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:


Damaris blog - home page advert


August 24, 2016 Leave a comment
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 2 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!

Pure as the driven snow

August 20, 2016 Leave a comment
Pure white hibiscus

Pure white hibiscus

This hibiscus, which happens to be growing in a pot where it sprouted all by itself, really is pure white.

I believe it’s the descendant of a purple hibiscus, which has had many offspring of different colours.

There’s actually a purple hibiscus in the same pot, purple being the more usual colour.

Apples and pears

August 19, 2016 1 comment
Apples and pears (stairs)

The rag, tag and bobtail bowl

This is fruit from the orchard.

There are all different kinds of apple – small and unripe in some cases – as well as two pears.

It makes for a very colourful bowl.


August 18, 2016 2 comments
The rose bush is not as hemmed in as it looks

The rose bush is not as hemmed in as it looks

This rose bush is bearing its last blooms before autumn.

It looks completely hemmed in, but in fact the nearer stake is tall, taking the wisteria up and away, while the upright in the middle of the photo is a telegraph pole some distance away.