Reflections

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!

A Christmas Story

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Once upon a time there was a little girl called Sandra. She was born in the fifties into an unhappy violent marriage. She was four, when her beaten, bleeding mother plucked up the courage to leave the monster she was married to. Her mum worked hard to keep food on the table and because of that Sandra spent a great deal of time alone dreaming of things she thought she’d never have.
In 1967 Sandra’s mum married a good man and life wasn’t so difficult anymore, but she still dreamed. What did she dream of?
Italy!
Why?
She didn’t really know, perhaps she was born with the dream. Sandra also had a weird uncontrollable gift. She knew things would happen before they did. Sometimes it was scary, but she lived with it with the help of an unseen presence, that she thought of as her Guardian Angel. Her first trip to Italy was 1971. To the Adriatic coast! She was smitten and returned often.
Sandra was married when she was 20, and travelled a great deal, often to Italy, but usually the Mediterranean coast. Her first trip to Rome was 2010, it gripped her heart, and that of her husband. It prompted them to search for a home. They looked in Campania, Tuscany, Lazio and then finally and after five years of searching, they came upon Abruzzo.
Abruzzo is on the Adriatic Coast, and only about three hours from Rome. Italy is beautiful, but Abruzzo is a piece of heaven. It takes you back in time to how Italy used to be before the tourist invasion. Quiet and traditional. The folks who live in Abruzzo are inquisitive, caring folks, genuinely interested in your well being. If they ask how you are, they really want to know. They’re proud of their land, their wine and eager to share.
Tomorrow we fly to our home in the tiny village of Colledimezzo, province of Chieti. A beautiful village perched on a hillside. It isn’t our permanent home yet, but we escape to Colledimezzo as often as we can.
Merry Christmas everyone, don’t lose sight of your dreams, instead make them come true!

Dolce Far Niente

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This only happens to me in Italy. I’ve tried to practice it here in the US, but it doesn’t work. There is always something do. There are things to do in Italy too, but somehow, they aren’t so important. What is more important is sitting with a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine and just enjoying the moment.

Can’t wait to be back!

Cappuccino and the Rooftops of Rome!

DSC02995Thou shalt only drink cappuccino or any milky form of coffee in the morning, and never after a meal.

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The first time I tasted Cappuccino was in the early seventies. My mum and crazy aunt took me to Italy, Rimini to be precise. It was one of those package tours that were so popular in England back then. We stayed in the Hotel President, by Piazza Tripoli and just a couple of blocks from the beach. I’d dreamed of visiting Italy for as long as I can remember. Not sure why, but it was (and still is an obsession) of mine.

I’m at home in italy, it soothes my soul.

Now, even though I live in the US, I return as often as possible and have travelled from north to south. I have favorite cities and towns of course. Breakfast at Hotel Vittorio on the banks of Lake Garda is wonderful. An ice-cold glass of champagne overlooking the Amalfi Coast in the Beautiful Hotel Villa Maria is heavenly. Tasting wine at one of the many Tuscan Vineyards with good friends is amazing.

However, one of the most exciting, exhilarating places to drink Cappuccino, is on the rooftop of the beautiful Marriott Hotel ‘Grand Flora’ at the top of Via Veneto in Rome! One cup is not enough as you sit and anticipate the day ahead. I never tire of it and I never will.

 

Hooked on Sunsets – and Sticky Chardonnay – Rocky Mountain Sunset

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Nothing better than sitting on the deck watching the sunset while sipping a surprisingly good Australian sweet wine.

Weekend chores and wine!

It’s the weekend so why,

Do I cook, clean, shop, iron, wash, work in the yard………..yea, I know, because it’s the weekend.

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Maybe it’s time for a glass of wine!

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Goulash, Dirty Rice and Pouilly Fume

Very cold day in Colorado, but I didn’t let it beat me, I wrapped up in several fleecy layers, and went for a walk.  So glad I did. I enjoyed the lovely winters day.  A couple of miles was all the temperatures would allow.  My face was frozen by the time I got home, but I felt better for being outside in the fresh air.

I started cooking when I got home, it’s a cooking sort of day. Hazy sunlight outside now as the sun tries to pierce the freezing mist. Quite lovely to look at.

The rice, mushrooms and french beans are in the pan along with the rice. To heck with healthy, I’m cooking them in bacon fat. Goulash is simmering and smelling fantastic. I should drink beer with this, or red wine, but there was a bottle of Pouilly Fume in the wine fridge calling my name. Who was I to argue? Happy Saturday everyone.

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These are a Few of my Favorite Things

Sitting on my deck with a glass of wine watching the sunset!
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Flowers at Richmond Castle - England 2011

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Visiting beautiful places.

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Getting together with family

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We should all do our favorite things a little more often.

Dead of July (Small)

 

 

 

 

Hyperactivity – The Crazy Brit

 

I write ghost stories in my spare time. True stories may I add. Yes I do on occasion see dead people. OK, I’m a freak, but I’m used to it.

I see dead people

I work full-time, and my job in a corporate legal department is far from a doddle . An eight-hour day is pretty unusual. I love to work in my yard. I don’t go anywhere without a camera. My passion is travelling and experimenting with different food and wines.

Socializing is a must, as is shopping.

One of the best things in life is meeting new and interesting people.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because it’s 9:05 at night, I’ve been up since 5:30 and have just managed to sit down after pouring myself a glass of red wine to help me relax.

I laughed as I did so because I write about Paranormal Activity, when really I should be more concerned about Hyperactivity……..mine. I get worse as I get older. My brain races way ahead of my fingers and feet.

Everyone hears me laugh..A LOT.

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I love to hear other people laugh too.

Again, why am I telling you all this? No clue, I’m just wondering why the heck I have so much energy and can’t sit still without a glass of wine on the table next to me, and my trusty laptop perched in front of me.

With that out of my system, I will now work on my short story ‘Girl on the Beach’ which I will be releasing soon.

In the meantime, watch out for my very first………full length novel – ‘Dead of July’, which will make you all gasp, laugh, hold your breath and want to read more. Hoping to get it on Amazon by September, or October at the very latest. When you read it, remember this blog, and the crazy Brit who wrote it. I wish you all a long and happy life.

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Preview Dead of July

STOP TALKING TO ME

A Very Fine Restaurant and Wine Bar – Sketch

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Last night I tried this restaurant for the first time, but it won’t be the last. It was a very friendly, European style restaurant. It was extremely busy, even at six o clock. The food was excellent. We started with a shared platter of antipasto, deliciously fresh olives, prosciutto, aged gouda as well as many other tasty treats. A great way to start the meal.

The Service was a little on the slow side, but I believe they were training new staff, and did I mention how busy it was? We were in no rush, and ate a leisurely dinner, enjoying each others company.

For my main course, I had home-made gnocchi. It was to die for. The tagliatelle also looked good, as did the risotto. We shared a salad of shredded brussel sprouts. Everything was cooked simply and to perfection.

I can’t believe we drank two bottles of champagne. It was one of those nights. We wanted to celebrate life. I highly recommend this casual, friendly restaurant. If you are in the area, give it a try. If it is a Saturday night, I suggest making a reservation.

http://sketch-restaurant.com/

 

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