Living in Italy

August 22, 2008 16 comments
The house with pool and orchard in the foreground

The house with pool and orchard in the foreground

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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Bunch of jewels

August 27, 2016 Leave a comment
A cascade of jewel colours

A cascade of jewel colours

Grapes with the light through them reveal the most wonderful colours.

I love photographing them.

We have a lot of grapes this year and this shot was one of a number.

It’s possibly my favourite.

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Headless monster

August 26, 2016 2 comments
A dead scorpion

A dead scorpion

I found this scorpion, already dead, a couple of days ago. It’s beginning to look a little the worse for wear.

Only a part of it would fit under the microscope at any one time.

What amazes me is that despite being relatively long and thin, it doesn’t appear to have a head.

In fact it doesn’t have a head as such. Its eyes are on its chest or its legs are on its head, depending on how you look at it.

It really does look weird up close.


Full days

August 25, 2016 Leave a comment
Grapes ripe for the picking

Grapes ripe for the picking

One of the worst things about illness is that your time is no longer your own.

Today we went to the hospital and queued with one set of people just for a blood pressure check, then with the same lot of people again to see the anaesthetist who had an office that backed onto the first room.

Each doorway we went through, we had to take the pedals off Clive’s wheelchair, remove the cushion, fold up the chair, and then reassemble.

Each time a form was filled out, which was often, Clive’s name was questioned – Are you sure this is his surname?

Yes, I jolly well am. When I married him I took it on myself!

We spent all morning on this fruitless exercise – 6 hours used up.

The result sometimes is that I end up picking fruit in the dark, which I don’t mind at all.


August 24, 2016 2 comments
The clock that started up in the earthquake

The clock that started up in the earthquake

Flanked by a miner’s lamp and candles, this Westminster chiming clock which is in need of repair came to life last night at about 3.30 am.

The first earthquake tremor, which woke us up, started the clock ticking and it struck one before stopping again.

The bed vibrated violently. Clive told me it was an earthquake before I had time to work it out.

Our neighbour phoned to check we were all right. They were watching television and were able to give us a bit of news. There was shouting in the village below us.

I went back to bed and Galileo climbed in with me.

The second tremor woke me from the edge of sleep. I got up and made a cup of tea which we drank waiting for the third tremor. It came, but was comparatively small.

It seemed at first like no-one had been hurt but gradually news came in from other places about the devastation.

An earthquake is a very frightening thing. It’s unpredictable in every way and it can change lives in an instant.


August 23, 2016 4 comments
Part way there

Part way there

Yesterday when we went to the hospital for the lemon of a visit, we were obliged to leave Florence behind.

She’s very heavy and while I can lift her into the back of the car once, this time she escaped and then was spooked. A struggling Florence is a different matter.

So I’ve undertaken to try to have her get into the car under her own steam.

It’s obvious she’s not agile enough to make it in one leap like Taylor, so Giovanni and I made up a light but strong box by way of a step.

She was extremely reluctant to use it, but fortunately she’s a greedy little pig.

With the help of some biscuits just out of her reach in the hatch, she eventually got up there on her own.

In the photo she cautiously places a hind leg on the box.

There’s a way to go yet, but I don’t want to leave her behind again if I can help it.

A lemon

August 22, 2016 4 comments
A fine specimen on a potted tree

A fine specimen on a potted tree

The photo represents very well our visit to the hospital today.

Clive was told he had to sign a consent form for anaesthesia even though only light sedation is anticipated for his colonoscopy.

We duly went in today, with the added bonus of Clive being able to meet the oncology consultant for the first time.

However, the anaesthetist had decided, in the short time it took us to get there, that Clive has to undergo a series of tests in a separate visit which of course means the colonoscopy, due Wednesday, has to be postponed.

The anaesthetist visit isn’t till next week and God knows when the colonoscopy will now be put back to.

On second thoughts, lemon is too good a word.

Stewed mixed fruit

August 21, 2016 4 comments
Damsons and nashis

Damsons and nashis

These will be the main ingredients for our stewed fruit, along with the odd few apples and early pears.

Mixing fruit like this means we take everything in, but it’s a challenge coming up with a half-way accurate (and brief) label!