Well! It wasn’t all a con as I suspected, it turns out I have an actual house! 🙂
`Moving in` day was Tuesday last week and it was a bit full on. I say moving in day but we’ve got the flat in Falconara for another couple of months still so it’s going to be a gradual move.
Tuesday morning we headed to Gualdo, a little town close to the new house, to finally meet my lawyer. My fears of being conned weren’t helped by the fact that she’d forgotten to bring us the keys. However, a quick call later and it was arranged that we pick them up from a Tabaccheria in another local town.
On successfully locating the keys, it was time to locate the house. We had a house number and a road name to go by but Sat Nav didn’t recognise either so we navigated ourselves to the house using only our sixth sense. “Erm, does that patch of grass look familiar?” “That hill rings a bell eh?”, “We didn’t pass a farm before did we?”, “Were there this many pot holes last time?” (I swear one of the pot holes on our road is big enough to swallow the entire car if approached incorrectly. It might even be one of the natural sink hole phenomena). Still, after several wrong turns we went straight to it.
So we parked up and headed in and the place looks pretty much as we were expecting but for some reason rather than excitement, I was just overwhelmingly daunted! I think I was expecting to feel instantly at home and it’s well, not very homely at the moment. However, the house is habitable and in fact came fully furnished which was handy given I have no furniture in Italy.
The first day there consisted of cleaning things and sort of getting our bearings. There are odd little characteristics we hadn’t spotted before, including a sign on the plug socket saying that it shouldn’t be used under any circumstances. I really, REALLY want to see what happens when you plug something in. (If you don’t hear from me again, you’ll know what’s happened).
Anyway, let me show you around…
Main floor (ground floor)
It’s not really a `ground` floor but it’s the floor that you walk into. You actually go up some steps at the front of the house to enter it and you walk into the kitchen.
Kitchen: The oven and hob run off an eyebrow scorching gas cylinder, the fridge / freezer which we spent ages cleaning suddenly stopped working (fuse?), and the sink leaks. There is a fireplace that takes up half the kitchen. A whole new kitchen needs to be put in and I hate to say it but I think I’m going to get rid of the fireplace.
Living room: Small at the moment (hoping to knock down a wall to make it bigger) and it has chairs I can’t bring myself to touch with my bare flesh.
Random other area: This is where the `stairs` to the upstairs is. By stairs I mean perilous wooden steps.
Bathroom: The bathroom is small and a bit ugly and it’s so dark at night in the shower that I have to sing to myself to not be scared. Better for everyone’s sakes if I have a shower in the morning I think. Or get a decent light. I’m planning to overhaul this bathroom as a priority – why does everyone these days get rid of their bath!!!
There are two bedrooms, a bathroom and the terrace up there. The two bedrooms are technically doubles but very small. I forgot to take photos! One has a very slanted roof. It would be nice to put in a couple of bay windows up there so that one could actually stand up in the slanted roof bedroom and in the bathroom. I think my favourite thing about the house is the terrace. It’s only small, and slants and has a leaking gutter right next to it causing a little stream of water to flow across it when it rains (water feature?), but I love eating out in the open and I love our view.
This is quite a big space – there’s potential to create a kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom down here. However, I break out into a cold sweat every time I think about amount of work required! I think we’ll tackle that one after the other floors have been done.
We have two garden spaces – a front garden which is opposite the house. I reckon you could fit maybe 6 cars on it (we haven’t measured it) and there’s a back garden which is about two cars big. Pane Caldo has been very enthusiastically planning it – we’re going to have a forest, orchard, lake and picnic area.
Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…….
We were introduced to the neighbours. Our immediate next door neighbour is possibly the nicest person ever. She paraded us up and down the hamlet shouting “look what beautiful young neighbours we have!!!” until one by one everyone within a 5 mile radius came out and said hello. Everyone is very friendly. We have enough vegetables from their gardens to start a small grocery business.
I made shortbread for them…
My favourite thing about the next door neighbour is she has kittens! And she offered to give us one. I think that means I can say hello to a specific kitten when we occasionally see it. I imagine the neighbour would think I’d gone insane if I let the kitten inside the house.
And then, there are the OTHER neighbours……… housemates if you will.
I now completely understand why the previous owner had a net over the bed and on all the windows. Mosquito’s are the last of our worries. After spotting this on the way to the bathroom……
… on our first night we did a bit of research. There are indeed scorpions in Italy. Boooooo! Mostly they only sting one month of the year. Yaay! August. Boooooooooooooooooo! And they like warm bedding apparently. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!
The next day the neighbours knocked (and came straight in) and wondered why we’d been shut up inside all day. I reported back about Klaus the Scorpion and said from now on access to the house would be closely guarded – no more open unsupervised doors and windows. In fact, I might build a moat as well. The neighbours laughed and said that we had just been unlucky, that they don’t really make an appearance ever and it was just because the place had been shut up for a while and we should have just trodden on him. What we actually did was to put a glass over him. Neither of us could cope with moving him so we left him there until we were feeling more emotionally resilient the following morning (note: emotional resilience is not improved following a night of scorpion infested nightmares). The next morning we were both feeling sad and guilty because Klaus had died….
But it was a trick! A trick I tell you! Scheming scorpion! We splashed a bit of water on him and bam! Back to life! Never trust a scorpion. He was subsequently released into the wilds of the front garden.
Anyway. I realise the scorpion fear is irrational. Why do I like these…
But not these….
But I have grand plans to address the problem….
So I have mixed feelings on the house – there are good bits and bad bits. We’re back there today after a trip to Ikea. I’m excited about that – it will be the first time I’ve been `extravagant` since I stopped working (if extravagance includes buying saucepans and crockery). I’m hoping to bond with it more in the next week or so when it starts to become more homely and after we’ve re-homed some of the wildlife.
Tune in soon for more an update on how it’s going and some photo’s from the very cool Summer Jamboree in Senigallia.
Have good weeks!
ps. Apologies for any spelling/ grammatical mistakes – my editor is on holiday! Pfft!
Great post Sue. Congratulations on getting a ‘house’. I love some of your comments – many of them have me smiling based on my own living in Italy experiences 🙂