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!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

DogBlog June

My name's Giorgio Clooney ~ My name's Monte Cain

If your name's not on
the list, you can't
come in!

One of a series of photographs of the boys from a photo shoot to produce a 'WOW' picture for the cover of a 'Thank You' card which was sent to their 'minders' Barry and Wendy who looked after them when we were away in England. It turns out they were treasures so all the training 'Cesar Millan' way is beginning to pay off. Any training of course, is dependent on consistency so what must Barry and Wendy think when the boys, en route home from their walk, dig in their heels and jab their noses in the direction of Da Cicco', the little village bar. One would think, quite rightly, that they are regular visitors there. Their woolly heads are controlled entirely by salivary glands so tempted by ice cream cones and biscuits provided on occasion by Patrizio the owner it would be foolish to pass by without at least, a recce.

Which leads me on to 'What does your Dog say about you?'

This is Polo, our previous dog, a white german shepherd rescue from the Blue Cross in Northiam, East Sussex. He was 4 years old when we bought him. We brought him to Italy with us but sadly he died just before Christmas 2006. Without ever knowing where he came from (although we did know some of his history ~ he had a few behavioural problems) we learned a good deal about the family he had lived with previously. He wouldn't play and was reluctant to touch any toys, especially those that resembled "baby" toys. I bought him a teddy bear from a boot sale and he avoided it for a long time. Maybe he was getting mixed messages from us. Perhaps his previous family had children and he had been taught not to touch their belongings. When he lived with us we allowed him in the dining room when we were eating but he never approached the table until the last knife and fork was laid to rest. He did this every mealtime with military precision, talk about scrupulous table manners! He was nervous at raised voices and swear words ~ he recognised most of them sadly, and hung his head the minute he detected the slightest change in mood for the worse. He would dip his head the moment somebody picked up a tea towel which made us think that perhaps one had been used in the past as an instrument of correction. But he recognised phrases like "I have to go out" when he would retire to his bed and collapse into it with a big sigh and "Do you want to come to the office?" which prompted excited yelping and spinning around in circles at the door. Our office, part of a purpose built garage conversion was only at the bottom of the garden but he loved to go there and he was happy there. So much so that sometimes he didn't want to come back to the house, so we left him there and renamed the office 'The Dog House'. He was also very comfortable travelling in a car which is just as well since the back of the Land Rover was his home for 3 days when he travelled to Italy with us. Thank goodness Dr. Doolittle is just a figment of someones imagination.
We've put gagging orders on our two!!

He found a little playmate in the village, a semi-stray who used to tag along with us on our walks. We called her 'cucciola' (pronounced cooch-ola) the Italian word for puppy. She would follow us for miles so we had to put her in the car at the end of the walk and drive her back to her 'spot'. Coincidence ~ but notice the 'red collar worn cool' trend.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Good, the Bad and the Hopeful

The new house is going up, sloooowly. Bit difficult to recognise but we are looking through the door to the living area from the loggia.

The stone work is truly a work of art and it hasn't been pointed or cleaned yet. Q: What do you do when you are convinced that you have chosen the best team of builders for the job but so far, it appears that our allocation of their time constitutes only two days per week (when the weather is good)? A: You have a little word in the ear of the Capo, that's what. Not too severe a word though, coaxing I think is the best bet, dangling the carrot with the promise of more work, although if he owned a race horse and he found himself sharing his bed with its head it might bring a tad more pressure to bear and of course, that's more to my way of persuasion. I suppose like most Italian builders (which they're not) they have this fear of turning away work in case they find themselves without any, but in the 'spreading themselves too thinly' we would at least like to know if we're talking skinny or anorexic.

The build site.

Elusive or not, the brothers are stars. They are not the least bit embarrassed about having their photographs taken for the blog and will pose for me whenever I get ‘snap’ happy with the camera. There is a sort of childhood innocence about them and I like them all. There is a new √©migr√©, a nephew; he’s only 16 years old.

Flown the nest to come and work in a foreign country with his uncles and cousin. It may be a scary thought to all Mums and Dads out there but Rystem, the Capo is like a Godfather to them all and watches over them with genuine pride. The background on the family business is very much a success story and every bit of it earned. Rystem left Kosovo 16 years ago and moved to Italy. Disadvantaged by the language barrier (not that he sees it as such) he became a shepherd for four years and then got himself a job working for a builder. After four years learning the trade he branched off on his own and is now a registered and respected family builder growing in numbers by the year. Eight years ago, a brother, Mazlem joined him here; one year ago, three more brothers and a cousin and this year a nephew. Mazlem, as the second longest serving brother is the under Capo, the rest I think are still ‘serving their time’.

There is nothing more binding than a family, the Sicilians will tell you that and watching them develop under the keen and discerning eye of Rystem makes you glad to know them. They are the hardest workers I think I have ever met. Unfortunately for us, I’m not the only one who thinks that; they are in such demand that just to get a glimpse of them once a week makes you somehow feel grateful!!! Out of interest, Rystem did say that he hopes to return to Kosovo one day. (Ijust hope that he might return HERE one day.) When I asked if he would continue his building business there, he said “No, I intend to retire very rich!” In the meantime I have agreed to post as many photos of the family on the blog so that the Kosovan contingent can check in regularly and coo over their distant loved ones.

Next month: Who knows?

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