Personal

On the 1st September last year, after we’d decided that the right property didn’t exist for us here in Liguria and we were therefore planning to move on to another campsite in another region to start the search all over again, Marcus brought me to see this house.

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I’m only half a dozen pages into my Calendario Lunare book and I can safely say it’s not been my quickest of reads – I’ve managed a few pages of introduction and then a huge 82 page jump into July so I could see what I should have been doing at the end of last month and to basically tick off a very long list of everything I hadn’t done. The pages I’ve read so far are slowly filling up with scribbles of translation between the lines … and no, it’s not every word … so I’m definitely proving to myself that I have learnt a decent amount of Italian so far.

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On the 14th April 1796, Napoleon and his troops, having already been victorious at Montenotte, simultaneously attacked the Austrians and Piedmontese to continue their campaign in Italy. The Austrians were holding their position at Dego but after suffering 350 casualties and 1,500 men being taken prisoner by the French they were forced out as the French moved in to pillage the small town.

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Translated as ‘We’re waiting …’ I’m referring to the numerous fruit trees that are dotted around our garden. Everything has got signs of the growing fruit on them so we’re preparing for a glut – even if my vegetables don’t come through (due to us planting everything two months too late) I’m sure we’re going to be over-run with fruit.

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It was only the other day I said to Marcus … ‘since when did lizards become the norm?’ In England it used to be blackbirds or sparrows, but now its lizards. They’re everywhere … if they’re not scuttling out from under your feet in the long grass (and giving me small seizures every time due to the shock) then they’re leaping off the first floor roof onto the ground two or three metres below (and giving me small seizures due to the shock).

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We’ve cracked it – Marcus has managed to get our outside wood oven temperature up to 475degrees Celsius – perfect for the ideal 90 second pizza cooking session! Up until now we’ve been floundering around the 200degrees mark – with falling heat, probably warm enough to thaw an ice cube, but we definitely weren’t in pizza territory. But with research, and advice from a couple of friends and a neighbour we learned that the bricks on the inside walls and the dome need to be white – only then is it hot enough throughout the whole oven and only then will pizzas be a success.

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I’ve finally found them! I sorted through a dozen or so boxes with the word ‘Kitchen’ scrawled across the side and in ‘Kitchen Bits Misc’ I found our two Mucky Mugs along with a butter dish, a couple of colanders, a fruit bowl, two huge cappuccino cups and my baking items – icing bags and nozzles, bun cases, biscuit cutters and a rock solid slab of black fondant icing (best check the ‘use by’ date on that one). I think ‘Kitchen Bits Misc’ perfectly sums up that atrocity of a packed box (although everything was, of course, bubble wrapped!) And the funny thing is I was actually looking for my icing bits and not the Mucky Mugs.

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Tama … our ‘baby girl’ … was put to sleep only a few days after we moved up to the house. At over 20 years old she has been with us practically all of our married life but she never looked more than a few years old with her pink nose and silver tabby fur. We used to call her Benjamin Button as she never seemed to age, so we were obviously very shocked and upset when she finally gave in to her old age. After spending the last two and a half years with us in the caravan as we looked for our new home, our little cat has left a very big hole in our lives … but have lots of wonderful photos and memories to help us remember her.

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Well firstly we should be commended for remembering how to pack up a caravan from a pitch – after all its been exactly two years since we last did it! With a forecast for rain, we had emptied our awning over the previous couple of days, taking the bulky items up to the house, and we were then able to take the awning itself down on a dry, but very windy day causing us some fun as we took all the poles out and were basically left with a caravan with a sail. We could have easily tacked and jibed our way around the campsite!

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