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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Truffle substitutes

May 30, 2016 Leave a comment
This is not a truffle

This is not a truffle

Galileo is the kind of dog that hunts for truffles.

We decided not to train him because it would have meant giving him different conditions to the rest of our dogs.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t hunt, obsessively, for anything small that moves (unlike truffles).

This mouse is his handiwork, I’m sure: I found it near the car where he’d been circling, and I can’t say it gave me much of a pang because they get in the engine. One even made a nest in the Wet Wipe packet in the glove compartment.

But the big green lizard that he killed – of a type so big we call them Komodo Dragons – now that did upset me.

An indecisive spider

May 29, 2016 Leave a comment
Un-hedging its bets

Un-hedging its bets

This spider couldn’t seem to make up its mind.

It went up and down its thread, between the love-in-a-mist I’d picked and which was now in a vase, and the table.

Finally it settled for the flower.

The photo may well show it just detaching its thread.

Summer chore

May 28, 2016 Leave a comment
Giovanni, down between the brick pillars of the lights, applying teak oil

Giovanni applying teak oil

It was one of the first real days of summer.

After another attack on the broom in the further reaches of the olive grove, Giovanni applied teak oil to the sides of the swimming pool.

The wrong way round

May 27, 2016 Leave a comment
Pure nerve

Pure nerve

A while ago this would never have been permitted. Taylor was touchy about his personal space being invaded by that pesky puppy.

But Florence has got her feet well under the table, even with him.

Somehow, though, for a female who will be going into her first heat very soon, it seems to be the wrong way round.

Seed head

May 26, 2016 Leave a comment
Intricacy in miniature

Intricacy in miniature

The path below the orchard and above the olive grove is full of orchids and all kinds of bright flowers.

This seed head wasn’t very obvious, low in the grass.

I had no idea quite how beautiful it would be under the microscope.

Grubby little spaniel

May 25, 2016 Leave a comment
Not what you want on the arm of your sofa

Not what you want on the arm of your sofa

Galileo goes in and out of water all day.

He has four places to choose from: two ponds, the basin where the spring comes out, and now the swimming pool, where he crouches down on top of the inside steps.

I reckon his last visit can’t have been to the swimming pool because he’d probably have been a bit cleaner.

He’s impossible to keep off the sofa, and he circumvents any protective coverings we put there.

His last bastion is the sofa arm.

Double promise

May 24, 2016 Leave a comment
Double rainbow

Double rainbow

It’s still raining despite the double promise of yesterday evening.

But the word on the street is that it will be fine tomorrow.