge achievement by anyone’s standards and by Italian standards, unheard of.

It rained one of those days but the five arrived at 7.15am to take a delivery of steel and left, after a full day’s work, at 7.00pm having had only half an hour for lunch, which they brought with them. Don’t they know that siesta is sacrosanct and that if you work within 30 minutes drive from home then you are expected to take lunch at home with your family, all five courses of it. But that’s the Italian way. Maybe the Kosovans understand the principle of ‘working to make money’. Day 2, the same. So far so good.
Days 3 - 6 extended Bank Holiday here in Italy. We were told they would be back Tuesday or Wednesday; which Tuesday or Wednesday wasn't clarified.
Days 7 - 10 (to date) ~ no sign of them! Oops, maybe Rystem the 'Capo' who learned his trade here went to the 'Gianfranco' school of ruse.

Not ONE but TWO new balconies.

To be more precise, a couple of concrete projections facing south and west; all the better for the sun my dear. The shuttering hasn't even been taken away yet but, in true Clampett style we've made one our sunset viewing platform. Couple of chairs, Blacky the cat (he's in the pic, by the way if you can spot him), a couple of glasses of wine; watching the sun set over the Monti Sibillini. Heaven!!! Suitable only for non or moderate drinkers on account of there being no hand rail.

Look what spring has brought; pretty as a peach or even a bunch, our first home-grown fruit. There’s a long way to go between now and the eating but I’m fussing over them like the passionate gardener I’ve become. At the same time learning about Peach Leaf Curl, Brown Rot, Scab and a host of other equally foul sounding blights. I’m sure they'll be fine until one of them strikes and then ....................... I’ll get in a professional!
Spring is just divine. Just look at our Poplars? Tall and straight like proud soldiers.

Who built the log pile ~ March blog? Answer: Nos. 1, 2 and 7 were built by stranieri, the rest are the real thing – Italian. I won’t name the other constructors but log pile No. 2 is ours and whilst it looks like it can hold its own with the rest this pic shows what happened after a high wind. I was reminded by my husband that the side which collapsed was erected by me! If the wood hadn't have been so green I would have tried to pass it off as a nasty accelerated case of 'Death Watch' beetle!!!

Next month ~ persistance pays; self-employment and how to make money even if you don't speak Italian fluently.

Hopefully ~ progress on the build works.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

DogBlog April

Meet CLANK the boys’ new friend.

CLANK is a cross husky and he lives, no survives up the road a bit from us. In all the years we have lived here, almost four, this little dog has been chained to a piece of farm machinery. We are accustomed to his howling and pitiful cries for attention. Until this year, although we passed him every day walking our old dog, we never approached him because we had been told that he would bite. This piece of advice, I think, was given to deter us from offering him friendship and as a warning not to stray onto the owners land. No-body lives there, by the way! Then, one day he managed to escape his fetter and made his way down to our garden. The boys, who were in the pound, raised the signal in the way they do and kicked up an almighty rumpus, to let us know that we had an intruder. And there he was wearing a collar and chain that would have restrained a bull. There was so much steel hanging from his neck that he walked with his front legs splayed to avoid a bashing from his heavy metal bling. He clanked towards us (I don’t need to tell you how he got his name) when we opened the door, cowering and afraid and when I offered a hand, he flopped onto his back in a typically submissive posture.

After a hearty breakfast and a bucket of water we brought him into the pound to see how he would behave around the boys. Thankfully, he was submissive with them and after they nosed and prodded him about for a while, they accepted him and he spent the rest of the day with them. He had to go back, of course and with a heavy heart we returned him to his chain and his farm machinery. We call in every morning to disentangle him from his knots, free up his chain and to give him a bit of breakfast but it breaks my heart when we leave him barking after us.

CLANK is extremely underfed, in no way aggressive and craves human touch; he would make a loyal and loveable companion. Maybe there is someone out there who is looking for such a little dog. Of course, they couldn’t have CLANK, he belongs to someone else and he wears a collar to prove it, but I’m sure we could arrange for a similar little dog, virtually the same as the one in the photographs but not wearing a collar to turn up on our doorstep if the right person were to come along!!

Who Stole the Pooh Bag, Who, who, who, who?

Ha! Somebody will have got a very unpleasant shock when they made off with a plastic bag we left at the side of the road. I can’t imagine what somebody expected to find in the little lumpy black bag tied up with a knot but you can bet your bottom dollar (what does that mean exactly?) that they wished they hadn’t been so curious as to find out. The contents ~ doggy do’s. Left at the roadside to pick up and put in the bin on the way back from the village. Maybe if it was still warm, they thought it was a bag of bagels!

About Me

My photo
Keep checking in. I swear I will put something in here one day.