Monthly Archives: April 2013

Il mio appartamento, solitary confinement and the Sue Entertainment Plan…


Not much to report this week – it’s been very sedate! I saw the girls, my friends from Portsmouth, last week which was great – I’ve been so busy the last few months that I’ve not been down much so was good to see them. We went out for a meal and cocktails and they got me some lovely pressies – a lovely silver bangle, a personalized travel journal and some tea bags in a very patriotic tin so I can take a piece of home with me 🙂

I’ve been doing some finance stuff – I’m sticking (er, more accurately, I will try to stick) to a budget and I’ve got an AMAZING spreadsheet for tracking my spend developed years ago back when I had a job but absolutely nothing all day to do for it. I’m going to give some currency conversion companies a call tomorrow – suspect they’ll tell me I need to have an Italian bank account before I can do anything which seems sensible, only that I don’t have it set up now.

I was hoping to go full steam ahead on the Italian last week but I’ve lacked motivation. I have, however, gone on a health kick and been swimming at the local pool most days. I’ll do some more Italian next week hopefully.

I’ve got some pictures of the apartment I’ll be staying in. It’s 5 minutes or so from the school, in Via Minzoni. It looks reasonable enough – pretty basic but clean looking. I haven’t slept in a single bed since Halls of Residence at Uni. I think I’ll spend all night rolling off it. Perhaps I’ll need to invest in some pillows early on for the floor. The town center, a supermarket and a bus stop to Ancona and the bus stop for the beach are all less than 5 minutes walk away from the apartment. Here’s some pics of it they sent through:


I’ll be sharing it with an American girl the first week I’m there and then I think I’m on my own for 7 weeks! SEVEN WEEKS!!! There better be more people in the class! I’ve no doubt one to one Italian tuition everyday would do my Italian some good but I was sort of relying on making some friends there! I’m going to have to devise a rigorous entertainment plan I think. So far it consists of:

  • Do something healthy everyday – I think I’ve found a swimming pool in Ancona. At a push, I might try to start “jogging”.  I use the term loosely. I can’t jog. This weeks attempt was shocking. I made it about 100 yards before having to stop in a heaving mess.
  • Do something creative every day. I want to find a nice cafe and perhaps go there regularly to write/sketch. Probably write. I need to do some photography as well – I will win the Christmas Family Photography Competition one of these years.
  • I need to get a bank account and a new sim card for my phone – I’m hoping to get a pay as you go limitless data one. I strongly suspect the apartment doesn’t have wifi.
  • I’ve got a bunch of Le Marche tourist brochures I’ve started going through – there’s lots to see and do around the area so looking forward to doing some of those. I’m also hoping to pop into the tourist office in Camerano too but I think it might not open until June so that might not be a runner in the first few weeks.
  • I need to work out how to get around – there’s lots of little villages quite close and I think it’s only about 5km to the beach which I could probably walk to but would be nice to get the hang of buses / trains.
  • There’s a few ferries which leave Ancona to Croatia, Istanbul, Greece etc, so would be good to explore that a bit. The prices aren’t bad – about 60 Euros for a return to Croatia (takes 10+ hours) – more info
  • Hoping to try and befriend an ex pat or two as well. There’s some websites that seem to bring ex-pats together so will have a look at that.
  • Finding/befriending the local sailing club.

Right, onwards and upwards. I’m going to continue the research into the local area and with any luck, might actually create a separate page!



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I PASSED!!!!!!!!!!!!


And relax…………. 🙂 This last week has been hectic! And a miracle has happened – I passed my Day Skipper! Albeit narrowly!!! The theory course last weekend went pretty well and passed that by a reasonable margin and then I’ve been on the practical course for the last 5 days with two “competent crew” and two other wannabe skippers. There was still a fair bit of theory on the practical course – I think I’d been inadvertently considering the theory was a bit like say, project management theory where in real life, the two don’t bear any resemblance so it was nice to see that I could plot a course, consider the tide, head off in another direction entirely based on that and end up at the place I wanted us to be. Who’d have imagined?!

My sailing is not hot! I had a breakthrough in the last half an hour or so – you should “atTACK” the wind (tacking is where you head into the wind, rather than away – it sounds a doddle and indeed is, but I have an irritating habit of doing the opposite where the boom swings violently into the heads of your crew rather than the gentle controlled swing of a tack. Oops. I’m going to try and get in another day of sailing with them next weekend and then the weekend after, I should be going out with the guy I met through Sailing Networks.

The weather hasn’t been great but not anywhere near as bad as it could have been – I think there are storms predicted this week and then freezing a couple of weeks before that so despite being perpetually damp all week, it was more than manageable.

The yacht was 37 feet. Quite large – you can still sail it single handedly if you’re good. It’s made me think I’d like a much smaller boat than I’d had in mind though so might look at that. And I’m DEFINITELY going to have one with a good working engine. And go out only in idyllic conditions.

Anyway, here’s the crew 🙂


21 days to go until Italy! I’ve still got a few bits and pieces to do before then but I can finally relax a bit now 🙂 And with that said, I might go back to bed! I think I’ve about 3 years of sleep to catch up on.


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Retirement, day skipping and The Italian Job…


Sorry, it’s been ages! I’ve been revising for the Day Skipper theory exam. I *think* I may have bitten off more than I can chew!

Anyway, here’s a full run down of the last week or two:

–          I’VE LEFT WORK!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I skipped out of the office last Wednesday to the pub for my leaving do which was great, lots of people came. They’d done an excellent job of decorating the bit of the pub where we were – Italian flag bunting and lots of print outs of embarrassing photo’s of me over the last few years up on the wall. Had a load of presents – a great sailing book “The Sailing Bible” published by Adlard Coles Nautical, some lovely jewellery, and a few silly pressies – a boat for the bath, some polenta (I’d never heard of it much to the amusement of my boss a year or two back), some wine (did YOU know most people can’t tell the difference between red and white when it’s the same temperature? My ex boss insists he’s a wine connoisseur) etc. 


–          Day Skipper:  Here are my lessons learnt for people wishing to undertake a Day Skipper course: Don’t think for one minute that you’ll be able to read a book and for it to make any sense at all unless you’ve spent years sailing. When you look up a word in the glossary, even the words to describe the word you’re looking up don’t make sense. And it’s impossible to even look up half of it – there’s a raft (haha, raft, boat, haha) of stock phrases that are used; what on earth is “going about”?!?!?! I think it means “turn around”. It might not. It could be “have a constitutional walk around the boat”. Who knows? The theory exams are this weekend – the chartwork one on Saturday and the general one on Sunday. I’ll undoubtedly fail. Then on the Sunday night, I’m going to be on the boat until Friday for the practical course. I think it will be C.O.L.D.


–          Retirement ( at least “retirement” from a mundane 9-5 office job) is not all that I was hoping it would be. Assuming I’d had any free time this week, I think I would have been annoyed at the lack of people to go out with. Texting ex-work mates to tell them I’m having a nap whilst they’re at work has indeed been entertaining, but I worry that it wont be enough to keep me entertained for the months/years ahead. I would prefer “retirement” if everyone else I liked was also retired. AND now I’m in Pompey direction again, people have been going out without me! IMAGINE! WITHOUT ME!!! Honestly. I don’t know what that’s about. There should be rules against it.  They should be at home crying. Not having fun.


–          I’VE BOOKED A FLIGHT! I go Saturday 4th May from London Stanstead and get into Ancona about 9.45pm where I hope someone from the language school will come and get me. Having said that, it’s with Ryanair and I’ll of course arrive several hours late probably with no belongings and dishevelled (presumably because I inadvertently missed out on ticking the “don’t mug me” check box along with the “don’t buy an extortionate Ryanair mobile phone” and the “don’t buy an expensive Ryanair suitcase”). I’ll be in a single room in a shared apartment. I start my Italian language course on the Monday after a meal out the night before and I’m booked in for a month – that’s 80 lessons. There’s a test I need to do so they can tell which group to put me in – it’s written in Italian – it would have been a doddle a couple of weeks ago but my head’s all about the “going about”.


–          The flat rental seems to have gone ok – no problems so far. I moved out on Thursday afternoon. I worry that I should be a more threatening landlord but all the messages exchanged between myself and the tenants have had a x at the end. I do like them. I hope they don’t mess me around. So I’m back at Mum and Dad’s (thank you mum and dad). I don’t feel a very productive member of the household though I am on Dishwasher Unstacking Duty. And I very generously offered them a glass of (their) wine yesterday. Dad insisted the next glass was on him.


Right, I should be studying. I’m really over Day Skipping. Wish me luck/a miracle on my exams.











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