August 27th 2020 – Escaping America

Yes I’m writing another book. This one is about moving to Italy in the middle of a pandemic! It is a tongue in cheek dark comedy. I’m having fun writing it already.

Breath, girl, you can do this, but do you still want to?

After balancing the huge red squishy bag on top of my overfilled suitcase, I wrapped the strap of my handbag around my carryon and slowly manipulated my way towards the ticket counter. I’d only taken a few steps when a rather strict looking man came striding towards me. He held his arm up in a Hitler type salute and yelled STOP!

“Use the Ticket Machine.” He said.

Are you kidding me?

“I can’t use the ticket machine because I have a pile of documents that need to be checked. I’m flying to Italy, and I have medical declarations to show you.”

He rolled his eyes. “You can’t fly to Italy unless you live there, I think you’ll need to postpone your trip until COVID19 is over, there are rules. Vacations must be postponed.”

“I do live there. I have my residency card right here along with my other documents.”

The man looked even more disgruntled and stomped back to the counter.

Oh dear, he’s going to lose it when he weighs my suitcase.

Food for all Tastes

The past few days have been filled with rain and writhing mists. Lovely to watch from my window. I don’t mind days like this, it gives me time to reset myself and take care of indoor chores I’ve been putting off for too long. My kitchen now much more user friendly in preparation for my son-in-law, who likes to cook. He will be here at Christmas…got to have the kitchen ready for him.
Yesterday (Sabato) wasn’t so bad and we met some friends for a fish and chip lunch. British fish and chips are not a regular cuisine in Abruzzo, but a lovely restaurant close by called Osteria Livornese, was serving them as a special for two days. They were delicious. We drank a little too much wine, but oh well. The chief was Irish and cooked the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. He was pretty amusing also…oh wait, of course he was, he’s Irish. We’ll visit the restaurant again and try out their specialty which is a fish broth called cacciucco.
When I opened my eyes at 7am this morning I thought it was still night time. The rain was heavy and has barely let up all day. I’d love to go for a walk, but not a chance. Instead I practiced Italian (as always), and then decided to harvest some of my basil and make pesto sauce. It turned out great!
I cooked Lancashire Hotpot for lunch, with Parmigiano Reggiano sprinkled on top, just to give it an Italian twist.
It’s still raining so I’m going to open one of Mr. King’s books, (Stephen to his friends) and laze away the afternoon in front of the fire.
Enjoy your Sunday everyone! (Buona Domenica a tutti)

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.

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.


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.

December 1st – Christmas is Coming

My kitchen Christmas tree!
I don’t normally start Christmas this early, but 2020 is a little different. We need a distraction. This tree came with me from the US, along with very few Christmas ornaments, things I’ve collected over the last 40 years or so! I had to be ruthless when I packed to move and kept only trinkets that held treasured memories. This is a new start which will create new memories.
We spent Christmas here in 2018 with my daughter, son-in-law and their friends so I also have a tree bought in Italy, which will be decorated in the living room later this week. I feel very extravagant with two trees, but I’m retired and have time to decorate them both.
December 1st came around quickly. I blinked and the long hot days of summer turned into a golden autumn.
2020 is trickling away. It has been an awful year for the world, but I think we all learned from it. Let’s hope so. For me, it was bitter sweet. I realized my dream of moving to Italy, but I’m a long way from my daughter. I hope I can see her soon.
Here’s to Christmas, and the simple things in life.

Evening Chill – Autumn Glory

Gorgeous day and beautiful evening!
I’m finding my routine a little now. I lived in Colorado for over 20 years so uprooting myself to a different country was a bit of a challenge. A new language to learn! Even simple things like finding the best place to shop for groceries took a little time, let alone making myself understood. Proud of myself though, I can order in Italian at the deli counter and at the butchers. The folks in the stores are very helpful and patient. I try my hardest (sometimes with the help of Google Translate).
I miss my daughter terribly, but we talk and text. Can’t wait for her to come and visit, but it may be a while with the new lockdown rules and the rising COVID cases everywhere. We’ll have such a party when she finally gets here. Until then I’ll take my daily walks and enjoy the wonderful views.