Italification, how to defeat curses and painting with oils…

Buongiorno a tutti,

How is everyone? Good few days here. Here’s the update…


Today, I took one more step towards driving like an Italian. I’m not proud of it. It’ll tell you what happened. I was waiting at temporary traffic lights at some roadworks. The lights went green and cars went through. Then came the amber light, as is customary with traffic lights, and the car in front of me sped through. Fair enough. Nothing illegal technically there really. And then they turned to red. Quick as a flash I weighed up the options. Did I have time to stop? I could see the road was clear and, although not proud of going through on red, I decided squeezing through was the safer option. I looked back. Would the man in the car behind me judge me for going through when they had turned red? I gave a snort of derision when I saw he’d also gone through. And then I laughed all the way home when I saw another 6 cars also go though after him! Rules are there to be broken is most definitely the motto here.


I’ve been doing a bit of painting in the last week or so – experimenting with oil paints which I’ve not done before. My nude-y drawing course is just getting going – it’s one afternoon a week. We have a male and a female model that will pose alternate weeks. It’s quite good having a model that is paid to stay in one position rather than asking a mate to begrudingly stay still! Anyway, my plan is to do many more oil paintings and be good enough to sell them online. However, I can’t bring myself to post up my first oil painting attempts so I think I’ll have to overcome that for my strategy to be effective!

How to defeat a Festa / Outing Curse

Last week I was invited on an organised walk by my friend, Il Polemico. Every time I go somewhere with him something tends to go wrong – I take the train to a station 2 hours in the opposite direction, I don’t bring lunch on an all day walk, I take us to a “festa” that consists of about 2 stalls… This time though, I read the walk instructions and I was well prepared. It was to start at 8.30 at the little church in Olmeto which was about two hours away. Fine I thought. I’ll wake up early and give myself plenty of time. I packed my bag and made a packed lunch the night before and headed off at ‘insane o’clock’ the following morning. Nobody was there but I was early. And then it was 8.30 and still nobody was there but that was still OK because I’m in Italy and everyone is always late. And then Il Polemico phoned to ask where I was as he was supposedly phoning from the same little church parking lot that I was in. I looked around and it was still empty. I knew then it was the wrong Olmeto – and indeed it was. There are two in Le Marche apparently – the one I wanted was 3 hours in the other direction.

Anyway, not wishing to waste the day, I went on a personalised tour of the region…


This was taking from near Olmeto where the walk was not taking place!


And then I headed to Asissi which was close-by. I really like Asissi but I didn’t do much looking around as I’d already been and there were other places on my tour that I hadn’t been to before.


And then there was Spello which is a lovely little hill top town.


Another view of Spello.


And this was taken in Foligno. Foligno has been on my list of places to go to for a long time so I was glad I went. It’s a bit more of a main town and less quaint than I was thinking it would be. And it’s not on a hill which is my favourite kind of town! But it did have small waterways running through it, a river running outside of it and a beautiful park so all in all, still a nice town.


Evidence of the river running outside Foligno.

Last year I went to a festa called Diamonte del Tavola in Amandola. It was very good – there were hundreds of people and the streets were packed with stalls selling truffles and wine and various local specialities. The thing is, I was with other people and my festa / outing hit rate is more successful when it’s not just me. Anyway, this year I went by myself. And it was not bustling. There was basically only a book stall and the streets were deserted. Tumbleweed blew across the town (it didn’t but it might as well have!) I think what had happened is that I had mentioned out loud that I was planning to go to the festival, and subsequently the stall owners and visitors subsequently disappeared. I imagine it’s like a surprise party where all the guests hide behind the sofas and in wardrobes but in this instance they just don’t come out until I’ve gone. Anyway, I bought some books so that’s good. And I assume it livened up a bit closer to lunch and dinner time.

And yesterday I went to Appassimenti Aperti in Serrapetrona with Pablo (and I also didn’t mention it out loud so people weren’t informed in advance to scarper). Appassimenti means “withering” in reference to the way they make their wine, known as Vernaccia. Aperti means “open” – a lot of the Cantinas where the wine is made in that immediate area are open to the public. It’s definitely worth a visit – the countryside is spectacular and the wine is good. They have an unusual production method  – they string up the grapes they’ve harvested and then leave them to well, wither, for a few months before they even start wine production. For the festa itself, you pay 4 euros for an empty  glass and a handy little carrier for it that goes around your neck. You are given 5 tokens which you can use at the various Cantina’s or at the stalls in the main town, to try whatever wine you’d like. There are free minibuses that take you to the Cantina’s from the main town. We only made it to one Cantina which has one of the best reputations, Alberto Quacquarini.


They hang up the grapes for a few months before making the wine. Interestingly, they didn’t seem completely riddled with flies. I wonder how they do that?


There were dozens of rows of these grapes…


And they had a pretty idyllic terrace as well…


…with amazing views.

I think that about sums up the last week or two here. I hope you all have good weeks wherever you are.


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Exploring Venice, Drawing Nudes and My Terrible Affliction…

Buonasera a tutti,

How is everyone? I’ve had a successful week here, slightly more productive than recent weeks at least! Here’s an update going from the least to the most exciting.


I have a terrible affliction. I am unable to say ‘no’ to people that want lessons. If you’re new to this blog, just to fill you in, I do not like teaching, particularly children. I don’t wish to sound ungrateful by any means, I’m incredibly fortunate to be in a position where work finds me rather than vice versa. But it’s a lot of effort, not so much the class itself but all the preparation that goes into it for so little reward. The pay is awful (and the children are mean to me and they don’t listen. It’s literally just like being back at school again!!!!) Interviews are non existent – the only qualification required is that I’m English. My interviews in the UK used to be “can you explain to me what the critical path of a project is and how you’d highlight what that is using x software?”. Now my interviews consist of only “when can you start?”. Last week the local school phoned me up to see if I could do some teaching and we organised a catch up. It went thusly:

School: Great. So what hours can you do?

Me: Meh. You know, I really don’t like teaching. Let’s say, the minimum number of hours possible and even then I’m not sure I want to do it. Maximum of maybe 3 hours a week.

School: Ok. What about 8 hours a week?

Me: Ugh. I really don’t like teaching. Did I mention that?

School: Huh. Well what do you want to do?

Me: I want to be a rich and successful artist.

School: <laughing/odd looks> Ok. How about we say, like 6 hours a week?

Me: <sigh> I guess.

School: How much is your usual hourly rate?

Me: Hmmm 25 Euros…

School: Great.

Me: But no, hang on. If I’m teaching a bunch of people and they’re all paying you x, I want at least half of everything you get to take the edge off.

So that’s that. In January, I shall be teaching a mix of children (ugh) and adults (not at the same time unfortunately).

Infinity TV

My Italian speaking went considerably downhill when I stopped watching CSI New York (an american police drama series for the uninitiated) which was for an hour and a half or so each weekday. Watching TV may SOUND lazy but when you’re learning a new language it’s really quite helpful, particularly when it’s dubbed and subtitled in Italian. I stopped watching it when they moved to CSI Miami as I can’t stand David Caruso (I’m sorry if you’re reading this David. It’s nothing personal but for goodness me, you don’t have to spend the entire programme talking to people but looking meaningfully elsewhere). Anyway, since then I’ve not found any other decent TV programmes. To the discerning English eye (mine at least), Italian TV can be summarised largely by back-to-back sexist drivel. However, I have discovered “Infinity TV”! I can’t tell you how chuffed I am! You pay just under 5 euros a month and you can watch an unlimited amount of different series and films, many with subtitles both in English and Italian and have the audio in their original language if you want. So in summary, my Italian language comprehension and vocabulary practice has just got a lot less boring.

Drawing Course

My nudey drawing class has started! It’s for one day a week. So far so good. I think I naturally err to the more traditional sort of art techniques and this course is more about exploring different mediums so it’ll be interesting learning new techniques!

Chioggia and Venezia

My favourite part of last week by far though was a quick trip to Venice and a town called Chioggia nearby to it. I drove up with my friend Pablo (I allowed him to select his own blog nickname and he’s chosen “Pablo” after Pablo Escobar, the Mexican Drug Kingpin. I don’t, however, believe he has any drug cartel connections to speak of). Saturday night we explored Chioggia, a little village on the seafront, 40 minutes drive to the south of Venice. It was nice but probably needs a bit more time to explore to get the best out of it.

This is Chioggia at night...

This is Chioggia at night…

Then we headed to Venice. Venice is one of my favourite places and its nice in the autumn as it’s slightly less busy than usual. Here are some photos…

Venezia (10 of 137) Venezia (118 of 137) Venezia (120 of 137) Venezia (132 of 137) Venezia (134 of 137) Venezia (18 of 137) Venezia (19 of 137) Venezia (55 of 137)And then we went to a cute little island called Burano that you have to get a ferry to. It specialises in lace making and has some really lovely unique clothes etc. The thing of note when you go there though are the houses – all different colours. It’s a very pretty place!
Venezia (79 of 137) Venezia (86 of 137) Venezia (92 of 137) Venezia (95 of 137)

I think that about sums up my week. I hope you’re all well :-)

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Throat of Hell, unique ways of procrastinating and what to do with an abundance of chestnuts…

Buongiorno a tutti,

How is everyone? It’s been a lovely here the last few days which has been a nice change from what has felt like constant rain lately! It was beginning to feel like I was still in the UK ;-)

So things to update here are as follows…

Teaching & Procrastinating

I’ve been doing a bit of teaching again which has been good. Teaching adults is far less traumatic! I’ve also got a new local “language exchange” buddy which I’m pleased about.

I have not been editing my book. I have been procrastinating. Instead of editing, I have learnt how to do the Cups song from the film Pitch Perfect and I decided I should learn a new song on the guitar (which I have not played for years). Soon my art course will start so I’ll have less editing time. I’m very annoyed with myself!


I’m still trying to do some thing with the mountain of chestnuts I collected. I have made: Chestnut Butter (it’s impossibly rich), Chestnutella (chocolatey chestnut spread which turned out alright only I use the term “spread” very loosely, because it basically doesn’t) and Marron Glacé  (which are candied chestnuts. These are nice but I think just one is equivalent to my recommended calorie intake for the week).


This is my version of “Maron Glace”. I don’t think they will win any awards for their presentation.


I have been ‘festa-ing’! I am usually cursed when it comes to festa’s. They’re often cancelled, I’ve just missed them by seconds, or they just don’t exist. I tried to go to one in Sarnano last weekend but that one had been cancelled without any apparent word. I don’t understand why I was the only person wandering around wondering where it was. It appears key festa information is beamed directly into the heads of the locals. The following day I tried to go to another festa and the car broke down, however I did manage to make that one in the end.

At this time of year there are lots of these festas focused on chestnuts, truffles, wine, or polenta. This one was in Morrovalle, a little village towards the coast, and was a general autumnal festa. It was rather small as festa’s go but cute none the less.


The main piazza in Morrovalle


This was a group called La Raganella from Belvedere Ostrense… Very good folk style music!


And this was another band in the main square, also very good with some very specific dance steps involving red scarves!

Then this weekend there was a lovely festa in Montemonaco in honour of chestnuts.


The views from Montemonaco are spectacular.


And the owner of this quaint little house was lovely! In fact, it seems quaint and small at the front but actually goes back quite far!


Beautiful little street in Montemonaco


They had 5 or so of these tin barrels roasting chestnuts… It was a great smell!

The thing that’s so nice about these events is that everyone is so friendly, it’s always a very good atmosphere and the stall owners are always eager to chat. We must have been talking for half an hour to a local about the state of politics and Italy in the war!

Walking into the Throat of Hell!

I had some friends staying this weekend and we went to the Gola dell’Infernaccio, the Throat of Hell. It’s a misleading name, it’s an absolutely stunning walk, particularly at this time of year. It’s a walk I’ve been meaning to do for ages.  Once parked you walk along a river through a canyon and then up to an “Eremo” (Hermitage) to San Leonardo. It was rebuilt almost single-handedly by a guy who lived there for several years. It’s very impressive. He sadly died earlier this year. From the hermitage you can walk to “La Cascata Nascosta”  (the hidden waterfall) which was a bit hazardous towards the end, I won’t lie! Too much rain has made the path into a rocky/muddy landslide. You basically have to swing from tree root to tree root like Tarzan (perhaps not quite like Tarzan because he swang from vines and wasn’t dressed for autumn temperatures). Anyway, here are some photos. I was quite taken with it!!!

DSC02951 DSC02974 DSC02972 DSC03102 DSC03052

DSC03113 DSC03125

If anyone is interested in several other million autumnal tree pictures, let me know :-)

Have a good week all,


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Nine Circles of Hell, Sightseeing in Ravenna and Photo Expeditions!

Buongiorno a tutti!

How’s everyone? I’ve had a very good, though largely unproductive, few days!

I shall tell you what I’m supposed to be doing – I’m supposed to be editing my book. And yet it seems I’ve spent most of my time doing more interesting/inspiring things instead. I’ve only managed two editing days in the last fortnight. I must, must, must finish!!!

The weekend before last I went to see “Dante’s Inferno” in the caves in Camerano where I used to live (to be clear, I used to live in Camerano, not the caves!). It was probably one of the most unusual plays I’ve seen – rather than sitting in one place it was a sort of group walking tour of the 9 “circles” of hell. As a quick summary, Dante and Virgil (of Roman poetry fame), take a tour of hell which is divided into 9 circles with increasing levels of torment in line with the increasing seriousness of the sins committed. In each larger cave (they’re all connected by small candlelit passageways), there were two or three actors that would recount what was going on in that specific circle of hell. Anyway, it was very good, though in a very difficult form of Italian (passato remoto – it’s not very common and more often used in the written form!) so I had to fill in the gaps with trusty Wikipedia after the performance.

I was also invited to Ravenna last weekend by my lovely neighbour to stay with her just as lovely family. I think it’s probably my most ‘full-on’ Italian language experience to date. I think I have a sort of weekly brain usage quota and as a result, I feel pretty brain dead – I’m unable to string more than a couple of words together now. Ravenna is absolutely spectacular though. I didn’t know anything about it before I went but it’s in Emigia-Romagna, the region north of Le Marche (the region where I am), and on the coast. It’s well-known because it has an extraordinary number of mosaics, some of the oldest in the world and most of them are in the churches. Ravenna is basically built upon a massive lagoon. If they hadn’t filled it all in over the years and sucked out all the water, it would have been like Venice. As it is they’ve had to keep building Ravenna up because it seems the entire city is suffering from subsidence! As a result, when you go around the old historic sites, you kind of walk down to them. It’s got a fascinating history; all recounted by my neighbour, her niece and niece’s partner. This sort of knowledge and patriotism about the area you live in and its history and artwork is something I love about Italy. Alas I have a terrible “in one ear, out the other” tendency for all things of historic importance, which is un-reflective of my level of interest so apologies for my lack of educational information on this blog but have a look here if you want to look into it! If you visit Ravenna yourself it’s well worth buying a sightseeing ticket which will get you into the main sights (tombs and churches mainly!) for just under 10 euros.


Mosaic somewhere in Ravenna – I should have made a note! Perhaps we can call it an interactive, “guess where this mosaic is?” sort of competition. The winner gets credited in the caption.


Now…. this is in the tomb of Galla Placidea. I was thinking about having my tomb decorated similarly. There is solid gold in all of these mosaics. SOLID GOLD!


SEE THE GOLD!!!!!! GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This is the Mausoleum of Theoderic. He was a big deal in Ravenna. He was worried about getting captured so there’s rumours of a secret tunnel that goes from one of the churches in Ravenna to this mausoleum (they liked to build their mausoleum’s whilst they were still alive – I guess if you want to make sure something is done right, do it yourself!) and at that point, it was right on the seafront so he could have made a quick get away.  It’s very difficult to imagine how Ravenna must have looked a few hundred years back!


And here there were a collection of mosaics dug up from around the area…


And, you guessed it, more mosaics – this mosaic covered a massive area in a large church… all telling the history of Jesus.


And this is in the crypt of another church. I said how Ravenna was built on a lagoon – well you can see here how it’s been quite difficult to keep the water out!!! There’s actually fish swimming around in it!!! It makes me feel better about the damp problem in my house at least.


And there’s a little ferry that takes you across the river to get to the harbour…


And this is the harbour…


And this church is still in Ravenna but further out. It was my favourite – nice setting (you have to pay 5 euros to go in. The churches in Ravenna must make a fortune). The mosaic around the altar was amazing. Still with solid gold – the churches in Ravenna it seems are wealthy!


This is a close up of above the altar. All these mosaics must have taken decades!!!!

On a different note I was up in the mountains taking pictures of the stars last week. It’s a lovely idea in theory – it’s absolutely stunning up there at night. But there is NOBODY around and the problem with star pictures is that you have to leave your camera out taking photos for half an hour (because it’s so dark you need to have a long exposure so that you can get enough light in). So I ventured into the pitch blackness, set up the camera, waited in the car and then started worrying that there might be an axe-murderer on the loose. Next time I’m going to take a photography buddy with me!


I also got up at the crack of dawn the other week to take photos at the beach in Civitanova. It feels like I’m always awake at the crack of dawn but I usually stay in bed willing myself to go back to sleep. But the sunrise was so lovely it inspired me to actually get up early again (for all of about half an hour).

DSC02653 DSC02690

Yesterday I was very cultured and went to a Schubert and Chopin piano concert in Macerata. Very good indeed.

Finally, it’s chestnut season!!!! I’ve been having a great time harvesting stuff this month. My friend who has a house nearby has been visiting for the last week or so and we found a great spot a couple of days ago for chestnut picking. So, inspired by none other than Frank Sinatra, I have been roasting my chestnuts on my (non)open fire. They’re EXCELLENT!!!! I still have to perfect the timings but the recipe largely goes: 1. Score the chestnuts, 2. Put them in a tinfoil little parcel with a spoonful of water, 3. Chuck it in the stufa/wood burner for 20 minutes, 4. Peel and eat them. I think Mr Sinatra would have been impressed. Mmmmmmmm.

I think that about sums it up.

I hope you’re all having an excellent week. Buona giornata da Sarnano!


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Methane Cars, Zumbing and the Free Time University!

Buonasera a tutti!

How is everyone? I’m pleased to report that I’m doing well! I’m finally feeling settled.

I have bought a car! It’s a little nippy Fiat Panda like my old Nanmobile. It’s called Nanmobile 2. It runs off methane! METHANE!!!! Imagine!!!! My experience of methane comes from scientists years ago worried about the effects of global warming caused by the release of methane from cows. However, in Italy they run cars off the stuff (I was half expecting the methane filling station to be overrun with cows but not so). And it’s great! Rather than spend 50 euros on petrol, I spent 10 euros for the same miles per gallon. Bargain.

The car buying process in Italy is an exemplary demonstration of Italian bureaucracy  – at its worst though. It’s also not easy to find a decent car, or certainly not in the area where I live. I have ‘brain dumped’ my lessons learnt here for anyone interested in buying a car in Italy! On a less specific car purchasing experience front, my nerves are only now getting back to normal after what has to be the most stressful car buying experience ever. Alas, my mother/editor has warned me about ‘ranting’ on this blog on more than one occasion so I shall leave it there :-)

I have enrolled in a zumba class! I’m on a mission to try and be svelte and fit at the moment. I’m exercising lots and eating healthily(ish). However, since my mission started a fortnight ago, I have put on weight. It really is very annoying. Anyway, Zumba is amusing. Generally I seem to sort of chuckle my way through getting all of the moves wrong whilst everyone else seems to do it all with serious looks (which usually makes me chuckle even more!).

I have also signed up to do some teaching. As many of you will know, I dislike teaching. However, I’m actually excited about it this time around. I’m going to be teaching adults as part of a set of courses for “l’universita’ del tempo libero”. But because they pay a pittance, I get to go on as many of the other courses as I want free of charge. I LOVE COURSES! I’m going to do them all!!! Well maybe not ALL of them but I’ll try. I’ve also signed up for an online drawing course and of course there’s still my nude person drawing class starting at who-knows-when in November to look forward to.

It’s absolutely freezing here at the moment. The house needs a bit of warming up so today is going to be this years “stufa” (wood burner) inauguration day. I’m really looking forward to it but unfortunately I only have about two weeks worth of wood left at the moment to last me for the next few months.

In other news:

  • I have finally checked out the local swimming pool  (I love it, it’s absolutely empty!). It was embarrassing though – the lifeguard asked me if I had a helmet. I laughed thinking he was joking of course. I mean, who wears a helmet swimming? Who wears helmets indeed… what he actually asked is if I had a swimming cap.
  • I’ve been to a couple of lovely new restaurants and investigated another cinema nearby.
  • I’ve been making bread.
  • I’ve been scavenging for nuts and fruit.
  • I’ve been going for walks.
  • I’ve been commissioned to make an old damaged mirror look marginally better!
  • And taking pictures of the stars.

Here is the evidence…


So I have discovered several walnut trees and a hazelnut tree near me and a sort of abandoned apple and plum tree. And the green stuff is called mentuccia (a sort of minty oregano). It took me hours to shell the walnuts. I was just getting to the end when my neighbour gave me a million more. I made a hearty apple & plum crumble with the rest. There’s something cockle warming about foraging I think.


This is Lago di Fiastra taken from a new angle for me – I’d never been to this side of the lake before a week or two back.


This is the Lame Rosse. I went on a great organised little hike to it with a group from Jesi :-)


And I found a new walk from the house with some great views of Sarnano and the mountains.


And THIS little church was built on top of this rock in Roccaporena where Santa Rita used to go regularly to pray. From what I can tell, Santa Rita is famous for such miracles as having spineless roses that never die and a slow-aging corpse.


And this is the church in Cascia where Santa Rita lays in a glass box. Not wishing to cast doubt on the slow-agingness of the corpse, but I would have found it useful to have a regular corpse aside her for comparison purposes.


And look at this little goat from Cascia! Cutie. Though I do worry about the ethics of a chained up goat gimmick.


And this is the main piazza in Cascia. It was a cute little town all in all.


And there some fabulous views in Cascia too.


Including this one…


Sourdough mission complete.

And this was the commissioned pimped up mirror to cover some damage at the bottom of it.

And this was the commissioned pimped up mirror to cover some damage at the bottom of it.


My first attempt at trying to get star trails! Since that night it’s been cloudy very frustratingly!

I think that about sums up my last couple of weeks. I shall leave you with this picture of my cat looking sweet.


Batfink is not allowed in my bed. He knows this. We’ve been through it. Generally he’s an obedient sort but after a mystery disappearance following a bath last week, I managed to locate him. He wasn’t told off on this occasion because he’s been having a bad time of it with his dad, poor puss.

Hope you all have a good week!


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Buying a car in Italy

Before you can buy a car you’ll need to be “residente” in Italy. My proof of residency was an Identity Card but I guess you could use your Driving License as long as it has your Italian address on. You’ll also need a “codice fiscale” which is basically a social security ID number. It’s very easy to get that – just go to your local Agenzia delle Entrata with your passport.

Below I shall share my experience of purchasing a car (as of September 2015)…

Where to get your car

  • You can buy cars from “concessionari” or buy privately. Most concessionari are for specific makes of cars and  mainly sell new cars. However if you go to a Fiat showroom for instance, they might have other makes of car that they’ve taken in part-exchange so it’s worth trying all the showrooms to see what they have available. Very, very rarely (in Le Marche at least) there will be a concessionaria that sells just used cars where there is more choice. To find out where these are, talk to the locals because there is often no information on the internet! If you do a search for a concessionaria online, phone them before you go to check they actually sell cars, because they very well might just sell jeeps, or buses <sigh>.
  • Officina’s (garage’s) and Gommista’s (tyre dealers) also sell cars sometimes so it’s worth trying there.
  • As with all things in Italy, I find it’s advisable to go somewhere and to someone that has been recommended. Naturally all businesses want to make money and in my experience if they think they can sell you a car with a broken clutch and brake light, they will (I’m sure this is the case everywhere in the world though)! If you go somewhere without personal recommendation, be incredibly switched on!
  • You might think that it’s worth buying a used car from a concessionaria because they’ll give a guarantee but look at the small print; the guarantees that I were shown covered  virtually nothing at all so don’t rule out private on that basis.
  • There are two useful websites worth looking at: and  both of which advertise private sales. Sometimes the concessionari advertise their cars there too and often this is the only way of knowing that they exist.
  • Used cars are very expensive  in Italy in comparison to the UK. However, cars come with a variety of types of fuel which takes the edge off a tiny bit! There’s benzina (petrol), diesel (er, diesel), GPL (liquid petroleum gas) and metano (methane). Methane is amazing value, much, much better than the price of petrol. You’ll spend £10 to go the same distance that £50 petrol will take you. However, because of this, methane cars are sought after and expensive. On the plus side, they also keep their value – after 10 years, they’re still well over half the price a brand new car would cost. If you buy a methane car, you need to get the “Bombola” (metal methane holding contraption) changed/checked every 4 years.
  • ‘Clocking’ the kilometers on the car is absolutely rife here. There is apparently a way of checking whether someone has fiddled with the Km’s but it’s only the concessionari that seem to be able to do this check so make friends with someone there!

Insuring your car

  • Before you can get in your new car and drive it away, it needs to be insured. If this is your first attempt at insuring your car in Italy, it’s worth speaking to friends and neighbours to see if they can suggest  an “assicuratore”, an insurance man. My insurance man was recommended. He’s very nice, comes to my house with croissants and buys me phone credit. It’s useful to have an insurance man (rather than go online)  because they can help to get your No Claims Bonus transferred from  your home country over here. There are 14 insurance categories – if you’re in category 14 you’re probably a 17yr old boy racer with a Ferrari and if you are in category 1, you’re a middle aged careful driving soul with lots of years of incident free experience! Your goal is obviously to get as close to category 1 as possible!
  • After the first year I expect  it could be done cheaper  online. From my perspective, I’d be down on croissants and have to buy my own phone credit, so I’ll review that next year!
  • You can get an optional “scatola nera” or a black box fitted  to your car. This is a ‘big brother’ style implement to check whether you’re a good driver doing the number of miles you said you would (you have to predict your annual mileage for the insurance). If you have an accident, they check your black box. No-one likes to be snooped on, it really doesn’t sound like an attractive option but you do get cheaper insurance (the first year at least if you have one fitted). If it turns out you drive like a maniac, your insurance will be more expensive the following year (unsurprisingly the Italian’s are very anti the black box!). You can fit the box yourself or go to the mechanic. I went to the mechanic as there seemed to be some drilling involved and I wouldn’t put it past me to drill into the petrol tank. My lovely mechanic did it for 5 euros.

Paying for your car

  • If you’re doing this legitimately, you can’t pay with cash (there’s a 900 euro maximum). It needs to be done with a “bonifico” or bank transfer which can take up to a couple of days to process  or you can pay with an “assegno circolare” or bank draft. After an awful lot of research about whether bank drafts were like the UK bank drafts which are pretty much guaranteed, I went down that route to pay for my car.  I felt this was less risky than transferring money directly a couple of days before and possibly not ending up with a car. To obtain a bank draft you just go to the bank and give them the name of the person and the amount of money it’s for. Then just hand it over to the seller to get your car.

Registering your car

  • You need to get the car registered in your name – “il passaggio”. In fact, make sure you include this within your budget because it’s not an insignificant cost (mine was around 350 Euros but it depends on the car’s horse power or KW). Some car dealers will tell you that the car is “passaggio compresa”, which includes the registration costs.  Registration is not as simple as sending off a form like in the UK. You need to go to an agency in person, and although there is a choice  they all seemingly charge different rates. The cheapest place to go to seems to be ACI, the Automobile Club d’Italia. Here, there is a never-ending queue to register your car (at least when I went). You’ll need to bring your ID, the “libretto” which is the car ownership record and, as with all things in Italy, your codice fiscale (your social security ID code). Both you and the previous owner need to be present as far as I can tell because it requires you both to sign a million different documents.

Maintaining your car

  • You’ll need to get your “revisione” (MOT if you’re English – this is just a regular car check up) done every 2 years (unless it’s a new car and then you don’t need  one  for the first 4 years.
  • You’ll need to get your “bombola” checked, if you’ve got a methane car, every 4 years.
  • You need to make sure that you’re taxed. I say “make sure” but in my experience the Italians don’t seem very bothered about tax. (In the UK until very recently we had to prove we’d paid our tax by putting a tax disc as evidence of payment in the window. Here though, you put evidence that you’re insured in the window).

Things to remember with your new Italian Car

  • You are always right! That is, you should always drive on the right. After years of driving my English car here, for some reason I found it very difficult to adjust to finally being on the “correct” side of the car.
  • Your Italian car will not have miles per hour on it like English cars do, just kilometers per hour. Kilometers mean nothing to me! Thankfully my new car beeps at me when I’m going too fast.
Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Welcoming committee, driving traumas and course enrollment!


I hope you’re all well. I made it back in one piece! It’s been lovely :-) I’m back to wearing vest tops rather than jumpers!!!


Sarnano looking sunny :-)

Car rental trials and tribulations

I hired a car from Ancona airport. ‘Budget’ cars seem to offer the best deal so much so that there was absolutely nobody at any other car hire place and a massive queue for Budget. The others should up their game (or help out Budget so people don’t have to queue for hours).

In the UK our steering wheels are on the right hand side. In Europe and everywhere else pretty much, steering wheels are on the left. So I was a bit nervous about this and driving a new type of car as well but really, it’s only been mildly traumatic. I hit the window each time I want to change gears and I feel less comfortable being on that side for other reasons too – given the Italian’s have a penchant for driving at speed in the middle of the road, me physically being on the pavement side of the car used to feel safer (in the event of a crash, hopefully they’d just take out my passenger. Phew.)  Also, I suspect I might have been scathing in the past about how Italians sometimes just park basically where they are, rather than at the side of the road. But mystery solved! It’s quite difficult for some reason parking when controlling it from the left-hand side. I think me, the cars behind and all the onlookers were all thrilled today when I eventually managed to parallel park in the tiniest space imaginable in a car that seems to have blind spots in almost all directions. I am about as quick and reactive as a sloth. I wish there was a “Learner” style sign for people trying to work out how to drive new cars and on the wrong side. I can’t even point to my trusty old GB sticker by way of explanation.

House and feline welcoming committee

It’s been lovely catching up with the neighbours. I’ve been duly provided with eggs from the chickens next door, celery, herbs, several jars of preserved tomatoes, onions, grapes, peppers, courgettes… I hardly needed to go to the supermarket. I do have the best neighbours of all time.

Batfink the cat was here to welcome me when I arrived! He was very sweet and didn’t leave my side all day and meowed incessantly wanting to sit on my lap whenever I sat down for a second. Before I left for the UK he seemed to be having a thing with his auntie (despite frequent lectures on what’s right and wrong) and had almost ditched me entirely but I think they’ve fallen out because I seem to be his favourite again. He’s turned into a bit of a grumpy old man. I think he’s been emotionally scarred by the kittens who are naughtiness epitomized. To be honest, I think I will be scarred soon too.


Batfink with a kitten sneaking into the background.

Every time I open my door, Batfink comes in followed quickly by 4 kittens, Batfink’s ex/aunty, his mother and his father. Eight flea-bags is just too much. So I shoo the cats out, and the adult cats go. But the kittens remain. Nothing at all scares these kittens. So I pick up a kitten in each hand and put them outside, close the door and then go to get the remaining kittens. I pick up those kittens and as soon as I open the door to put them out, the other two kittens come in. So I close the door to get the other two kittens. Guess what happens when I put the other two kittens out? Yes, kittens number three and four come in. It’s relentless kitten removal. I’ve had to resort to using the handheld kittens as sort of bowling balls to knock the others out of the way so I have enough time to close the door.


Sometimes, they all manage to squeeze onto my front door mat. So from left to right: Pellosina (“Hairy”, Batfink’s Aunt/Ex), Felixa (I’ve dubbed her this, I don’t think she’s been named), Scaredycat, Naughtiness, Batfink, Grigia (“Grey”, not particularly imaginative name but this is Batfink’s aunt), Neve (“Snow”, Batfink’s dad. They hate each other), Sole (“Sun”, or Naughtiness 2). I could write a book on the life of these cats. There’s everything you could ever want in a story: forbidden love, fights, illicit children, the devastating effects of favouritism, bullying… If I wrote it without people knowing they were cats perhaps people would even read it (maybe that could be an incredibly unsatisfying final revelation/ twist at the end)


The kittens are more persistent than even the most frustrating cold callers. I’m going to have to start exiting the building from a window.

I was also welcomed by a giant scorpion, a massive spider occupying most of the terrace, and several dried up ants. They were less cute but expected nonetheless.


This spider is roughly 5 foot by 8 foot. I’m too scared to even remove it. I imagine this is how Frodo felt in Lord of the Rings when Shelob comes to get him.


So this scorpion was dead which was initially a relief but now I’m worried about what killed it. Shelob?

Course enrollment

Well I have enrolled in my art course – I’m quite excited!!! It wasn’t a simple enrollment process. In England, my usual method of course enrollment goes: Look at the prospectus either online or paper copy. Decide on the course based on course information (syllabus / dates and whatnot) and complete / download the enrollment form and send it off with a cheque. Receive confirmation with details as to where and when it is.

So there’s some information online about this course but for the year 2013/2014. I downloaded a form and attempted to complete that but it’s out of date. Not to be put off, I went to the school itself. The conversation went thusly:

S: Help me! Is this the right form for the course I want to enroll in?

Guy (G): Meh, looks like it <glances at it briefly>. You need to go to the bank and send us some money.

S: But is there space for me on the course?

G: There’ll be space.

S: And this form, I’ve filled it in ok?

G: Hmm. Yeah I reckon so.

S: So I can just send you money and then come back with it?

G: Yeah.

S: It’s just I wasn’t even sure this was the right form because it seemed old and for another course.

G: Hmm, I guess you could use this form <hands me this years form, an entirely different form in fact which requires a passport photo and tells me the course is actually 100 euros more expensive>.

S: Ok. So I fill in this form and do the money thing and then what? When does it start?

G: November.

S: Any specific date?

G: Thursday.

S: The first Thursday?

G: Usually.

S: And like, when?

G: Usually afternoon.

S: Right.

He seemed thoroughly bemused about the level of information I was asking for. I do wonder how people here usually enroll for courses. Perhaps they fill out random forms and then just sort of hang around hoping to come across the course. In fact, there were a few people loitering outside…

So to enroll in the course you can’t just send in a cheque. You have to:

  1. Go to the post office and pay some money (I wonder what the post office do with this money…?).
  2. Go to the bank and transfer some money (to the school I presume).
  3. Go to the tabaccheria and pay for a very expensive stamp which gets stuck on the application form (for tax purposes I was told).

Anyway, despite all that, I’ve done it!!! It wont be long now until artistic fame and fortune rolls in, I’m sure.

That’s about it so far apart from a quick excursion to Lago di Fiastra yesterday (photos below). Car buying is in full swing. I’m seeing some at the weekend. Please keep up with the vibes!

DSC02092 DSC02113

A presto,


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Cunning plans, car acquisition plans and new cameras…


Well Dear Readers, I’m so sorry for the long disappearance! I hope you’ve all been well during my absence :-)

I’ve been in the UK so there hasn’t been much to update on from an Italian perspective. It’s been lovely catching up with family and friends although as ever, I don’t feel like I’ve done an effective job of that. However, I’m looking forward to heading back to hopefully sunnier climes! Out of the couple of months I’ve been back, it’s been sunny for about 6 hours ;-)

Here are some photo’s from the UK taken on the rare occasions there was not torrential rain. I’ve bought a new camera (I LOVE my new camera!) so I’ve been attempting to go a bit more arty. If anyone has any constructive criticism on the photos please do leave a comment – I’m still learning!


Frensham Lake

The beautiful Corfe Castle

The beautiful Corfe Castle

Brighton Beach

Brighton Pier. Italians looking at this may be shocked by the complete lack of back-to-back sun loungers!

Brighton Pier & Seagull

This seagull and myself became good friends.


This is The Crescent in Bath. Those clouds are much more representative of England’s Summer this year.


I stayed in Wales a couple of times. They’ve got some spectacular beaches and this is one of them.


Wales again, where the famous poet Dylan Thomas liked to hang out.


And this was from a walk in Wales.

I’m back to Italy tomorrow and I’ve been making plans for the rest of the year! Here they are…

Car renting and buying

I need to buy a new car! I drove back to the UK in the Nanmobile (can you guess who I bought the car from?) in July for its annual MOT (car check up) . It’s a costly business having an English car in Italy mainly because of the need to do this and all the costs associated with the trip back. The alternative is to register the Nanmobile in Italy but looking at people’s experiences online of registering an English car in Italy it seems to be so traumatic and costly that it’s not worth it. So, I’m going to try and buy an Italian car.  To buy an Italian car, I need to be a resident in Italy. I now have a beautiful Identity Card to demonstrate my residency so this should be ok. What I’m unclear of is whether I need my Driving License to show the same address. In Italy, the police stop people regularly to have a look at their paperwork to see that it all matches up. There doesn’t seem to be any neat solution for someone that wants to maintain their “home” in both countries. So that will be interesting. I’ve emailed the car people in Italy to ask them if they can help but of course, nobody has replied!

Meanwhile I’m going to hire a car for a week or two. My first experience of driving a left-hand drive car in years will be at 9am, following a night of little or no sleep, on my own and for an hour and a half. I can hardly wait! :-)

Finish the book

I wrote a book last year but it needs editing still. I did get a good way through whilst I was back in the UK but still have a long way to go so hoping to get the next stage of editing done in the next month or two. This is priority numero uno.

Become a successful artist!

I’ve always been quite creative but I never get particularly good at anything. A jack of all trades, master of none! It’s said you need to put in 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. So that said, I like to think it’s not because I lack talent, but because I don’t put the concerted effort in (how annoying it would be to find out after all that time it’s the talent component I miss, not the time!!!!). As such, I’ve decided to make priority numero due (English people, you need to pronounce that “do-ay” otherwise it sounds odd) to pull out the stops and get good at painting. To that end, I’m keen to sign up to an art course in the main town nearby, Macerata. However, the enrollment form confuses me and I can’t seem to get to the bottom of when it starts and what I need to do. I’ll go on a concerted mission on my first day or two back in Italy to get to the bottom of that!  Please send me course enrollment vibes (and car buying vibes come to that).

My plan is to do something akin to the wonderful Edward B Gordon. Everyday he paints a beautiful picture and posts it on his blog and everyday he seems to sell them.

I’m also going to try and get a bit more into the photography thing, but that’s priority numero tre!

Right, I think that’s it for now. Sorry it’s been short and sweet. With any luck next time I’ll be back to posting pics of Italy and telling you how frustrating buying a car is ;-)

Buonasera a tutti,


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Crazy walks, Italian “Holiday” analysis and stunning waterfalls…

Buongiorno a tutti!

How is everyone? I’ve had a great but busy week here.

I have, in no particular order…

1. …Been to see the lovely Cascate delle Marmore – the Marmore Waterfalls which are really impressive. It has the highest man-made waterfall in Europe (created in the 3rd century BC by the Romans). Its 9 Euros to go into the surrounding park area where you can do a number of walks around the waterfalls. It’s absolutely stunning and when there’s sun, I can imagine there being a perpetual rainbow because the air is always filled with a fine mist.  You have to be careful when you visit though as sometimes they turn the waterfall off (imagine!) because the water is needed for creating hydroelectricity and that’s done somewhere else. You can check a timetable online.

IMG_6416 IMG_6415 IMG_6406 IMG_6403

2. …Been to see some cows! My neighbour and I popped over to a cow farm the other day to see the baby cows. (I’m sure there is a specific name for this but I can’t for the life of me think of it – answers on a postcard!) My neighbour is on a mission to get me educated in `country ways`. Last month she had me planting my own row of potatoes. Anyway, I was fortunate enough to see and learn about the ‘birds and the bees’ for cows (The vet rams his entire arm up the cows bottom, pokes around and then depending on what he finds up there, he gets a massive needle with er, well I’m sure you can work out the rest). The whole thing seemed rather indelicate and I felt a bit sorry for the poor cow. He didn’t even attempt to get her drunk first.


This is a little 3 day old calf. She (I think she looks like a ‘she’ at least), has been separated from her mum whose milk is valuable and put in a small metal box and given a powdered milk solution instead. When she’s a bit older she’ll be transferred to a bigger and more overcrowded area. This, people, I think would be considered a 5 star resort in comparison to many other places. My visit to the cow farm has not made me rue my vegetarian lifestyle at all.

3. …Been celebrating Saint Giovanni (24 June) by bathing myself in water steeped in flowers (and alas, quite a few insects) so that I could be beautiful and free of disease (hmm).  Italy, and perhaps all Catholic countries, have quite a lot of saints that need celebrating and some unusual ways of doing it. In fact, I have an Italian calendar and I don’t think there’s even one day that isn’t dedicated to one saint or another.


This was a ladle or two of flowery water prepared by my neighbour. I am devastated to report that is doesn’t seem to have affected my level of beauty and I feel about the same in terms of general health. Maybe next year?

4. …Been making bread. I think it all looks good here but those flat holey things are crispy and impossibly hard to eat for anyone that doesn’t have teeth made of diamonds. Thanks Mr Hollywood.


5. Been playing with my neighbours kittens. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it. Unfortunately their fleas are almost as big as them poor little things (the kittens, not the fleas).


6. Been on a stunning walk to Lago di Pilato which is nestled in the mountains under Mount Vettore, the highest mountain in the Sibillini’s. This walk beats the other crazy walk I did a few weeks ago that was over a river and up a near vertical slope. It was perhaps a tiny bit more of a gentle slope (89 degrees as opposed to 90 maybe) but went up for longer and  going down was more stressful than going up because the path was rocky and slippy. It’s the only walk I’ve ever been on where I’ve felt sorry for the “Old Sue”, my former self of a few hours before that had been walking up and who had been thinking the end of the path was nigh but actually having another 2 hours to go (my walking book helpfully doesn’t give you any details as to distance but it was just over 12km in total and with a 1km climb). Anyway for anyone interested in this walk: go to Foce and walk between the mountains. The path is clear and rather unusually marked out! If you’re like me (not a mountain goat) allow 3 or 3.5 hours or so to get up there and maybe 2.5 or 3 hours back the same way.

Blog 13

The scenery in the mountains is always stunning but the flowers were amazing. At every different level there were different types of flowers. I’ve never seen wild pansy’s before but they were growing really quite high up.


It’s not permitted to go too near or touch the lake. There’s some little red prawn type things in there you don’t find anywhere else. It was absolutely crystal clear.

Blog 12


Blog 9

Quite a large portion of the walk was walking on glaciers! We walked along this one and then discovered it had a rather unsettling cave underneath.

6. …Been to Senigallia on a little vacation to stay with some Italian buddies. It was a lovely little break. Each time I go to the beach I realise how much I miss it. I think the need to search for sea glass is now an inherent part of my being. And this weekend I finally “got” the concept of Italian beach holidays. Let me explain. To my English eyes, this is a typical Italian holiday: Have one or two months off work and go to the same place you’ve always gone to stay in your “beach” house which is often only about 10 minutes from your “normal” house. Spend all day and every day lying on a sunbed, “taking the sun” as they say (or more accurately, burning themselves to a crisp), surrounded by millions (I jest not!) of other sunbeds and a beach so crammed with people it’s difficult to get anywhere. If they’re not at the beach, then they come to their “mountain” house and sit outside in big groups all day in a garden under a parasol and rarely venture out. For me, holidays have always been an opportunity to see new places; what a waste to do the same thing year in and year out when there’s so much to see and do in the world! How can they justify it?! As a result, I’ve secretly scoffed at this crazy Italian tradition and even pitied them a bit. But no, I had it all wrong…

What they’re doing is taking time out to spend quality time with their family and friends, the people they grew up with. They go to the same bunch of sunbeds (“stabilimento” – there are lots of little stabilimenti up and down the beach) where they know everyone. Every day is a reunion and opportunity to have a laugh and spend time with the people they love, care about and grew up with. Maybe because I’m out here on my own without my family and friends I hadn’t grasped the concept, but I can understand it now – it’s not where they are that’s important, it’s who they’re with. We miss this type of holiday in England to our detriment in my opinion.


But honestly, do they really need THAT many sunbeds! It goes on like that for miles and miles!


This was an empty day at the beach apparently! In July, you can’t move for people.

So I think that about sums up the last week or two. The next couple of weeks are going to be equally busy I think! Anyway, I hope you’re all having a good week. I’ll sign off with a pretty sunset pic taken from the terrace!


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

My new favourite place, visitors and an ant infestation…

Buongiorno a tutti!

How is everyone? I’ve had a string of visits! My parents, Pane Caldo’s parents and my brother and sister-in-law all came over from the UK. It’s been lovely to have people from home here and it seems a bit quiet now they’ve gone, though the next set of visitors are out in July so not too much time to feel lonely! It’s been really good to do something other than house related activities too and see some local sights that I’d not been to before. Firstly though…

Happy 750th Birthday to Sarnano!

A couple of weeks ago marked the 750th anniversary of Sarnano being an independent comune so the Sarnanese celebrated in style over the weekend. Alas, I missed a few of the celebrations but I’m pleased to say that I made it to see our local celebrity band, La Racchia. Along with more traditional instruments, their party trick is to play various household items like colanders, drainpipes and toilet cisterns. And what band would be complete without the customary colourfully dressed band leader with a dummy in his mouth wielding a wooden spoon?

Blog1 Blog2


In no particularly order, these are a few pics from the last two or three weeks of sightseeing around the area…


Penna: Beautiful hill top town just a few minutes away with a little park at the top and amazing views across Le Marche.


View from the top of Penna at sunset


This was on the way back to Sarnano from Penna.


View from Montefortino – another quaint little hill top town.


Pretty little square in Montefortino


Madonna dell’Ambro nestled in the mountains

Santuario di Madonna

This is the Santuario di Macereto near Visso


Crystal clear lake in Visso


Castle in Visso – only the ruins remain but you can walk up to them for a good view. We went on a little round trip from the town. Mind the snakes!




There’s quite a few trout farms in the mountains it seems – at the base of this valley in Visso is one of them.


Pretty little church in Visso


This is near Casteluccio, my new favourite place.


At Casteluccio there’s piano grande – a massive field of cultivated flowers. It’s not quite ready yet but the flowers should be out in the next month or so.


The poppies were out though :-) That’s the town of Casteluccio up there on the hill


They even had a little wood in the shape of Italy!


Casteluccio closer up. As you can see, I like Casteluccio! This is the last picture, I promise.


I also went to check out Treia – you guessed it, a hill top town! This is one of the churches.


And this is taken from just by the main square where last weekend they were holding a ravioli festival!

Lago di Fiastra

This is Lago di Fiastra. The ginestra (broom) is out at the moment so it’s looking very colourful.

San Ginesio

This is a little cloister in San Ginesio. San Ginesio is definitely worth a visit – it’s known as the “Balcony of the Sibillini Mountains” and for a good reason. There’s a nice restaurant called Terra Nostra in the piazza which looks fairly small from the outside but is larger when you get inside, is nicely decorated and has nice food. And we got a free limoncello so that’s always a bonus.

And this is the cloister at Tolentino outside the Basilica di San Nicola.

And this is the cloister at Tolentino outside the Basilica di San Nicola.


Sarnano has been a bit thunderstormy lately and mid mountain visit we saw this one approaching!


This was taken near me in Sarnano, looking very dramatic with the approaching storm.

I think the visits all pretty much went without a hitch apart from the last night with my brother and sister-in-law. When we first moved here myself and Pane Caldo tried a restaurant that was recommended to us by our old landlord. It’s called Scherzi a Parte. It’s brilliant – lovely food, great location, fab service. As a result, we’ve been going there ever since and taking all our visitors there. With any visitors that come back, they’ve been keen to go back to the same restaurant. But there are OTHER restaurants!!! What if we’ve all been missing an even better restaurant?!?!?! So, I thought I’d take the opportunity to go somewhere new with my brother and sister-in-law, a place recommended to me on a couple of occasions. It was a terrible mistake!!! The decor was like something straight out of the 1970’s. The pasta was dry and hard – not even al dente but like it was made the day before and heated up. Terrified of offending anyone we tried our best to eat our meals but the pasta didn’t diminish, only multiplied before our very eyes. We’d still got a large selection of anti-pasta to work our way through too. As typical English folk, it’s just inconceivable for an entire table to order starters and main courses and leave almost everything. Oh the embarrassment, the shame…….until I remembered I had two plastic bags in my handbag. Our moods shifted as we stuffed the bulk of our food into the bags. My sister-in-law refused to lower herself to that but she’d done a better job of eating her food than we had so fair enough. I did feel slightly guilty when the waitress came over later and chastised her for leaving more food than we had! Anyway. Scherzi a Parte next time it is.

Animal / Insect watch

It’s been a while since Animal Watch and goodness me, there’s been some unwelcome ones! My bedroom, bathroom and terrace have been somewhat overrun with ants. I’ve had to become a specialist in ant elimination which is really not something that I’m proud of being an animal-loving vegetarian! Anyway, I seem to have resolved the issue (bicarbonate of soda and sugar seems to do the trick. Poor ants).

The next intriguing development has been fireflies – I’ve never seen fireflies before but they’ve suddenly appeared at night. Apparently it marks the start of summer so that’s good! I managed to catch one in a jar for a closer look but it promptly stopped lighting up as if in protest. It was released shortly thereafter. They only live a day or so anyway poor things.

My favourite animal update though are the kittens. I’ve been trying not to get attached because last year’s litter all died apart from my Batfink. However, they’re all doing really well, although three of the five are still really tiny. Those ones belong to Batfink’s mum so I’m sort of encouraged that at least he did quite well! (The other two have a different Mum). I’ll put in a photo next time!

I think that about sums up the last few weeks. I’ve been doing a bit of DIY as usual but I’ll update on that in the next post.

Have good week’s all :-)


Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Blog at The Adventure Journal Theme.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 137 other followers