The Years are Trickling Away

abruzzo-presto-privateIt really has been a heck of a year! This year we’ve literally bled money. In the grand scale of things, not that much, but enough to give me the odd panic attack. It has been worth it, we now have a lovely home in Abruzzo. A home with thick stone castle like walls and the sort of wooden doors that aren’t made anymore.
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Last week I published my second book, Ghosts on the Sand, a collection of short stories that were fun to write, and according to many folks, a pleasure to read. Thank you for all of your kind comments. The link below takes you to where this book can be purchased on Amazon for a mere $0.99.

https://amzn.to/2BYocgW

Tomorrow I rise early and start work at 7:00 am (if it ever stops snowing). Tomorrow evening finds me on a flight to Pescara, via Heathrow and Milan. My second trip to Colledimezzo this year, and not my last. My years are trickling away. Got to cram as much in as I can.

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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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Colledimezzo

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The warmth of the folks in Colledimezzo is amazing. I was sent this photo today in a message on Facebook. It’s from one of the only English-speaking people in the village. I was given his name as a helpful contact, and in his very first message he welcomed me, said how happy he was I’d made contact and sent me this beautiful photo of the village. I wish I were there now.

Vasto – Abruzzo – Italy

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Amblingh Residence – Vasto – Abruzzo

Going over photos from my last visit to Italy, I found this! The view we enjoyed while we ate our last breakfast in Italy after our whirlwind house buying visit. This photo was taken from the breakfast room of the beautiful Amblingh Residence in the gorgeous sea-side town of Vasto. I’ve added it to my list of favorite places. It was the epitome of Italy. Beautiful beaches, restaurants with tables outside, high up on a cliff and overlooking the turquoise waters of the Adriatic. By day the gentle waves reflected golden sunlight. By night a bejeweled coastline.

Any doubts I had about spending our money on a retirement home in Abruzzo were dispelled as I ate delicious local breakfast breads, washed down with cappuccino and soaked in the view with a background of Italian conversation.

Check the link above to discover the best place to stay in Vasto. Can’t believe I want more people to discover this beautiful old town. Instinct tells me to keep it to myself, but it’s just too good not to share.

Trabocco Coast – Chieti

Rocca-San-GiovanniNot long now. Wired my deposit to the Realtor in Vasto Italy! In a couple of weeks I’ll pay the balance.
March 2018 seems a long way off, but time flies, especially when you’re old, and I am old so I have to move fast and get some good years in my new home.

Abruzzo will keep me young, soothe my soul and make me happy. Counting down now, getting closer.

Italy’s Trabocchi Coast

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Beautiful isn’t it! Look at the color of the water. The Adriatic at its best.

Our house purchase has been taken to the next level. Notary checks have been done and the house is free and clear of liens. I’ve sent two original, signed purchase agreements to Monia, our Italian Realtor, which she should receive on Tuesday. Once she receives them, she’ll ask for the deposit, which I’ll send via wire transfer to an escrow account in Italy. When the deposit is received the purchase agreement will be filed with the powers that be and the purchase will be official. If the seller pulls out he’ll have to pay us twice the money we deposited. I’ll be nervous until we sign the deed, but at least we’re making steps in the right direction.

Attached is a picture of Italy’s beautiful Trabocchi Coast. My daughter and I were giddy after we’d looked around the beautiful quirky home in Colledimezzo. Our heads were full of plans for kitchens, how to finish the stairs, where to put the furniture and most of all, the lovely family vacations we’d enjoy there. It was love at first sight. The house was so “us”. Not a cookie cutter villa, but something unique, special.

Joanna drove towards the coast, and in less than 20 minutes the Adriatic filled the horizon. It’s been years since I visited the Adriatic Coast and I’d forgotten just how beautiful it was. I felt as though I’d come home. My first visits to Italy, back in the seventies, took me to the Adriatic Coast. Its magnificence took my breath away. We drove along a gravel road to find a restaurant. A place to celebrate finding a hidden gem in a perfect village in Abruzzo.

We celebrated on a trabocci. The waves visibly splashed on the glass floor beneath us as we ate fresh fish and drank local wine. This was our first day in Abruzzo, but I knew it wouldn’t be our last. Our mission was accomplished. We still has another day of house viewings, but the pressure was off, we’d found the perfect home.

I can’t help but feel that fate somehow had a hand in this, maybe Chieti is where we are meant to be. Whenever I think of the house and the area, it gives me a purpose and a sense of calm. Stay tuned!

Colledimezzo – The Old Olive Mill

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We sat in the little piazza and enjoyed Colledimezzo as we watched the village wake up. The locals weren’t early risers, No one was in a hurry, and everyone chatted cheerfully as they went about their morning. We were visited by a friendly and very loving stray kitty. We watched a puppy playfully tug on a towel with its momma, some one had abandoned the dogs, and now the village was taking care of them. It was a good feeling.

I recognized Monia, our realtor before she even spoke. She was a petite feminine beautifully dressed young lady and approached us with a welcoming smile on her face. Her English was charming and we felt comfortable immediately. She led us through the old streets, down stone steps. No cars drive through the old town. It’s a beautiful old pedestrian area.

The first house we looked at was pretty, but I fear too small and the stairs too narrow for my six-foot two husband. My son-in-law is 6ft 6ins and would NEVER fit. The very nice lady who owned us was from Belgium and introduced us to her neighbors, who were British. They’d bought a house there themselves a year or so ago, same idea as us. Vacation home and then retirement home.

The next place we visited was a beautiful old apartment. It was huge, with massive old windows and frescos on the ceiling. I can only imagine the grand parties that were once held there. It wasn’t quite what we were looking for though.

The third house stole my heart. I was once an Olive Mill, but had been converted into a house on three floors. The top floor was a kitchen with a log fireplace, a huge terrace and a bathroom. The huge oak door was wonderful. The skylight and big french doors made it light and airy. The views were incredible. Down to the second floor. Three more bedrooms, an even bigger terrace and two bathrooms. Gorgeous stone walls, oak beams…was this house restored just for me. Ground floor! Oh my, just a quirky wonderful area with stone, gargoyles, nooks and crannies, a wood burning pizza oven, and the master bedroom with en suite. I spend such a long time walking up and down in this beautiful old place that I’m sure the seller thought I would never leave.

I truly don’t know who was more excited, my daughter, or myself….more to come.

Life Begins at 60 – In ITALY

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Ever since I moved to the USA in 1995, I’ve been labelled the CRAZY BRIT. It’s alright, I’d rather be crazy than boring! Folks thought I was crazy for moving from England to the US. I thought it was quite a pleasant adventure. I enjoyed it. Now my next adventure is about to start.

I’ve been obsessed with Italy for as long as I can remember. I travel there as often as I can. The last trip made me long to live there so much that now, a little over a week after my return, I’m going back again. This time to buy a home in Abruzzo. Wish me luck!