Monday, 12 August 2019

It’s a whopper

Not a conversation you have every day but Mr FF asked me this morning if I’d posted his salami on my blog, happy to oblige that’s what I’m doing,
Last week we went with our Danish friends to talent show in their village, organised by a friend in our village.  It was held at the sports ground, there was food and wine, it was a lot of fun and we sat up on the terraces to watch the show.  There was a raffle, Mr FF bought three tickets for 5 euro and was lucky enough to have the winning number for the second prize.  He got a bottle of wine and a voucher for salami from a local shop.  For some childish reason I and my female danish friend found this very amusing, the chat in the car on the way home was smutty to say the least, we laughed so much acting like 17 year olds though we are both beyond 70.
Mr FF and I collected the prize next day, well he sent me into the shop saying he had to keep an eye on the car as we had no change for the meter.  Here it is, surprisingly large, Mr FF was impressed when he saw it.  I posted a photo to my friend and refrained from further comment though several came to mind.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Sorry I’m not sorry (rant)

Watching the news today I saw that British Airways cancelled a lot of flights because of IT problems.  However they apologised to customers and were offering them the opportunity to rebook on a different day.  Opportunity -  an occasion or situation that makes it possible to do something that you want to do or have to do.   BA contrive to make it appear they are doing their customers a favour, a one time only sale ends Sunday offer, enabling them to completely rejig their plans.  No mention of holidays ruined, appointments missed, life just messed up. No, they are offering an opportunity, dream on BA.
I recently raised a complaint against the company we employ to manage our apartment building, as owners we pay them to do this.  I had raised some queries with the Director who is our property manager, waited 3 months and reminded her twice before I got the response that she would not be responding and there would be no further correspondence on the matter.  In other words shut up.
So I lodged an official complaint, not holding out much hope as the investigation was to be carried out by a fellow Director of the company.  The complaints procedure, available on the website, states within 7 days of my complaint I would receive a summary of their understanding of the issues and within 14 their findings.  Apart from an acknowledgement I heard nothing for 43 days and then only after I chased them.
Regarding the 3 month silence I was told they could only apologise and when I questioned the delay in investigating my complaint I was told they had wanted to ensure they had all the detail.  It’s a joke, they just don’t give a toss.  I told them in no uncertain terms that this shocking customer service is endemic in the company and they can do a lot more than only apologise, leading my example would be a good start.
I don’t imagine customer service will ever improve, even phoning our property managers we go through the push buttons and hold for ages procedure, usually before being connected to an answering machine.  It’s the norm nowadays but on the positive side I had to speak to my solicitor recently.  She was in holiday but I was given a contact in a different office who was helpful and kind.  I’m taking him a bottle of our local Italian wine as a thank you, sadly I can only apologise that I won’t be delivering one to our property manager but I can offer her the opportunity to do without,

Monday, 5 August 2019

More for me then

Last year the single plum tree in our orchard had only a couple of fruits.  Both Mr FF and Mario told me to chop it down. Men do that, they love the slash and burn gardening and they are impatient.  A perfectly nice tree, not taking up needed space, providing greenery, I gave it a tidying up prune, some feed and left it alone
This year I saw it was flowering, watched and hoped as the fruit set and not so long ago I picked plenty of plums.  Enough to stew and serve with mascapone and crushed amarettos.  I told Mr FF he shouldn’t have any as he’d wanted the tree chopped down.  He has no faith but he did get some pudding.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019


It’s amazing how a good downpour refreshes the garden in a way no amount of irrigation can.  Everything looks clean and bright, the paths are washed down, the pool is overflowing, it’s worth a day stuck indoors for all this renewal.
I have rather over filled my new raised bed with cuttings and plants grown from seed. Some haven’t behaved as I expected like the cosmos I placed near the front that have grown metres high and are yet to flower.  There are some real thugs in there, like the nasturtiums covering Mr FF’s lovely travertine and hiding a little begonia but I am pleased with the lush jungle and next year I shall know better.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Wet wet wet

Its taken a welcome wet day in Italy for me to update you.  Yes we are back, it’s been extremely hot, we’ve had friends to stay for a few days and finally the heat has put hard labour on hold, though Mr FF was briefly caught bashing rubble for a new orchard path yesterday.  He’s done enough with the pool and terrace for now, let’s relax and enjoy
It’s high summer, the village is filling up as families escape the heat of Rome, festas are held every weekend in the squares, too many tomatoes in the garden, another fantastic Tour de France and 28 deg in our bedroom most evenings.  It’s all predictable and wonderful.
The rain started early morning, I was out at 3 am calling Grigio when it got heavy, she was delighted to be inside and is beside me now sleeping through the thunder and lightning.  Mr FF is still in bed also sleeping through the storm after a late night at the village wine and pasta festa.
Tonight we’ll watch 22 year old Egan Bernal take the Tour trophy, be a little sad that it’s over for another year but look forward to more hot lazy days and for a while no watering.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Five rise locks

Continuing our Yorkshire staycation we had my brother and sister in law to stay for a few days, always a good reason for us all to get out and enjoy the local attractions.  On the second day we had lunch out then visited the glorious engineering feat that is the five rise locks in Bingley.  Situated on the Leeds Liverpool canal it’s a series of locks that raises, or lowers, boats, a beautiful watery staircase.  We chatted to a barge owner passing through the locks and then to the lock keeper who answered our questions and let the boys help him open and close the gates.  The locks, which are all manually operated, have been in continuous use for over 200 years, originally to transport goods and now mostly for leisure boaters
I’m sorry the photo isn’t great and that I cannot give you a link to relevant websites, I am as always struggling with the iPad but do a search for more information or even better visit them yourself.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

We are on holiday

in the penthouse in Ilkley.  We haven't spent a summer in Yorkshire for the last 4 years, how stupid are we.  Its fantastic, such lovely weather that we are able to show off our tans and continue to wear very little yet sleep comfortably at night.  
There's a lot going on in the town, we had an arts trail, a food festival, there is live music every weekend at the bandstand, and its all within walking distance.  We got my little yellow car back on the road but we haven't used it once.
We've had neighbours round for drinks, visits from friends and family.   I've almost forgotten the dreadful rail journey from Manchester airport and I'm pretending I don't have to do it in reverse at some stage.  
Best of all we've had the balcony doors wide open every day, we've spent a lot of time out there.  We are really getting our moneys worth from this place, just look