It is 2 days since Il Sogno finally became ours - we've become
the proud owners of just under an acre of 'heaven'
|Google Earth pic of Il Sogno's plot|
on the side of a mountain in the Cilento, where
wild boar roam free & have total disregard for
boundaries. It is 6pm & we are sitting in the
Agency's office with Flavio, waiting for
Mario the builder to
arrive, so that we can agree the contract for him to carry out the
building works required to turn Il Sogno into
Mario was late - very late! Flavio became impatient & 'phoned
him; Mario had forgotten about our meeting but was on his way.
Fifteen minutes later Mario & his daughter Maddalena entered the office, all smiles and
We'd had a quote for building works sent through to us by the
Agency back in June. However, we had since discovered
that the Agency's brief to the builder had been 'don't quote for
everything, the costs will scare them off'.
Needless to say, the figure in that quote
was set to be more than double by the time ALL the
essentials had been included.
As we run through everything that Mario had quoted us for, we
bargain for all we are worth to squeeze as big a 'sconto'
as possible. Mario tell us we drive a hard bargain but
agrees to drop his price by a quite considerable amount
(it may be in our favour that our friend Angelo
is related to Mario, so we are considered to be
'almost family' by association).
Price is agreed, deposit cheque written out, contract typed
up by Maddalena & duly signed by both parties, grins &
handshakes all round & then comes the 'surreal moment'
- the one where it feels like being in a book written by an
Expat about their experiences in their new homeland.
Mario tells us, via Flavio, that today is his
Wedding Anniversary and he'd like us to join him &
his family for dinner. Maddalena phones her
mum to ask her to set 2 extra places at the table
and we duly set off following Mario to
Case del Conte to meet his wife Anna, their
sons Giuseppe & Antonio as well as Anna's sister & brother-in-law,
and 'Nonno' (Anna's father).
We are welcomed with huge smiles and even bigger hugs, given a
guided tour by Maddalena & then told that we are waiting for
Anna's brother & his family to arrive.
We make as much 'small talk' as we can with our limited
Italian; well, I do - hubby has no Italian at all.
Eventually Anna's brother, wife & their 2 children arrive
& introductions made. More 'small talk' & then we
are asked to take our places at the table as the first
course is brought out - spaghetti con gamberi.
The table is laid with knives, forks & spoons and Mario proceeds
to pick up a knife & fork and we follow suit to attack the
gamberi. Anna tells him off in no uncertain terms -
fish & chicken are all 'finger food' here & just
because there are guests doesn't mean usual eating etiquette
will be dropped. Although I don't understand a single word
of the heated telling-off, I most certainly understand her
'Anche voi' as she points to our hands before disappearing
back to the kitchen to bring more bowls of pasta to