Posts Tagged With: choir

Operation Integration, Nasal clearage and the Third Age

Buongiorno a tutti,

How are you all? I thought I should keep to my promise of not leaving such a long gap between blog installments lest you forget who I am 🙂

I’ve had a productive couple of weeks or so. I’ve got a tendency to hibernate in the Winter so I’ve been trying to force myself out and about. After moving back to Sarnano (it was 3 years last month since I had to move out of my house following the earthquake), I haven’t really made an effort to integrate with the locals so, in an effort to resolve that I’ve initiated Operation Integration.

As my first action, I’ve joined Sarnano’s Universita’ del Tempo Libero (‘University of Free Time’ – it used to be called the University of the Third Age but it appears nobody likes to be considered third-aged). It’s 80 euros and then I can attend all of the embroidery and crochet courses a girl could ever dream of! On Monday’s there’s yoga and a sort of general exercise course that I went to for the first time this week. I’m not convinced of their flexibility and calorie burning potential but they’re good value and probably perfect given the average age of the class (third-aged).

I thought perhaps I could offer my services as a watercolour teacher for the ‘University’ at some point or at the very least I was wondering about setting up a sort of Art Club. Watch this space. I’ve just finished teaching the last batch of watercolour lessons in Piane di Falerone, a little town about half an hour drive away. The students are lovely and seemed keen for me to continue but I’ve requested a break for a bit so I can concentrate on my own artistic projects. So far so good; I’m trying to do a portrait a day based on the things that have been going on in the news. It’s been fun trying out different techniques and styles – I can definitely see some improvement and it’s only been a couple of weeks so I’m hoping it keeps going in that direction! Here are some of the latest sketches

As part deux of Operation Integration, I’ve also joined the choir in Sarnano. I’ve only had one session with them but it seems like a good group and it’s not all church style music which makes a change from many other choirs in the area. In fact, we’re working on ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ and ‘A kiss at midnight’ so definitely not churchy.

In other news, I’ve been trying out a ‘cure’ at the local spa. The spa moved from its original location a while back after the earthquake and they’ve done a grand job. The original location was lovely – very elegant with lots of grounds that were well maintained but it was built decades ago and perhaps a bit functional looking inside. The new place is brand new and is much more what we English people would consider a conventional spa. It’s even got an outdoor pool. There is now marginally less focus on irrigating various orifices, with a whole relaxation suite downstairs where you can have a massage and use the jacuzzi area. They’ve pumped the healing waters up to its current location about a km away from the original spa. My particular ‘cure’ (prescribed by the doctor no less) is designed to unblock my nose following several weeks of having a perpetual cold. It consists of me breathing, in a relaxed fashion whilst having steam blown in my face for 10 minutes. Then there’s a short break and then some tubes are inserted up my nose for a further 10 minutes whilst I breathe in more steam (cold this time). This of course isn’t just any steam but healing steam from the spring waters. I’ve got some action photos but I’m afraid to post those here in the event that if I die or go missing, they will be the ones selected for the newspapers so you’ll have to make do with a picture of the equipment itself and use your imagination.

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Anyway, you might detect some skepticism but actually my nose is potentially less blocked so I stand corrected. If anyone is in the area and has a blocked nose, I recommend trying it (if nothing else, it’s quite amusing). For any Italians confused reading this: Spas in the UK are pretty much pleasant places you go to willingly (rather than often with a doctors prescription) to have a massage, a swim and a steam/sauna and perhaps get your nails done.

I think that about sums up the last couple of weeks. I hope you’ve had a good couple of weeks too. I’ll leave you with a couple of photos from my morning walks, we’ve had some good sunrises!

x

 

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Exhibitions, physical exertion and singing…

Buongiorno a tutti,

Apologies it’s been such a long time between posts again! I hope you’ve all been well.

It’s been a bit of a sparse year on the blog post front, I know. I struggled at the beginning of the year. It was all a bit of an upheaval after the earthquakes which were still going on and then with headaches and my cats dying, I lost the will to write! Things have certainly picked up again now and I’m back into a routine. In fact there are so many bits and pieces to update on it’s difficult to know where to start which is the other reason for the delay! I do miss writing though and I  particularly miss the photography side as it’s become apparent that the blog is the main reason why I’m motivated to try and take good photos. So this post will be a relatively brief one to catch you up with the latest and then I hope to get back to being a bit more frequent after Christmas.

So here goes…

The House

There’s good news and bad news on this front. The bad news is that nothing at all is happening in the reconstruction of my house. The good news is that I shall be getting a flat in Sarnano courtesy of the government until my house is rebuilt (in 2089?).  It’s a new-build and won’t be ready until Spring 2018 (but this is Italy so add on a few months/years/millennia). I’ve had a lovely summer staying in the house of my friends near Servigliano and they’ve very kindly said that they’re happy for me to stay on there for a bit longer (thank you A&R!). From going from no house to two house possibilities is an excellent dilemma to have. I do miss Sarnano – it still feels like going back “home” when I visit. However, the flat there is on the 3rd floor in a block surrounded by lots of other blocks which isn’t really an ideal living situation for me or the cats! I’ll see how things go in the new year. However, it’s such a big relief that I’ll at least have somewhere I can  put furniture and things that are still in my old/falling down house and somewhere that’s “mine” again on a more permanent-temporary basis!

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The view from the house isn’t too bad!

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And now there’s quite a bit of snow…

In other news I’ve been….

Swimming

I’ve joined a swimming club at my local gym/swimming pool. My fellow swimming buddies are a lovely bunch and we had a good time at my first swimming meet (why are they called ‘meets’ when it’s a race? It was so chaotic, I barely met my own team, let alone anyone else!). I was initially very nervous about racing. I swim fast compared to the average swimmer in the pool but I certainly don’t ‘race’. Physical exertion has never particularly appealed to me and all of the sports I’ve done to date I’ve always been able to do at my own pace really.  I imagined my races (50m and 100m backstroke) would be quite humiliating not even really knowing what time I could do them in, let alone what a respectable time is.  However, I held my own and came 3rd in both of my races (out of 4 but who’s counting!) and actually nobody was watching (even my instructor!) so there wasn’t the slightest bit of pressure.

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Osimo, the location of my first swimming meet!

The only time anyone pays any attention is for the really speedy swimmers so really, I’m quite happy with my distinctly average speed. It’s nice to have a personal best to beat. The next race is in February. I’ve been practicing the physical exertion thing and I can almost do 100m without needing to be resuscitated. Almost.

And then….

Choir

I’ve joined a choir! I saw this particular choir in the summer and I thought they were great.

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This is them!

A couple of my aunties and friends are in choirs and they’ve inspired me to give it a go. I didn’t think they’d want me – my Italian accent is poor (it sounds authentic to another English person but the Italian’s take the micky out of me saying I sound like Laurel and Hardy. It turns out the Laurel  and Hardy films are quite popular here. They’ve dubbed them into Italian but given them ridiculous English accents. That’s apparently what I sound like). However, they were pleased to have me as they’ve been singing English Christmas songs. It’s nice to get back at the Italians by constantly correcting their pronunciation of “the” (it’s not “duh”) and “virgin” (it’s not “veergin”) and “thou” (it’s not “dow”)! We had our first concert this week at a church and apparently we sounded alright! The next one is on Saturday.

The only downside with the choir (and it seems all choirs everywhere in Italy) is that rehearsals start at 9.30pm and by the time we’ve finished singing and I’ve got home, I’m completely wired and unable to get any of the songs out of my head! I find myself having to turn the radio on at 3am just to listen to something that’s not about ‘duh veergin Mary’.

And then perhaps in my most exciting news…

Exhibitions!

I’m thrilled to say I think I can legitimately call myself at “artist”. My self-imposed definition for artist is to have sold paintings to random people and I have! There was no coercion, nobody was obligated to buy my paintings or say they were good so I’m chuffed to bits really.  It’s been very satisfying. The first exhibition was earlier in the year which was in conjunction with a few other local artists, mainly Italian. My art group booked the same space for a couple of weeks this December. We’ve had quite a few visitors and we’ve sold some paintings. I’ve also agreed with my gym that after the exhibition I can put up some paintings there too which will be a great opportunity to show some of my paintings. I’ve been focusing more on pet portraits lately and I’ve been trying to get a website together with a view to selling things on a wider scale. If you’re in the area, then we’re still open until the 17th December 2017 so come and see us.

 

So all in all, it’s been a busy few months but they’re the main things to report back on!

I’ll write more in the new year but meanwhile, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all! 🙂

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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