Posts Tagged With: Osimo

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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Visits, Raw Pig Butt and Navigational Challenges…

Ciao!

Well hello!!!! How is everyone?! Apologies for the radio silence – I’ve had an influx of visitors coming to see me which has been great so many thanks to the following for coming out to see me 🙂

  • “Ms Meaty”: She wanted a pseudonym – she’ll probably regret that.  Anyway, she’s so-called because she spent a good portion of our time in restaurants trying to find carcasses to eat  ;-)) and…
  • Jackie and Pete:  No pseudonyms required – they seem more confident I wont be harsh…

The Tourist Trail

I almost look like I know what I’m doing driving around – I can successfully get to my favourite local places without Tom (my completely untrustworthy Sat Nav – I really must check that I’ve not got some kind of “tractors only” setting on). I still haven’t discovered ALL of the sleeping policeman in order to impose speed rectification measures/avoid launching myself into the air like a stunt driver. To be honest though, I don’t think the Italian’s even know that they’re supposed to reduce their speed when they go over them, in the same way that they appear unaware what the white lines in the middle of the road are for  (any Italian’s reading this – they’re not lines that you’re supposed to drive on).

Anyway, Ms Meaty arrived first and she came with me to do some teaching on Tuesday with the little kids (3-5yr olds) which was EXCELLENT timing as I’d all but lost my voice on the Monday shouting at children (shouting + cold = rapid voice deterioration) which for Ms Meaty meant the start of her blossoming singing and dancing career. So, I played “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” on the guitar whilst she sang, danced and trained the troupes to do the same. We have a Christmas play to do on the 13th December. It’s a shame that Ms Meaty wont be here 😦  By the end of it, she was shouting at them in Italian like a pro.

It was a fairly relaxed week and we spent Thursday doing “Sue’s Favourite Places Tour” where we learnt that the angels didn’t really fly what I thought was Mary’s house from Palestine to Loreto but only flew the bricks. There’s a massive marble surround that was in fact built there after to protect it… Fortunate really, as if it was there to begin with, I imagine health and safety regulations for flying such an unwieldy heavy object would have impeded the angel’s progress.

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Mary’s Marble Surround. The original brick walls for her house are inside.

Alas, by Friday, Ms Meaty had contracted the man-flu strain of my cold which I felt horrible about (but on the plus side, a problem shared is a problem halved and mine felt a LOT better).

In a whirlwind change of guests, I was sad to drop Ms Meaty off at the airport but pleased to pick up Jackie and Pete. We had a lovely dinner in Camerano (Bar Maffy) where I think we probably decided that my Italian/English translations when it comes to meat produce could probably do with more work. Surprisingly, Jackie STILL decided to have the Raw Pig Butt Pasta.

Then we headed to see a band that I felt sure would be cancelled because it was raining. However, they were playing under the Comune in a very atmospheric, er… cellar I think it is.  I was pleased about that – makes Camerano look a bit more hip and happening than it usually is.

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All very talented musicians but I must say, the bass player’s hair was a distraction. So silky smooth and flowing. I wonder where he buys his conditioner. The conditioner here seems to require something akin to acid to rinse out. Since coming here, my hair can happily stay in whatever position I put it in.

I included Osimo in the “Sue’s Favourite Places Tour” the following day which was good as I’d only been there once before.

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The statues here do not have heads. The Osimo inhabitants are thus called “without head” apparently. Poor inhabitants.

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You can take a little railway from some of the parking at the bottom to the town at the top. Cute 🙂

The following day we found a Chocolate Festival in Ancona and did a bit of sightseeing.

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Teaching Traumas Continued…

I haven’t made any children cry yet this week. I feel like I’ve let myself down. I did almost give them an impromptu lesson in English angry swear words after the squillienth time of telling them to “sit down please” and to stop hitting classmates. I exercised patience I think previously unbeknownst to mankind. I should really get a medal.

Anyway, let me tell you about school children here. They are OBSESSED with One Direction.  They ask me if I like them and because they use the correct English I reward them with a “yes, I like One Direction” but then alas, they ask me more questions like “What is your favourite one?” to which, I have no idea but vaguely remember that one is called Dane so go with that. It turns out Dane is not a member of One Direction. I should do some One Direction research to bond with the kiddies.

I’ve taught all the school children that felt tip pens are called felptip pens. They’ve written it in their exercise books and everything. I thought it was! I’ve been saying felptip pens for years!  Admittedly, I should have seen that one coming. I don’t know what felp even is, let alone what a tip of felp might look like. Next week I’ll tell them they’ve all made mistakes and they should really pay better attention when I write things on the board in future. I wonder if they have detention here.

In other teaching news, I’ll never be able to go out anywhere again without seeing children I now know – at the cinema the other day I think there was about 5 I saw. Admittedly, we’d gone to see Despicable Me 2. Perhaps I’ll have to start getting into the horror genre.

What’s a bit odd

Often offices don’t have a house/building number – ok, that is sometimes the case in the UK as well. So you think “Fine, FINE, I suppose I’ll just drive up and down the road and hopefully something will indicate where I’m supposed to be”. Maybe the postcode will help? No no, there will be no postcode. So you try and find the road in the Sat Nav. This is where the next challenge lies: the address you’re trying to find will invariably look something like this: “Via D. Mizoni”. Sometimes Sat Nav makes a point of making you put “via” in and sometimes it doesn’t. In fact, the only common factor I’ve found is that it’s whatever you’ve not tried first. And what on earth do you do with a full stop after D?! You try and put the full stop in after D but of course, there’s nothing – it’s an initial for something. It doesn’t work without the full stop. “Minzoni” on it’s own doesn’t work. So what to do? Is there a way of finding out what the D stands for? No. No there is not. The Italians, not even on their road signs, maps, formal addresses, “how to find us” sections on websites will include the full name of their road. People here must be born with this knowledge of road names. So, imagining you’ve been in Italy long enough to notice that there appear to be hundreds of Via and Piazza Don Minzoni’s within the area, you might try that. Success! But not for long. Then it asks the town, which is a challenge in itself because it could be any town within a 5 km area and then, because there ARE so many Via D. Minzoni’s, it could be any one of a dozen roads. My advice? Allow at least 3 hours to just locate the address on Sat Nav before even attempting your trip!!!

Right, I think that’s all of my ranting done today. Hope you’re all having an excellent Monday.

x

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Wine consumption, Grease Spreaders and More Lizards…

Hi all,

Well I’ve had a friend here this week so there’s been a lot of sight seeing which has been great. I’m pleased to say that I’ve now seen the villages that I’ve been looking at from a distance in my apartment every day. I’ll write up a page on each area when I get time but meanwhile:

  • Osimo: It’s a bit bigger than Camerano (where I am). It’s still on a hill with a great view like pretty much all the hill top towns do. It’s got a fab little park which would be lovely to sit in and people watch. There are a few shops as well and in general, it seems like it could be a good place to live in or around.
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Park bit in Osimo overlooking a beautiful panorama of the sea and countryside. This photo doesn’t do it justice, it was rainy and horrid!

  • Castelfidardo: Is another little hill top town. Not much to say about this one – there didn’t seem to be much in the way of shops or anything that made it stand out from anything else apart from it has an Accordion Museum. I wouldn’t want to live there…
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The Accordian Shop / Museum. Possibly just a shop. Or a museum. It was closed (I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Closed? What in Italy? At like, 4pm on a weekday? That never happens” but let me tell you, on this one occasion, this shop/museum was shut.

  • Loreto: Loreto is another hill top town. I recognise that there’s a theme in my choice of places to visit – I think my criteria for the next apartment/house is fast becoming “must be on a hill” though I do wonder sometimes if it means something about my personality that I like to look down on things ;-). Anyway, Loreto is apparently known for being the home of the Black Madonna who works miracles. Excellent to know. It’s got a big square with a fountain in the middle and it’s surrounded by very majestic looking buildings and a rather magnificent cathedral (Basilica della Santa Casa) at one end. If you’re catholic, it’s THE place to go. Particularly if you want to stock up on crucifixes from the surrounding tourist shops. There’s a street of shops that leads from the square to a church at the end other and that’s about it in terms of the main “town”. There doesn’t appear to be much general living accommodation apart from at the base of the hill in the valley, there’s a bunch of apartment blocks. My hill requirement rules that out for living but I really like Loreto. Well worth a visit.
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Loreto and the piazza

  • Sirolo: For avid readers, you’ll know I’ve been here already but last week was the first time I’ve been to San Michele beach which is a long (and narrowish) stretch of shingle/sand beach to the side of Mount Conero. It’s a bit frustrating to get to. You have to walk down the mountain a bit to get there but hopefully that means it’ll be less packed in the summer. I’ll do my duty and test this beach out for you, dear readers. We went to a restaurant – Da Silvio which was really lovely – overlooking the beach and would be fabulous on a hot summers day. Don’t be put off by the emptiness and the threatening looking waiters/chefs outside. They have only fish dishes I think, but they made me a veggie pasta which was delicious.
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Spiaggia San Michele. It was rammed.

  • Jesi: Jesi is NOT a hill top town 🙂 And I like it! I haven’t seen much of it – the weather has been very temperamental this last couple of weeks and the first time I went with a friend from the Language School, it was absolutely bucketing down. The second time it was for dinner with some other friends and we didn’t do so much looking around then. Jesi seems like it would be good to live near. Not on a hill though 😉 However, having said that, yesterday was “Cantine Aperto” (more on that below) which was in the Jesi area and the scenery around that area was just breathtaking. I could most definitely live around there.
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Taken from one of the Cantina’s around Jesi.

  • Macerata: This was a 50 minute drive away. I’d heard good things about the area around Macerata and it was indeed lovely (hilly wouldn’t you know ;-)) and it was quite a nice little town – much bigger than the smaller hill top towns I think – akin to Jesi. It had a cinema. So – I would live around Macerata as well – it would definitely be I think a nice place to go for meals and drinks.
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This photo’s a bit misleading – and in fact, I don’t know what it is. It looked good. But to go over and take a proper look required darting through traffic so I admired from afar…

  • Porto Recanati. This place should be a thriving seaside resort but because we’re still a full 5 days from summer, was completely empty. I actually left feeling as empty as it was. It was like when Will Smith wanders around the vacant city in ‘I Am Legend’. If there was tumbleweed, it would have been blowing. There were lots of vacant apartments, all a bit unkempt apart from maybe one or two (where Will Smith lived?) and a revolting skyscraper tower block at one end (why WHY do that to the seaside?!).

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    Porto Recanati – those doors are probably hiding zombies…

So, let me tell you about “Cantine Aperto”. I think in England, a place where you make wine is called a winery (that’s right eh?). The Italian’s call them Cantina’s. It seems to be anything from an actual legitimate business to someone’s cellar. But in this instance, I’m talking about the former. “Aperto” means open. I think the event is best described as a “Wine Tasting Tour / Drive Driving Expedition”. You pay 5 Euros which gives you a wine glass and a very becoming yellow wine glass holding bag that you put around your neck.  And then with your wine glass and your bag in hand/around neck, you drive around to, let me see, up to 71 (yes SEVENTY ONE) winery’s and have as many glasses of their wine as you want. And sometimes grappa (which I imagine is what petrol tastes like). And lots of lovely snacks. And then you drive to the next one. And then drive to the next one…. you get the idea. We went with the school and I think they knew the best cantina’s to go to so despite the weather starting off a bit grim, we had a great day marveling at the scenery and trying out the wines (and then came back and had some of my 88 cent wine and agreed that we couldn’t tell the difference). It’s an annual event (last Sunday of May) and I thoroughly recommend it. But I must say, I really can’t imagine that there is a more dangerous place to be than on a road in Le Marche on Cantine Aperto day. I’ll definitely go to the next one (though I might wear a neck brace as precautionary measure).

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One of the cantina’s. I did, for blogging purposes, try and make a note of the Cantina’s we went to but confess, I soon lost track. No idea wine, I mean why…

This is my last week at the language school! 4 days left. I’m quite scared!  This will be the first time, apart from holidays, where my life has been completely unstructured! No dull job to go to, no school to go to… My life in London was busy – work every day and out every evening and weekend seeing people or going places. Doing “nothing” for me, is or rather was, always incredibly unsettling. I mean – there are things to do, places to go, people to see… WHAT IF I MISS SOMETHING?! But my life here has been: school in the morning, homework, trips and pottering around a bit every day. It’s been a massive change and one I was a bit skeptical I could make without developing some sort of nervous tic but it’s been a relatively smooth transition. I’m surprised at myself. But next week and thereafter will be the greatest test so far of my ability to remain sane in the absence of a rigid agenda so watch this space. Next week’s post might be from some sort of asylum.

Having said that, I do have vague plans – I’ve decided to only apply timescales in the loosest possible sense to avoid inevitably missing them because I’ve not got some piece of “vital” paperwork but in general: I’m going to try and do some private teaching, I’m going to see if I can carry on with the Italian lessons but maybe just a couple of hours a week, I’m going to see if I can start progressing the paperwork that I need to get a car, and meanwhile I’m going to see if I can stay here in the apartment until the end of July to give me some time to a) get a car and b) find somewhere nice to live.

In other news, I have a confession to make. I haven’t taken the bins out since I’ve been here. There’s a detailed schedule of bin takings out (cardboard one day, glass the next, regular rubbish another, organic waste another, nappies another – thankfully not having to worry about that one at the moment. Not unless the bin situation becomes significantly more stressful) and I haven’t really grasped it. But now… well….there’s a backlog. And if I didn’t know how to get rid of the bins in the first place, I certainly don’t know how to get rid of a backlog. This week, I will be closely monitoring bin activities in the neighbourhood. And if I’ve still not cottoned on to it by next week, I’m going to go on evening walks to distribute the rubbish in bins in Piazza Roma. I mean, that wont look at all odd (“Crazy Lizard Photographying Near Naked Rubbish Distributing English Girl”).

That reminds me, here’s a picture of some lizards near school (one can never have too many lizard photos eh?):

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I call this one ‘Where’s Lizzy?’. I might do a lizard version of ‘Where’s Wally’.

I’ve decided I have enough material to have a regular “what’s a bit odd” section on my blog posts. So today’s feature: Grease Spreaders. Do you remember “skid paper” that they used to have instead of toilet paper in school (showing my age here perhaps)? It was basically a roll of tracing paper. I don’t want to dwell on the detail here but er, yes, not absorbent in the slightest… But in Italy, they have something similar: “skid napkins” if you will… If you go to a pizzeria, bar, anywhere I think that’s not a proper sit down restaurant, you are supplied with these “skid napkins” but they serve only to spread the grease further around your face. I’ve decided a more becoming term is “Grease Spreaders”.

And finally finally, I’ve found someone that wants crew in Croatia. I would have had to rule that out in the UK I think but Croatia is easy and cheap for me to get to – there are ferries there that run at least once a day from Ancona. Hopefully something might materialise of that.

And now, I need to prepare salad. Today has been a serious diet day to atone for the copious wine consumption yesterday…

Hope you’re all well.

X

Ps. Aww, WordPress have just wished me a happy anniversary – it’s been a year since starting the blog. How times flies…

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