Serenity, my garden and the Beautiful Adriatic – La serenità, il mio giardino e il bellissimo Adriatico

Tuesday was a flurry of activity. Shopping, cleaning, baking, washing…and trying to get things dry in this awful rainy weather. I know, I could use the tumble drier, but with the cost of electricity the way it is right now, I’d rather not. We’re looking forward to visitors tomorrow. First time visit from old friends we met in Lester’s Army days in Germany…many moons ago. I can’t wait to show them around.

At six fifteen on Tuesday evening I finally sat down. The aroma of a lemon polenta cake (recipe courtesy of Nigella), and oatmeal cookies lingered in the air. I don’t even eat cakes and biscuits, but I do love to bake. Silly old fart aren’t I? At least other people get to enjoy the fruits of my labour. My herb garden is looking healthy, with basil, parsley and rosemary. The rock garden is finally starting to flourish. I daren’t plant anything else right now because all of the seeds are just starting to peep through.

This is all a work in progress of course. We’ve been here for less than a year, so everything is a long way from being finished.

At the end of my crazy day I went and sat on the terrace for a little while and gazed at the Adriatic. It has such a calming affect on me. Over the years, I’ve relaxed by many oceans, but only the Adriatic makes me feel this way. Maybe it makes me think of my mum and our first trip to Italy, but whatever it is, it feels good.

We pick our friends up from the airport in Pescara this morning. Thank heavens its not raining (yet). There was a beautiful sunrise so lets hope its the start of better weather.

Nothing says summer quite like sunshine and a big slice of watermelon.
A young Joanna in Sirmione, Lake Garda, 1993.

I’d Rather be at the Beach!

It is a humid thirty two degrees right now. I wish I was at the beach. Looking back to last summer and the beautiful Adriatic. Fossacesia, Le Morge and San Vito. So many relaxing days and evenings spent by the sea. After this week I’m going to treat myself to lunch and a walk along a beach, maybe a different one. I’ve heard San Benedetto Del Tronto and Martinsicuro and very nice. We’ll be staying in that area awaiting the closing on our house. Hubby isn’t a beach person, but does enjoy lunch, and an ice cold beer or glass of wine at a beach restaurant. I think after all of the packing we deserve that.
On Monday I did a little shopping. I’m not cooking anymore, but needed the makings for salad and something to snack on.
Yesterday we made another trip to Gabbiano with a well loaded car. It was very successful, Gabriella had the man who makes bug screens meet us there, another thing checked off our list. After unloading boxes we were invited to lunch with Gabriella and her mother. It was a delicious, typically Italian, home cooked meal. What a lovely day. We won’t be there again until July 6th, when the big truck delivers our furniture. Our home in Colledimezzo will be emptied on Saturday and its contents stored for a while.
In the evening we were invited to join friends in the village for a drink, we chatted for a long time, all sitting around a long table and relaxing. To my surprise, I was given a lovely farewell gift, and looked over my shoulder to see the Mayor smiling at me. One of the trinkets was hand painted by his wife. Such an amazing welcoming community. Anyone who spends time here is truly lucky.

Hot, hot, hot today, and more packing and wrapping done. You are most likely thinking “how can there be more?” How did we accumulate so much stuff in such a short time?

Thanks for riding the storm with me folks…it’s almost over!

House Hunting in Italy – A Cottage in the Woods

Today we explored an area of Abruzzo we’d never been to before, in the Province of Pescara, and ninety minutes from our current place of abode. We’d hoped to find another home closer to Colledimezzo, but it looks like it’s not going to happen.
We made an early start because we didn’t have the exact address and knew there’d be a lot of wrong turns along the way. After manipulating difficult dirt tracks for thirty minutes or so (the house is in the woods and on the side of a mountain), we almost gave up. We decided that even if we found it, we wouldn’t want to live there because of the roads. Disheartened, because we loved all the pictures, we headed down to the village for lunch. I looked out of my window for one last view of the confusing hillside and caught sight of the house I’d seen in photos.
“There it is, pull over, there it is.”
My husband did as he was told, although I don’t think he really believed me. He got out and looked in the direction I was pointing.
“Give me your phone so I can check the photo.” he said.
I found the photo and handed him the phone. Sure enough, across the valley was the top of the house. Only one window showing, but it was the window in the attic bedroom with the balcony, I’d looked at the photo many times.
We drove back down into the village and I got out to ask directions. When I showed a gentleman the photo on my phone and he rubbed his chin.
“È complicato.” He said.
Slowly, so I could understand, and with the help of his hands and arms, he explained how to get to the “Casa di montagna in vendita”
My knowledge of the language is improving and I got enough from the conversation to get us headed in the right direction. Thanks heavens I did. The road to the house was not a dirt track, not a major highway either, but it was much better than the roads we’d been lost on. In less than five minutes we were standing outside our magical cottage in the woods.
This wasn’t a proper viewing, but a first look, to make sure we wanted to take it to the next step.
Yes please! With a view of the mountains behind me, and the Adriatic in front, what more could I ask for.

Keep your fingers crossed for me friends! Send me positive thoughts so maybe together we can make it happen.

My home is also for sale! See above!

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!

Friendship Window

My Friendship Window

I spend a great deal of time in my kitchen. It’s a beautiful, bright airy room…and I love to cook. Our home is built into the side of a steep hill. The two sets of glass doors at the front of my kitchen open to a balcony with a spectacular view of the green wooded hills of Colledimezzo.

The ancient door at the back is even more special. It’s a large, and very old Dutch door, so I can open a small portion and watch people pass by. I’ve christened it my friendship window, because those passers by have become my friends.

As I relax over my morning coffee, I watch the villagers climb the stone steps from the lower part of historic Colledimezzo before stopping to rest on the flat area outside my door. We chat for a while, and then they continue their climb to the piazza.

My friendship window makes me very happy!

Lazy Days of Summer

I forgot about book marketing and writing today, and had a lazy day at home.

I had to pop out to the local Cantina in Bomba for some wine which was a pleasure. The Cantina is on a beautiful country road, a road I love to drive. It’s bordered with wild flowers and wild fruit trees. Gorgeous.
I bought a five liter box of their Vino Bianco, and a five liter box of Pecorino. The local wines are really good, better than I ever bought back in the US. Ten Liters of wine came to the grand total of…twenty one euros…yes, thats less than thirty dollars. Life is good!

I stopped at my favorite garden center and bought a few more plants for my terrace too. Have to be surrounded by pretty flowers while I drink my wine!

Pottered around trimming, repotting, and enjoying the day. Then cleaned myself up a bit and dragged my husband up to the piazza for a couple of drinks. Prosecco for me and Birra Italia for him.

It’s a hard life being retired.

Take care everyone and stay safe, get vaccinated, this new variant is a bad one.

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)

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!


We invited friends to our home for lunch yesterday.
I set the table ahead of time with glasses, bowls and napkins, then stood back to see how it looked.
It was a table that invited lively conversation. It was a table set for five friends to sit and enjoy good food and wine.
I reflected on how my life has changed this year.
I no longer have crystal glasses, with matching decanters, or fine plates and bowls. I left those in the US for my my daughter to enjoy. She’s young and will appreciate them for many years to come.
My glasses don’t match, nor do my pans.
The wine is no longer $30 a bottle, but seven euros for a five liter box from the local Cantina, and much more enjoyable.
Yesterday was the first time I’d invited one of our Italian friends to eat with us, and I was terrified. We’ve enjoyed meals in his kitchen on several occasions and he is an excellent cook. Of course he brought one of his culinary masterpieces, which made our little soiree even more enjoyable. I sighed with relief when he complimented my risotto!
“You’re a good cook.” He said. I was thrilled.
Here in Abruzzo, it doesn’t matter what your glasses look like, or whether or not your plates match. What does matter is the people who sit around your table and share your food. People come first and foremost here, and thats the way it should be.
I still miss my daughter, she should have been here with us for Christmas…next year!

Thanksgiving in Abruzzo

My first Thanksgiving in Abruzzo!
Although I lived in Colorado for 25 years, I’ve never truly celebrated Thanksgiving the way Americans do. I enjoyed cooking. Getting together with friends and family was lovely, but the “Holiday” never held a special meaning for me. Not like Christmas.
2020 is my first Thanksgiving in Abruzzo. We didn’t go out and buy a huge Turkey, or make pumpkin/pecan pie, so it was very low key. Social distancing due to COVID has taken over the lives of everyone.
We celebrated with a huge polenta, Italian style. I’m not going to take credit for this gourmet delight, our good friend created it. It was delicious! On Black Friday I had a dental appointment in Lanciano. I completed two “self certifications”, one for the dentist, and one allowing me to stop off at a large Supermarket. There weren’t many people shopping, because of the Red Zone rules. I shopped for things I can’t buy locally and picked up some Christmas lights along with one or two tree ornaments. It was a gorgeous day, so on the way home I took photos. I can’t wait for all of this to be over so we can travel again, itching for a road trip, but until then I’ll make the most of my beautiful surroundings.
Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

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