Colledimezzo and the First Sunday in May

Sundays are lazy in Colledimezzo. Coffee on the balcony while reading the local news gets the day off to a good start. Every Sunday we enjoy late morning aperitivos in the Piazza while listening to the church bells and chatting to the good people who spill out of church for a quick cocktail before eating.
Then back home to cook lunch after which we studied a little Italian. My brain didn’t cooperate today though. I don’t feel as though I’m getting any better, but I must be, its just a slow process for an old girl. Also tough to learn while we were on semi-lockdown. No one to talk to!
Now Abruzzo is back in the yellow zone (zona gialla) we can start exploring again and talk to more people.
After taking in breathtaking views from my evening stroll, I’m ready to relax for the night. I know, it sounds like I’ve been relaxing all day doesn’t it!!! Retirement is like that.

Buona settimana a tutti (Have a good week everyone)

Trials and Tribulations

This week has been a challenge! We all get them at times don’t we?
On Sunday, for no apparent reason other than old age, my back started to hurt. It was a little worse on Monday, and by Tuesday I could barely move. Luckily, an excellent physiotherapist lives very close, and I was able to snag an appointment. I’ve learned from experience (my back is my weak area), that you have to power through it. Lying around moping just makes it worse.
Late Tuesday evening I got a message from “the engineer” letting me know they’d like to start work on our upstairs bathroom remodel early Wednesday morning…something I was looking forward to, but it posed an extra challenge with my painful back.
Tile removal, dust, drilling replacing all of the water pipes…dust settles and re-settles…oh what a week.
Now it’s Saturday and hopefully most of the “messy” work is done. Someone is currently in the room throwing concrete at the wall. Tiling next week? Let’s hope so.
On a positive note, my back feels tender, but much better. The sun is shining, and on Monday with restrictions lifted, we can drive to the Adriatic. My spirits are lifted already.

Stay safe everyone and have a lovely weekend!

Freedom

Beautiful Vasto

One week from today, numbers permitting, Italy begins to open up a little. Outside dining will be allowed. When I heard the news, I couldn’t help but think of Vasto. My daughter and I visited this beautiful little town, on the Adriatic Coast, just after we’d put in an offer on the “Old Olive Mill’ in Colledimezzo. That was almost four years ago! A lot has happened since then.
In 2017 life was much simpler. We weren’t fighting a pandemic.
Now there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the anticipation I feel is almost as intense as I used to feel prior to a vacation in Italy.
Yes, I live here now, but haven’t been able to travel since September. Now I can visit Vasto again, it’s on my list for next week.
Hopefully this is a new beginning for us all.
Stay safe everyone, we can do this!

Reflections on Retirement

A good way to end the day

If you really enjoy your job, and love the folks you work with, retirement is daunting. I longed to move to Italy, and dreamed about the day I’d retire there. It was planned for 2022 at the earliest, so I had a little time to think about it. Then came Brexit…the rest is history. Retirement to Italy after Brexit would have been complicated in so many ways, so instead of ambling along the road to retirement, I had no choice but to sprint. It was a real wrench!
The first month of my new life was exciting, fun, no work, lots of new places to visit. Lunch by the Adriatic, a lovely piazza to enjoy a late afternoon drink, pizza night, or just meet friends for coffee. Life was good.
And then came another COVID wave, was it number two? I forget, we’ve had so many.
The first “light lockdown” put us in the Yellow Zone, which wasn’t too bad. We could travel anywhere within the region, so we were able to walk along the shores of the Adriatic and take advantage of its lovely restaurants.
Then we were plunged into the stricter Orange Zone. Bars and restaurants only open for “take away” curfews in place. Carabinieri drove through the village often. We were only allowed to leave our municipality once a day, and only then for a good reason, with documentation stating that reason.
Over Christmas and Easter, in and out of the dreaded red zone.
Luckily Colledimezzo is beautiful, and there are many spectacular walks…are you bored of my photos yet? I long to see the Adriatica again. I did see it in the distance when we went shopping to Lanciano. It was tantalizingly close.
Shopping locally is nice. There is everything I need, butchers, small supermarkets, flower shops, hardware stores, furniture stores etc., so I have nothing to complain about, and I’m not complaining, I do like it here. A few things make my heart ache though. My daughter was set to come here for Christmas, but of course couldn’t. Summer is probably out of the question too. I’m not wishing my life away, but…I am so excited to see her and her husband at Christmas. I know it’s a long way off, but it is the light at then end of the tunnel.
On reflection, retirement is a good thing. If I hadn’t retired, I’d be dreaming of Italy, and you all know how much I did that. Now, I’m dreaming of freedom, and I know it’s in sight. Rumor has it May could be a good month. Vaccines are picking up steam and numbers are going down.
Have a lovely day everyone and “In bocca al lupo” (Translates as “in the mouth of wolves” and means “good luck” in Italian)

Remembering Rome

I’ve visited Italy since I was a teenager, and always been smitten, but Rome sealed the deal. In 2010 we spent over two weeks in Rome. It took my breath away. There was a surprise around every corner. We’ve visited often since then, and never tire of its ancient beauty.
Now Rome is only a three hour drive away, but of course with the current situation, a drive we can’t make. Today, feeling optimistic, I’ve made a reservation to stay in Rome for four nights in September. If it’s not meant to be I can cancel the reservation. I don’t need to book flights anymore, so what do I have to loose?

Largest Loaf on the Van

Largest Loaf on the Bread Van

This morning I woke up full of energy, so I breezed through my housework, repotted plants and rearranged furniture. That wasn’t enough! After brunch I was still full of energy. It was a beautiful day, so I took a walk. The clear blue sky was a perfect backdrop for the snow dusted mountains.

A three mile walk was easy, and brought me back to the piazza. A glass of wine seemed like a good idea, followed by another…and then someone persuaded me to have a third. The villagers, (cittadini) were socially distancing, but enjoying the sunshine and each others company. Then the bread van turned up. Lester, a huge bread fan, decided to purchase some delicious freshly made bread…and bought the biggest loaf on the van.
A good day I think, lets hope summer brings a drop in the new cases of COVID. We’re all ready to mingle and have fun.

The Rhythm of Retirement

The rhythm of retirement, I like the sound of it.
It’s been a busy week, I always find plenty to do. Sitting around isn’t for me. This week I planned a remodel of a bathroom. Hate the mess, but always love the look of fresh new flooring and tiles. Vincenzo “The Engineer”, took me to Villa Santa Maria to pick out tiles and such, it was fun. I understand more Italian now…and certainly understood the end price. I repeated it as the sales guy added it up, and before he told me. Took him by surprise! We all laughed.
Walked a lot of course, and still enjoy the views of our fairytale village.
I even enjoy grocery shopping now because I can chat (a little bit) to the people who work in the store. I’m sure they see me coming and say:
“Watch out, its that crazy old Brit who tries to speak Italian”
Today I made a start on pots and planters on our terrace. I think we may be spending a lot of time at home this summer. Vaccines are coming slowly. The lovely young lady in the garden shop greeted me like an old friend and helped me pick the best plants for my display. Photo’s to come. It was almost dark by the time I finished planting.
I also ordered an electric bike from the Trek shop in Perano…aren’t I just the brave one! My husband’s bike arrived on Monday and he’s loving it so I thought “why not?”
I may not get it until December because everything is so backlogged at the moment, but I can wait. I ordered it in red of course!
Well that’s another week over. Lester retires next week. Friday is his last day. We’re both old timers now. It’s exciting. We have some great years ahead of us!!! Watch out Italy!

Walking!

There is one thing I’m really enjoying during retirement, and lockdown, and that is walking. It clears my head. The views around Colledimezzo are spectacular. Yes, I’d love to see the Adriatic again, but good things are worth waiting for, we won’t be restricted to a 30 kilometer radius forever.

Today we had fibre installed. Our internet has been awful for the last few months, but today that changed. Small steps to make my life easier. As a writer and blogger, I’m always doing research, and a slow internet speed was awful.

I’m doing heaps of cooking and baking. I never had time to play and experiment in the kitchen when I was working, but now…there is no holding me back.

Learning Italian is fun too. A little frustrating at times, but a sixty three year old brain takes a little longer to remember new things. (or am I sixty four now?) I’m getting there.

On the downside, it seems like the hierarchy have forgotten about distributing the vaccines to some of the rural areas in the Chieti Province of Abruzzo. Several small communities similar to Colledimezzo have been overlooked. The mayor’s of those communities have written letters to get this fixed. Fingers crossed they’ll remedy the situation.

Meanwhile I plan for the future, and think about my first trip when we’re free again. Abruzzo is beautiful, but I think I’ll run away to Ravello, just for a few days.

Ravello is calling me.

Hello Blossom

I try to walk a different path every day, and its been a week since I took this one. The blossom that greeted me this morning was breathtaking. It gives me hope!
In the two weeks leading up to Easter Italy is going into a much stricter lockdown, which is sad, Easter is very important here. On Easter weekend, the rules are even stricter! No Easter Sunday lunch with family. No Easter Monday lunch with friends. It will be the second lonely Easter for the good people of Italy. Such a shame!
In 2019 I brought my friend Linda here for Easter. We had a wonderful time. On Easter Sunday (Pasqua) we enjoyed lunch with our good friend Nino and his family. On Easter Monday (mini Pasqua), we had lunch in a local restaurant. Massive amounts of hot steaming pasta and meat were served, not to mention dessert and all washed down with local wine. The atmosphere was vibrant and friendly. Afterwards we went to Roccascalegna and enjoyed the color and pageantry of Easter Tradition.

I’m looking forward to celebrating Easter again. Maybe next year. Until then I’ll take my daily walks and enjoy the beauty around me. I’m very lucky to be here.
COVID is like banging your head against the wall. It is painful, but it will be amazing when it stops.

Rambling and Ranting…

This was a happy day! It’s the day we found our home in Abruzzo. A holiday home. We liked it so much we decided to retire here eventually. Then Brexit came along and forced the retirement hand, yes we retired early.
This photo is my daughter of course, she hasn’t retired, she’s way too young.
We bought our home in August 2017. The world has changed since then.
Italy has always been in my heart. Retiring here was a dream we worked hard to turn into reality. We’re happy to be here because we love the people, the countryside, the traditions, the food, and of course, the wine. We planned to travel the country, just jump in the car and drive. Three hours to the Amalfi coast, three hours to Rome, not far to anywhere really.
Right now Italy is hovering on the edge of putting another national lockdown in place so I won’t be going three hours to anywhere. It has to be done. Until vaccinations are widely distributed, we have to be careful. Who’d of thought this mess would last over a year.
Keep smiling everyone!

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