Living in Italy

August 22, 2008 16 comments

The house ‘immersed in greenery’ as they say here

Italy has been our home for more than 12 years now, and the house in the photo for most of that time. This blog documents the joys and problems of our existence day by day.


We have our difficulties. My husband, Clive, is permanently disabled. In addition, he recently spent 9 months in French hospitals recovering first from a coma and then from an operation to remove a massive bowel tumour. He’s just finished a course of chemotherapy at home, and is learning to walk again.


Some of our difficulties derive from where we live, but I still love living here. Clive is more circumspect. By reading about our daily life, perhaps you will be able to tell whose view is the more accurate. Does the pleasure outweigh the pain? Or will my writing betray a less rose-tinted reality?


You can also see the books we’ve written and published by clicking on the image below:


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Poetry in motion

June 26, 2016 Leave a comment
Swallowtail butterfly not quite landing on lavender

Swallowtail butterfly not quite landing on lavender

This is a swallowtail butterfly – possibly a relative of the one undergoing metamorphosis in a jam jar at the moment.

Unlike other, smaller butterflies, it moves its wings constantly while sipping nectar from lavender – maybe because it’s too heavy to put its full weight on the flower stem.

A pox on this house

June 25, 2016 Leave a comment
The house being repaired

The house being repaired

The house looks as if it’s very badly diseased.

Here Giovanni (on the right) and his friend Franco (on the left) sponge over where they’ve recently applied patches of rendering.

Evening heat

June 24, 2016 Leave a comment
Bee hovering by lavender

Bee hovering by lavender

The lavender is now out and full of bees.

This one was taking advantage of the last direct sunlight.

Camouflaged chrysalis

June 23, 2016 Leave a comment
Hardly noticeable at all

Hardly noticeable at all

The swallowtail caterpillar (Bert) who’s been living in a jam jar has turned into a chrysalis.

I didn’t see the brief moment when he shed his caterpillar skin, but the skin itself is a little discarded puddle in the bottom of the jar.

I’d given him some sticks to attach to and was amazed to see that although he was green when he entered his new phase, in twenty-four hours he’d taken on the colour of the sticks.

Now I need to wait for him to become a butterfly and work out how to contain him when he first emerges without doing any damage.

Green but not for much longer

June 22, 2016 Leave a comment
Roses and sweet peas with Mount Subasio in the background

Roses, sweet peas and Mount Subasio

Beyond the garden flowers are green mountains.

They won’t be green for much longer, though.

We’ve had two days of heat, and despite all the rain the grass will turn parched and yellowy before long.

Gooseberry cutting

June 21, 2016 8 comments
Ripe red gooseberries

Ripe red gooseberries

These gooseberries are growing on a cutting taken from the original plant we bought.

I’d say it’s doing even better than its parent.

Iridescent beetle

June 20, 2016 Leave a comment
The underside of a small beetle

The underside of a beetle

This is the underside of a very small beetle, about the size of a ‘petit pois’, seen through the microscope.

With all those colours set against black it could be a stained glass window.