The Cats of Colledimezzo

There are very few domestic cats in Colledimezzo. Majority of these fluffy felines are cared for by the village. They are a little feral and mostly unapproachable. The bigger cat on the left was a kitten when I moved here a year ago. I’d feed her and her four legged sibling on left overs when I had any. She was the cutest little thing.

When she turned up again in May of this year, she looked like her days were numbered. She was skinny, her fur was matted and her eyes were dull. I fed her leftovers and a little milk, but she didn’t always want food, just wanted to sit outside my door and feel safe. Pretty soon it was obvious she was nursing, which is why she looked so bad, her babies were taking all of her goodness. She wouldn’t let me approach her, and hissed if I came too close, but I fed her anyway. After a couple of months she began to look much better. Still too skinny, but she looked healthy. Last week she turned up with her babies, two black, one the same color as her, and a solitary ginger kitten. They are adorable. No, I can’t take them in, but I can help them survive. The babies love bread and milk. The enjoy left over rice too.

Now as well as the locals who come to my friendship window…I have furry four legged friends too. I enjoy them all.

Death Bells – The Sound of Serenity

Our home in Colledimezzo is very close to the church. I could easily throw a tennis ball and have it bounce on the church steps. The Church bells ring every fifteen minutes! I like the bells, they’re beautiful. I can’t leave the windows open at night because the sound would keep me awake, but thats OK. Bells are happy, traditional and typically Italian. They remind me I’m here, I realized my dream, and retired to Italy. They tell everyone when to wake up, when to go to church, and sadly, when someone dies, they are part of the way of life here.

I don’t like hearing the bells is when they’re telling us someone died. The death bells make a beautiful and peaceful sound, but they are ringing because a soul is passing from this world to the next. In spring of this year, the death bells were a regular occurrence. We lost a lot of elderly villagers. It wasn’t due to COVID, it was just their time to go. A couple of months ago, a treasured local was taken from us, someone we still miss. He was taken way too soon. Those death bells were difficult to listen to.

Yesterday, when I heard the bells, I knew who’d gone. He was old and quite ill. The bells were a beautiful way to mark his passage. They rang again today for his funeral. I hope he can hear their sweet sound from above.

When it’s my turn to go, I can handle the death bells, but only if they’re followed by Rod Stewart singing “I am sailing” enjoyed by all of my friends while they drink champagne and toast my life.

Enjoy your Sunday and hug your loved ones.

Fossacesia – September on the Beach

I love September.

Wine, wine and more WINE

It’s been a busy and tiring week so far. On Monday we had a second load of wood delivered for the winter. I personally think we have enough for two winters… Lester knows best though.

Yesterday was a heavy lifting day. We decided we liked the bedroom on the middle floor better than the one we were in down below (This old house is sort of upside down). After trying it out for a few nights we decided to make the move permanent. That meant moving hubby’s gym, which was bolted into the wall, to the bottom floor. It also meant filling holes and painting, a well as moving and rearranging furniture. Worth it though, better view from up above. The bedroom we vacated is now a gym, dressing room and utility room as well as being a spare bedroom. It all looks great, but moving furniture up and down a narrow winding staircase isn’t easy. My muscles are old now and don’t recover so quickly.

Today we rested, well sort of! We met up with our friend Alessandro in Lanciano, and went to his local Cantina. As well as getting bottles of wine filled by what looked like petrol pumps, we bought local honey. We also watched the tractors and trailers come in and unload their grapes. Very interesting fun day.

Now, back home, I’m sitting in the kitchen sampling an excellent Merlot, which was free. Why was it free you may ask? It was free because my husband was with me and spent twice as much as I’d of spent on my own…they thought we deserved a freebee.

Now you know why I usually leave him at home when I go shopping.

Have a lovely day everyone. I hope my stories of living in Italy are amusing you.

The Giving Season

No, I’m not talking about Christmas, I’m talking about the fruit bearing season in Abruzzo. Our very good friend Nino brought us this wonderful collection today. We have figs, large tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and then his wonderful wife baked biscotti…I don’t think I’ll ever lose weight here.

When I walk I see trees bursting with fruit and the wonderful scent of jam making and baking wafts from open windows as I pass by.

It’s only going to get better as we move into Autumn.

Autumn in the Air

It’s September (Settembre) tomorrow. Even though the temperatures are still in the upper 20’s (upper 70’s lower 80’s in Fahrenheit), it’s feeling a little cold. After three months of upper 30’s (upper 90’s f) anything feels cold. I’m enjoying it though.

It’s the season to bake pies and make preserves. This year seems to have been a good year for figs. I’ve made lots of fig jam, (marmellata), and a big tray for fresh fig pies. The hot peppers are ready too, so I’m making jars of delicious pecante (hot pepper) sauce. There are fruit trees everywhere. Yesterday we were given a big bag of the delicious plums. Small, yellow and sweet. Yes, they were definitely plums and not apricots.

Today we stacked logs in the garage ready for the cold weather. Neatest stack of logs I’ve ever seen, stacked the Italian way. I’m looking forward to cozy evenings in front of the fire.

I had my first facial in Italy today, just down the road in Villa Santa Maria. Lovely little place. Even after being here a year, I could only understand half of what she said to me, but she was patient. It was very relaxing.

And now, I’m sitting out on the terrace with a glass of wine looking at the forest in front of me. There are tinges of orange in the trees, autumn (autunno) is coming.

Last year, on the highway, I remember following tractors pulling trailers full of freshly harvested grapes. It made me smile. I’ll be seeing them again soon. Life is simple and good here in Colledimezzo. People live from day to day. They get together in the evening and talk about food, football and family. It’s whats important to them and what they love.

No Smoke Without Fire!

Another lovely photo of Colledimezzo. I think the storm clouds make the colours of the village even more stunning.

Odd day today. I woke up later than usual because it was so dark. There was no bright sunshine blasting through the windows to motivate me. I could smell smoke. The sky was a murky grey with brown undertones. Hard to see where the smoke ended and the clouds began. The fire planes were still gobbling the water from Lake Bomba. Horrible! Made me feel sad and lethargic.

After lunch we needed to escape the house, so we jumped in the car took a road we hadn’t travelled before, ending up in the town of Castiglione Messer Marino. Although it was a beautiful town we drove through without stopping, wanting to explore the vista beyond. We didn’t get far because after turning a sharp bend we found ourselves engulfed thick smoke. Ash fell from the sky like snow. We turned back, horrified as the blacked hillside revealed itself. Such a shame. I think they have the fire under control now, no more yellow planes dipping into our lake.

I went for a walk this afternoon and, much to my relief, it started to rain. It wasn’t heavy enough to stop my walk, and I enjoyed its freshness. Let’s hope it rains a little longer and extinguishes these awful fires. I don’t want to see anymore charred Abruzzo countryside.

A day in the life of…a retiree in Abruzzo

I don’t get up on a morning and think “what shall I do today?” I simply get out of bed and let life happen!
Yesterday I had my weekly Italian lesson. My tutor and I just chat now. He corrects me when I get my tenses wrong, but chatting in Italian is the best way to learn. At the end of the lesson Lester and I went to lunch in Fossacesia and enjoyed the the Adriatic as we ate fresh seafood. After lunch, we walked a little. Beautiful.

We picked up some shopping in San Luca on the way home and then a spritz in the piazza with friends. After that, we worked a little on a magazine article we’ve been asked to write about the village. Then we finished the day on the terrace and enjoyed the view.

Today we wandered up to the piazza and had a cappuccino with the locals. So much fun to practice our Italian with the people who live here. They’re patient and repeat words where necessary. Sometimes, if we miss the subject of the conversation, we’re lost. Today our good friend Nino gave us six big bottles of home made tomato sauce, the kind you use in pasta, can’t wait to try it. Life is good in Colledimezzo. It is simple, uncomplicated and without stress.

What will this afternoon bring? Who knows, we’ll find out when it happens.

Will I write another book…maybe!

Italian Food and Festa’s

Lester and I celebrated our first Ferragosto in Rimini in 1983. We had no idea what it was, but when our hotel invited us to join them for a lunch time celebration, we willingly accepted. It lasted for three or four hours. We had no prior warning about the amount of food we’d be served, so didn’t pace ourselves. I think there were seven courses in all!

Today we celebrated Ferragosto in our favorite restaurant, La Collinetta, in Montazzoli. We arrived at 1pm and left at 6pm. I don’t think I’ll be eating again for a while.

Why is Ferragosto celebrated?
Today the Christian tradition celebrates the Assumption of Mary, but the name of the feast and the fact that it falls on August 15th depends on a Roman holiday. Ferragosto , that is, August 15, is a religious national holiday which, in the Christian tr
adition, celebrates the Assumption of Mary into heaven.

August in Italy

Although I’ve enjoyed the long sun drenched days of August on many vacations in Italy, I’ve never experienced them in Colledimezzo.

This tiny village, perched on the side of a hill in Abruzzo is fairly quiet most of the year, but for the first two weeks in August like the rest of Italy, it is infused with new life.

To show you what I mean I’ve attached the schedule of events that include music, poetry, parties, food tastings, karaoke, as well as a plethora of other activities to keep us amused.

The village is full of visitors, some new, some with vacation homes here, and many returning home from their adventures abroad. The atmosphere is magical.

Life is never dull in Colledimezzo, but in August, it’s full of life.

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