Retirement Riches

No I’m not talking about money! I’m talking about getting a full eight hours sleep, not having heartburn caused by stress anymore. I’m talking about having the time to enjoy hobbies that had fallen by the wayside. All of these things make me feel rich.
I woke up this morning at 8:00 am. That is AMAZING! After a leisurely coffee, I showered and then popped up to the pharmacy for some new masks…yes unfortunately COVID numbers are rising so I want to make sure I have an adequate supply. I stopped by the village shop for a couple of things I needed, and then back home in time to get ready for lunch with our good friends at a wonderful local restaurant. The food is so good here!
Came home and baked, it was raining outside, baking seemed like a good thing to do. Shared my baked goods with our Italian friends, which made me nervous because their cooking is so excellent. They invited me to stay for a cocktail and some good conversation.
Perfect day! Now I’m relaxing and doing whatever I like.

Just Let me Fly


To my friends my retirement plans appear to have gone smoothly. Things just fell into place!
They weren’t back stage watching me manage contractors across the Atlantic. Rising at 5:00 am, translating emails, working with furniture stores, banks, Realtors and trying to understand how to get things done the Italian way.
Luckily for me, the folks in our new village are wonderful, kind, helpful people. We couldn’t have done this without them.
“Oh things have gone so easily for you”
NO! It has taken perseverance.
Now we’re in the final chapter. House sold, furniture donated or sold. This final piece of the puzzle should have been easy. Book a flight and “hey presto” we’re on our way to Italy!!!
Not quite! Thank you Mr. Trump, for not being a great leader, actually for not being a leader at all.
Thank you for making Americans unwelcome in Europe! Luckily for us we have Italian residency and UK passports, but getting a flight from the US to Italy is almost impossible. We’ve had two cancelled already.
This isn’t the fault of Delta Airlines, who have been outstanding and helped us through this mess. I rebooked my flight for the third time yesterday, thanks to the great travel agents at American Express. They went above and beyond to help me. Lets hope the third time is a charm.
It isn’t COVID 19 that is bringing the USA to its knees. It is the way it is being handled, or should I say, not handled. Please Mr. Trump, in your last few months as President, show some compassion and decency to the folks of country you promised to “make great again.”

Cappuccino – All about the Microbubbles

I only drink cappuccino, nothing else hits the spot. I must have at least one cup every morning. There’s nothing better than breakfast in Italy washed down with a huge foamy cappuccino. Unfortunately I don’t live in Italy so I have to make my own. For the last ten years or so we’ve had a La Pavoni coffee maker. The first one was the Romantica.

RomanticaThis wonderful machine produced excellent cappuccino time and time again without letting me down. When I had my kitchen remodelled, I went for the stainless steel look and of course this beautiful machine didn’t match my new decor. My daughter inherited it. When I visit her house I look at it longingly.

We replaced it with a stainless steel Pavoni.


A beautiful coffee maker, and at first it made beautiful coffee, until June 2013. Then it became temperamental. For a couple of months it simply refused to make microbubbles. We all know a good cup of cappuccino is dependent on the microbubbles. We replaced parts, took it apart, put it back together, tried everything to make the damn thing consistent. It would make perfect cappuccino for a month or so, and then for no reason, the pressure went crazy and it was impossible to get a lovely frothy top.

It has been consistent in its inconsistency for over two years now and I’m ready to invest in a new machine. The problem is, every time I throw up my hands and say “that’s it, I’m getting a new coffee maker,” it works again. I guess all the best things in life are temperamental. Italian cars, Latin men, and now apparently, Italian coffee machines.

Anyone got any advice for me?

La Pavoni – My Temperamental Italian

I’m on my second La Pavoni coffee maker. My daughter inherited the first one, a beautiful brass plated machine. Its a work of art. The one I have now is stainless steel, I changed it to fit in with my new kitchen. I bought this one in 2010, they last forever, and they make the BEST cappuccino and espresso in the world, but boy are they temperamental. It stands to reason, they’re Italian. I had a couple of Alfa Romeo cars when I was younger. Same issue, fantastic, but only when they felt like it. For me, the only coffee worth drinking, is cappuccino. That means froth, micro bubbles to be exact. When we first got this particular machine, you just stuck the nozzle in the milk and hey presto, micro bubbles. Well now its older and likes to do its own thing, which means I have to play along with it. 

Instead of just thrusting the nozzle into  the milk any old way, I have to judge the mood of the machine.

Sometimes the nozzle needs to be gently placed half in and half out of the side of the milk, with the container tilted back.

Next I listen to the noise the pressure makes as the hot steam blows into the milk, and adjust it to get it just right for micro bubbles.

The milk has to swirl around the container at a certain speed before the bubbles form.

There is no doubt that La Pavoni makes the best coffee in the world, but just like the beloved Italian (men) it does its own thing and its mood changes at will. Wait a minute, it sounds just like my husband…..but he’s Jamaican!

My first  La Pavoni

My first La Pavoni


My current Pavoni

My current Pavoni










Look at these beautiful machines, who wouldn’t want one. Its a classic Italian espresso/cappuccino maker, and like everything Italian, stylish and beautiful…..and very TEMPERAMENTAL.