Posts Tagged With: House hunting

Hunting for houses, implementing my new motto, and latest art updates

Ciao a tutti,

Well, well, well! These last couple of weeks have been challenging somewhat! I can understand why house hunting is called that now and not simply house finding. I include below an illustrated account of just some of the house hunting hurdles here in Italy…

  • House Hunting Hurdle number 1: Estate agents rarely put prices of apartments/houses in their windows. They’re also rarely in the office so you can’t even ask them. If you email them to ask, well, suffice to say I have NEVER received a response from them.
  • HHH number 2: I’ve been using www.subito.it, a general buying/selling stuff website. People don’t put even the most basic information on their advert. Some of them just say “phone me”. Why? Why would I do that?! Is it a mansion you’re letting or a bedsit and where even is it?! WHY WOULD I PHONE YOU TO FIND OUT???
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Or maybe it’s a bird house they’re letting. Who indeed knows.

  • HHH number 3: Well let me tell you why you would phone them to find out. It’s because people seem to have a morbid fear of email and will not respond. Or if they respond then it’s to ask you to phone them. I don’t like talking to people on the phone at the best of times (I’m more of a face to face person rather than an unsociable person). I especially don’t like phoning people when I’m still terrible at speaking Italian! Charades does not work on the phone!
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Erm. Perhaps not the most realistic sketch of a terrified person. (I’ve drawn him in a sleeping bag jacket though so that’s at least true to life)

  • HHH number 4: The photos on the adverts – you should SEEEEE them (that’s if there are any, there aren’t often!). To sell and rent their houses, they put up photos of their moth-eaten 10 year old sofa, a wall, sometimes a scooter, perhaps a kitchen table covered in the remnants of their last meal… It’s a very rare occasion indeed they’ll put a picture of their actual house/flat up there! And the estate agents themselves are no better. I think there’d be a market for an estate agent who took decent pictures of the ACTUAL house/apartment and then, you know, RESPONDED to people who were interested in it.
  • HHH number 5: Everything is about square meters here. I can’t picture things in square meters. I want a two double bedroom place, not a 80 square foot place. Still – I’m actually getting used to the meters now and it is admittedly useful. It would just be more useful if they described how it was divided up too!
  • HHH number 6: When they say something is unfurnished, and half of them are, they literally mean it’s an empty shell. Nothing. Just rooms with some pipes sticking out of the wall. In any circumstances I think that’s insane, I particularly think it’s insane when you’re renting. It seems crazy to get a kitchen fitted complete with work surfaces and everything and then take it with you into a new place with undoubtedly an entirely different layout. C.R.A.Z.Y.

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  • HHH number 7: Once you’ve located a place that’s furnished, well, I don’t wish to be picky or anything, but OH MY WORD! Suffice to say that modern looking furniture does not seem to be the style here.
  • HHH number 8: Hardly anyone seems to have a bath anymore. And yet they all have bidets! You can’t relax with a glass of wine and candles on a bidet!!!   I WANT A BATH!!!
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I imagine this is what I will be reduced to doing shortly…

So, we’ve seen lots of places (I’ve a friend staying with me at the moment) and there’s one place that doesn’t seem so bad but it’s next door to huge oil refinery. It’s only going to be for 6 months or so whilst I hopefully find somewhere to buy here. In terms of buying,  I can’t get much for my money in any of the towns. I’m now thinking of venturing further into the countryside which could get a bit lonely but I think I’d prefer a nice house and some potential to make some money as a B&B or doing something with the land too in the long run.

Teaching, teaching, teaching

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks – it might be because there’s an end in sight. I’ve got 6 weeks left! I lost my rag at the Evil Class last week again and told them I’m only going to do colouring in with them from now on (which I think they’re all thrilled about). I told the teacher that too. She said that I shouldn’t lose hope and that she thinks that on some very deep, deep, deeeeeeeep level they might have actually been listening. Ha!

I do have a lovely bunch of adults that I’m teaching though so that’s good!

Art progress

I should stop making stuff now and get on with putting it online to see. I’m still struggling to find some decent deep frames and now some packing material so that I can send stuff to people. I think that will be this week’s task. And I need to try and take some decent pictures of these things too – how I’d love to have a proper studio!

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Driftwood Harbour

Village harbour

Driftwood home sign – now all I need is to find a home!!!

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Driftwood Hamlet

 

Spring is in the air…

In other news, spring is definitely in the air and it’s lovely! The daisies are out, the jasmine is blooming (I’m back to sneaking “cuttings” off the local jasmine bushes to bring back to the flat because it smells so nice!) and I’ve seen a few poppies now too. I can’t wait until I’ve stopped teaching and can get out and enjoy it a bit more!

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Looks almost snowy!

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The highs and lows of house hunting, the origins of sea glass and ennui…

Ciao!

How is everybody? This week I bring you: House Hunting, The Origins of Sea Glass and Ennui…

First off, I had an interesting couple of days house hunting last week. I found a couple of houses in Serra San Quirico, a lovely hill top town 45 minutes or so away from Camerano at the base of Monte Murano. I wasn’t particularly looking there – I’d prefer somewhere closer to here and the beach, but some nice looking houses popped up there on the search engines so I arranged to go and see them.  The first one was definitely an option – it was quite a unique and quirky property that could have been cosy, but the only outside space was a tiny balcony accessed off the bathroom and I’m not convinced it got any sun. But I’d like land ! It was very good value though at a “negotiable” €80,000 for a two bed and there really wasn’t a lot to be done to it. I wasn’t particularly struck by the second house so that’s out. Then the estate agent took us (I’ve a friend staying at the moment who I’ve been dragging around to the houses) to a “mystery house” (it felt like I was on “A House in the Sun”!). It was the most interesting of all the properties. It was a 4 bed, much bigger than the first property and with a garden, yet the same price. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much junk in a house before – none of the lights worked and every which way you turned there was a creepy, odd shaped object under a sheet. However, after the second visit with an architect, it appears that it would require a lot more work (and I suspect an exorcist) than I’d originally anticipated so I think that’s out unfortunately too.

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The house was beautifully show cased…

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…But look at the view from what would have been my bedroom!

I’m interested in quite a few other properties around here too and have contacted lots of estate agents but many of them didn’t respond or didn’t follow up later. One said they’re on holiday until the end of March. I can’t help but wonder if this might be why the housing market in Italy isn’t doing particularly well.

Exhibition News

A month or two back, I was somewhat unenthusiastic when my neighbour came around to say that he’d found us a place for the exhibition and it would cost us both €600 each for 6 months. I said at the time that I would be interested, but couldn’t pay that much and he should probably find someone else (who….er, actually had some art). Meanwhile, I decided to give it a go – you only live once eh? Hence the mad “produce some art” rush. I’ve been hesitant to follow up with him on the off chance it wasn’t going to happen anymore. Without the pressure, I’m not so productive. However, we met on the stairs the other day and had a chat about it. He’s found another artist to pay for the other part of the exhibition but is still interested in a “guest” section for me. For free! So it’s worked out perfectly. He’s not that fussed by the concept of the paintings but seemed to like the driftwood art and the stuff in frames so I think they’re in – I’m particularly pleased with that because I’m more interested in doing that than the paintings.

Meanwhile, I’m going to try and set up an “Etsy” shop (Etsy is a website where artists can sell their work) to see if there’s a market for any of my art. If not, you should all take it upon yourselves to buy my stuff so I don’t feel like a failure 😉

This week I’ve done…

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Next set of driftwood houses

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Mussel shell, pebble and driftwood mirror

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Mussel shell mosaic mirror

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Mussel shell heart card… Hoping to sell them in packs

I’ve also been experimenting with dry brushing. I’ve done 3 dry brush portraits now, but it takes me ages for some reason (it’s supposed to be super quick!) and it’s easy to get impatient and make a mistake that you can’t fix. I’m not known for my patience. My attempts have been somewhat blotchy (you have to dip your paintbrush in oil and  then blot it all off. If you don’t, you get a blotchy look).  I’m back in the UK briefly next week and hope to spy on some of the street portrait artists in Trafalgar Square to see if it’s a technique they use and how they do it. Here’s my latest attempt at Angelina Jolie…

Doesn’t much look like Anglina eh? Annoying. I can see that dry brushing would be an effective technique if I could just get quicker and develop the art of patience.

Doesn’t much look like Anglina eh? Annoying. I can see that dry brushing would be an effective technique if I could just get quicker and develop the art of patience.

On the sea glass front – I’ve been getting worried that I’m exhausting my supply of sea glass in Le Marche. It made me wonder where it came from, so I wikipedia’d it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seaglass) and oh my goodness, there are people obsessed with sea glass out there! I mean, I like it and everything, but some people actually belong to a Sea Glass Association! Anyway, I had hoped that the sea had a limitless supply of sea glass. I’d hoped that perhaps some of it might be produced naturally a bit like diamonds are so that I didn’t have to rely on people littering the sea with bottles and jars. Alas, sea glass always comes from the man-made stuff that gets tumbled around at the bottom of the sea for ages and then washed up. There are different colours – people go to great lengths to work out the origin of it. I think mine all comes from beer bottles rather unromantically apart from a couple of mysterious pastel blue pieces. Anyway, friends, family, randoms – I have a favour to ask – if you go to the beach, can you look me out some sea glass please! And if you’re completely devoid of morals, perhaps you could take your beer bottles down to the sea front when you’re done with them and chuck them in.

Ennui!

I have diagnosed myself with occasional bouts of ennui! I’ve never heard the term before last week but it’s spot on! According to dictionary.com it’s “a feeling of listlessness and general dissatisfaction resulting from lack of activity or excitement”.  It doesn’t feel quite the same as “boredom”.  In fact, someone once told me that one can never be bored if one has stuff to do and I think I can safely say there’s never been a time when I’ve had nothing to do! Anyway, all I need now is a definition for my “glitch in the space time continuum” feeling (I think it’s a superhero sense but I’ve unfortunately been born without my super power) and I’ll be sorted!

I went to Carnevale yesterday – I’ll give you an update in a separate blog post tomorrow (though issues with WordPress mean that some of you have already had a sneak preview I think!)!

Ok, have lovely weeks all.

Ciao x

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