Friday, 17 March 2023

Italian idiosyncrasy

We hadn’t heard anything about the Italian water situation for a while so this week MrFF contacted the neighbour who has the contract with Acea, the water authority.  We have now paid for our meter to be relocated and had the necessary pipes installed in our private road, as far as we know that is because of course getting definite information is impossible.

The neighbour replied immediately saying she is a polite person and has not been updating us because of our subterfuge. I assume she refers to the fact that we decided where we wanted our pipes in our private road and insisted on that.  She said she was only keeping the other, obviously more submissive than us,  neighbours informed but would tell us that she has a meeting with Acea next Friday.  We replied with a thank you, see we can be polite too.

We then contacted one of the other neighbours who understands the water board are coming out to check the quality of the water.  Our supply comes from an underground source up the mountain, there is no cleaning system, never has been and we have never known the water to be analysed.  Since our so called condominium of 4 properties had so far expended about 20,000 euros to relocate our meters it might have made sense to check the water before this happened.  But then the uk version of sense, like the Italian version of politeness, is different.

Friday, 10 March 2023

A late spell of winter

The most snow we’ve seen in ilkley.  Definitely a knitting day.

Fortunately our penthouse is cosy, we have the heating on only 4 hours in the evening and not at all in the bedroom.  Top marks to MrFF for installing double glazing and adding extra insulation to the loft.  

Tuesday, 7 March 2023

Knitting with a purpose

Usually I don’t take knitting commissions because I am not interested in tackling a horribly complicated garment that requires much concentration and more hours of work than most people can imagine.  When I was selling my knitting in the local craft shop I’d happily produce the socks and scarves that I wanted to make, likewise when knitting gifts I decide on the pattern.

However I gave a friend a shawl I’d made and she liked it so much she asked for another in a different colour.  The Easy Peazy Shawlette lives up to its name so much so that I persuaded my friend she could probably knit one herself.  She is currently practising with borrowed needles, yarn and stitch markers.  I’ve answered quite a few questions and given links to several YouTube tutorials, she’s getting there.

Then my sister in law asked for some socks to gift to her niece.  I didn’t have many pairs in stock as before Christmas I sold quite a lot to other residents with the money going towards a defibrillator for our building.  So I cast on the Simple Skyp socks, are you spotting the common denominator here.  

It’s very satisfying having two undemanding projects on the go, to be honest I cannot knit the shawl in the evenings as it’s hard to see what I am doing without sitting directing under a lamp wearing a head torch.  I also like the idea that neither project will go into the bag of finished articles but promptly leave the penthouse.  I may not take orders but these two projects give me a feeling of order and I am really enjoying them.  I am happy to say my knitting mojo is definitely back. 

Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Once again speechless

I won’t go into detail but in our absence we have had some work done in Italy.  We had a price and paid some money up front, never a good idea.  We were told the worker was an honest man.

When the job was finished we received a photograph of some scribble on a scrap of paper saying how much we owed. It was more than we expected but we assumed the additional 120 euro was tax.  We are happy to pay tax for goods and services, transferred the money and asked for an official receipt.    This arrived and showed there was no tax, for some reason the work was exempt.  Of course we queried the extra 120 euro and were told it was the cost of preparing and issuing the receipt. 

Bet you didn’t anticipate that, us neither. 

Saturday, 25 February 2023

Stop Looking

You might hope that having downsized over the last eight years and having to contain our worldly goods in a top floor apartment we would be pretty organised by now.  Think again.  I have spent hours searching for a Liberty silk scarf MrFF bought me many years ago.  I knew I’d seen it here in the penthouse but despite checking all the cupboards and drawers several times I just couldn’t find it.  I had another search today, everything out of everywhere yet again.  I did find the leather glove that matches the one I thought was in the hall cupboard but it’s not there so I still have just a single glove.  

After checking unlikely places like the shoe box and many handbags I gave up, I’d even been through my wardrobe in case I put it on a hanger.  Then the old memory kicked in and I remembered I have one those special scarf hangers, like a coat hanger but with holes to loop scarves through.

Yes the Liberty square was there as was a lovely Givency silk one my Mum brought me back from Paris more than 40 years ago.

I am so happy to be reunited with these two items, the search for the glove can wait.

Thursday, 16 February 2023

Life’s ups and downs

Amazingly almost 6 months since we made the first of 6 identical applications and 3 site visits later we finally received the document to allow us to connect to the new water supply, we paid it immediately.  This at least means we can make a temporary overground connection when we arrive to serve our needs even if we simply continue as we were filling irrigation tank once a week for household use.  

Meantime the Italians play Chinese whispers, Mario it seems reported to one neighbour that we intended paying 930 euro or whatever it is to take our pipe down the road behind our house.   We had a message from the most troublesome neighbour asking if we wanted to do this, we’d already told her no.   Apparently the work due to start on Tuesday didn't, we are not sure if they are holding off hoping we will cave in and save them 300+ euros each.

In other news the computer wouldn't work at all early in the week, MrFF spent a lot of time trying to fix, unsuccessfully trying to find a PC in our building he could use and visiting the local computer shop.  Yesterday he got it going and worked most of the day restoring stuff, today it’s completely dead again.

I have had some horrible virus, cold like symptoms with the added benefit of a banging headache and nausea.  I had to take to my bed on Tuesday and didn’t eat for 24 hours.   MrFF produced a small slice of pizza and a jacket potato for my dinner, I brought that up straight away.  I am on the mend now and pleased to report I’ve lost 4 lb during my involuntary detox, all the Christmas excess gone and so far I have very little appetite.

I haven’t been outside for 3 days and wondering if a gentle stroll and some fresh air might be in order, maybe I should wear a mask. I’ll leave you with my lovely amarylis definitely a great result. 

Sunday, 12 February 2023

We give up

We have given up trying to negotiate with our neighbours, we have opted out of the  communal contract for installing the water pipes in our road.  After been constantly told what we can have, our plans being ignored, we were finally offered a pipe that would cross the road opposite our house but none of the inspection chambers we asked for and no connection to the house just a few meters of exposed pipework left for us to sort it.  We were prepared to pay the cost of this work but were told it was too expensive, I translate that as too difficult.

The final straw was being told that despite reducing the total pipework by more than half the, price would be the same.  We were also told that our existing supply would be disconnected and that work is starting on Tuesday.

So now we have no offer of connection to the new supply from the water authority, no pipework to our house and most probably our existing pipes have been damaged when the new supply was installed - welcome to Italy.  

The neighbours have to split the cost of the work between 3 instead of 4, it’s now 1250 euro each.  It’s defies logic that they can’t work out that they need 25% less pipe and a 25% smaller trench so there should be some adjustment.  The first neighbour in the road who is a few meters from the new meter location is happy to pay for her pipes to travel down the road, connect to the old leaky 40 year old pipes under the road at the chamber and travel back in them to her house parallel to the new pipes.  It’s not just the cost it’s the unnecessary amount of pipework under the road vulnerable to damage as they are not buried deep enough plus the problem of finding any leak under the tarmac.

I am so happy to be free of this nonsense even if we have no outcome, my life is too short to continue Arguing with donkeys.  MrFF has provided a lot of information and evidence to help this project succeed but the neighbours know better.  After sending us various emojis that we didn’t understand, the parting shot from the worst neighbour was that when we install our pipes we must not damage hers and if we do she will claim damages.  Maybe she forgets that her husband broke Giovanni’s pipes last year when repairing one of their leaks.  Giovanni’s water was off for half a day while they made a repair, we can do that if we have to and I can check with Giovanni how much compensation he received, nothing.  She also forgets that it works both ways and they need to take care for our pipes.  

Now we have to wait to see if we can get the documents to connect to the new supply, the Tecnico is coming out again on Thursday.  Please don’t hold your breath this is only our sixth attempt.