Thursday, December 29

Christmas

I've been staying with the family on the Island for the past week.  As a result I have been busy socialising.  Below is a "wordle" (created here) that sums up the exact activities/places that have consumed my time here.  I'll let you be the judge of what my favourite activity is...




I hope everyone has had a fabulously marvellous Christmas and have some exciting plans ahead for the New Year celebrations and the year of 2012 that follows.  If 2011 has been anything to go by...a lot can change in a year!

Thursday, December 22

It's official...

....Christmas came early!

Today:
  1. I was reminded that I get paid a "thirteenth month".
  2. I have received some awesome presents from both the children/parents at school and my work colleagues.
  3. I returned home to a new shiny, white, well-insulated boiler, hooray!
  4. All the radiators are working, hooray!
  5. I have hot water, hooray!
  6. I received a Christmas card from my Grandma.
  7. The gas bill for October and November is actually a credit and clearly says "Do not pay anything."
Hooray for this glorious day!

Tuesday, December 20

Tuesday Tune: 20-12-2011


First things first, let me share with you this weeks Tuesday Tune:

It’s called Dormire (Sleep) by Subsonica.  I like it.  Even if it has stolen the initial melody from Simon and Garfunkel's Wednesday Morning 3am.


Now.  A small....rant, shall we say.  I am doing this more for my benefit than yours as I need to order the recent events relating to my “boiler situation” so that I am able to recall the exact chronological facts if I need to at some point in the future.  Don’t read on if you’ve got your own challenges to face, go and do something that will lessen your challenge, rather than hear about mine.
 
Let me take you back:  it’s my second year studying at University for my degree.  I am living with 4 other students and my room is the colour of the inside of a cucumber crossed with that of mint leaves.  It was like that when I moved in and that’s how it stayed.  Yummy!  This room had four walls, in fact it was a square, however three of the walls were external walls.  My goodness was that a cold place!  The best gloves I ever owned I bought specifically to play the piano in that room.  And I remember there being ice on the inside of my window as it was not only cold, but damp, with mildew appearing on one of the walls a frequent occurrence.  This is not a sob story.  We’ve all suffered such pitiful living conditions (and if you haven’t, bravo!).  This is the beginning of my coldness.  Something I have not managed to escape since that year, 2005.

Since then there have been other properties that I have resided in, most of which were not very adept at keeping the heat in.  So when I moved to Ita...

...you know what.  I can’t be bothered with this.  

I was going to give you an account of each step that I’ve taken since living here to get my heating and hot water sorted but there really isn’t any point in doing so.  Today it was officially decided that, yes, my boiler is broken.  Wow.  As if I didn’t know that already.  I’m pretty certain that it’s been broken since I moved here in August but I didn’t know until I needed it in October.  When I noticed that there were problems, it started with only six out of eight radiators working,  I informed the landlord who got someone round to have a look.  

“There’s nothing wrong,” was the response, “keep all the radiators on all the time and check the level on the boiler regularly.” So that’s what I did. One month later the boiler had deteriorated and gave up heating the water.  That was two weeks ago.  

Thankfully, I’ve now got a personal “boiler squad”, consisting of three people from work.  If it wasn’t for them I’d be facing a Winter with no hope of ever being warm again.  But in fact the wheels are in motion to sort out this mess.  All I can literally do is pray.  Everything else is completely out of my control.  

In this present moment I’m very thankful for meeting such generous people since living here.  I am currently sitting on the sofa wearing a  pair of ski trousers (lent to me in September by my Manopello friends in anticipation of freezing temperatures) accompanied by a long, red coat (given to me by a Pescara-based friend as my own coat doesn’t meet Italian standards!).  The temperature of my house isn’t exactly freezing; according to the thermostat it’s a tepid 15.2 degrees, but I’m pretty glad I purchased two electric heaters in the beginning of November in a bid to keep the gas bill down.

This whole situation takes me right back to the beginning of this post, with my second year house.  It was in that house that the shower exploded whilst I was having a shower.  There was a loud bang followed by black smoke pluming from the bottom of it.  After reporting it that day the landlord appeared a few days later.  Did he fix it?  Don’t be silly.  He took a photograph of it so he could sue the builders who installed it, of course!

Monday, December 19

Dogs, Cookies and Cleaning Elves


What a weekend!

So.  Busy times have been had by all this weekend.  My Mum, for one, had her Staff Christmas Party, a one-night stop over at the Bembridge Coast Hotel.  And whilst she was partying the night away with her friends I was hosting a very civilised Christmas get together consisting of a selection of people I’ve met since being here.  

Saturday: 
As a previous post showed (here), I’d already decorated my house Christmas styleee so all I had to do was cook food for the evening.  Therefore I spent from 2-6pm, head to toe in flour, crunching remnants of pastry onto my kitchen floor.  The outcome of this were two successful flans/quiches, some cheese and tomato whirls and accidental cheese straws (I did not intend to make the cheese straws but I read my pastry recipe wrong and added double the margarine I needed so made double the breadcrumbs which I then divided between the pastry for the flans and cheese straws).  I also prepared some scones but did not bake them in the end because we had plenty of food.

My friends came dressed in all sorts of guises (turns out I hadn’t been very consistent with my description of the theme “Cheap and Ugly”, oops!), food was eaten, bottles were emptied and we played a game with the €1 gifts that had been contributed.  1.30am arrived along with home-time and....amazingly...in the space of no more than five minutes, everything was collected up, put in the bin, washed up and tidied.  It turns out that all my new friends have special Elf-like powers that makes the saying “many hands make light work” sound ridiculously slow!

Sunday:
I went to a house in the countryside.  Don’t ask me where exactly, it took a while for my friends to find the exact location, but the views during the car journey were incredible.  The mountains looked fake with an icing sugar dusting of snow.  

It was at this house that I encountered two dogs.  One was three legged (I didn’t catch the reason why) and dashed around excitedly to and fro, here and there and everywhere.  I liked that dog.  Then there was the other dog.  A Jack Russell of some description, equally friendly.  However...it got quite attached to one of the guests and spent quite a while humping the blokes leg.  Seriously funny!

That just leaves the cookies.  All weekend I have been eating cookies.  Two of my friends made cookies for my party, and there were a lot left over.  In fact I took eighteen cookies to work today for my class.  Crazy!  And then, after the Sunday lunch we were all sent home with foil wrapped “doggy bags” of goodies.  I opened one up, yep, six more cookies.   Thank goodness I like cookies, yum!

Saturday, December 17

Listen...

Some people (I admit a minority) enjoyed the last song.  Guess where I was sitting when this one caught up with me...
Not Yet by user1829204

Wednesday, December 14

Twenty-Four Hours and Fifteen Minutes in London

Yes, the general consensus is that I'm barking mad for going to London for 24 hours, but hey ho, sometimes these things have got to be done!  

Sunday 11th December 2011

08:20 - I land in London.  It is grey, and drizzling, and much colder.  I can see my breath and I'm thinking "Great, things really haven't changed."

09:00 - I sit on a Stansted Express with a Costa Coffee (a small Pralines and Cream, yum), and laugh at the randomness of my first "return to London" purchases.  Train tickets, coffee and Costa's version of a Jammie Dodger, which I don't actually eat!
 
09:15 - I stare out of the window and watch the English countryside flash past me.  I overhear the following conversation between a young couple:
Boy: What's wrong with her?
Girl: ...I think she's in love.
Boy:  Is that how you look?
Girl: ........

09:30 - I ring the friends I am going to meet in Holborn so that I speak clearly about the fact I have not been in England for 4 months and that it is really strange seeing the English countryside.  I hope the young couple get the hint so I can convince them I'm not really insane, just a bit delirious.

09:47 - I arrive in Liverpool Street Station and proceed to get the tube through to Holborn.

10:14 - The underground is busy, "even for a Sunday!".  It is one of the last weekends before Christmas I suppose.  People have a lot of shopping to do.  I am still smiling to myself.  A lot.

So I am early.  45 minutes in fact.  What shall I do.....hmm.....what shall I do?!  Erm....oh yes...I know.  WETHERSPOONS!

10:23 - I sit in a Wetherspoons with a pint of Festive Ale: Redbreast.  Ahhhhhhhh.

Real Ale.  It exists in Italy of course.  I'm not saying it doesn't.  But nothing beats drinking Ale at 10:30 in the morning in a dingy pub with sticky carpet and old men and menu's covered in the latest offers available.  Welcome back to London.

10:30 - The first of my friends arrive.  Followed shortly by the other two.  Oh how I have missed them.  So much.  We remain in Wetherspoons for a while catching up over a beverage (of course the others choose more reasonable drinks for a morning - tea, coke, juice) and we exchange Christmas presents.

This is where the accuracy of my day dwindles.  Lost in conversation we amble through to the Giraffe (a restaurant)  in Russell Square.  We manage to get a table without having to wait.  I enjoy my Indonesian style noodles, yummy.

After leaving Giraffe we catch a bus to Southbank and walk around admiring the German market and various London landmarks that can be seen from that area.  What tourists we were!

16:47 - My best bud and I get the train from Waterloo.  I leave her on the train as I get off at Clapham Junction.  From there I do a little bit of shopping.  I buy a pair of socks and a book entitled Father Christmas Needs a Wee.

17:30 - In the pub along from my church in Battersea I meet a friend I know through the church I attended in London.  We catch up on the latest goings on in each other's lives and head to Evensong where I catch up with another friend who looked incredibly well.  I am very jealous of his extended Christmas off of work.  For once I think he has a longer "holiday" than I do!

19:00 - I leave Battersea by train from Clapham Junction church and head to Balham.  It is here that I meet friends from my teaching life.  We catch up on all things new and I discover that they are all doing very well and in high spirits as only a week remains of term.  Always a happy feeling for any school teacher!

23:30 - I set my alarm for 03:45 before falling asleep on an airbed in the lounge of my ex-housemates having enjoyed a real cup of tea and biscuits catching up on the latest developments in their lives.  It was like Pescara didn't even exist.* 


Monday 12th December 2011

02:45 - I am woken up by my alarm.  I go to the toilet and brush my teeth in a dazed state.  I check my watch.  02:50.  I look at it again....I'm sure I set my alarm for 03:45, not 02:45.  Confusion holds me steadfast in my friends bathroom for a minute or so.  It's actually an hour earlier than I thought.  I have set my alarm without taking into account the hour's difference between London and Pescara.  I only changed the time on my watch.  What a bonus!  I sleep for another hour.

04:05 - I leave the house after successfully waking at 03:45 and getting dressed.  I pray I didn't wake my friends as I bumble down their stairs and out the door.

05:10 - After two buses across London I am sitting on the Stansted Express in Liverpool Street.  Sad times.  However I remember I hadn't eaten my Jammie Dodger from Costa so devour that quickly, crumbs go everywhere!

Turns out, of course, I arrive at the airport exceptionally early.  Fortuantely this gives me adequate time to purchase Travel Scrabble and a bar of Dairy Milk and still have time to walk around and have a 20 minute power nap.  I'm very glad I am not going to England via Stansted for my Christmas trip in just over a week.  There's only so much of Stansted's Departure Lounge one can take!

08:35 - The pilot announces that there is a technical fault with one of the computers on the plane but that a technician is on the way.  Hmm....not sure about this.

08:55 - We take off.  And I leave London.

*By special request I have to note that it was indeed fantastic to see the real Hockers herself, in flesh, rather than on Skype.  I must say that rowing is definitely a sport that suits her and I am very excited at the prospect of visiting her again when she moves in February.  However, it won't be until she visits me here!

Saturday, December 10

A Recycled Christmas

One of the good things about living on your own is that you can do what you want to where you live.  So this year my Christmas decorations have taken a theme of being "recycled".  As a result it's been the cheapest way to decorate: a mere €3!!
...Christmas Tree made out of recycled bottles with printer paper baubles and put into a glass vase, held up by newspaper...

...printer paper stars and foil tinsel...

...wrapping paper on the glass fronted cupboards...

...and printer paper snowflake with foil "paper" chain.


Thursday, December 8

The end of an era

It happens to everyone at some point in their life.  

It was Christmas Day 2006.  My family and I had opened all our presents; the Grandparents were sleeping after the Christmas dinner; my brother was playing with his new gadgets and my parents were doing the washing up.  I, however, was in the lounge, sitting in an armchair feeling a little bit sorry for myself.  Yes, I had lots of lovely new things.  Yes I did appreciate everything that my parents and family had got me, I had been very lucky.  But there was one thing missing...something I had been asking for since my Birthday.

Suddenly my Dad enters the room.
"Laura, did we give you Monk?"  I look up astounded that Dad was capable of mind-reading.  I shook my head.
"Oh..." he says and walks out.
A few minutes later both the parents come into the lounge.
"Are you sure?"  Yes, I said, of course I was sure. I'd been wanting the four season box set of Monk for a long time.  My parents looked at each other a bit bewildered and a hushed conversation ensued that I didn't really listen to.

Dad disappeared.  I heard his footsteps falling on the stairs.  A few minutes later he reappeared with a brown card-board box in his hand.  It was Monk!  Turns out they had ordered it a few months earlier and had hidden it in a different place to where presents are usually kept.  And from then, a new man entered my life.

Adrian Monk, an OCD detective, has been the main character of an American television series for eight seasons (from 2002-2009).  For the past five years I have been watching all the episodes as I got the box set of each season.  The first box set I got in 2006 was seasons 1-4, roughly 72 episodes.  It took me one month to watch during my 3rd of University.  At times I was watching four episodes a day as I used Monk to distract me from the impending doom of a dissertation and the oncoming "end of the world" as I finished my first degree with no idea what to do next.  It became a talking point as it was all I really talked about.  At times I remember becoming a bit "OCD", straightening picture frames, organising books to be in ascending height etc. 

The following four seasons saw me through my PGCE and NQT year, two years of my life that were pretty pressured.  I would leave the box set on my desk until "the right time" came for the next episode.  I even saved the majority of season 8, the last season, for when I moved to Italy, as I knew that then I would need Monk the most. 

And so.  On Tuesday the 6th of December 2011 I watched the last ever episode of Monk.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do now.  I've been thinking about it for a few days now and I really haven't got a clue...I think I'm still grieving.
  


Randy Newman wrote and performed both theme tunes and this song he recorded for the video montage at the end of the last episode.

Tuesday, December 6

Tuesday Tune - 06/12/2011

Yep.  It's a Christmas Song.  And yes, it's an irritating one.  But hilarity ensuses at work when I sing it completely in English but the children insist on singing it in Italian.  Oh, they get so frustrated!  Enjoy...

Song:  Jingle Bells (Italian)




Sunday, December 4

Dancing on tables, flipping beer mats and mysterious envelopes

Random week!

Thursday night I find myself in a nightclub.  My first experience of being in an Italian nightclub.  It was the opening night of one of the clubs on the seafront for it's Winter season (basically Christmas and New Year!).  As the evening went on it got very odd.  At first it was just a normal dinner: music playing in the background as we were eating our antipasti (starter).  Then...everyone's dancing, behind their chairs.  Crazy.  Everyone's swinging napkins around their heads to the equivalent "cheesy music" of Italy.  Why swinging napkins around is the style I have no idea!  Then during the Primo (pasta dish), there's a catwalk of accessories and clothing from a boutique in the centre.  RANDOM!  Followed by more dancing, when yes, I danced on the chairs and the table.  All before the Secondo (meat dish).  We finally ate dessert (Tiramisu of course) at midnight.....

Saturday night I met up with an American friend.  We went to a few bars in the "old town" of Pescara before ending up in a bar which my friend frequents often as she knows the owner.  This bar was definitely a "home from home".  People were playing board games - yes, board games - including Trivial Pursuit and Labyrinth, and there was even Connect 4 and Scrabble.  Plus a birra bionda grande (a big lager) was served in an actual pint glass, well half litre glass shaped the same as a pint glass!  So this place is definitely somewhere I'm heading back to in the future.  Especially now I've introduced my new friends to the skill of flipping beer mats off the edge of the table!

And now...I've just returned from the 11.30am service at Church where I was handed an envelope with the words Per te Giovane (for the young) on the front.  The Priest told me to open it at home.  So here I am....

Tuesday, November 29

It's official...(and Tuesday's Tune)

...sometimes living away from home sucks.

Anyway.

As the brother left on Sunday I had agreed to go out Sunday night with some friends to a play/dinner and wine event.  I knew that I would be feeling a bit down after saying goodbye to the bro as, although it was awesome to see him, it brought to light all the homesickness feelings I've been avoiding for the past 3 months.

So.  Sunday night I found myself in a circular room, in a winery, lit only by candlelight, listening to "confessions" from 10 men who individually knelt beside me and talked for 5 minutes in Italian.  Right in my face too.  One of them even pulled me closer.  Talk about daunting!

Of course I had no idea what they were saying.  (just imagine now, sitting in a room with someone speaking a language that you only have a small knowledge of)  Odd words/sentences I understood like figlia, madre, adesso etc (daughter, mother, now etc) but without a concrete context i.e. restaurant, pictures, music etc, to match the "confessions" to, I was really stuck.  However this did turn out to be a good thing as 9 out of 10 confessions were pretty disgusting.

My Italian friends afterwards refused to relay all of the details back to me after the play as they themselves had found some of the confessions pretty disturbing.  Apparently one man had confessed, in detail, how he had....you know...had sex with a corpse.  Another proceeded to confess sleeping with his daughter before killing her, and I could go on but I don't want to.  It was a really "interesting" (might be the best word) evening which I really enjoyed.  The set up of the play could work in any language and it was very, very clever.  Most of the people were questioning what they had heard and it did make for some interesting conversations at dinner!

P.S.  No one has materialised to live in the spare room as yet, so I'm still Queen of my very own castle! 

Tuesday's Tune:  Addison's Uncle - B1159

I discovered this when reading Seth Lakeman's facebook page because I received his latest album (a signed copy).  This chap had left a comment on Seth Lakeman's page and I followed the link he left to a recent review.  Loving the randomness but brilliantness of this song.  Wish I could go see him...

Sunday, November 27

The Bro. and Rome

So the younger bruv has returned to England and is probably enjoying crossing roads without having a near-death experience every time.

Ok.  So I went to Rome when my Mum was here in August and on reading the blog from that visit (Yeh...we went to Rome) I can safely say that my view of the city has improved.  The city is indeed "very big" and on my second visit I managed to cover some areas that I hadn't been to before.

Now, the truth: when walking around the city with my brother, I was all set to "blog" quite negatively about it.  I feel that the buildings are just all plonked together and then connected with strips of tarmac for good measure.  Almost akin to the cities I built when playing SimCity many, many moons ago.  But.  This was around the area of the Colosseum, and the Vittoriana thingy-ma-jig (a big, white monument to honour the first King of unified Italy) where there are wide roads  Something happened late in the day that completely, and I mean, completely changed my whole opinion of Rome.

I walked up the cupola (dome) of St. Peters.

It was amazing.  After being taken up "3-levels" in a lift there was an ascent of 300+ steps.  Hmm... the word "steps" doesn't quite cut it.  At one point the "steps" were a tight corkscrew with a vertical rope as the banister.  At another point they were in a claustrophobic, arched corridor just about wide enough for the majority of people and another set were slanting inwards, well the floor was slanting outwards and ceiling inwards, on account of being...in a dome...duh!...

However.  I never been so rewarded with such an ascent as when I emerged at the top.  It was sunset.  And it was beautiful. 

In fact, my writing is not good enough to convey the experience accurately.  Next time you see me ask me about it.


Thursday, November 24

past the 3 month mark

So the younger brother arrived here yesterday.  I was extremely excited (and still am).  This has made me think about the adjustments I have made since being here as my life settles down to become a sort of "normality".

I look left then right when crossing the road.
I am used to walking down (and back up) 4 flights of steps with a bin in the morning to do my bit for recycling.
I am used to running down (and back up) 4 flights of steps with a bin at night to beat the timer on the light, to do my bit for recycling.
I buy my fruit and vegetables from a market instead of the supermarket.
I drink more water than ever before.
I can survive without playing the piano but it ruddy hurts my soul.
I am not able to survive without listening to music at some point everyday.
I find the Old Testament reading of the UCB notes much easier to read now I have the time.
I am not daunted by a lack of knowledge of the language, I've found it is others that impose this on me.
I can work with three and four year olds, and I actually enjoy it.
I have been able to live on my own quite happily.

But one thing will never change.  I still have no knowledge of "current affairs".  Changing country has not affected this, I did not expect it to.  But someone told me there's an economic crisis that could mean the end of the Euro.  I hope it's got nothing to do with Italy...!

Tuesday, November 22

Tuesday Tune - 22/11/2011


Today’s Tuesday Tune is Two-fold:
  1. it is the first Italian song I purposefully listened to, and it has become a favourite of mine
  2. the video is reminiscent of how I’ve been living for the last two months (mainly in my dressing gown and dancing that is, not making things work with a funky move!)
Tomorrow my “living alone” time will end.  My brother will be here until Sunday.  And then Monday...there will be someone living with me until the 12th of January 2012.  This is an exciting time of change but also the end of my new found “living-alone love”.  I love living on my own.  I can dance in my dressing gown and live out of an empty fridge with no complaints from anyone else!

The song is La notte dei desideri by Lorenzo Jovanotti Cherubini

 

For a translation of the lyrics click here

Saturday, November 19

New...


...shoes, gloves AND pyjamas, hooray! 
So yesterday I went to Bata (please see previous post here) and I managed to not only buy a new pair of lovely leather heeled black shoes suitable for all smart occasions SIZE 42, I also purchased a pair of black leather gloves which are going to keep my fingers toastier than my €2 fleece pair, or my €5 knitted pair, both of which showed signs of wear after a week.  I have also got a pair of calf boots on order that will mean I will be able to wear dresses/skirts/tights/leggings once more instead of trousers and trainers all the time!  I am excited as I normally have ankle boots for the Winter season, not these beauts!






Yay!  Shoes in a size 42.  And they are made in Italy.  Who would've thought!

And today has been an equally productive day with my friend.  We not only managed to buy her a new, shiny, crimson bicycle with a basket, lights, and a lock; get some keys cut so she keep her bike secure at her house; we also found a sleepwear shop that actually has brushed-cotton pyjama's.  Now, they might not sound very warm to you, but for me I have actually been dreaming about my two pairs of brushed-cotton pyjama's that are in England awaiting me to collect them.  Oh...how I longed for their softness and warmth.  So now I have in fact got a brand new set, which are equally wonderful and comfy.

Please.  Do not underestimate brushed-cotton pyjama's.

Oh yeh....one more thing.  I tried on a damned puffer jacket (click here to see why I hate them) and I actually didn't look that ridiculous.  But, I'm still not 100% on the idea.  I've looked at a few temperature charts for the average temperatures in each month for London and Pescara and London does seem to be, in general, a few degrees cooler so I'm just going to see how it goes.  I was able to survive the cold in London (just about!) so I'm going to do the same here.  Heatings off, I've got my pj's and a blanket and 2 electric heaters; one upstairs, one down.  Let's keep the gas bill down!*

*I know I could move into the downstairs room as it would be a lot easier to keep it warm and keep the heating costs down.  But the thing is I actually don't want to live in the downstairs room.  I have stood in it many times and I don't like it, simple as that. So please, none of you "smart alec's" who think they have a solution go suggesting I should move into the smaller room.  I like my room and that is that.  I will live with the cold consequences.

Thursday, November 17

Bro's, Mo's and...

...Bata big!

So...on Wednesday the second favourite, my younger brother, is flying over here to visit.  I'm very excited and have a laid back but also packed itinerary planned tailored to his requirements (i.e. "I want to see the Colosseum.").  I've even booked a night at a hotel in Rome that's apparently 500m from the Colosseum just to make sure he doesn't miss it.  Of course, this should make all my friends think "Hey, it must be pretty easy to visit Laura if her brother's going there so soon." and make them all book their flights out here!

And I move onto the Mo's... It's Movember and I just want to promote my two bestest friends who have embarked on a Mo-journey.  For those of you not in the Mo, Movember's aim is to: "...raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men." (find out more here: http://uk.movember.com/about/)

The Hubby C has decided to grow a mo, and poor Wifey C and their delicious daughter T-cake have to live with the astonishing consequence!  Take a look here, or just give a little cheer for do good-ers like the Charlton's.  (Honestly, I saw "the Mo" live on Skype tonight and Wifey C and T-cake are the ones who should be sponsored for having to avoid kisses from a whiskery Hubby C!)

And finally I sign off with the news that Bata has a range of footwear catering for ladies with size 41-43 feet: "Bata Big".

The absurdity of my shoe size to Italians was confirmed Monday night when I went bowling.  The guy at the counter giving out the bowling shoes was shocked when I announced "42" and handed me a pair of guys shoes.  Yes, people of Pescara, girls who aren't the average height of an Italian woman...163 cm or 5'4" according to http://wiki.answers.com...would look pretty silly walking around on size 37 feet.  So an objective for tomorrow is to investigate whether the Bata shop in town stock this range of footwear.  However I fear the brilliance is a "website only" commodity.

Tuesday, November 15

Tuesday Tune 15-11-2011

Because I love listening to music and because, like most people, I love when music is well matched for it's purpose I have decided that each Tuesday I will share one particular "musical entity" that has impressed me that week.  I'm guessing that this could be music from anywhere, or anything.   

So...to start us off.   I love the song on this advert which is getting a lot of TV time at the moment....yes it's an advert for socks....

The song is Lovely On My Hand (feat. Dorotea Mele) by Fabrizio Campanelli


Saturday, November 12

Gigglefests

There have been a few little things that I've said/done that have made me laugh (and others laugh when I've shared the hilarity).

Gigglefest 1:  I am in the bar just round the corner from my house.  I am with another English speaking girl.  I am buying bus tickets:

"Tu sei un biglietto per l'autobus."  The girl looks at me, with a very puzzled look.

"Un biglietto per l'autobus."  I repeat feeling confused as I thought my Italian was improving.  She smiles and realises what I want and I proceed to purchase 4 tickets.

Two hours later we are eating lunch, on a park bench, opposite work.  Lunch is a "Lidl Lunch" consisting of ciabatta, salami, sliced cheese, a packet of lettuce and Freeway Cola.  It suddenly dawns on me the hilarity of the earlier situation.

"Tu sei un bigletto per l'autobus."  Yep...I told the girl in the bar...."You are a bus ticket." 

Gigglefest 2:  I have been looking at new excercises that I can do at home to stop all the yummy Italian food I am eating spoil the size of my midriff.  Please try and imagine me (or maybe not), in my room, wearing trackie bottoms, a novelty jumper; the one that cost a Euro from the market, in my bedroom doing this whilst laughing hysterically...

 

"Upper body comes up, lower body comes up...BAM you just wanna pump them out..."

*cough* or not.....

Tuesday, November 8

Fancy a trip to the Post Office?

I arrive at the Post Office at 9am but turn around and head for the market because the queue is already massive.

At the market I purchase:
•A ball of wool to complete my hat
•A jumper from one stall for €3
•3 pairs of long socks for €5
•5, yes 5 jumpers for €5, three just because I need jumpers, one for doing "sport" in and the other is a massive thick proper olde style jumper with a wintry picture on the front, my Dad will be proud of me! 

Although there aren't charity shops in the same way as England (and I am a frequent visitor to charity shops), the used clothes stalls at the market make up for it.  Definitely the place to get myself a nice, warm puffer (bleuck) jacket as I don't see the point in me spending lots of money on something I currently hate the look of.  I completely understand the practicality of a "puffer" though so it will have to be done!

I head back to the Post Office, aware it will still be busy, as now I have the time to stand and wait.  I get my ticket: A155.  Look at the board. A65. My goodness me, 90 tickets to beep through.  Obviously some people have given up waiting but I need to pay the gas bill.  This, I spy, is the reasons why everyone else is standing with bills in their hands... 

Whilst I am waiting I go to the bar for a cappuccio and even sit down to drink it.  On returning to the Post Office the board displays A85.  Phew, promising...

At A122 I decide to go home to put my shopping away.  I get changed ready for work, go to the toilet and put my jumpers in the wash.  Back to the Post Office and it's on.....A1...2...8.  SIX numbers more. ARGH.

(I eventually pay at 12.32.  Incredibly it was an hour and a half wait for a 40 second transaction!)


*I discovered, after speaking to my Italian friends, that the first days of the month are when pensions are collected, in alphabetical order.  So that AND all the people paying their various bills equals the massive queues.  When it was at A80 people were taking tickets that were A288, crazy!

Sunday, November 6

Olives...


...ooo yeh!! I went olive picking.  Climbed trees and everything.  Also met some lovely new people, ate lots of yummy food and even played cards.  Hoorah!
 
(1) The olives start on the tree....(!!)

(2) A net goes around the base of the tree.
(3a) Then you just "comb" the olives off the branches.
(3b) You've gotta love the bright pink hoody!


(3c) Obviously the olives are all over the tree so sometimes it's just easier to get in it!

(4) The olives end up on the floor and it's just a case of helping them roll to the bottom of the net, which is lifted up at the edge to catch them.  Then put them into containers.  Simple!
(5) Every Olive picked!
Snack Time!

Monday, October 31

Annoying things.

A few little "gripes" that have got me today...

Puffer Jackets.  They are the height of fashion here but a pet hate of mine that comes from the 1990's!  Every colour, type of stitching, every size, every human being has one.  Old, young, male, female, children, babies....and what I find funny is that my Italian friends explain that they are warm.  Fine...I understand that.  But if they are so warm why are some people still layering all their clothing underneath?  One girl I saw today had a top, jumper, a wool based jacket AND a puffer jacket on.  Hello?  It's still 18 degrees.  Not exactly Alaska.

Face Paint.  It's Halloween.  Ok, I can't see that fancy dress is popular here but still.  Face Paint.  Where is it?  I know it exists because we've got it at school.  But I haven't found it yet.  Typical!  Toy Shops are apparently a good place to head so I'm off to the big toy shop in Montesilvano (once I've finished my scones for lunch!).

I have, however, had a really nice cappuccino today.  Plus, it was from the bar near my house.  Amazing!

Sunday, October 30

Ok....

....have I ever mentioned I love Sundays?

Yes, I miss my family.  Yes, I miss my friends.  Yes, I miss going to the pub - for real ale and bangers 'n' mash.  Yes, I miss playing the piano (a lot, in fact I think I've forgotten how to).  Yes, I sometimes think "What am I doing here?".  Yes, I miss my church.  Yes, I miss living with people.  But....

...today I made scones that only I will eat.  I've cleaned the house that only I will make messy.  I've listened to music, actually listened, with my eyes closed and heard lyrics and bass lines and guitar riffs.  I've knitted a few more rows to my hat that I have the time to complete.  I've written two letters and ordered one birthday present.  I've been to church (ok, I didn't understand anything today but at least I went!).  AND...I opened a bottle of wine with my new, Laura-friendly, corkscrew.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I like my life.  Warts and all.

Thursday, October 27

Nice Surprise

Today I have been feeling up and down.

Anybody who has had the experience of being my housemate would have steered well-clear of me this morning.  I woke up in an awful mood.  So I ended up, not quite awake, bumbling around the kitchen, eating pretty-much-dry cereal for breakfast (I ran out of milk) before having a nap on the sofa.  Not a good start to the day.

Anyway.  Thankfully the bad start to the day has been salvaged by a few nice surprises that have occured:

1)  A postcard from my Mum spied in the postbox giving me something to look forward to after work.
2)  My medical card AND bank card can be collected.  Finally, access to the doctor and my money!
3)  ...the best one...a 4 day weekend.  Oooo yeh!  And it really was a surprise.  I knew we had the 31st of October off but didn't think to look at the list of days off in November. 
4)  Finding the other half of the Lindt chocolate from my friend that I am now eating!