Sunday 30 March 2014

Trying To Lay On The Guilt

The FIL never ever supported us in our move
to Italy - 6 days before we were due to pack up
our belongings in a Pickfords lorry he 'phoned us
up to say how much hubby's Mum didn't want us
to leave.

He's been to visit us once. Not that he'd deign
to stay with us....oh no, for him it could only be
the Palazzo Belmonte, frequented by none other
than Joe Biden, Vice President of the US.
He'd already made his mind up that he
wasn't going to like Il Sogno....and he didn't.
It's too remote & it's 'up the worst donkey track
in the world'.
When we dropped him back at Naples airport,
he shook hubby's hand, just as if he was
concluding a business meeting. 
I so wanted to shout 'For goodness' sake,
he's your son, hug him!'

And every time he e-mails us, there's always
some barb or jibe at hubby, trying to goad him
into returning to the UK ( I should point out
that hubby hasn't been back to the UK at all since
we left on 30th September 2010).

His leverage is that hubby's Mum is very frail....
she's 80 this coming May, so it's to be expected.
Today's e-mail says that the FIL 'thinks she had a
mini stroke a couple of weeks ago'. He didn't
bother to let us know at the time, and he probably
didn't call the doctor.
He's just trying to lay the guilt on us, again.

Friday 28 March 2014

Another First

It's only taken 3 years 3 months 2weeks & 4 days,
but finally I have an Italian mobile phone number...

and a bright new shiny Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to play with.

The fact that TIM's 'couple of hours' to 
register my number so I could make phone calls
was actually 7 is irrelevant - 
it's the first time ever I've had a 
brand new phone of my own....
in the past I've always had hubby's cast offs.

Monday 24 March 2014

It Never Rains But It Pours

Today it has rained.....and rained.....and rained.
And blown a gale. And hailed.....several times.
And sleeted......twice.

So much for it being Spring!

Friday 21 March 2014

And We Have Fur Babies

Cupcake has been looking decidedly barrel-like
these past few weeks. Yesterday lunchtime
she refused her treats & disappeared mid afternoon,
not returning for her dinner.
That's when we knew she'd gone off
to somewhere 'safe' to have her kittens.

I was awake & up at 'seriously silly o'clock'
this morning (2.50 am) & Cupcake still hadn't
touched last night's dried food. 
She suddenly appeared just after 8 am, 
obviously hungry and with a somewhat
bedraggled tail & rear end.
She ate some of the bowl of dried food & then
stopped, as if she'd realised that she
doesn't have dried food for breakfast.
So I opened a pouch of Salmon & Trout Kitekat,
which she scoffed down in no time.

Then she proceeded to set about cleaning herself up
before beginning her morning terrorisation
of the lizards & geckos. 
Hubby & I were, of course, concerned
for the welfare of the kittens, but
with almost an acre of ground, plus
the fact that Cupcake quite often roams
the whole mountain, we really didn't 
know where to look. Cupcake seemed
in no particular rush to go back to them.

But by lunchtime she'd disappeared again - it was
almost as if she'd waited until we weren't 
looking to go back to her nursery.
During lunch hubby suggested that she
might have gone down to the ruin just below 
Il Sogno, so off he went, armed with my
camera in case he did come across
Cupcake & her litter.

When he returned, with a bemused smile
on his face, I knew he'd found them.
No, they weren't in the ruin, they were
 under the wheelbarrow at the side of our garden shed.
And here they are.....

Cupcake, plus 4

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Day's End

The sun is disappearing beyond Monte Licosa 
as it sets at this time of year - if we want to catch it
sinking past the horizon, we are going to
have to get in the car & go watch it.

This evening we missed it sinking, as we were
having dinner when it set, but the colours
before twilight were just wonderful...
Pale at first
Pink skies wherever we look
Slowly beginning to deepen

Gaining intensity
Skies aglow
Fading slowly

Monday 17 March 2014

The Heroine On My Timeline

This is Dr Kate Granger. If you write to her, she'll
ask you to call her Kate. She's an Elderly Medicine Registrar
in Yorkshire. She is slightly less than 2 years
younger than our son, who is 34.
And she is terminally ill with a
particularly aggressive form of sarcoma.

We 'met' on Twitter, I can't remember exactly
how I found her blog, but reading it made me
decide she was worth a follow on Twitter,
and she followed me back.
I've been in awe of her sheer guts & selfless determination
ever since.

She is trying to break that biggest of all taboos -
talking about death & dying.
She's also championing #hellomynameis, now
that she's seeing 'the caring profession'
from the other side.
And she's trying to raise funds for the
Yorkshire Cancer Centre Appeal.

Read Kate's latest blog post here:,
look back at her previous posts & see for
yourself why she is 'the heroine on my timeline'

Saturday 15 March 2014

A Spring Wedding

We had lunch at La Torretta early today, so that we 
could be back home in time for the Italy v England
Six Nations match. Always a game watched with 
divided loyalties, although I'm rooting for
Italy because they are, as ever, the underdogs.
They were 3-0 up after 7 minutes & then I blinked and
it was suddenly 3-10 to England. Hubby 
decided he didn't want to watch the slaughter
so we headed into Santa Maria for our afternoon walk. 

And if we hadn't gone into town at precisely that moment,
I would have missed a fab photo opportunity....
for as we walked along Punta dell'Inferno,
we came across a 'Weddingmobile'

As we approached, I asked hubby if he thought I should be
brave enough to ask to take some photos.
The wedding party couldn't be more pleased that I did,
but I'm saving the best for last, and letting the
pictures do the talking....

The steps to the Santuario di Santa Maria a Mare are garlanded with ivy & lilies

Some of the guests had 'graffitied' the steps

Friday 14 March 2014

They've Started To Realise We're Here To Stay

Santa Maria
We go for a walk most afternoons at this time of year, usually 
leaving the house at about 1.45 pm. 
Not quite sure why it's that time, but whenever I look at the 
clock on Bianca's dashboard display as we head out
down Leila's Mountain, it invariably says 13.45 or thereabouts.

And as we park up down at Punta dell' Inferno & get out of the 
car, we are both aware that the eyes of any locals hanging about 
are on us, the 'stranieri'.
I find it quite amusing...they eye us incredulously
as we proceed to walk along the Lungomare hand in hand.
For here, in this little slice of heaven that is the
Cilento, the men are rarely seen out with 
their women during the day, and they certainly don't
hold hands.

Then, to make matters worse, I actually dare look 
in the eye of anyone walking towards us...
I am weighing up how I think they'll respond if 
I say 'Buongiorno' or 'Buona sera' 
(technically, it should be 'buon pomeriggio'
but that is very little used here).

But slowly, & surely, they are starting to realise that
we appear & passeggiata most days...they have
started to acknowledge us, either with a curt nod
or a smile...and some of them are
even taking the time to stop & have a chat.

Monday 10 March 2014

Head In The Clouds

I was up at 6.30 am yesterday. Opened shutters, put kettle on for
the first cuppa of the morning & then dashed outside with 
my camera to take shots of the early morning clouds
as the sun rose behind Leila's Mountain.
Not a spectacular start to the day by any means -
maybe I'd missed the best part of the dawn.

Back out again 20 minutes later, after having drunk my 
cup of black tea, and the light has changed from
that golden glow to a whiter shade. 
Still nothing special, but the blue skies beyond
seemed to promise a fine day lay in store.

Then, half an hour later when I stepped outside, I
spotted some clouds I'd only ever seen on
the internet before.
So I zoomed in for a closer shot....

I was pretty sure that these were lenticular clouds, 
but I'm no expert, so I posted the pic on
The Cloud Appreciation Society's FB page.
And they are.

Saturday 8 March 2014

Festa Della Donna

Today's International Women's Day is known as 
'Festa della Donna' here in Italy 
& everywhere seems awash with yellow,

as Mimosa is the flower traditionally given to women today.
La Torretta is no exception - as can be seen 
from the display of cakes in the pasticceria.

They all look scrummy....but I resisted temptation...just!

Thursday 6 March 2014

Probably The Most Expensive Coffee In The World

We'd 'done' IKEA (& had lunch there);
we'd mooched around Maximall (a Blu ray
disc of La Grande Bellezza safely tucked in my
handbag after being discovered in
La Feltrinelli - I refuse to pay 5 cents for a 'busta');
and we'd raided Carrefour & were now armed with 4
packs of Weetabix, 3 bottles of Borotalco shower gel,
2 jars of Terre d'Italia ragu (one cinghiale, one cervo)
plus 2 packs of pappardelle all'ouvo.
The question now was: Shall we grab a coffee 
at Apolito or stop off at Cilento Outlet Village
& hit Varesino?
Varesino won! (Well it would, wouldn't it - there
was chocolate involved).

I had my usual espresso goloso
& hubby had his cioccolata calda

And as the shop is now full of Easter eggs, I dashed around
madly taking photos to use in another blog
(I think they're getting used to me - no-one batted an eyelid!).

Hubby then made the fatal mistake of going for a mooch
as opposed for heading straight back to the car........
and the €5 coffee & hot chocolate turned into
a credit card 'hit' of €233. That's the trouble with
there being a designer outlet shop that's just
putting the new season's collections on display!

The dress is mine - the t-shirts are all hubby's 

Breakfast On The Terrace

I was up late for me this morning - 7 am - & the sun
was already breaching the mountain as I opened
the shutters. The cold wind had dropped & it was
feeling positively springlike again.

With the thermometer showing 12 degrees before 8 am,
it was a perfect morning for taking breakfast on the terrace.
So we did.....

Wednesday 5 March 2014

The Road To Pontecagnano

The journey to Pontecagnano from Il Sogno
takes about 80 minutes, give or take a few
(and is dependent upon: a. the weather b.
the number of 'Sunday' drivers c. the state of
the roads, i.e., if there has been any
subsidence or a landslide).

We travel along the SS267, then on the
SS18 before joining the A3.
We always take a couple of CDs for me to
jiggle/sing along to, as there is way too much
chat & not enough music on most Italian radio stations 
(although RDS is less guilty of this than most, but
the reception for that station is very hit & miss).

I also take my pocket camera, as the scenery along
the route is stunning & even more so when there's
snow on the mountains like today. 
I'll let the photos do the talking....
View from Tenuta Vannulo
'Snowy Mountain' - the one we can see from Il Sogno

South East, as viewed from Maxi Mall's rooftop car park
Further South
Looking North East

Sunday 2 March 2014

The Return of Winter

So February was a lot milder than it has been in previous fact we were beginning to think
that spring was sprunging.
We walked by the sea eating gelato on the Saturday
after Valentine's Day & there were people on the
beach in swimwear, AND they were Italian!

But yesterday was a stormy day, with
torrential downpours & rough seas...

Although it brightened up enough to give a rather delicate
sunset which painted the clouds a pretty shade of pink...

Then the storm & the heavy rains returned late last night.
And we woke this morning to discover another sprinkling of snow
on the next mountain...

Whilst, in the distance, Snowy Mountain has obviously
had the heaviest covering of the winter so far...

Saturday 1 March 2014

White Charlies

So another month is over & today we should start
the day with the words "White Rabbits".
But in our house we tend to say 
"White Charlies", in memory of
Charlie, the white lop eared rabbit 
who was our house bunny for 3 years.

He used to follow hubby around like a dog,
sit under his dining chair whenever we
were eating & loved sitting on the
back doormat, eating Shreddies.
We'd trained him to use a litter tray in
the utility room - the only problem being
that he would then use the Sunday Times
as a toilet when we left it lying on the lounge floor.
But you have to be impressed that he knew
that he had to use the newspaper!

He's buried under the weeping cherry in the corner
of the garden at our old place, 1474 miles away
from where we are now, but we remember him
at the start of each new month.