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).