Sunday 27 February 2022


We heard from Mario at the end of last week that Acea our water company has disconnected our supply because we have no contract.  He sent a photo of a scrappy piece of paper with a reference that bore no relation to our meter confirming this had happened on 28 January.  After investigation we discovered that our meter and those of our neighbours on the mountainside had been turned off and padlocked, the scraps of paper confirming this left in the snake pit where the meters are housed.

We have had a contract for 20 years, less 3 when our house was rented and our tenants took in the contract, we have a standing order to pay our always estimated bills, we haven’t had a meter reading since 2009.  In fact after the meter was turned off we still received and paid a bill.

We have been in touch with our immediate neighbours who are furious as are we, how dare they simply disconnect a property and leave a shabby notice at each metre, some of which appear to have blown away.  The immediate neighbours have contacted our Comune, spoken with our mayor and been to visit their house, they are on the case as is Mario who has copies of our latest paid bills.    Just another  example of Italian inefficiency, we shouldn’t be surprised.  The water supply has always been a disaster and the quality of water is never checked, it probably doesn’t even meet EU standards.  

Goodness knows what is going to happen next but at least Mario has assured us he is taking water to our house for the cats having drained what was left in the pipe. Acea obviously didn’t give a toss whether there were animals at any of the houses when they cut us all off.  Giovanni and Milena, almost 90 years old could have moved back from Rome for spring and discovered they had no water.  We have contacted them to let them know the situation, doing the job of the heartless people at Acea.  Just another Italian crisis.

Wednesday 23 February 2022

My eyes are watery

This afternoon I received this photo from our lovely Danish neighbour who was taking a walk on the road above our house.  Can you see them in front of the gatepost? 

It makes me happy and sad in equal parts but Grigio and Enrico are fine and together.  It’s almost March, covid restrictions are being removed, the weather is improving.  We just have to be patient a little while longer, we just have to miss each other for a few more weeks.  

Thanks Pernille


Friday 18 February 2022

Bank balance

Last week MrFF spent almost a full day trying to close our Italian bank account and transfer our money and direct debits for water, electricity etc to our new euro account.  

Our Italian bankers continue to give us the run around.   They said to close the account we had to send a secure email, from the same postal account we used to attempt to unblock the internet device we have from our phone supplier, that got us nowhere and cost is 12 euro.  We sent the email.  The bank then said we had to return our unused cheques and bank cards by registered post, which doesn’t exist to Europe although there is a track and trace option.  We are more than reluctant to send these documents in the post.  So many things from the UK to Italy have been lost or greatly delayed over the years, even if we cut up everything the details could still be legible and available for say online fraud.

Our utility providers are just as useless, they say they will not accept direct debits from a bank outside Italy.  You might think that as long as the bills are paid in full on time in the correct currency it’s immaterial where the money comes from, you would be wrong. 

It’s all really stressful and chatting recently I suggested to MrFF that he forget about the admittedly annoying fact that we would continue to pay the now increased sum of 16 euro per month for our bank to keep our money and provide no service until we return to Italy.  Then we can take a 3 hour round trip to our bank, because of course we cannot deal with a more local branch, present our cards and books and whatever else they need, pay the required fee to close the account because obviously removing your own dosh is not free.  Even if we have to take our money away in a bag we can finally say goodbye after 20 years of irritatingly shoddy service.  It makes sense to me but to a Yorkshireman paying good money for nothing albeit saving your mental health is a complete anathema.

I have no idea what will happen next, at least my amaryllis just gets better and better

Saturday 12 February 2022

Happy weekend

After my last post I sent a cashmere jumper I hadn’t worn for years, the sleeves were always far too long, to be recycled by Turtle Doves.  Five days later I received these beautiful cashmere gloves produced from someone else’s old jumper.


They are perfect, elegantly long, soft and stylish.  I didn’t specify any colour as I wanted a surprise, these couldn’t be better.  I paid £3 for return postage and of course the cost of sending my jumper, a small price to pay for these lovely gloves and to free up a bit of space in my wardrobe. 

What else is making me happy on this cold blustery Saturday.  

I have finally planted up the large new pots I bought for the balcony, they had been languishing in the lounge for a few weeks as it’s been so windy on the top floor they couldn’t be outside empty for fear of blowing away.  It isn’t exactly calm now but the pots are full of compost so they are secure even if the little plants are getting a battering.  I didn’t use anything expensive or exotic, dwarf bamboo, some dark grasses and red ajuga, as they may not survive a summer without us.  The intention is to have a pot in each corner of our balcony but for now and whilst we are not sitting outside I want to see them from the lounge, this isn’t a permanent arrangement

My amaryllis is magnificent and brightening the kitchen, when I am not in there I am on the sofa knitting socks whilst watching the Winter Olympics.  Have a great weekend, keep cosy.

Friday 4 February 2022

Old school cashmere

I am a big fan of cashmere, a fibre that has become so much more available but not necessarily in a good way.    It is now possible to buy cheap cashmere from chains that might be described as fast fashion, I have never subscribed to this and never will.  It is not sustainable to source something so rare and fragile without cutting corners from harvest to production in order to meet a price point.  These cheap items are produced from poor quality fibre, will pile and bobble and soon be useless.

I have over the years sourced most of my cashmere second hand, in fact I am currently wearing a jumper made in Scotland that I found in a charity shop and used to wear for work, I have been retired 13 years.  Scottish cashmere has always been renowned for its quality, and prices, I have been lucky enough to find a few old pieces made in Hawick, the borders cashmere town.   I have a very old plain black Marks and Spencer cashmere jumper, it has a small zip at the back of the neck, and judging from the label is from the 1980s.  

I also have a couple of what might be considered old fashioned cardigans, both are quite large and look great. Quality cashmere goes on forever, unless you are unfortunate enough to have a moth attack, is machine washable whatever they tell you and blissfully soft and warm.  I fully expect my collection to outlive me but if anything becomes unwearable there is a place here that will recycle your cashmere jumpers and send you a gift in return.