Renovations, aliens and comic conventions…

Ciao a tutti 🙂

Come stai? I hope you’re all well. There’s been lots going on in the last couple of weeks… including an array of exciting house developments:


The Ikea people came! As predicted, they couldn’t find the house so I drove to meet them at the local school and led them back. It means we finally have a fridge! Cold, not gone off food has been such a joy. And we have a bed! It came without slats – surely that’s rather integral? Turns out we had some in the cantina (basement) left in the firewood pile so after studying them for a while to ensure they weren’t riddled with something nasty, we’ve used them. Lucky!


Now we have a bed, we’ve moved bedrooms to the larger one on the main floor rather than a smaller one upstairs. I think it was Klaus The Scorpion’s bedroom before so we’re marginally more paranoid than usual. However, it was my “make at least one room look ok” cunning plan. It just needs a bit of colour now but I’m on the case with that. I’ve “renovated” the wardrobe that was already in the house so it fits in a bit better. I’m about to renovate a rusty old chair for putting clothes on. I’m going to have to be a neater person – my current strategy of tipping everything on the floor whilst trying to find something to wear and then leaving it there is not conducive in this house (see the new regular “Wildlife Watch” section at the end).


Bedroom as it was… (note dark brown wardrobes – the single one is now a scorpion proof tool chest in the cantina, and the other one has been turned into, well, a wardrobe)


Bedroom as it is now. It needs a mirror and finishing touches and a bit of colour but it’s a lovely room now I think and the renovated wardrobe doesn’t look too bad I think.


When we moved in and chucked a few things out, somebody had riffled through our bin bags. I think that’s a bit odd. However, I have a confession. I scavenged a glass bottle at the bins the other day (thought it’s not the same as rifling through someone’s rubbish eh? It was sitting prettily outside the glass bin). I bought it back for cleaning and I hadn’t quite realised exactly how disgusting the cleaning process would be. Thirty minutes of gagging later whilst I tried to get out congealed wine (I really hope it was congealed wine at least), we now have a beautiful bottle! I’m going to do something with it. Probably I wont put wine in it. In fact, wine for me has forever been tainted by said cleaning experience.


I like my new old bottle. I have exciting plans for it.

Knocking down walls

The most exciting development has been the destroying of the walls. A couple of local builders came and knocked down the walls between the sitting room and the stair area and I love it! I should add they weren’t load bearing so the rest of the house is still standing. It’s so much bigger and lighter yet feels a lot cosier at the same time. I’m so pleased with it.  If I’m in another room I sort of pop in just to have a look at it. It only took a couple of hours and has made such a difference. Not only that, in knocking them down it exposed one of the beams and it looks actually quite easy (famous last worlds) to get the paint off the others now (they’re painted white at the moment) so that’ll be a fun evening task.


As it was…(taken from the “stair well” area… it was a weird little space – too small to do anything with but took up an inordinate amount of space).


Mid demolition…


The finished lack of wall! You would only have been able to see the back of that armchair from this view originally.



An Ikea kitchen is being delivered and fitted on the 1st October, I hope. But, first we need to get rid of a fireplace which takes up most of the kitchen, move the plumbing around a bit and get some electricity into bits where there isn’t currently. Lots to do! But, we’ve made a good start (the royal “we”, I had nothing to do with it really). Next week hoping to block it off with something or other.




After…. well there should be another “after” photo coming soon with it looking like a white wall, fingers crossed.



I’m desperate to have a bath in the house somewhere. We bought one from the local “edilizia” (an edilizia seems to be a place where you get house stuff from). We were given a choice as to whether we want to pay 10% or 22% tax on it. I went for 10%. I feel like it might be a trap. Anyway, to fit the bath in, we need to take the shower cubical out and get rid of some wood panelling at the sides of the bathroom. I was worried about what we would find underneath the panelling but it was just tiles. They were painted though so we decided to scrape that off. WHAT A MISTAKE! It took ages, I can barely use my thumbs for using the scrapers and it still looks like an ugly bathroom! I think I’ll cross the re-tiling bridge later. I hope I can get the bath in shortly.

The bathroom... it doesn't look bad here actually. There's a shower next to the bidet, behind the camera.

The bathroom- as it was. The paneling needed to come off to fit the bath in.


This is what was under – the tiles were painted a cream colour. That was a nicer colour than the blue original tiles but it was patchy so needed to come off.


And now it’s just blue (after HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS of work)


We spent some therapeutic time in the garden getting rid of weeds (and almost a century old rose planted by the next door neighbours beloved granddad), raking, digging up tree stumps and marking out where the lake, forest and orchard will be going. Despite a few hours work, the garden looks almost identical to what it did before. I’ve decided that gardening, though therapeutic has the potential to be very unsatisfying.


I can’t express how confused I am about how to heat the house and get hot water. At the moment there’s a wood burner (called a stufa in Italy) which is basically in the stairwell and used to heat, er, the stairwell and little else. It’s poorly located and after testing it, doesn’t seem to emit much heat. For hot water we have a boiler that runs off electricity. It’ll be cold in the winter and we need a better heating system. We seem to have multiple options for heating water and the house all varying in price from the absolute fortune in the long run to well, an absolute fortune initially. My confusion is not aided in that the Italian’s call almost every mode of heating “gas” as far as I can establish.You can get your own gas tank thing which you can just attach your oven to, a bigger one outside, or you can connect to a methane gas only I don’t think I can in my area, or you can get gas oil maybe which is something else again and I don’t even know if I can get it…… some of them you can use for cooking, some you can use for water, some you can use for heating… CONFUSING! Then there’s a wood pellet stufa (Wood burner) debate. It seems to be nothing less than absolutely extortionate to set it up but cheaper in the long run. On a separate note, I hadn’t realised that pellets looked like cat litter – I thought the Edilizia was diversifying into pet toiletry requirements. Anyway, I think my winter heating strategy might involve a lot of blankets at the moment.

Non house related news

In other news, I’ve been interviewed for an Ex Pats magazine – have a look here. Fame and fortune is surely not far off!

We’ve been exploring the local area…


This is Lago di Fiastro. It’s massive. I had thought we could walk around it but despite its size, there are also sheer cliff faces on one of the sides!


And…. it had a “beach”. It seems odd calling it a beach given it’s nowhere near the sea but there were people sunbathing and swimming. So, a beach. It was a boiling day – could have done with a swim myself! I think it would make good snorkeling too – there seemed to be a lot of fish.


This is Aquasante. There seem to be a few walks that start off from here. Hoping to do one this week and then one of the others “for experienced trekkers” at some point soon too.


This was a really interesting place – I think it’s called “grotto di soffiano”. There’s a couple of chairs and a little garden up there. We wanted to walk further on having heard there’s a waterfall and lake but I wimped out; the “walk” down seemed to be akin to throwing yourself off a precipice.

Back in Falconara, we found a Comic Festival which was a bit of a surprise. Quite interesting though, particularly as they had people drawing in “comic book style” at some of the stalls. It’s inspired me to want to have a go at drawing some comic-style images. They even run courses in Jesi, one of the local towns. It’s a shame I’m moving further away from that, it would have been good!

Comic convention in Falconara...

Comic convention in Falconara…

What’s a bit odd?

The local people we buy things from are absolutely not at all worried about getting paid. The bath people have delivered the bath and weren’t at all concerned about me paying them despite my special trip into town to get cash an hour before (everything needs to be paid in cash in Italy it seems. There are no receipts. Poor Tax Man). The wifi man came, spent a couple of hours crawling around on our perilous looking roof and said we could just pop in and pay him whenever. It’s lovely how trusting they are and obviously if people weren’t paying then they’d probably stop that strategy but it does seem unusual to the “pay up front” general English strategy.

Wildlife Watch

This week’s exciting bedroom discovery was a “House Centipede”. A house centipede looks like one of the particularly creepy aliens from Men in Black. Here’s a picture I’ve borrowed from the ApartmentTherapy website (check out the website here, it’s very informative!).

House Centipede

Apparently they run at the equivalent of humans running 42mph. I can confirm, they are quick.

Nice discoveries now… We have a deer frequenting our local field. She eats breakfast and dinner when we eat ours which is nice. Her name is Deerdrie.

Where's Deerdrie?

Where’s Deerdrie?

And in other exciting news, it turns out that lizards like dead flowers…



That’s it from me for this week.

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

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3 thoughts on “Renovations, aliens and comic conventions…

  1. An Englishwoman in Italy

    Brava Sue! So much better to have all this work done while you are in situ and/or to do it yourself. We couldn’t do that 20 years ago (job, children at school etc) and we paid the price. I quite agree about the trust, but have come to take it for granted, which I know I shouldn’t.

    • Thank you! I can only imagine how difficult it would be to get stuff done and not even be around, it’s barely possible now and I am! Quite liking the diy thing though. At least when it goes wrong its only because of me! Hope all well with you and your place in the sun too 🙂

      • An Englishwoman in Italy

        Thanks, we’re in England now but I haven’t heard any bad news …

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