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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Moon daisy

September 27, 2016 Leave a comment
Ox-eye or moon daisy

Ox-eye or moon daisy

I love the name moon daisy.

It’s a great deal more romantic-sounding than the more usual ox-eye daisy.

The young leaves are eaten raw in Italy apparently, even though they’re bitter.

Mind you, Italians eat just about any sort of wild greenery, cooked or in salads.


September 26, 2016 2 comments
Which is leg and which is shadow?

Which is leg and which is shadow?

I thought this was a spider but it isn’t.

It belongs in fact to a group of creatures called Opiliones and is called a Harvestman because it appears at harvest time.

Of the other names for it I most like Grandfather Greybeard.

In America it’s called Daddy Longlegs but that’s the name we give to a crane fly in the UK.

The grapes are sour

September 25, 2016 Leave a comment
Some of the grapes high up in an apple tree

Some of the grapes high up in an apple tree

The grapes are actually very ripe and extremely sweet – not the least bit sour although most of them were way out of my reach.

I got some bunches down ‘by hook or by crook’ – a very apt phrase in the context.

Maybe next year I’ll try to direct the vine a little lower through the branches of the apple tree.

Comfort and prestige

September 24, 2016 Leave a comment
Galileo and Florence in a manufactured truce

Galileo and Florence in a manufactured truce

This is the sofa opposite Clive’s bed.

There’s no doubt that it’s comfortable, but there also seems to be a great deal of prestige attached to sleeping on it.

Both the dogs insist on occupying it alone, and will drive the other off.

How come they’re both on it now, you ask? Well it’s because I was squeezed between them till a moment ago, acting as a buffer, and then slipped away leaving them fast asleep!

Another autumn rose

September 23, 2016 Leave a comment
Every bit as beautiful as in summer

Every bit as beautiful as in summer

The nights are drawing in and the evenings and early mornings are distinctly chilly, but the roses carry on blooming.

Rather tattily in some cases, but not in this.

Pleasant and unpleasant surprises

September 22, 2016 Leave a comment
A portion of the snakeskin, where I found it

A portion of the snakeskin, where I found it

Cutting back a cotoneaster, I found the skin which a snake had obviously shed by squeezing through a narrow gap.

That was the pleasant surprise. These are grass snakes which eat mice which eat the air filter in our car, and I’m happy to have them around.

Also a snakeskin is a thing of beauty – like fine crochet work.

The unpleasant surprise came when I phoned the pharmacy this morning.

I asked that we be able to pick up next month’s supply of colostomy bags for Clive and was told “No”.

The reason for being denied them is that the district doctor forgot to write the 2 words ‘in deroga’ (which means something like ‘exceptional’) on the paperwork.

It’s by no means certain when this will be resolved.

A red, red rose

September 21, 2016 2 comments
Autumn roses

Autumn roses

These roses are on the bush overshadowed by the wisteria.

They’re a real scarlet red unlike a lot of roses which are more crimson.

The blooms persist until there’s snow on the mountains creating a strange contrast.

In fact the bush is never entirely without flowers or leaves even though I would consider it one of my more delicate roses.