Hibernation, Wholewheat and Action Planning…

Buongiorno a tutti,

How is everyone? I’ve been quiet, I know!

I’ve been suffering from a lack of inspiration and general loss of motivation. The weather in Italy for the first half of March was unbearable, in fact, reminiscent of the UK 😉 I think I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder although that doesn’t seem quite accurate. It’s more Dreariness Affective Disorder. I can cope with weather if it’s “proper” weather – rain is fine if it’s raining properly, but if it’s grey outside and there’s a general life-sapping drizzle, then I would rather just stay in bed until the sun comes out.

So I hibernated for at least a couple of weeks but it wasn’t a complete write-off. My lovely Italian friends came to visit one weekend which cheered me up.  They’re big walkers so we went on a couple of nice long walks and the weather for that weekend was positively beautiful!

I even managed to have lunch on my terrace for the first time this year just before I left so I think my hibernation phase can finish as Summer is coming (in direct contrast to the situation in Game of Thrones for anyone that watches that).


Exhibit A: Proof that I had lunch outside.

In other successful news, I managed to locate wholewheat flour; somewhat of a difficult substance to find in the shops here (or at least, at a reasonable price). Instead the shops are stocked with thousands of different brands of white flour. There’s a mulino (mill) in Gualdo, the town up the road, which sells wholewheat flour and semi-wholewheat and it makes for tasty bread so I’m pleased about that. The shopkeeper seemed equally pleased to have a “beautiful” new client!!!  I conducted many bread making experiments and now the freezer is full.


I also made some hot cross buns 🙂


And this was the wholewheat loaf…

Just before I left to come back to the UK for Easter, my poor cat got an infected leg. I entirely blame his father who chases him every time he leaves the house. If he’s been inside, I have to give him a lift to a secret location before I put him down otherwise he’s set upon immediately. It appears traditional local methods of curing an infected cat’s leg involve smothering him with a towel and poking his leg with a sharp implement whilst he screams in agony (who knew cats could scream?!). This methodology didn’t prove to be effective (hmm) and I ended up almost as traumatised as my poor cat. He was issued with antibiotics in the end but as I’ve been back in the UK, I’m slightly concerned the antibiotic regime has taken a knock. Anyway, I’m very much hoping that I return to a full operational four-legged cat.


This is Batfink the cat feeling sorry for himself on an upturned box I was trying to air.

I always look forward to coming back to the UK to see everyone and it refreshes the batteries a bit. I return to Italy each time with a list as long as my arm of things I want to get on with. Here’s a cut-down sneak preview for the next couple of months:

  • Join Cai – the local walking association. They go out every Sunday in the mountains but I think it’s probably still a bit too early in the year. I did get invited to a local cycling club meet as well, I came across them at the top of a mountain. I think they overestimated my abilities. Before I left, I could just about make it to Sarnano and back without having to get off and push the bike like I have been!
  • Join a watercolour painting class – my new ex-pat local friend has introduced me to a teacher and I’m hoping to start lessons later this month.
  • Start swimming lessons or join the aqua gym class.
  • I’ve also been inspired to make more effort with my cooking following a stay at my friend’s house. I feel a bit stunted on ingredients in Italy. Italians do Italian food excellently of course but if you’re trying to make anything else then it’s more of a challenge.


    Lovely dinner!


  • I started a “Human Origins” free online course a couple of weeks ago. It’s actually very interesting and I think I’ll be able to impress everyone with my extensive knowledge of fossil dating and paleoanthropology. I would like to finish that but it is a bit heavy going, I must say! It’s only a 6 week course. There are loads of other courses on http://www.edx.org if anyone is interested.
  • Take more pics! Now the weather has improved I’m hoping to get out a bit more to take some photos. There’s a few big touristy places in Le Marche I’ve not been to yet and I’m keen to go soon!
  • I’m also hoping to become a bit more green-fingered. I want to turn the front bit of my garden into a drive and get a few flowers for the terrace. The problem is, my gardening efforts will be very much on public display. I imagine the neighbours will set up chairs outside to watch and provide helpful instruction (“Why don’t you get a man in to do this?”.

Now let’s see if I actually do any of it! I’ll report back of course.

Meanwhile, I hope you all have an excellent week.



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5 thoughts on “Hibernation, Wholewheat and Action Planning…

  1. Stuart

    Hi Sue

    Good to hear from you again. I know how you feel with the weather and the ingredients situation. I am in the same frame of mind here in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. I have a list of projects to do as long as your arm including building a swimming pool on a very limited budget but essential here in the summer with young boys. But alas I have been laid up for a week with a stomach bug, so frustrating! My eldest son managed a couple of days out with us last week in the hope of a couple of some late skiing but alas the rain put paid to that. Trying to cook light and healthy ( and meat free) is a challenge here any time of year but being ill has pulled me back to my student days when I lived on home made soups. My local market has suddenly come to life after Easter as if to encourage me out of my torpor and get on and get better. Never mind, the wisteria is just starting to explode into life across the front of my house and the cat next door who insists on sleeping on my comfy garden chairs with her dirty paws at night appears to be heavily pregnant. Spring is coming.
    Keep up the good intentions and enjoy the air, it’s free!


    • Hi Stuart! Thanks for your comment 🙂 I’m glad it’s not just me lacking motivation! I’m glad things seem to be picking up there – the weather definitely seems to have improved here. It’s been lovely – now it’s just hayfever to be frustrated about!!! There’s two pregnant cats next door – there’s already 9 of them so I feel your pain regarding your dirty paws on chairs problem. Every time I open the front door they all pile in! Anyway, nice to hear from you and you’ll have to let me know how the swimming pool goes. Good luck! Sue

  2. Melanie

    Hi Sue – sounds like it’s been very dreary in lovely old Le Marche… hope Spring is ‘springing’ now! Your hot x buns look delish, brava. I’m heading back to Force in July so would be great to stay in touch and maybe catch up for a cappuccino. Enjoy some warmer weather & more meals outdoors! Cheers Melanie x

    • Hi Melanie, lovely to hear from you! Spring is Springing! It’s amazing how much two weeks can change everything – everything’s green and in blossom now. The hot x buns weren’t bad actually but somewhat on the solid side!!!! Still the neighbours and friends did a good job at pretending to like them 😉 Would love to catch up with you in July – definitely keep me posted. A presto! Sue x

  3. Hello!!!!! I would use the fact that it was insane o’clock as my excuse for “right-off” but I’d written it the day before! All corrected now – thanks for that… Lovely to see you guys too 🙂

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