Saturday, 24 September 2022

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

The signs are good

That we might at least get the balcony waterproofed before we leave.  We wrote again for the 4th time this morning to the Comune asking when our residency ended so far there is no response.  

We had a man come to discuss putting the tiles back down for us, 1000 of them. He wasn’t happy about doing so unless he also lays the screed but currently he’s too busy to do that.  Neither was he happy about MrFF’s proposed restoration, he said there was no need to take the old broken membrane away just slap new materials in top. I didn’t remind him that the average life of a balcony here is 4 years or point out that MrFF is a chartered structural engineer I smiled and said ok that’s fine.  He did eventually having inspected the reinforcement and waterproofing liquid we have say he’d take a look at the screed when it’s done and then decide, he must think we are amateurs.




MrFF tells me regularly he has to carry 165 bags of 25 kilos each from the big gates up onto the balcony.  So far I haven’t responded.


Thursday, 15 September 2022

Lack of water update

Since I last posted about the water we’ve had two more visits by representatives of our provider Acea, that’s 3 in total, each has said something different and nothing has been done.

Last week we heard that Anna at the bottom of the road had received a quotation for the work which her family emailed to us.  It was basically two lines, the cost of supplying a single pipe sufficient for one property to the top of our road and the cost of one meter box. The housing and support for the meter and obtaining permissions for the Comune would be Anna’s responsibility and the money almost 16,000 euro was to be paid now despite no timescale for the work.  At first Anna asked the other 3 properties to put their share into her bank account so she could pay. We refused to do so, if anything happened to her we’d have no claim against her estate without some written legal agreement, even then it could take years, if Acea defaulted we’d have no contract with them and if work proceeded and we then asked to be connected at the new location, at a further cost, they might say the supply wasn’t sufficient.  To their credit when we explained the neighbours realised this and replied to Acea asking for more detail as did we.

Nothing happened so we contacted the Comune who had said they would help in any negotiations, they suggested another meeting.  Again we explained we have to turn off our supply and store water to avoid the expensive leaks, we’ve had three ineffective meetings, we want no more talk we want a proper water supply. They didn’t like that and said it wasn’t helpful, they have since ignored us.  However they have been applying pressure to a neighbour, raising issues like a manhole built maybe 30 years ago without permission and the fact that because we 4 properties are on a private road the refuse collectors shouldn’t come to our houses to collect our rubbish though no doubt they will continue to charge us.  So far they still collect but now we are the only ones in the road, everyone else has left and all the meters are turned off.  I would have no problem taking our rubbish to the top of our private road, I only use 4 of the available 6 days a week collections as I compost a lot and have no food waste being from Yorkshire.  But others here are elderly, not so mobile and when resident would face a long uphill walk with their refuse.

When you see the number of abandoned properties here and in fact in the whole of Italy just think it’s probably because of stupid legislation and bureaucracy, people can’t fight forever they have to get in with their lives and they leave.   I’ve said before we are a village of 3000 people we have our own town hall with 40 staff, yet no one can do anything to provide probably half the population with a decent water supply.  Some days I cannot wait to get back to Yorkshire, living in Italy can be exhausting.

Saturday, 10 September 2022

Her Majesty

I’ve written before of 70 years ago celebrating the Queen’s coronation in the village where I was born and where this weekend the latest addition to my family will be christened in the beautiful tiny church that has witnessed so many of our family events both joyous and heart breaking. 

The United Kingdom and the Commonwealth are now in a period of mourning following the death this week of our wonderful Queen  There is great sadness even amongst those who had no great love of the monarchy.  I am a royalist and proud of (most of) the House of Windsor.

We have lost a constant presence in our lives, the world has lost one of its greatest of leaders, Elizabeth II our head of state who at 96 years of age was still working until 2 days before her death.  She carried out her duty with quiet dedication, dignity and grace, we are fortunate to have lived our lives with her to reign over us.  I really hope our two new leaders one elected one a successor will follow her impeccable example.


Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Bonus time

You score if 

Your nail varnish matches your knitting.  West Yorkshire Spinners 4 ply Seascape, which I did take to the beach but it was too hot and sandy to knit


If you finally get a boiling of beans, even if that might be the beginning and the end of the crop






How about if MrFF also harvested what he thought was a round courgette, turns out it was an unripe melon.  

Since we sowed neither there is some bonus value.

Friday, 2 September 2022

Getting nowhere

About 3 weeks ago we received an hours notice that representatives of the water authority and our Comune would be at the top of our road at 1.30 for a meeting with residents to discuss the water situation.  We dropped everything to attend and just one hour late at 2.30 the officials arrived, without apology or explanation for their lateness. There was heated discussion with everyone speaking at once. The water board didn’t want to talk about how they cut everyone off without consultation or the fact two of us have so many unlocated leaks we are having to store water and turn off our supply. 

Their solution is to run a single pipe down the mountainside under the road for which they would become responsible instead of us, and to locate new meters at the top of our road with individual pipes from there to the houses for which we would be responsible.  Quite honestly and as no surprise to me they talked a lot of rubbish, the Comune man had no idea what land was public and what private and the water men as every other official here said no to any more practical suggestion.  MrFF had to put them right a few times, it felt quite hopeless.  

The final outcome was that the water board said they would provide us in a few days with a price for all the work, which the 4 properties in our road must pay though we will have no control over what happens or the cost.  The Comune will consider making a contribution as they had been responsible for approving the original stupid installation.  I cannot imagine they will pay anything because so many other properties are in this situation. 

At the end of the meeting everyone was pleasant, we all shook hands, they said it was a pleasure to meet MrFF and some of the residents actually embraced the Comune man.  I just wanted to knock all their heads together.

Of course we heard nothing more until last Thursday whilst on the beach.  We had a message that the water board had done nothing and now requires an official completed application of many pages asking them to move the meters.   They will then come out to look at the situation, submit a price and round we go again.

First the neighbours asked if only we would complete the form as for some reason two of the accounts were in the names of people who had been dead for at least 15 years. We declined because we got the feeling we might end up administering the whole thing, be responsible for payment and allocating costs and probably not be in Italy (if I have anything to do with it) so we suggested the residents update their details and complete their own applications.

This week MrFF completed our application, it needed everything they already have, account details, tax codes, contact details, copy of our passports.  We believe that one other resident has done the same,  we have heard nothing.

At least the weather is cooler, now mid 20s, it’s really pleasant so I have been gardening and MrFF has tackled various maintenance work whilst fretting about the balcony.  We’ve had some rain, that has of course poured into the room below the balcony which is now without tiles or screed.  I try not to go down to that room as it’s so awful but 2 days after the last heavy rain I could still hear water dripping.  However I’m sleeping well, feeling fine, trying not to stress, missing the penthouse and dreading leaving the cats, just another day in Italy.




Friday, 26 August 2022

Two years later

We were back on the beach, again for MrFF’s birthday, this one no 74.

We planned to go back to the same place we celebrated no 72, at San Felice Circeo.  We packed the car the night before with our folding chairs, sun umbrella, inflatable lilos and pump plus next morning our beach bag and the cool bag with picnic, but after a two hour journey we found it impossible to find a parking space.  We decided to drive down the coast and stopped for a coffee at our favourite gelateria and yes I checked they had my favourite delizia al limone for later consumption.  I took our cappuccini outside while MrFF got chatting to the barista about the parking situation and he recommended a friend who had very inexpensive beach set up with parking just down the road.

So we went and after a quick phone call found Marco the owner who was very nice. We got parking, two smart sun beds and a large umbrella for 23 euro, with toilets and changing across the road in his bar.  We were actually on the public beach and the equipment was on a vehicle parked by the entrance.  We thought it quite enterprising and were happy to leave all our own stuff in the car.  In fact we thought Marco had the ideal job, wheeling beds onto the sand, setting everything up then sitting in his shorts on the beach waiting for the next customer.  Definitely a better and less stressful option than the many tv programmes we have watched recently about people frantically struggling to renovate overseas property as holiday rentals.




It was about 30 degrees at the beach with a nice breeze and not crowded at all.  Lots of well behaved people following all the rules of very bronzed bodies at the waters edge, regular passeggiate, family afternoon card games under an umbrella and football or bat and ball games for the teenagers.  This was MrFF’s spot for the day  as usual he spent most of his time in the water while I sat with our possessions and a book.

We stayed until after 6, there was a slight blip at the gelato shop when the delizia tray had gone but when I asked the lady went into the back and got me some.  Then our usual farm shop for bufala mozzarella was closed for the holiday but we found another place, very smart, where they made the cheese on the premises but sadly no bufala to admire.  It all worked out well, we had a lovely day …. except we received another stupid set back from the water authority.  We won’t talk about it now, luckily my expectations that we were making progress were low,  sometimes it helps to be a cup half empty person (and to paint your toe nails in a colour called under water).