Wednesday 30 April 2014

30 Days Gone......70 To Go

So we're at the end of April already, and that means
I've reached Day 30 of my #100happydays challenge.
And I'm enjoying it, I really am.
Trouble is, some days I have so many 
'happy moments', it can be hard to choose
which one to post on Twitter.

Here are the first 30 days in pics
(not necessarily in chronological order)......

And here's to the next 70 'happy days' 

Tuesday 29 April 2014

RIP Domenico Scognamillo

Domenico Scognamillo was 78 - one of the 'oldies'
of Santa Maria (although some of the older
generation would say that he was no age at all,
as living into your 90's is not uncommon here).

He was to be seen at some point on most days, 
slowly trundling around in his motorised 
scooter, seeing what was going on
in his little world.

For 2 years he glowered at us every time we 
smiled at him & nodded as we walked past.
 I, in particular, found it amusing and I was determined
that one day he would smile in return.

Then last year he suddenly started to say 'Buongiorno'
or 'Buona sera' to us, although it took him
another few months before he actually smiled
when he saw us.

One afternoon last week we watched him trundle down
the newly finished access ramp from his front
door & up towards Bar L'Ancora before
turning left towards Corso Matarazzo.
He looked at us as he trundled along & then turned 
his scooter full circle to smile and say 'buona sera'.
And that was the last time we saw him.

He died at 3 am yesterday and his funeral was at 10 am

I don't have a photograph of him, 
but looking at his yellow house on the edge of
Marina Piccola, knowing that he'll never 
come out of the front door again, will seem 
very strange.

Two Brits, Two Friends & A Couple of Carabinieri

29th April 2011 is, of course, remembered by most
as being the day of William & Kate's wedding.

It was the hottest day of the year so far here in
the Cilento and we had 9 cubic metres of 
gravel to spread on what we were trying
to turn into our front garden.
Our friends Silvia & Angelo had come
up to help make the task a little easier.

Whilst we were all out there, we kept hearing a 
loud noise, one which hubby & I had heard 
intermittently over the past couple of days;
it sounded like scaffolding being offloaded.
But Angelo & hubby soon agreed that
it was more likely to be rocks or stones being loaded
onto a truck, and there was a HUGE pile of
same lying at the side of Sven & Helle's
house, which they were hoping to use for
their terraces & drystone walls as work on
their holiday home progressed.

This pile was a third bigger before the theft
Hubby & Angelo walked up the mountain 
to investigate...there was a red truck on 
Sven & Helle's driveway with 2 guys 
throwing stones into the back of it.
All four of us walked down to 
the end of our driveway to look out 
for the truck as it came back down the mountain,
we smiled at the guys as they drove past, then
promptly ran back up to the house memorising
the licence plate number as Silvia made a 
call to the Carabinieri.

20 minutes later a Carabinieri Jeep headed
full pelt up our second driveway.....
a plainclothes guy leapt out almost before
it came to a halt, brandishing his pistol; the 
uniformed guy got out more cautiously,
machine gun in hand (OK, 'machine gun' may not be
the technical term, but I'm female, I don't have a clue
when it comes to guns).
It was one of those 'surreal' moments
that I usually read about in books by other expats.

"Who called us?" asked the plain clothes guy.
"Me" replied Silvia. 
"But the number you phoned from is registered
to a male not a female" (shades of 'Big Brother is
watching you' going on here).
"Yes, it's my boyfriend's 'phone".
"OK, what did you see, where did it happen, are they
still up there?"
"2 guys stealing stones from the Danish house
up the mountain, and no, they were gone
before we made the call. But we do have
the licence plate number"
"OK, we'll go take a look. We'll ring & let you know
what we find"

And a few days later they did - the son of the
builder Sven & Helle were using had taken them
to start another project elsewhere and "was terribly sorry,
but he didn't know it was wrong and didn't think
anyone would notice them missing from such a huge pile"

Saturday 26 April 2014

25 April - Festa Day

25 April is a national holiday here in Italy, in celebration
of Italy's liberation on 25 April 1945. 
But in San Marco di Castellabate it is one of the biggest
festas of the year 'in onore di San Marco',
with Mass said for all the local fishermen & their
families, the statue of Saint Mark
paraded around the town before coming
to rest at the top of the church steps as petitions
 are made to ask for his blessing for another good year.

The streets and the piazzetta are decorated with lights

Via Carmine Passaro
La Piazzetta

There was even a free concert given by Maurizio Vandelli.....
we've never heard of him, but he was singing
some 'golden oldies' & although I didn't know
the Italian lyrics, at least I was able to sing along in English!

And, of course, it all began & ended with fireworks....again,
this being Italy, the 'midnight fireworks' didn't actually
happen until 12.30 am

Friday 25 April 2014

It Comes In Threes

'Three Poppies' used with kind permission of copyright owner Jo-Anne Douglas

It started with Domenico posting his sad news 
on FB the morning before I was due to fly to the UK.
His mum had died and, this being Italy, the funeral
was going to be the next day.

Then on the 16th of April our son e-mailed me
with the news that my friend Wendy's mum
had passed away during the night. 

And on Wednesday one of my Twitter friends
sent me a DM to let me know she was in mourning
as her husband had died just before Easter.

My heart goes out to all of them.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Perfect Pizze

Sven & Helle, our Danish 'neighbours', 
start preparing for the drive back to Denmark today.
We hadn't seen them so far this trip, so yesterday we
decided to book a table at L'Eco del Mare,
which we haven't been to since my birthday
last July

We set off at 7.20 pm and, as usual, we were first to arrive
(although it did fill up quite quickly after our arrival).
We were shown to our table by a window & duly
given the 2 different menus: 'La Cucina' & 'Le Pizze'.
General consensus was that it was to be a 
'pizza night', with a couple of antipasti to share
while the pizzas were made.

Alice marinate
Helle wasn't sure about having anchovies but we
assured her that they were delicious & worth trying.

And the Mozzarella di Bufala from Paestum on the
'Cilentana' was one of the best I've ever tasted.

Then came 'le pizze'; Helle had chosen a
'Quattro Stagione' & commented that it was
the first time she'd had one where the
quarters were marked out with pizza dough.

Sven went for the 'Vulcano', which has
a 'boconcino' of mozzarella proudly sitting in
the centre, surrounded by tasty prosciutto crudo.

Hubby & I had both ordered
'L'Eco del Mare', which was topped with lemon
flavoured potato, prawns & rocket...mouthgasmic, to say the least.

And to wash it all down, Sven chose a 
2012 Benevento Aglianico -
an excellent choice!

Sunday 20 April 2014

Buona Pasqua

It's finally Easter Sunday, & although I've only been back home
for 6 days (although not until 10.30 pm if I'm being pedantic),
it feels like a lot longer. And today has been another one
full of 'firsts'....

The thought suddenly dawned on me yesterday that I'd never 
actually had an Italian Easter egg - 3 years, 4 months & 9 days 
of living here & I STILL hadn't had an Easter egg! 
I decided to remedy that by giving hubby my
last €10 note & sending him on a mission
to find me an egg.....and if he came back with a
Kinder egg, his life would be in serious danger.
He excelled himself & got the last Perugina Baci egg
at a bargain price

Apparently it is good luck to break the egg, so we did that
together this morning....

and I had an Easter breakfast of strawberries & chocolate - yummy!

Then we headed for San Marco, which usually holds an open air
Mass, but as the weather was 'iffy' they hadn't set up an outside
altar, they just relayed the service to those of us gathered
in the piazza

But one of the concelebrant priests did bring the hosts
out to the top of the church steps, so I decided
this was the year I'd go up to take Easter
communion, something I haven't done since 2007.
It felt right.....and it felt good

Saturday 19 April 2014

Coals to Newcastle

Yes, I know I shouldn't, but the thing is,
it's almost an hour & a half's drive from Il Sogno 
to the nearest available source. 
Therefore, it makes sense to bring some back 
in my suitcase on my trips to the UK.........doesn't it?

Friday 18 April 2014

A Blagged Sunday Lunch

The In-Laws weren't home when Flik & I called round
after our girlie Saturday lunch, so we left a note to
say sorry we'd missed them.
Flik dared me to ask them to invite the whole family
to Gibson's Grey Lady for Sunday lunch on the day
before I flew back home.
I never could resist a dare..............

We didn't have champagne, but we DID celebrate in style
Creamed Mushrooms on Poached Asparagus
Salmon, Sautéed Jersey Royals & Fennel Rosti
Apple Parfait
And although the food was mouthgasmic, the best part was 
being surrounded by most of my family - the almost perfect Sunday lunch!

'En famille' - only our son was missing

Tuesday 1 April 2014

I Finally Did It

I've seen the hashtag littering my Twitter TL 
for quite a while now, but it wasn't until
Brit Pack 'Yummy Mummy' Claire
blogged about it that I really took any notice
(if you haven't 'met' the Brit Pack, you can do so
and decided to investigate a little further.

Having checked out the challenge website: a few days ago,
I was still a little unsure about taking it on.
But then, on the spur of the moment, this evening,
I decided it was time to start the challenge.
So I did...........

Day 1 pic of my #100happydays challenge