Friday 25 August 2023

The fun continues

Today MrFF is 75, that sounds old but obviously he isn’t.  

To celebrate we went out for lunch at the Boar’s Head in the pretty North Yorkshire village of Ripley, taking the scenic route over the River Wharf and across the moor.  The hotel is part of the estate of Ripley Castle, we took a walk round the periphery of the grounds before lunch. 

Lunch was delicious, we both had fish and chips with mushy peas and tartar sauce, eaten in a small and pretty dining room.  Our window table was ideal with a view down the Main Street as there was a wedding taking place at the castle and many of the guests had spent the night before 
in the hotel.  Sadly we didn’t see the bride arrive but the guests were very well turned out.

Here are views of the front and rear of the Boar’s Head, as well as smart dining there is a bar and outside tables mostly used by cyclists and walkers.

We had such large helpings that we couldn’t face dessert, however a stroll round the village settled our stomachs and we had ice cream from the Ripley ice cream shop, vanilla for the birthday boy lemon curd for me.  We chatted to a few holiday makers and a cyclist from our Ilkley club, it was a pleasant afternoon and we were home by 5.  Within a few minutes MrFF was fast asleep in his chair. Maybe he’s not as young as I thought.

Friday 18 August 2023

MrFF’s big days out

When not trying to sort out our latest Italian dilemma or joining me in a rant about the situation, MrFF has managed to get out and about this week so I’ll show you a few things he’s been up to.

Tuesday afternoon he decided to walk across the moor to Skipton approximately 10 miles and take the bus home.  En route he collected half a dozen eggs at this lovely farm.

He didn’t have any change and neither did the lady he spoke to, nor indeed did the cat Clive who takes care of the hens and goats.  The lady said he could pay next time he was passing so the following day Wednesday he went off on his new bike and paid his debt, with a little extra by way of interest and a note to say how delicious the eggs had been at breakfast.  He then had a tour round bringing home some delicious pork pies and safely completing 25 miles.

Thursday he was off early to meet with one of his several walking groups.  The 14 mile route had been planned to visit the village of Kettlewell which was in the middle of its annual scarecrow festival.  The village hall was doing a good trade in homemade food so that was the lunch stop and there was plenty to see. It all looked lovely.  

In the afternoon they returned via dramatic Kilnsey Crag where several climbers were in action and fortunate to have a faithful dog to guard their possessions.

Don’t you just love Yorkshire, it never fails to delight even when Italy is doing the complete opposite.  

The photos are all MrFF’s own, you can see more scarecrows Here or visit until Sunday. 

Monday 14 August 2023

Here we go again

Life back in Yorkshire is heaven, I am still clad in flip flops and enjoying time on our balcony as well as the delights of our region.  However Italian bureaucracy never stops.

Mario last week received and opened two registered letters, one for each of us from our friends at the Comune, we asked him to send a photo of the details.  Briefly they say work was carried out to our house back in 1980 without permission with no indication what this work might be.  At first we wondered if the original house had been built illegally or indeed all 4 in our road but our neighbour hadn’t received anything and thought it was the terrace.  

The terrace and a large room below were added at the front shortly after the house was built.  Mario told us the original owner was concerned the house might slip down the mountainside and imagined it would act as a sort of retaining structure.  When we bought the house 20 years ago we insisted that everything should be regularisedit is in our deeds that such permissions were the responsibility of the vendor and there is reference to payments being made to the Comune to do so. We paid for solicitors, a geometra (Italian surveyor) and the Notary to ensure everything was in order before we bought but the Comune are now asking for 6,000 euros to be paid within 60 days.

We have emailed asking for more information and sending details of the payments made though of course we don’t have the receipts.  I doubt this will do any good, when they said we owed 2 years refuse bills and we sent our receipts they didn’t do anything until we returned to the village and were able to go to the offices so we could queue for an hour then sit and watch them tap on the computer for half an hour before they agreed that we had paid everything at the appropriate time.

It’s beyond me why this has suddenly occurred 40 years after the offence if indeed there is one.  Speaking to a local he told us he had recently had to get retrospective permission for the house he built 50 years ago in order to benefit from the recent Ecobonus incentive giving grants of 110% for interventions like solar panels, double glazing etc.  Presumably he would otherwise never have bothered about permission.  

I am furious, I’d like to know why we have suddenly been targeted, it seems to be a selective money making exercise.  I cannot believe that over the last 40+ years the authority has never checked for unauthorised building work.  MrFF is furious because he will now spend hours and hours checking details and offering evidence they will be ignored.  He’s already asked for the documents to be sent as PDFs to us and for more details, they won’t send anything.  Although the vendor is technically responsible if there is a problem it will no doubt cost more than 6,000 euros to peruse him or any of the so called professionals involved. 

Of course the authorities have the right to demolish any unauthorised work if they could ever get themselves organised to do so.   It’s a pity we’ve just had the terrace retiled as I am tempted to say be my guest at least we haven't redecorated the room below.  More likely they will just keep adding interest to the fine. I never realised when we bought the house that it is the custom that the only foreigners in the village will be responsible for funding the Comune.

Saturday 5 August 2023

Yorkshire Life


How nice it’s been to sit, between the showers, on our sunny balcony. I bought a few lavender plants at our local nursery which is within walking distance, £1 each, good healthy plants, they were a bargain.   It’s pointless spending a lot on plants for the balcony as they have to survive our absence, fortunately despite the June heatwave most did but some have been set back.  I am not one for giving up though I image I revived some we will be leaving again.

Speaking of which our dear friend Giovanni who this year lost his wife is now in residence in the house above ours in Lazio  He says is much pleasanter then being in his apartment in Rome and he intends to stay at least until the end of August.  He also said that Grigio and Enrico are visiting regularly, he is putting out food and more importantly water which I am sure they appreciate as a supplement to their regular supply from Mario.  

So we can enjoy the cool for a while longer.  Oddly I am not feeling chilly at all and wearing clothes more appropriate for Italy, living the flip flop life today in 12 degrees in Yorkshire.