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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Upside down tick

October 23, 2016 Leave a comment
A most unlovely creature

A most unlovely creature

This is a tick off Galileo, seen through the microscope.

Seeing one up close like that doesn’t make me feel any better about the species.

The anus is where you’d expect it to be – marked by the little black dot.

However I would never have guessed that the indent just inland of its mouthparts is its genital aperture.

Rainbow palette

October 22, 2016 Leave a comment
Red and yellow and pink and green ...

Red and yellow and pink and green …

Yesterday there was rain and sun and I went looking for a rainbow.

There wasn’t one, but across the valley there were almost enough colours to make one.

No wonder water didn’t get through

October 21, 2016 2 comments
Sludge from the water hose

Sludge from the water hose

This pile of gunge is what emerged when I forced water through a section of hose between the spring and the pond.

It’s hard to believe it built up over just a few months.

I was glad to hear water tinkling into the pond once more.


October 20, 2016 Leave a comment
No harm in trying, I suppose

No harm in trying, I suppose

As far as I’m aware, never having had a female dog before, Florence hasn’t yet gone into heat.

But that doesn’t stop Galileo testing the water.

The poor little chap needs a stool …

Olive maggots

October 19, 2016 Leave a comment
An olive fruit fly maggot and squishy olive flesh

An olive fruit fly maggot and squishy olive flesh

This year the local olives, including ours, are infested with olive fruit fly larvae.

There are little holes and pits on the outside of each fruit, and inside a yellow maggot the size of a grain of rice

The maggot leaves brown tracks and tunnels and makes the inside of the olive gooey.

The local remedy is to hang a bottle trap in each tree with an anchovy as bait for the flies, and to spray the trees.

Apparently it’s easy to control, but it depends on everyone doing it.

Orchard sandwich

October 18, 2016 Leave a comment
Contrasting foliage in the orchard

Contrasting foliage in the orchard

This is another sandwich of sorts, seen from the window.

In the foreground is the almond tree with green leaves on its upper twigs. The blue string represents my (unsuccessful) attempt to encourage one of its branches to bend lower.

Behind it is the persimmon tree, with flaming foliage.

Behind that is a fig tree which, in contrast, has turned yellow.

The orchard, with its random mix of types of fruit tree, is especially interesting at this time of year.

Tarpaulin sandwich

October 17, 2016 Leave a comment
Tarpaulin edges looking like gaudy petticoats

Tarpaulin edges looking like gaudy petticoats

The tarpaulins which cover the pool get a pounding over the course of the winter.

Their worst enemy is the wind, followed by the sun.

For the first time ever, we’ve actually put 3 tarpaulins on:

The bottom one, dark green, is one year old and reasonably sound but too lightweight to work on its own.

The middle one, red, is brand new this year and not quite big enough in one dimension.

The top one is at least 3 years old with several holes in it.

Let’s hope they all work together well!