How is everybody? It’s been a busy week or two here again – in fact, I feel like it’s going to be busy until Christmas at this rate! Exciting busy rather than stressful busy so that’s ok.
So – a quick run-through of what I’ve been up to…
My long standing readers might remember that I never made it to Senigallia’s Summer Jamboree last year (one of the biggest rock & roll festivals in the world) because I took the wrong train taking me two hours south instead of 25 minutes north where I was supposed to be going. But this year, I’m thrilled to report that I made it! And it’s such a great event – a night of great music and lots to see and do and the atmosphere was buzzing. I’ve never seen so many people in one place in Italy. Everyone makes a real effort and dresses up in 50’s kind of gear. I had a great time dancing, and would have loved to have done a bit more (stupid headache). Strangely though, despite the amount of effort everyone had gone to to dress up, nobody else was dancing!
The next day we headed back inland to the Sarnano house and went to a medieval festa (“party”) called Castrum Sarnani in Sarnano. That ended up being a good evening too – lots of people dressed up in medieval costume and plying medieval trades in a medieval fashion. All Italian events seem to generally focus on food and this was no exception – there were lots of tavernas selling `olde-worlde` food which you could buy with denari (old Italian coins that a guy was making as part of the medieval trades). We caught a “fire guy” display (I’m not sure how else to describe him) – he set things alight and waved them around energetically – and to good effect. For once, I had access to a decent camera rather than my phone camera (which is sometimes actually depressingly better than my expensive decent camera) so I had fun playing with some effects for a change. I think I’ll take the decent camera out more often.
Next up was a long walk to a beautiful little bay back around Monte Conero with Il Polemico, his friend and Pane Caldo. We left from Sirollo….
We went at a bad time of year – in every other month other than July and August, it’s usually empty because it’s a very steep, long, dangerous and usually forbidden, walk down to it. However, because it’s summer and the Italians are all off school and work, ferries run to and fro so it was jam-packed! It was lovely all the same though and the sea was really refreshing after the walk down. Then came the walk back up – it took 3 days for my legs to work properly again.
Then…. Roman ruins! We keep driving past these on the way to the Sarnano house and it’s always intrigued us so we finally stopped after a rather unsuccessful trip to buy garden furniture in Civitanova though we did find a good sized mall there so that was good to discover at least. Urbs Salvia is a lovely little park to wander around with an ancient roman theatre to look at and lots of cute little picnic spots with fabulous views. There’s an amphitheatre and a tower too (I think?) which we didn’t get to see because I was too cheap to buy a tour ticket. We must do that one day when I don’t feel like I’m about to go bankrupt (see House section).
We attempted to go to another festa in Sassotetto following our Roman ruin trek and though we didn’t find it (unless it consisted of a priest doing an outside mass), I’m so pleased we went. Sassotetto is a ski resort so it’s quite high up – 1624 metres and wow, what amazing views. It’s only about 20 minutes down (up?!) the road (in the winter, with my current car, I think it will be about 3 hours, if we arrives at all). I think it’s one of my favourite spots in Italy so far and you can even see Monte Conero from the top which is comforting! I’m pleased because I’d sort of developed my “favourite places” tour for visitors which was all around Camerano so now I’ve got a tour all worked out for around here too.
The house developments so far seem to be limited to buying everything in Ikea and OBI (the Italian equivalent of the UK’s B&Q). I am not naturally a spender – I am a saver. If I do reluctantly spend, it’s generally for the purposes of existing or to enable me to save more money for a long term plan or project. So it goes against my very essence to go into a shop and buy stuff. But buying stuff is necessary, particularly if I want to have a nice house with a fully functioning kitchen and a comfortable bedroom reasonably quickly, as I do. So my recent extravagance is giving me a prolonged panic attack. Things should be delivered from Ikea at some point during the week of the 28th August. Note I said ‘week’. In the UK, I used to get annoyed if I had to stay in the entire morning or afternoon because companies couldn’t be specific about when they’d deliver. In Italy, you seemingly have to take a week off work to wait patiently for them to arrive. Also, I don’t know how they’ll find the house. Even I still struggle to find it. I will be nothing less than gobsmacked if my Ikea delivery arrives.
Wifi is being connected shortly too – we currently use an internet dongle to access the internet which is painful so wifi will be amazing. With any luck by the end of the week I’ll be able to Skype people again!
In terms of upcoming work on the house, I’ve been very organised and produced a floor plan and highlighted where we’d like changes and produced an accompanying spreadsheet going into more detail. This has been sent off to the Estate Agent who sold us the house (an American) and who also does renovation work with local tradesmen. I’ve also got the names of other local trades people. Going with them may be cheaper but also inevitably scarier because of the language barrier. I can chit chat in Italian but I can’t yet go into detail on building/electrical and plumbing requirements. So that’ll be entertaining.
We’ve also been doing some gardening, focussing on the terrace. Pane Caldo came up with a pot recycling scheme with some of the old things left by the previous owner that we were going to throw out. They’ve now been turned into stunning plant pots. Visiting the garden centre proved to be rather amusing with our conversations go thusly “What’s this do you think?”…… “hmm, It’s definitely a plant”…….. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. Shall we get it?”……… “Yeah”. I’ve decided our conversations should include more by way of gardening vocabulary. Anyway, our garden centre visit has resulted in, I think, a rather unconventional strawberry plant hanging basket, a pretty plant that we hacked the roots off in order to fit into an old kettle, and two random flowering plants of which one looks mostly dead. Still, I’m pleased with the results!
I am thrilled, THRILLED to report that Klaus the Scorpion hasn’t reappeared although I did see his young nephew in the cantina (which is the general stuff storage area so hardly surprising). I happened to mention the scorpion to the previous owner in an email asking about some house bits & pieces. He reported that I shouldn’t worry about them; their sting is just like a bee sting. However, I should worry about the deadly vipers. Excellent.
Ok that’s enough rambling for me! I hope you all have good weeks.