Friday, 19 May 2023

A wet week

You may have seen the devastating floods in northern Italy this week, the worst for 100 years with 14 people dead and 10,000 evacuated from their homes.  You might also have seen the sodden stages of the Giro d’Italia, in fact today the long stage was halved because of dangerous conditions having already been modified because of risk of avalanche. Those boys like me must be so sick of the weather.  We’ve had plenty of rain here, 5” fell on Tuesday, there hasn’t been a dry day all week.  

Fortunately on the side of the mountain the water drains away quickly but the damp and depressing low cloud remain.  It’s meant MrFF has not made much progress with the terrace.  The various people we had to price for re-laying the 1000 tiles all made a fuss about the marble edge, much tutting and head shaking so MrFF decided to do this part himself. He is bound to make a better job of getting the levels correct with his laser level and me chasing the red dot.  He has already set out both edge corners and started setting out the two opposite edges which are at the top of steps.

The guy whose price we accepted now says we need to be patient and he will give us a start date soon, that was two weeks ago.  We are used to being ignored here despite being the paying customer, but he might just do himself out of a job and several thousand euros. I wonder if the Italians have the expression if you want a job doing right, do it yourself, probably not.

Sunday, 14 May 2023

Say cheese

We kept hearing tinkling bells on the hillside and sometimes in the olives below our orchard.  We both assumed it was a stray cow or horse and when we took a late afternoon walk there was plenty of evidence on the paths.  However we were wrong, it’s the sheep who haven’t grazed around us for a couple of years since Piero reduced the size of his flock.  

They seemed to be totally unsupervised, Piero the shepherd wasn’t in sight, but working as a team they first they went up the road towards the sports ground then descended the hill and wandered down to our back door.  At this stage MrFF got worried about car and I got worried about my pots of plants, needlessly.  Suddenly a large black dog appeared, herded them together and marched them home.

It was so nice to see the sheep again especially the new lambs.  We are already enjoying their pecorino and ricotta produced less than a (food) mile away.

Saturday, 6 May 2023

A day to remember

We were able to watch the coronation on the BBC though it was also broadcast on Italian stations.

I thought the event was magnificent, Charles and particularly Camilla looked tense at times, who wouldn’t balancing all that gold and assorted jewels on your head in front of the world.  Penny Mordaunt took a prominent and dignified role, she handled it like a professional.  Princess Anne was straight out of the abbey onto a horse to ride with the troops in her brother’s procession.  The pageantry was as always immaculate.  Job done.

My youngest grand niece Elodie and her family celebrated with a picnic in the garden, good for them. I hope Elodie and her sister Isla might remember this day as I remember the late Queen’s coronation, and I am so pleased the jumper I knitted continues to be worn especially on such a special day.

Tuesday, 2 May 2023

My neglected garden

I often wonder about my Italian garden when we are back in Yorkshire and it’s always a pleasant surprise to find how well it copes without me.  Despite cold weather in our absence the majority of my terrace pots, left tucked away in a sheltered spot, are flourishing, the geraniums and dipladenia are the best I’ve seen them at this time of year.  Some years I have to do a complete restock but this year I won’t need to replace any.

The lemons are ripe and already the tree is flowering for the next crop.

The wisteria is as lovely as ever

We are undecided about growing vegetables this year now we can only stay in the EU 90 days.  It’s a pity as we love being self sufficient but if we plant now we wouldn’t get much return before leaving and certainly its not worth irrigating for the 90 days we will be absent, which applies to the pots too.  We have to accept a different way of gardening, obviously not as intense as we’ve experienced so far but considering how well the garden manages without us I feel fairly confident it will be ok.

Thursday, 27 April 2023


At 7.30 this morning MrFF opened the shutters to bright sunshine and Enrico waiting on the terrace.  Yes he’s back.  Yesterday afternoon we walked up the road to the sports ground calling him, I was coming to terms with losing him despite the positive comments I received.  Now he’s home.  At first he was a little timid but he soon remembered he likes to be stroked and cuddled, the purring started and we are all very happy.  He’s in good condition, no injuries, maybe a little thin but that will soon be resolved, right now he’s relaxing in the front garden.  

Friday, 21 April 2023

At Last

After 9 hours of madness on the autostrada that had my nerves jangling we got to our Italian house at 8 last night.  Grigio was here almost immediately and hasn’t left my side since, she follows me round like a little dog and never stops purring.  Sadly there is no sign of Enrico,  Mario said he hasn’t seen him for maybe a month, but we keep calling and hoping he will appear.

The water people arrived this morning as arranged and moved the meter from the snake pit  which has now been cleared of undergrowth

To the top of our road, apparently they had problems turning off the valve in the road and both got soaked

However a local contractor has to make the final connection from the meter to us, he was due at 5 this evening but it’s gone 6.  It’s not a big problem as this afternoon MrFF made a temporary connection, the taps work and I was able to wash the breakfast dishes.

I have cleaned the house, it was as always very dusty with lots of dead insects, then I spent time in the garden weeding, cutting back and moving pots into their summer position, happily a lot of plants have survived the neglect.   MrFF cut the so called lawn which is more weeds than grass and we found time for an al fresco lunch and a little pausa.  

The house was cold last night but it’s been sunny today so we’ve had the doors and windows open and it’s fine now though I will light the wood burner tonight as the nights are still cool.

Everything seems ok, it’s nice the long journey is over and a relief we have water, though why our meter shows that we used 40 cubic meters of water while we were away and our supply completely turned off at the snake pit is just another Italian anomaly.   I have no doubt there will be more of those to come.

Thursday, 20 April 2023

Almost there, day 3

We are on the Italian side of the mount blanc tunnel, tonight we should be at our house.  We have the most gorgeous mountain village hotel just found by chance en route.  Dinner last night was excellent, the Aosta tasting menu was delicious and far too much!  This is the view from our bed early morning.

Monday, 17 April 2023

Cross everything until Friday

We chased the neighbours again about the Italian lack of water situation, this time to be told we would not be helped because we had gone solo.  We assumed this meant because we wanted the tubes we paid for in our private road where we wanted them not where the neighbours thought they should be.  

We raised our third complaint against the water board, the first two having been ignored.  MrFF was told there had been no action because we had transferred the money for our meter to be relocated from a foreign bank account so Acea assumed it was to pay for water used, no I don’t get the logic either.  What rubbish. We quoted the appropriate references relevant to meter relocation on the payment, our usage account has not been credited with the payment and, most relevant of all, we paid the bill from our Italian account.  Acea are going to have to extend their list of fantasy excuses for failing their customer.

Eventually MrFF discovered that the other 3 houses in our road, our partners in this venture, had been connected.    More correspondence, we were told first that Acea would be phoning us to confirm we really did want the meter moved, as opposed I guess to requesting this to be done 6 times and the first 5 being a joke which they simply cancelled without notification.  We never believed they would phone us because we have a uk mobile number and Italians don’t do overseas. Then we heard Acea had phoned Mario who has never been authorised to act for us and having finally allocated the payment we made in February plan to go to our house on Friday to move the meter so the supply can be connected.

So MrFF in his trusting way has decided we will travel to Italy this week, hopefully arrive Thursday evening, with copious amounts of bottled water, and everything will be fine on Friday.  I have no faith at all, I would love to be proved wrong.  It will have taken since last June to do something that could have been completed in a week or so, should not have had to be paid for in advance without a programme of work apart from a broken promise that once we paid the work would start straight away.   For almost a year this issue has stressed and angered us in equal measure if we don’t get the water connected on Friday it might be the last straw, in fact if it wasn’t for the cats I’d probably stay in Yorkshire.

Saturday, 15 April 2023

It fits


What a lovely Easter photo to receive from my youngest niece of my youngest grand niece.  I am so pleased with this little knit and it seems Elodie is too. 

Monday, 10 April 2023

Happy Easter

I haven’t spent Easter in Yorkshire for a while, not since the lockdown of 2020 so it’s been really nice though the weather has been variable.  There has been sitting out on the balcony, many hot cross buns and an egg as we’ve avoided the queues in Dover and the lack of water at our house.

This beauty was a gift from a friend, it’s from Betty’s and it’s flat as she thought if I was off to Italy it would be easier to transport.  I am looking forward to sampling it later tonight.  I’ve always saved my eggs until Easter Monday as it’s what we did as children, after we’d rolled our decorated boiled eggs down the local hill we broke into the chocolate ones.

I have also been getting excited about the interesting little daffodils coming out in my terrace pots.    I ordered only tete a tete but there are other more fancy ones appearing which is a nice surprise.  I’ve had a Google and I think this is Rip Van Winkle.    The first of the strangers to bloom has just been decapitated by a nasty storm and is now in a tiny vase on the dining table.  Such typical Easter weather, it always has to be horrid for the lambs and delicate blooms.

Friday, 31 March 2023

Nothing really changes

At the weekend after his group walk MrFF picked up a few items for me at one of the budget supermarkets that he loves and I find totally depresssing.    The shopping included a bag of wonky (misshapen) carrots pre-packed in a sealed plastic bag which I put into our veg basket.

The next day I opened the bag, I should have done that immediately because the carrots were soaking wet, they’d either been frozen or kept in cold storage.  I spread them out on the kitchen worktop to dry but they soon started turning black and rotten at the top and bottom.  I had to throw them all away.

The carrots cost less than £1, I am not concerned about the money but I am furious  that a grower has gone to the trouble of producing and harvesting,  they’ve been packed and probably transported across the country, stored, displayed and sold to end up in the bin.  How many people have been involved in this process, we all wasted our time and pointlessly used fuel and energy.

It’s high time the issue of food packaging was taken seriously from a recycling and food preservation point of view.  The steps being taken are minor, like no longer having a plastic clip on lid on a large plastic yoghurt pot or being able to recycle some containers if you peel off the film and the plastic labels that are not recyclable.  And of course recycle symbols and information are hidden and impossible to read.  Not that I am convinced about recycling, we have an all in one collection here, I have no idea how paper gets sorted from glass, plastic or metal or what happens if there is a non recyclable item in the bin.  We are possibly being taken for fools as we wash out jars and tins, peel the plastic windows off paper bags etc.  Meantime I’ve written to the supermarket telling them they need to do better, I have no expectations anything will change.

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.

Wednesday, 8 February 2023

Water torture

can hardly bring myself to write any more about the dire water situation in Italy.  We had some hope recently when we heard that Acea were actually starting work.  It took only a few days for them to install the new supply pipe to the top of our road, during which time no one bothered to check the work or that the supply was the correct size, we simply received photographs that told us nothing.

Then Mario reported that he had spoken to the contractors who said they were installing only 3 meter points and of course we discovered the missing one was ours.  By this stage we had applied 5 times for a connection, 5 times our application had been cancelled without notification, we applied again yesterday.  Meantime the neighbours are getting irate as if we are doing this on purpose.  We can do nothing until we receive an estimate for the connection which is also the contract with the necessary document to make a payment.   No one helps us,  we raised a complaint against Acea because they were failing to respond within the time scale of their own service statement, in fact failing to respond at all, a neighbour told us to stop complaining to Acea as if it’s any of her business.

Then we were told the 4 pipes in our road, that will cost us another 1,000 euro on top of the 4,000 already paid last November, would go down to the chamber beyond our property where we could link into the old pipe to run the supply back up under the road to our property.  We have explained the existing pipe cannot be used as it has a leak that we cannot find under the road.  We were told there are no leaks under the road, which is nonsense.  We fixed one leak last year and there are visible repairs we’ve made over the years and patched the asphalt.

MrFF has 3 times sent to the neighbours a scale drawing he prepared of our proposal to bring all the pipes down the road and t off to each property.  Apparently no one has even looked at his drawing though one neighbour said it would be expensive, presumably through some super power.

Then yesterday MrFF received a really abusive email from a neighbour saying it was alright for us as we are retired but she has a job and a family and cannot be doing with our interference.  I am furious that she makes assumptions about our life, she has no idea of our obligations and pressures. She went on to say we can do what we like but the pipes are going in next week and if we connect later we better not damage theirs.  She suggested we jump on a flight and sort things out, presumably she wants us to live in a hotel until we have water.

I am distraught, I feel constantly tense and neither of us is sleeping.  We want to get back to finish work on our terrace, we want to see our cats.  We knew when we paid up for this hair brained project it was a recipe for disaster but we could find no alternative.  I’ve said it before, there is no wonder Italy is full of abandoned houses that the government tries to sell off for a euro, some days I’d happily take a euro for ours just to be free of the stress.  If you are interested you also have to take good care of our cats and put up with some unpleasant neighbours who fortunately are not always in residence.

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Sitting in the dark

I mentioned previously that last year we signed up to an energy saving exercise where you turn off as many electrical appliances as possible at a predetermined peak time in return for a credit towards our bill.  The intention is to reduce demand and therefore the possibility of power cuts or the need to restart coal fired power stations.

We took part several times in December, the first ever hour we earned £2.99 credit, the next few attempts about half that and inexplicably lower still when we switched off for 2 hours, which is a long time sitting in the dark.

The scheme stopped over Christmas and recently started again big style with offers of higher rewards plus mention on the tv news and in the press. I read of one lady taking part and expecting to receive £10 credit per event, good luck with that.  I read that only 5% of participants could expect to save that that amount. Our first 2023 switch off oddly during the hours of daylight earned us 21p for an hour.  Wow, thats really going to save the planet.  

We’ve probably earned less than £10 for maybe 6 attempts though nothing shows on our account as credit.  As I said it was more about making a difference by reducing demand but our power saving is a drop in the ocean as we neither use a lot of electricity at peak times nor at any other time, pointless preaching to the converted. I don’t think we’ll continue though the offer of an extra 12p credit if we keep opting in and don’t break our streak is tempting - not. It’s actually quite insulting given the profits the energy companies are making and paying their top executives. I will continue to be frugal with power but I won’t be sitting in the dark  or switching off the fridge, tv, computers etc. I’ve seen the light. 

Thursday, 26 January 2023

New year knits

You might imagine that during these long dull January days I’ve spent a lot of time knitting, or maybe you know me better.  I’ve been retired 12 years now and I’m still not convinced its acceptable to spend daylight hours knitting or reading.  Additionally the local craft shop that sold some of my knitting with a charity donation has closed down so that pressure is off, MrFF says he has enough socks and there is a limit to what I can palm off on friends and family.    Before Christmas I did pass my bag of finished projects round our building asking for donations to be made direct to management towards funds for the defibrillator they intend installing here.  I raised about £70 and received some nice comments from my clientele, if not from management who are now busy arguing about where this life saving equipment should be located. Also a friend took some items and made a donation to a cancer charity.  

So I’ve been knitting from my stash, a little cotton jumper for my newest and as yet unmet grand niece Elodie.  It’s actually a very pale pink not this miserable grey it appears, blame the January light.

My current WIP is a simple lacy scarf using Debbie Bliss Party Angel which is gorgeous mohair and silk with a tiny amount of sparkle, it came from a bag of lovely yarns I was given.   The pattern is Little Leaf by Silvia Harding, a four row easy to remember repeat.

I also continue struggling with the Estuary scarf I cast on in Italy, and again many times since.  

Some days I complete less than 20 rows before losing my way, I have managed more than 100 rows then spotted an unrecoverable mistake way back and had to start again.  I now check quite regularly and am up to row 90 again. I have knit this pattern successfully several times and it’s lovely but I am beginning to wonder if my days of more challenging projects are over. I might just check MrFF’s sock drawer because right now another pair of socks would be the easiest if not a major stock reducing option that would raise my self esteem. 

Post post post - the little jumper is Queen of Hearts by Kim Hargreaves, it’s from the book Tadpoles and Tiddlers which I’ve used since 1995 for lots for lovely kiddy knits.

Sunday, 22 January 2023

Beam me up

January the longest most pointless month continues to drag.  Life has been quiet and maybe not so cosy as we try to reduce our fuel demands, we are warm enough we have enough, no complaints.

So I thought I’d brighten the day by telling you about MrFF’s experience yesterday.  Not the part where he left home before 7 to meet up with his walking group, walked down to the station, got onboard and bought his ticket online to discover the train wasn’t leaving the station as there were problems on the tracks.   He walked back home to collect the car and got there in time but his eco efforts and plans for a relaxing journey were thwarted.

Anyway the group were walking through the pretty suburbs of Leeds when this passed them

The intriguing little vehicle continued down the street, they met a man and his young child waiting for it to arrive.  MrFF imagined it was a new Christmas toy, in fact it was a Co-Op grocery delivery.  You can read about it here, delivery costs very little and can be traced on an app which also opens the box.

What fun, a great saving for the environment and a solution for those not so mobile who might suddenly be out of milk.  It opens up new possibilities although we are not sure if the little starship could climb the steep hill up to our building, fortunately for now at least we can.

Tuesday, 10 January 2023

Born to be wild

The marmalade is made for another year, 10 jars so I can gift some.

It must be first thing I’ve achieved in 2023 apart from eating all the remaining festive food. Although I did buy myself this leather jacket today in the Jigsaw sale, wearing this at 74 seems like an achievement too 

Friday, 6 January 2023

A Moveable Feast

A week into the new year and Easter eggs are already in the shops, give me strength surely no one wants to buy these over priced over packaged items yet (or ever).  Easter is in 3 months time on 09 April. 

My morning was spent taking down the Christmas decorations and sorting information for my tax return so I was feeling cross and thought a walk to the library to collect a couple of reserved books would do me good.  My own fault I should never have popped into Marks and Spencer on the off chance they had anything I needed. I now feel crosser than ever and we agreed this year would be calm. 

Monday, 2 January 2023

New Year

am glad that 2022 is over and we start a new and hopefully improved year.  We stayed up to watch the midnight fireworks standing in the rain on our balcony.  They were spectacular,  all private displays to equal anything we see in Italy, it felt joyful to see them and quite exciting as some exploded immediately above us.

Of course the aftermath of last year continues, it’s almost 6 weeks since we forked out the money for a new water supply in Italy.  Nothing has happened, at the 4th time of asking we still don’t have the documents to connect to the planned new meters though neighbours have.  Some things do not change.

The soul destroying despair at the Italian bureaucracy and life in general have been wearing, I have felt more than usual the passing of years. Physically I feel I suddenly look old and somehow smaller, diminished by the stress.  I shall be 75 in November, I’m determined not to be defeated by the setbacks and currently I am sleeping really well though maybe 10 hours is rather excessive.

Last year we lost several friends, additionally a dear friend has gone into a care home and another is battling cancer, as he said learning live with it rather than die with it.  On a brighter note we heard from a friend we haven’t seen for 19 years.  He was diagnosed with cancer and given 2 years to live 10 years ago, he is reasonably healthy, surviving. 

So I won’t complain as the lines on my face etch deeper and I won’t worry too much about the few pounds I’ve added over the festive period, my clothes still fit though I might have been a bit hasty donating some of the larger ones to charity.  I’ll take what this year brings, no doubt there will be much ranting and a lot of frustration but I’ll keep on keeping on, there is no alternative. 

I wish you and yours all good things for 2023, that the world can become a better place and that we remember to be kind.