Posts Tagged With: serra san quirico

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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Sue’s Favourite Places Tour, Teaching and living rooms…

Ciao a tutti!

Well this week has been a roller-coaster of ups and downs!

Parents

Mum and Dad came out last Friday for a week to see where I live 🙂 It was lovely to show them around all the things I’ve been talking about for so long. Hopefully they liked it (more than France which they keep going on about ;-)) – we pretty much did the “Sue’s Favourite Places Tour” as well as some new stuff I hadn’t had a chance to do before.

The “Sue’s Favourite Places Tour” took us to (Please Note: If you’re coming to visit me – perhaps skip past this section to maintain an air of mystery):

  • San Michele beach
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Lots of fisherman there at this time of year…

  • Sirollo (pretty village by the sea)
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Pretty street overlooking the countryside in Sirollo

  • Numana (another pretty village by the sea)
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View towards Monte Conero from Numana

  • Marcelli (another village by the sea…. there was a theme that day. Anyway, Marcelli only featured because one of the schools is there)
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View from Marcelli towards Monte Conero. One can never have too many pictures of views towards Monte Conero eh?

  • Camerano’s Cemetery (I know this is an odd thing to have on a favourite places list but I think it’s great! And we timed it brilliantly – we went there on their day of the dead which is an excellent time to go – it’s full of people and it’s got a bit of atmosphere about it!)
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Pretty graves. When you die, you’re put into a wall here… no rotting away being eaten by bugs… Well, I didn’t see any evidence of that anyway. Hmm – this photo isn’t in focus.

  • Portonovo (lovely little coastal beach area)
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Pretty bay. Towards Monte Conero don’t you know…

  • Loreto (the hill top town which hosts Jesus’ mother’s house which was carried there by angels from Palestein. Read about it here)
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Rather poor to average shot of Loreto. Mary’s house is inside the basilica straight ahead. People go around the house on their knees. They’ve worn two large grooves into the marble. They should probably put some sort of cushioning around the house if people insist on doing that – I don’t think it can be healthy for their joints!

  • Frasassi Caves (I’d not actually been there before but it’s been on my list for months – the caves are absolutely huge and incredibly impressive. Definitely a good thing to see. Here’s the website)
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You can’t actually take pictures in the caves – so here’s a picture of the parking lot where you go to get to the caves

  • Monte Murano (mountain just up from Serra San Quirico – all my photo’s have parents in so here’s a picture of a nice sunrise instead)

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    Sunrise from the balcony

  • Offagna (hill top town with a castle)
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Offagna’s lovely castle

  • Castelfidardo (to look at the Accordion Museum which, you’ll never guess, was shut. We did meet a very happy singing man that escorted us there though so that was er, interesting).
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The museum was shut but there was a shop with a lot of accordions… (if you’re coming to visit and you’re worried I’ll try and take you to an accordion museum, don’t worry – this was a one off)

So all very nice. I think I could be a happy tour guide when I grow up. However, all that coincided with…

The Scary Week of Teaching Terror

Which involved teaching… let me see… about 260 children English. It has been stressful. And I’ve started the classes in such a random fashion that I don’t really know who I’ve done what with now. However, I’m now famous (or infamous) in the schools. One of these teaching type websites recommends you start the lesson with a hello song and finish with a goodbye song. I’d found some stuff on youtube.com but there wasn’t internet access in the classes so… I did what any nervous, inexperienced teacher would do and took my guitar in and sang to them. All children in the Marcelli and Numana areas can now sing along to “Hello, how are you?” and “Bye bye, see you again” songs. They are incessantly catchy. I can’t imagine ever having a night’s sleep again without them going round and round my head. Anyway, my reputation proceeded me on the last day and I got a song request even before I introduced myself. It’s a good job my embarrassment threshold is relatively high these days.

My language school that contracted me to the state schools suggested I have lunch with the staff on Wednesday as I’ve got a two hour gap between lessons. “Lunch with the staff” was misleading. It was lunch with children. I was at least 20 meters away from the nearest member of staff. I think I was supposed to be keeping them (the children, not the staff) in order. However, by the time pudding came round, there was a little crowd of children around me and the other teacher had to come to tell them to sit down. I suspect I should have done that.

There was only a couple of er, “difficult” classes so I suppose that’s ok. One teacher said I need to be harder on the kids. I’m not entirely sure how without actually using physical violence. I’ll have to look at the regulations in Italy but I’m pretty sure I can’t do that.

The plus side is that the latest teaching stresses have almost removed my driving stresses! On Monday I actually looked forward to getting in the car.

Living room

I HAVE ONE! Marco changed my old bedroom into a living room a week or so back and now I even have a nice flatscreen tv. WOOHOO 🙂

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Living room plus legs…

Right, I’m supposed to be lesson planning, not blogging. <Sigh>.

I hope you all have wonderful weekends.

Buonanotte!

xxx

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