Monday, 3 January 2022


So here we are in 2022 wondering what day it is and how to shed those extra pounds while the shops keep reducing mince pies and I keep buying them.  

Our lovely presents have been packed away.  I can hardly remember what I put in MrFF’s £5 stocking but apparently there was a pair of socks knitted from gifted yarn £0, a lovely pure alpaca scarf that I found for £2 and might ask him to share, some reduced garden twine 99p, an organic cotton t shirt that was part of a bundle I bought as gifts so I am counting as almost free and a garden sign in the form of rusty metal map of the UK which was £3.  I did slightly overspend but if we share the scarf it’s about right.  

New year was our usual night in with beautiful fireworks which we viewed from the balcony at midnight.  It was so mild we stood outside for almost half an hour, in fact we haven’t had our central heating on for a week now as our penthouse is a constant 20 degrees.   We benefit from heating on the lower floors, our double glazing and extra loft insulation.  Smug, yes I am.

From Italy we’ve had good and bad news, don’t worry the cats are fine.  On New Year’s Day we had this photo from Mario, there they are both together, Enrico patiently waiting for his turn to eat which Grigio tucks in.

Bad news was that before Christmas we wanted to transfer some money but found our Italian bank account had been blocked because of fraudulent activity.  It isn’t the first time this has happened, they simply stop the account without letting us know and because we are back in the UK it’s been difficult to resolve.  We tried the automated telephone push button procedure which eventually and regularly said our access code was correct, then said it was wrong and cut us off.  We contacted our branch several times, they ignored us, we contacted customer services, they said go through button pushing exercise which we said didn’t work, they said contact the branch, we said they weren’t responding.  We made several attempts with customer services but always got the same answer, do the things that don’t work.  

Finally MrFF made an official complaint, someone phoned from Milan and said he’d have to transfer the call to someone else, so why did he bother to ring.  After an hour and a quarter waiting to be transferred the call disconnected.   It’s infuriating, not only have they blocked our account and refused to sort it, they continue to charge us 14 euro a month not to be able to access our money.  We have been with Unicredit for 20 years and they have always been hopeless, it’s time to find another euro bank.

Normality is returning though I have yet to take down the decorations which this year I want to keep as long as possible.  Despite all the problems, our own little niggles, the pandemic etc I have loved this Christmas time, I continue to be delighted and grateful to be here, to hope for better times and look forward to seeing the kitties again.


  1. Bring back the days when you could chat to the clerk over the counter and he/she would sort it all out in minutes with a smile.

  2. Hope the banking issue is soon resolved (brings back memories of dealing with our bank in Spain). Good to hear you've had a very enjoyable Christmas (we should have a competition to find out who can eat the most mince pies; my money's on me). Best wishes to you and Mr FF for 2022.

  3. We had problems with our French HSBC account. They were hopeless and charged us a huge fee for actually having the account. Eventually we changed to an English speaking branch of a French bank and all runs smoothly now. I hope you find a better solution soon.
    It's good to see the cats looking so well. Happy New Year!

  4. Banks are great until you need to speak to somebody with any authority and don’t get me started on chat bots!

  5. How frustrating having to deal with your Euro bank long distance, although it may have been just as difficult in person! What a good idea to have a limit on Christmas spending. It takes a lot more thought than just popping into a store or shopping online. Well done!

  6. Happy New Year to you and Mr FF! So pleased to see the cats looking so well. What a pain about your banking fiasco, I do hope you can get things sorted. I think you did very well with Mr FF's presents too! x

  7. Wishing you a happy, healthy and safe New Year. I live in N.W.Italy and have been with Unicredit forever!! They are hopeless and I am "onsite" and they still can't sort things out. I find myself with 2 atm cards, both disactivated despite sms's telling me they are activated. With covid and the various rules and regulations getting into the bank and seeing a person is nigh on impossible. I have this lovely tricky little "first world problem" to sort out. The money is there I just can't get to it!!!
    Good Luck with sorting yours out.... cheers Ro xx