Friday, 19 January 2018

Dusty days

It's everywhere of course despite a regular clean up session each evening and much washing of the black kitchen floor.
But progress is good, it's so worth it even if our bedroom looks like are area of mass destruction.  At some stage I need to get into my wardrobe to find a (dust free) party ensemble as we are out tomorrow.  
In this bathroom we selected two contrasting tiles, different shapes and different colours.  The grey planky ones on the floor and the back of the shower
have an interesting texture and go well with the plainer rectangular tiles on the other walls
and in real life look darker on the back wall than they do on the floor, which pleases me
Today we've taken delivery of the fittings, the shower screen only just squeezed into our lift and the plinth for the cupboards had to be carried up the fire escape, but everything is safe in our hall.  The cupboards are very dark grey, maybe granite, with a slightly metallic finish and of course all the sanitary ware is white.  We are getting there, I'm looking forward to a weekend of calm and a finish next week.  Keep you posted.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Answers on a postcard

I didn't report on our £5 Christmas stocking exchange, it was fun as ever though maybe a bit samey.  Books, soap and some pretty little dishes for me, socks from a £1.50 large ball of 4 ply I found in the charity for Mr FF plus  a framed postcard of Ilkley and some shower gel.  
However, we received this from friends in Taiwan and I have absolutely  no idea what its for

It can't be a key ring surely as is too cumbersome, 5 inches across 6 inches long and padded.  The little overcoat comes off though the button doesn't work its just decoration.  Unless anyone comes up with the answer soon we are going to have to email and ask our friends which is a little embarrassing.
The bathroom is stripped out, the new fittings are all ordered complete with an illuminated mirrored cabinet that has different levels of light, chargers inside so we can keep the toothbrush etc out of sight, and blue tooth.  Mr FF tells me we can play music in the bathroom via the phone.  Like the little padded jacket, I have no idea what this is about.  I heard someone say on a comedy programme recently that they'd leave their partner if only they knew how to work Netflix.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018


So 2018, its a rather worry year at the penthouse as Mr FF and I will be 70 in August and November respectively.    I don't feel that old but I am, I've no idea how it happened and what the coming years will bring, there's nothing I can do but get on with it. 
We continue as usual.  We've just moved ourselves into the spare bedroom and cluttered the beautiful new bathroom with our lotions and potion because tomorrow Jim is back to start stripping out the second en suite bathroom.
Today it looks like this with everything moved out, the layout will basically be the same as we've decided that having the sanitary ware built into cupboard arrangement works well, I have a lot of toiletries and I love a place to put things down.  We hope to have a walk in shower and have sourced some interesting tiles but talking to Jim I got the impression he was a bit disappointed we weren't installing another all singing all dancing bathroom.  Maybe we are starting to act our age, we'll be putting in grab rails next.
I'll keep you updated as things get worse before they get better, meantime happy new year to everyone.

Sunday, 24 December 2017


As ever my minimal Christmas preparation has been hurried and stressful, switching from relaxed Italian mode to full on UK festive season is always hard, its quite shocking to return late November to see the excess of consumerism already underway.  Equally my ambitious knitting schedule is never achieved, mostly socks and none of the pretty scarves I planned, but I did manage a couple of little jumpers for newly born Harry,  His Dad is a keen cricket player and fan so the cream one is for match days.
As ever Mr FF took some persuading to put up the lights, he bought some new ones this year and despite the pack saying there was about a metre of light, there were miles and miles.  I had to point out that though they looked lovely reflecting off the marble work tops this just wasn't practical, they are now strung prettily round the dining area of the kitchen which we have renamed Santa's grotto.
My brother and sister in law kindly did the present exchange earlier last week, which was a great help and lovely to see them here.  Val brought me a couple of fresh greenery arrangements so my hall is suitably decked and my brother stocked us up with veg from his garden.  
We are looking forward to a quiet time, we already have the top floor of our building to ourselves, with enough of what we need.  I hope you have a wonderful time and your Christmas wishes all come true.  

Saturday, 9 December 2017

My usual seasonal rant

I'm doing my best with to deal with Christmas.  Last week Mr FF and I helped to put up the large tree and decorations in our communal hallway, bit early if you ask me but really they needed to be done before our in house Christmas lunch.  I attended the latter and stayed the course till around 10 pm.  
I've written the cards, wrapped the overseas packages.  It's not going too badly.  After 6 months in Italy I have lots of socks in the gift department even though I haven't made the various scarves and gloves I imagined I would.  
Mr FF has been busy attending his walking groups lunches, coming home wearing irritating paper hats.  What is it with crackers, we had them at the in house lunch and when I helped to tidy later I found a large selection of stupid plastic items left on the tables plus all the paper debris, I'm pleased to say not many hats were worn.  Such a waste of money, I imagine said crackers had been shipped from China to end up in landfill.   
Much nicer that one of our resident ladies had made table decorations mostly  sourced from our communal garden which we were allowed to bring home, a week later mine looks good.

Its cold outside, 1 degree, but not too snowy here, hope you are coping and cosy.  I may venture out later if there aren't too many Christmas tunes in the shops.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

The best of times the worst of times

So another Italian summer sojourn is over and it's been fantastic with the best ever weather, we rarely ate breakfast indoors even in November. We made huge progress with the garden, all the front terraces and paths repaved, discovered the delights of having our own plunge pool, rediscovered our little kitties and cherished the time we have spent with them. 
It was the worst ever time because of the wildfires, scary that the inferno came so close and sad to see so many beautiful old trees lost. The only up side of the fire was that when we were evacuated I realised that no materials goods were that important, I was even ready to abandon the car when we couldn't get down the road for fire vehicles. 
The worst of times for visitors, we only had one night when anyone stayed with us which may speak of my hospitality. We hardly left the house, no overnights on the coast, we didn't go to the coast, no trip to Rome, not so many meals out but plenty of festas and I've loved the peace and quiet, I've been content. 
I did have a longing for a new yellow handbag for the summer but that didn't happen, as usual I bought far too many pairs of cotton trousers, culottes and shorts on the market, at 3 euro a pair I cannot resist them, but I did finally manage to wear out a few t shirts to create some wardrobe space. 
In July I got the best haircut ever at my regular salon, in September I asked for exactly the same and got such a bonkers cut I could hardly believe it. Giancarlo explained that the two cuts were exactly the same (not) but that the first was elegant while the second was powerful, something must have been lost in translation because I didn't see it that way but in November he gave me an extremely short, and chilly, cut that I love, we remain friends.
I read 24 books, knit 12 pairs of socks, lost some weight, it all felt so very very relaxing and comfortable, just like this

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Can't stop

We are leaving in two days though nothing whatsoever is booked as we are being flexible. Piero is still here building the garden wall, he lost several days due to rain but the sun is back now. Mr FF has made a secure wooden house to accommodate the cat food dispenser, if those girls get much fatter they won't be able to squeeze in but happily they took to using it immediately, maybe they remember from last year. They also have two separate cosy outside sleeping options, we've done our best let's hope they stay around till we return. We are hanging on till the last minute to put away the garden furniture as we still manage breakfast outside but we've done most of the packing. Not looking forward to the long journey home while trying not to stress about it. I am looking forward to seeing family and friends after six months away and of course Ilkley and the penthouse. Mr FF has already got Jim lined up to rip out our ensuite bathroom in the new year, we need to select new tiles, fittings etc when we get so that can look forward to more disruption, I expected nothing less.