Ziggy Played Guitar!

Lots of people I admire have passed away. It happens when you get to my age, unavoidable. Of course it saddens me and makes me realize my years are numbered too.

David Bowie’s death was the one that hit me the hardest. His songs got me through my teens. My heart missed a beat every I heard his music. Saw him back in the early seventies and it was the best concert I ever went to. Earls Court London! I don’t think a day goes by without me thinking about him. When he died, all my friends called me expressing their sympathy, they knew he was a big part of my life. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a weird obsession, I just loved his music. I loved what he was and what he brought to the world. RIP David. I hope you’re smiling down on us!

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Keeping up with the Italians

 

Retirement was always something I dreaded.
It meant I was getting old.
Only two weeks ago I was in my sixteen! Now I’m in my sixties.
Last year we bought a home in Abruzzo, Italy. It changed my whole prospective on retirement and now I think about long lazy days in Colledimezzo with a goofy smile on my face. I have a few years to go yet, time to practice my cooking. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to compete with the fabulous traditional dishes that have been passed down from mother to child, but I can start with the sweet treats. So far these have been a success. On the left, Almond cookies, on the right, Italian breakfast cookies, which are very good to dip in your morning cappuccino.

When Will I See You Again?

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Missing Abruzzo and our lovely village home in Colledimezzo SO BAD! Owned it less than a year. Only visited twice. Once to view and make an offer and then the second time (earlier this year) to clean it, buy furniture, work hard and make it home. During the summer its being painted, having radiators fitted and a toilet replaced. Kitchen has been fitted and marble stairs installed.
Where did I get the money from to do all of this? I have no clue. This was meant to happen. Someone guided us to Abruzzo and now its hard to leave.

We’ve always felt at home in Italy and now we have an Italian home.

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The Real Italy

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I never get bored with Italy. Been visiting since I was a teenager. It’s beauty and history are captivating. The food, the wine, all the usual things make me love the country. However, until I visited Abruzzo, I realized I hadn’t seen the real Italy. It took only a short visit to remind me that local Italians make Italy what it is, and the folks of Abruzzo are the warmest, most helpful people I have ever met. While writing this blog my eyes fill with tears as I recall our recent visit and all we achieved with their help. We made more friends in two weeks than I’ve made in the last 20 years.

Colledimezzo is a tiny village in Abruzzo, less than 600 inhabitants. Of course everyone became familiar with us immediately. A mixed race couple with British accents. We stuck out like a sore thumb. Those locals immediately accepted us, helped us and made us feel like one of them.

It’ll be a few years before we can retire there, but the ground work is done. We have a second home there now, and lots of vacations to look forward to. Good things are worth waiting for!

Searching for fairies

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Was I borne odd? Perhaps. It’s hard to tell. I was always a little different though. The odd one out. I didn’t enjoy playing with the other kids. Instead I’d find a place to sit in a quiet forest, surrounded by bluebells.

Making myself comfortable against the trunk of a tree I’d sit there for hours looking for fairies. I believed in fairies and every time someone said they didn’t, I’d cry, knowing a fairy died when you said you didn’t believe.

As I sat there I’d dream about my future. Not fame, fortune and riches. I’d dream about happiness and beautiful places I’d heard of, but never seen. I’ve visited many of those places now and I think I’m ready to settle down in the one that captured my heart.

Retirement is looming, not so young anymore, but I still look for fairies. I know they’re out there.

Tempes Fugit

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How time files! Just over a week ago I was waking up to this magnificent view from my Hotel Room in the beautiful ancient town of Vasto.

I’ve been back for a week now. Once again caught up in the daily routine of work and the busy existence we all share. I’m not sad, I live in Colorado, which is lovely. I have a good job and work with people I like, but I do miss the tranquility and laid back life style I enjoyed for two weeks in Abruzzo.

It’s the carrot dangling in front of me. We’ve achieved a huge goal, we have a home in Italy waiting for us when we retire. Before that time I can enjoy lazy vacations getting to know the area. We feel incredibly lucky to have such a place, but it is the result of hard work and planning.

You can achieve a great deal when you put your mind to it. Figure out what is important to you in life and go for it. We did!

Abruzzo – a Week in Review

We’ve been in Italy for one exhausting week. It’s been a whirlwind seven days of buying furniture, opening bank accounts, cleaning, organizing, planning and finally today, we took the day off. We needed to. We’re in our sixties not our twenties.

On Monday we arrived at our Italian home in Colledimezzo and were greeted by Maurizio, our carpenter. His work was amazing. We walked into a once empty kitchen, to see a magnificent creation of cupboards, countertops and a fantastic breakfast bar. Thrilled is an understatement.  We also met Franco, the builder who is working on our stairs, and his friend Domenico, who speaks perfect English, having lived there most of his life. We finally met Nino, who I know will always be our friend, and Vincenzo to whom I owe so much.

On Tuesday Franco took us to lunch and introduced us to more of his English clients. We ate an Italian workers lunch, which consists of pasta, meat, salad, fries and as much wine as you can possibly drink. Delicious. On Tuesday night we decided the hotel in Lanciano just didn’t work for us. It was clean, but so dated it made life difficult so we moved to Vasto. I LOVE Vasto. My daughter and I stayed here for one night last August. Gorgeous, comfortable, hospitable. Rezidenza Amblingh!

On Wednesday we bought a washing machine and tumble drier and then continued to the house to meet Vincenzo and a new-found friend Zoe.

On Thursday, long drive to Pescara to buy furniture and beds. Maisons du Monde and more friendly people! They recommended a bed shop where we found exactly what we needed.

On Friday we went back on the long road north and bought small appliances for our kitchen from a SMEG outlet. (Did I mention how broke we are now?)

Yesterday (Saturday), it was light fittings. Found a great discount store for light fittings, and got everything we needed. Then on to Colledimezzo again, where I ran into the young guy we bought the house from. It is his dad’s house, but he showed us around. The cleaning started. We discovered a couple of things that needed fixing, but that always happens doesn’t it. It is going to be a work in progress, but it has so much character.

The photos are from today. We took the day of to relax and enjoy a delicious meal in a seafood restaurant at Vasto Harbour. We mistakenly thought it was within walking distance of the hotel, but it was actually almost six miles away. The walk gave us an appetite. When we asked if the waiter could call us a cab to get back to the hotel, he arranged for his sister to give us a ride. She wouldn’t take any money for her trouble.

Now we have our feet up relaxing like old folks do after a bottle of wine and a big meal, but we feel happy. Although the house may require a little more work than we expected, it is going to be worth it. I want to live among these friendly caring folks. I’ve lived on the good earth for a long time and have never encountered such genuine, friendly, helpful people. I’m blown away.

Abruzzo has enchanted us.

Oh What a Week!

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Last week was a very bad week at work! Barely slept, but I made up for it last night. Can’t remember when I last slept 10 hours. Things will get back on an even keel again soon and I’ll start to enjoy my job again.

Now I’m counting down the days because we’ll soon be on our way to Abruzzo. I understand the weather won’t be great in March, but we’ll be busy buying furniture and doing all we can to make our new house a home so we’ll barely notice. The wine and food at the end of the day will more that make up for it.

Can’t wait to see my husband’s face when he walks though the front door of his new Italian home for the very first time.

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Abruzzo in Spring

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Two weeks to go! Can’t wait to see Abruzzo in the spring. Looks like Switzerland or Austria doesn’t it! It’s not though, its beautiful Abruzzo. Never thought retirement would look so good!

Dance Like theres no Tomorrow!

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When I was in my late twenties, and a young mother, I had to live with my parents for a couple of months while I waited for the army to accommodate me. My husband was in the Falkland Islands and I had a young daughter. I was resentful at losing my independence and wasn’t the best house guest!

One day, when my dad was out playing golf, I heard music in the living room. It wasn’t the type of music mum, who was almost 70, usually listened to. I opened the door quietly and peeped in to see what was going on. What I saw took my breath away and put a huge smile on my face.

My mum was jumping around the living room, swiveling her hips, shaking her arms and dancing as though her life depended on it. She had her back to me and never saw me watching her. Closing the door quietly I want to my little bedroom at the back of the house and left her to dance.

When I’m feeling down I remember that moment. My mum died over ten years ago, and I’m in my early sixties, but I’m going to live life like there’s no tomorrow and dance as long as I can.

 

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