Monday 27 June 2022


Extreme temperatures have caused the worst drought in Italy for 70 years.  Water levels are half what is normal at this time of year.  Our region, Lazio, has declared an extreme calamity and today we are on a red warning for heat, it’s 33 degrees and rising.

Meanwhile we have discovered our 4th water leak since Easter,  this time in the worst possible location, the jungle between the sports ground and the meter in the snake pit.  MrFF keeps checking and Giovanni too is looking out for a patch of green on the brown mountainside.  Anna has had her 4th leak repaired but is still losing water, she has turned off her supply and gone back to Rome.

I can’t help thinking that if there was better infrastructure there wouldn’t be a 45% loss of all drinking water through leaks and the calamity would have been avoided.  

Monday 20 June 2022

Change of plan

We have made a plan as we have friends coming to stay in 10 days time and work on the terrace has been set back by temperatures in the 30s.  Not only is it impossible to work much after 11 am and then not again until early evening it’s never cool enough to lay the expensive new screed, not at any time of day or night.

MrFF is currently repairing the balcony edges which are a right bodge up and probably the cause of a lot of our damp problems.  He’s had to change his repair plans a few times as he’s uncovered various horrors but he’s making a great job with new fully reinforced concrete as you can see from the before and after.

So we’ve decided to clean as much as possible the old membrane so we can at least sit on the balcony for meals.  We will rig up the sun sails somehow, they are normally fastened to the railings which are currently mostly connected to nothing and propped on blocks.  I will arrange a few pots and we will remove the cement mixer which we hauled into position only last week.  

We can then install the plastic pool on the lower terrace where we have been eating and lounging. It’s much airier on the balcony, has better views and it’s easier to step out with food and drinks than carry it all down the steps.  Plus I am desperate for the pool for cool downs and quite happy to have a break in the work, I’m sure MrFF is too, he needs a pausa as we say here.  Like all the workers we are up before 6 to tackle jobs before the heat arrives and we regularly fall asleep struggling to watch the 10 o’clock need that we see at 11.  The heat is forecast to continue for at least 10 days with no rain in sight as Europe continues its heatwave.  The tomatoes are turning and being regularly watered, the lawn is brown and crisp, I am rather that way myself.

Monday 13 June 2022

Checking the meter

We are now re-connected to our water supply via 15 metres of above ground pipe that bypasses the underground leak we cannot find.  I am very grateful to have the water back and that MrFF resolved this for us albeit temporarily.

If you are reading this Acea, our water provided, can I just point out that the residents in this area are all in their 70s, some in their 80s, some late 80s.   How the hell are they supposed to traipse up the mountain to read their meter, lift a heavy metal manhole cover off the pit, and lean into the deep chamber as MrFF demonstrates below.  

And how dare you impose a standing charge for this ramshackle arrangement whereby you tap into a local spring,  stick on inaccessible meters and never check the quality of the water which is not treated in any way.  You had the nerve to keep taking our money even when you disconnected us for 2 months saying we had no contract despite us being your customers for the last 20 years.    You installed our metres half a kilometre from our house to make us responsible for the badly installed pipe work through a jungle of undergrowth and under roads down the mountainside.

Please don’t trouble yourselves responding to this complaint, you’ve never done so in the past, we have no expectations of customer service.

Your publicity about providing clean water from springs checked by satellite is nonsense, your seem ignorant of your failings. The quality of our water hasn’t been checked in 20 years.  Despite stating that the meter must be read at least twice a year we’ve had estimated bills for the last 14,  the meter readers can never find the snake pit or are too afraid to go there or don’t turn up at all on the dates we are advised to give them access which presumably means we should hack out a route to the pit.

If we die from dehydration or some water borne disease somebody please pass this post to the appropriate authority, preferably not an Italian one.  Thank you.

Thursday 9 June 2022

Another water leak

MrFF went to do his regular meter check last night to discover we have our third water leak since we arrived.  Again it’s in the gully, we went out to do our usual scratch and search but this time we couldn’t find the leak.  By 8.15 last night we gave up, I came home to start dinner while MrFF turned off the supply as we are losing so much.

After further investigation this morning has MrFF determined the leak is in the top 15 metres of the gully where it’s steep and rocky.  It rained overnight so now finding a damp area is even more tricky so he’s gone to the builders yard for supplies and for now is going to bypass the leaking section with a temporary overground pipe.  At least we shall be able to wash and I can tackle the pile of washing up in the kitchen.  We made tea this morning with bottled fizzy water, not recommended.

It’s hard to believe this is happening. Water is such a huge issue here, not that we ever run out even in the driest spell it’s just the problem of getting it to our home.  I could walk from our house to properties that have been built with no water supply at all yet we are only 40 miles from the capital city.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing but if we’d known 20 years ago it would be like this we’d have made our own arrangements then, like bought a house in France.

Thursday 2 June 2022

Happy and glorious


I intended posting today about the Queen’s jubilee and including an old black and white photograph of me and my brother at our village coronation celebrations in 1952.  I posted this snap 10 years ago however blogger or ipad have decided it’s impossible for me to take the photograph from that post and stick it on todays. I can have the next photograph no bother but not the one I want.

Life’s a bit like that, you can get all sorts of things you neither want nor need but never just what you do want.  Take our tv set up here.  I know it’s complicated to get the stations we want, Italian and UK, to do so we have many boxes and routers and dishes and receivers, in fact we have 8 remote controls but don’t ask me what they are for, I’ve no idea.  It’s reached the stage now we need the iPad or MrFF’s phone to get the bloomin tv on, it’s beyond my ability or enthusiasm to work it.  MrFF being a man and an engineer gets cross and ask how I’d manage if he wasn’t here, he forgets I’d be on the next flight back to Yorkshire where I can work the tv.

Mario was here this morning and we talked about the jubilee.  Like most Italians he doesn’t understand why we appreciate and value our Queen so much.   She has been constant leader throughout my life and dedicated her own to the service of our nation.  A 70 year reign is certainly something to celebrate despite her majesty probably not always getting what she wants either.  I am sorry you cannot see the photograph and that we won’t be tucking into pork pies and cakes today.  

Enjoy the celebrations, God save the Queen.