Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Report

Well, here we are at the end of our first full year in Italia.

What is the report like?

(LD = La Duchessa, LUCF = L’uomo chi fa)

The estate

Pretty good. B++.

Looking better and better. Vines were disappointing. Hope for better in 2009. Olives were great. The olive oil is fantastic. Must be worth at least €50,00 a litre. Any takers? But the best bit was the vegetables. Apart from two problems, the runner beans and the parsnips, we had a bumper harvest from our efforts.

LD: LUCF really needs to pull his socks up next year. I am looking for a 40% increase in vegetable production to counter the blasted Euro/Sterling debacle.

LUCF: I agree – well what else can I say?

The Maniero Casa (Manor house)

Not much. C

But we never planned to do much. We’ll have to see for next year

LD: LUCF really needs to pull his socks up next year. I am looking for a 40% increase in maniero casa work to counter the blasted Euro/Sterling debacle.

LUCF: Oh, she does go on and on.

Income generation

Need to make more progress on this area, so, C

We have had some success but we need more. We have many more irons in the fire than this time last year and we will be putting more and more in 2009. Of course the Euro rate has hit us very hard, as it has with tens of 1000s of British people living in the Euroland and of course in North America whose income comes from the UK. But, nowt much we can do about that. It needs a “work around”. We’ll find one.

Also, LD has completed the first draft of her novel so we hope to have more to say on that during 2009

LD: LUCF really needs to pull his socks up next year. I am looking for a 40% increase in income generation to counter the blasted Euro/Sterling debacle.

LUCF: What did I tell you?

Wine consumption

Very good. A

LD: LUCF really needs to pull his socks up next year. I am looking for a 40% increase in wine consumption to counter the blasted Euro/Sterling debacle.

LUCF: She’s like a stuck record.

PS Readers must make their own judgement on us receiving an A grade in terms of what it means exactly when applied to this topic.

Dog acquisition

Another very good year for this topic. A

Bertie is lovely. We have currently got one of his sisters staying with us. I defy any expert to look at them and believe they are from the same litter.

LD: LUCF really needs to pull his socks up next year. I am looking for a 40% increase in dog acquisition to counter the blasted Euro/Sterling debacle.

LUCF: what is she on about?

Chicken purchase

Again not planned for this year, so C.

But L’uomo chi fa is already drawing up the plans for the chicken coop

Keep blog watching for progress.

LD: LUCF really needs to pull his socks up next year. I am looking for a 40% increase in egg production to counter the blasted Euro/Sterling debacle.

LUCF: I give up. We didn’t have any chickens this year. How can we have a 40% increase on nothing? Doh!

Administrationy type of stuff

Not bad. B

Got LUCF health things sorted out. He’s definitely better than last year. Residency all sorted. Got a couple of things still to do (car ) which will be started in January.

LD: LUCF really needs to pull his socks up next year. I am looking for a 40% increase in administrationy type of stuff to counter the blasted Euro/Sterling debacle.

LUCF: On and on. Oh, my head.

Quality of life and enjoyment

There’s only one grade for this, AAA

LD: Hear, hear.

LUCF: I’m speechless. I thought LD would want a 40% increase in quality of life and enjoyment to counter the blasted Euro/Sterling debacle.

So that’s it really.

We intend to have a fairly quiet night, well apart from the dogs racing round and round. We’ll have a firework spectacular just after midnight. L’uomo chi fa was unable to resist the urge when he saw some fireworks for sale in the local shop, so we will be treated to about 15 seconds of ear shattering, smoke filled, eye watering incandescence in the back garden. The horizon around the house will be lit up with almost continuous firework flashes for about 30 minutes. So we don’t really need to have our own personal display, but he has to be humoured.

We are looking forward to 2009 and keeping you updated on our life in Italy. We hope you will continue to enjoy it.

Ciao, mantenare de fede

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Buon Natale tutti!
That means “Merry Christmas all” in, yes you’ve guessed it, Italian.

Round Britain Trip

We arrived back from our family visit trip last week. It was great seeing everyone again but also quite fatiguing whizzing about in our little Noddy car. If we were able to afford to hire an Audi A4 or other good long distance tourer, it would have been less tiring. But there you go. The Noddy car got us to where we wanted to be.
It felt a little strange being backing England, driving on the other side of the road, and then, it all came back in a rush. We pulled in behind a gi-normous traffic jam on the M25. Oh, to be in England. That is something we do not miss.

We met our new niece, Phoebe Rose, who was utterly delightful - shame you can’t choose your parents (joke).We saw Southern rellies, North Western ones and the North Eastern and Eastern clans. And managed to visit some very good friends as well. We saw all the progeny and the grandchildren. The eldest one was getting very excited about Christmas and Santa. I really wanted to disabuse him about Santa Claus but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, although at 19 (well OK he is only 8) I really do think their parents should tell them themselves. They don’t even have a chimney for goodness sake.
So all in all, a good time.

There was however one stand-out time which I thought worthwhile recounting as it also involves a form of ennoblement.
After watching one son stuff Stockport U19s in rugby, ooh, it was good, we motored over the Pennines to see little Miss Sunshine and her parents plus another son - I do seem to have rather an excessive number of them.
The next day we decided to go for a walk in the afternoon. Bearing in mind it was getting dark about 4ish, we didn’t start the walk until about three and we were going to go about 3 plus miles. Anyway, we parked up in pub car park put our footwear on and off we set.
It was great, nice and chilly and but we were all wrapped up cosy and warm. Little Miss Sunshine was tucked up in a backpack and the dogs were roaring about the fields and into the woods.
You know when you go for a walk with someone who has a map. It usually starts out with him (or her) never looking at it and really it eis there in case of emergency. You notice when things are a going a little off-plan when the map keeps going up and down in front of the face of the map reader with increasing regularity until it looks like he is using it as a fan to keep someone cool. There maybe also a slight twitching at the edge of the eyes.
Well, there may have been a bit of eye twitching but it was not detectable due to the fact that twilight had descended and we were no where near the end of the walk and had yet to enter the woods – or enchanted forest if you are a romantic, and we were not at this stage. However, we could have gone across a couple of fields to the road that was clearly visible with lots of traffic going up and down – civilisation. But no.
Fortunately, although you may not think so, Little Miss Sunshine’s mum had one of those torches that you squeeze to generate a bit of power to use it, a bit like a wrist exerciser. They are OK, you just have to get used to the fact that the beam of light generated is so weak, it actually bends downwards. The map was consulted. Words were muttered. Time to move on.
Not to be wimpish, and as Little Miss Sunshine was by this time as quiet as a mouse, we stumbled on into the woods. Then we stopped while
more map consultation was undertaken. Hands were waved in various directions. Steps taken and then retraced. The gloom was by now severe, bordering on jet.
A decision was made. We tripped our way back to where we could see the road. There was a stile, which yours truly hopped over and immediately went up to his knees in very cold sloppy mud. I thought it was mud but as I couldn’t see anything I couldn’t be sure.
It was nice to get home and have a beer or two and a good laugh at our escapade in the warmth of their house.

So where does the ennoblement come in? Well as the founder (and only member up to this time) of the Ministry of Misleading and Mystified Map-readers or “MMMM, I think it’s this way”, I have enormous pleasure in granting full membership to my son and conferring the title, Member of the Ministry of Misleading and Mystified Map-readers, Prima Classe. A most noble title.
It must be in the genes.
Good on yer mate (he likes Australia).

By the way, after our trip we are thinking of renaming Great Britain, Gray Britain.

Home again, home again, jiggedy jig

It is good to be home. We collected Bertie the afternoon we got back. He is a big boy. We had to take him for his last jab last Friday and the vet weighed him at 10 kilos. He will not be three months until the beginning of January.
He was really pleased to see us and I think he didn’t understand why his sister wasn’t coming with us too. He will see her again on 30th as we are looking after her because her people are going to Austria for New Year.
It will be fun to have two of them for a little while – I think.

La Duchessa had this great idea of making him a couple of beds to lie on out of an old feather duvet we had. I just wish she would lavish some attention on her L'uomo qui fa. Sob, sob.

A Christmas Message

La Duchessa and I wish all our family, friends and everyone who reads this a very Merry Christmas and New Year – Buon Natale e Nuovo Anno
Let us hope 2009 will be a positive year on all fronts for everybody.

Ciao, mantenere de fede

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's that time of year.
La Duchessa and L'uomo chi fa will be missing from this site for a couple of weeks due to committments elasewhere. We have had to leave the lovely Bertie in the more than capable hands of his last fosterers and his sister, Jesse, whom we met properly tonight. She's lovely, but very different to her brother in terms of colouring and size.
We look forward to seeing him in a couple of weeks and hope he won't have forgotten us.

Check out the Natale Especiale nearer Christmas


Mantenere la fede