I am so happy to be back in a home that is warm and cozy with carpets, hot water and not a tiled floor in sight. Yes, it was brutto in Italy and the Italians though as welcoming and charming as ever had all resorted to wearing many layers of clothes under bulky padded jackets and staying indoors as much as possible. Our house is not well equipped for winter weather, fabulous in summer but on a day when the mist is down it is grim living on the side of a mountain, and we all know that I hate low cloud, this was the view from the terrace. The house was cold when we arrived and ever optimistic we lit the fire which proceeded to provide plenty of smoke and precious little heat. I know it looks cozy but believe me it wasn't and the only way to benefit from all that fuel was to stand with your bum up the chimney.We had a very mixed time, just a bit of sunshine which was lovely and very cheery but lots of really wet weather and many days of frustration. We spent a lot of time chasing about, for example we wanted to reinstate our direct debit to pay the electricity account, we stopped this during the three years our house was on a corporate let. You might imagine you could complete something on line, return a slip included with your bill or call in at a local branch of your bank, none of the above. We had to travel into our bank in central Rome, about 1.5 hours each way. The branch we use had been taken over and the business but fortunately not the grumpy staff transferred, no signs in the empty windows to indicate this of course and since the bank is actually only open for 50 minutes in the afternoon blind panic set in but eventually we found the new branch round the corner and were able to complete the paperwork.
We looked for a wood burning stove with some success, a new septic tank with no success at all, didn't get the boiler maintenance contract sorted or resolve the problem that causes the shower suddenly to turn cold despite paying 60 euro in August for repairs, got the window man to come and price for new double glazing, did a bit of decorating and Mr FF did something to the irrigation system. We watched an awful lot of news as that seemed to be all we could get on the tv, ranted copiously and were so glad to have hot water bottles and extra blankets that made getting into bed one of the highlights each day.
Does all this sound ungrateful I don't mean it to, we know that the house is cold in winter so we don't let it out then but we had hoped it might be tolerable for us in early November. Wrong. We won't be going back now for a while, possibly in March by which time I will have forgotten about this chilly visit and be keen to get back again, at the moment just writing about the last week is making me shiver.