Sunday, September 06, 2009

Wood shed

Andy has been busy constructing a wood shed so we can keep all our firewood dry this winter, now for the task of chopping the wood!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Progress Update (July 2009)

Well it's been quite a time since I last posted an update. The heavy snows are long gone (although they did last into March) and we are well into a very warm summer. We have been concentrating our efforts on the space immediately outside the house so we have somewhere to sit out & enjoy the lovely weather. We have almost finished the paths & patios that have been constructed using the array of stones & rocks we have found around the property. Poor Andy has spent many hours fighting with enormous boulders & struggling to get them in place & level but it was worth the effort.

Work in one of the apartments has progressed well but the other is still being used as a bit of a storage area/workshop. Andy has also made nearly all the internal doors for the house but we need to get all the frames in, doors varnished etc. Still plenty to do but things are progressing.

My parents have just been to stay for a couple of weeks & my dad decorated Matteo's bedroom which is great, he finally has a proper bedroom that he can also play in, he even has a door!
I have finally measured out all the fabric for the curtains for our living space, I just need to make them now, no small task when we have 3 large windows & a set of patio doors.

In between all his work commitments Andy plans to build a woodstore before the winter & to start cutting some wood for the fire as well as all the other ongoing jobs we have!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow, snow, snow, snow.....

We have had yet more snow, over 30cm yesterday & last night, I don't know what's going on with the weather as it's very unusual for such bad weather at this time of year. The road was blocked all day yesterday and the snow plough has only just managed to get through late this afternoon. The weight of all the snow had brought down quite a few trees which were blocking the road. Andy went out earlier & cleared some close to the house but we could hear the snow plough stopping & the sound of a chain saw clearing fallen trees as it made its way up the road. The forecast is for slightly better weather so we are hoping for an improvement over christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Birthday!

I can't believe how quickly the last year has passed, Matteo will be 1 year old on Friday! He is turning into a real character & is into everything. He has been enjoying opening kitchen cupboards for several weeks now & emptying the contents onto the floor but yesterday he discovered he could also open the fridge door & as I write he is contemplating whether to remove something from the fridge or play with the sprouts he has strewn across the kitchen floor! We are still waiting for his first tooth to arrive and although he stands on his own and will walk holding our hands we are still waiting for his first step on his own. His favourite word is 'cracker' which he shouts repeatedly at crackers, bread, biscuits or anything similar! He is looking forward to opening his pressies on Friday & tucking into his chocolate & smartie birthday cake (well maybe just a small piece!)

Progress Update (December 2008)

Work on the house has been progressing quite well over the last couple of months. The plumbing & electrical work is almost finished, we are waiting for one final visit from the plumber/electrician and then we hope everything will be more or less complete. The kitchen worktop was finally delivered after months of waiting & the kitchen is looking really good now, we are just waiting for a couple of appliances that are on order then it should be finished. The railings for the balconies & stairs were delivered a few weeks ago & Andy has managed to get them installed & they look lovely. Andy has just constructed & fitted our first internal door which is a real novelty for Matteo, he doesn't know what doors are! As we are having visitors for christmas this year the pressure has been on to get the apartments into a habitable state so we have employed some friends of friends who were looking for a bit of work to help us finish a couple of jobs in the apartments & do a bit of painting for us so the apartments are looking a lot better (although still far from finished!). We still have plenty to do in both the house and apartments and when the weather improves we must start on landscaping outside.

More Snow

We've woken up this morning to another 3 or 4 inches of snow, the second heavy snow fall we've had in the last 10 days. Last week we had several days of heavy snow and we're snowed in for a couple of days. Fortunately the Commune are pretty good at clearing the roads and the snow plough digs us out most days by lunch time! Unfortunately it's up to us to dig the cars out (see picture!) and clear a route to the wood pile which can be quite hard work. Matteo isn't sure what to make of all the snow, he's a bit young this year for sledging and snowmen but will definitely enjoy it next year!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Festas, christenings, food, wine, more food ....

In recent weeks all the local towns and villages have had their festas, several of which we have attended. We also had the San Bernardo festa a couple of weeks ago for the people who live along our road. There was mass in the chapel just up the road followed by various meals. We ate with our neighbours, Emilia & Cinto, and their family and enjoyed a typical (and very large) piemontese meal. We particularly enjoyed the cinghiale (wild boar), probably the best we have tasted while we have been here, even Matteo tried a bit! After our meal there was a football match which everyone took very seriously, even if we had the ability to play football we wouldn't have been able to after the amount we had just eaten! We then called in to see some other neighbours and had to stay and have some more food and wine with them before being invited to help them eat up the left overs the following day! When we arrived home we found another neighbour had left us a plate of food outside the house! If what I helped them eat on the Sunday were the leftovers I'm glad I didn't see the meal on Saturday! We had platters of starters followed by plates and plates of meat from the BBQ then fruit & cheese & cake, all washed down with an abundance of wine.

Last week I was invited round to eat with at least 2 of our neighbours while Andy was away working and then yesterday we attended the christening of the grandaughter of one of our neighbours. The christening was held at the little chapel up the road followed by drinks then everyone headed down to their other house in the valley where we enjoyed yet another enormous meal and even wine to keep us all going until christmas! Apparently there is another festa in a couple of weeks, I'm not sure how many more we can survive!

Path & patio building

We have been trying to tidy up the space immediately outside the house for some time now. We are trying to use the local stone that we have all over our land to build patios and a path to the house but we have discovered that what seemed like a relatively simple task has turned into a major, and very time consuming, building project! The stones are all different shapes and sizes, some are enormous and very heavy, so laying them isn't very straight forward but we are progressing and the first patio and section of path leading to the house is finally starting to take shape.

General Update 08/09/08

It's been a while since I updated everyone on our progress, things have been pretty hectic here as you can imagine!

Matteo is now almost 9 months old. He is growing at an amazing rate and developing into a real character. He continues to be a big hit with our family, friends, neighbours and most complete strangers we meet! The Italians are great with kids and everyone in our nearest town knows him, he also enjoys meals out at several of our local restaurants where he is always made very welcome & is now progressing to sitting in a high chair & eating our breadsticks rather than sleeping in his pram, very Italian! He is also enjoying going swimming although the local pool has been closed for the last few weeks, it re-opens this week so he is looking forward to getting back in the water!

Work on the house is moving forward although much slower than we had hoped as Andy is working away from home so much he rarely has time to do anything & when he is here he is usually too shattered to do much. With a little help from family we have managed to get our bedroom decorated and we have moved in so Matteo now has his own bedroom, although it isn't finished! We almost have a kitchen minus the worktops, we are still in discussions with Ikea re the worktops and have been since May! We have all our doors and windows in now and have just had someone to measure up for railings for the balconies and stairs so hopefully they will arrive in the next 4-6 weeks. We also have our radiators in now but they still need commissioning, hopefully they will be up and running before it gets cold. Andy is still sanding and treating ceilings at every opportunity, he is currently working downstairs in the apartments. We are also trying to get the bathrooms into a working state, unfortunately the builder left them in quite a mess and we are having to un-do quite a lot of his work and put it right. In between all of this we are also trying to get the outside space into some sort of order before the winter as it was very muddy outside last year.

In between Andy's work, looking after Matteo & work on the house we also manage to get out and about a bit (although it generally involves DIY shopping!) and we have been to quite a few local festas this summer (more to follow).

Monday, May 26, 2008

We've moved at last!

Just a quick update to let everyone know we finally moved into the house last week! It is far from finished but we decided things would progress much quicker if we were living on site. We have a living space with a wood burner, a calor gas camping stove, a cleanish bedroom that we share with Matteo & an almost complete bathroom so we are surviving! There is still plenty of work to do but we are a bit closer. I'll post another update and some pictures shortly.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


We have just returned from a few days in Venice. It was Matteo's first holiday and he seemed to enjoy himself & on the whole was very well behaved! It was great to get away for a few days and to catch up with my parents who we met up with. We have visited Venice a few times before but it is always lovely to go back and every time we discover new places we haven't stumbled across before.