alma's activity

Questions Asked

I live in England and have a holiday home in the Val di Vara, on the Liguria/Tuscany border. My italian neighbour there needs to sell another house she owns in the village, following the death of her husband.

Mon, 07/04/2011 - 17:02

I live in England and have a holiday home in the Val di Vara, on the Liguria/Tuscany border. My italian neighbour there needs to sell another house she owns in the village, following the death of her husband.

Mon, 07/04/2011 - 17:02

I've not posted for a long time although regularly read posts. I just wondered if anyone could advise me on the best way to help my italian neighbour.

Mon, 07/04/2011 - 05:28

On Nov 7th The Times printed the winners of a poetry translation competition.

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 13:32

My OH has , in recent years, developed a reaction to perfumed soap, shower gel, shampoo etc. as well as to certain dyes. In England he is fine using the 'Simple' range of toiletries.

Sat, 10/10/2009 - 14:26

We've never had to make a travel insurance claim and were pleased we could get cheap travel insurance with Direct travel (about £54 for the two of us for a year, and that 's their premier rate not just standard.

Mon, 08/24/2009 - 10:30

Can anyone tell me anything at all about San Vincenzo, south of Livorno (eg. is it worth staying in that area for a few days)?

Fri, 07/03/2009 - 14:11

I dont know if Heiko is still known as Heikover in this community, but can I recommend his wine tasting evenings for the people in the Lunigiana area. We went to the June one and it was very informative and fun as well.

Wed, 07/01/2009 - 20:07

Why is there no book section anymore? I finally got round to reading "The Flight of the Falcon" by Daphne du Maurier. It certainly gripped me as I read more and I absolutely must visit Urbino now.

Wed, 07/01/2009 - 19:57

Could anyone tell me if, under Ryanair's new rules that all bags must be checked in online, the £5 fee applies to hold luggage AND hand luggage?

Wed, 05/27/2009 - 13:08

Comments posted

Sun, 11/17/2013 - 15:03

Over 20 years ago we (this the royal we as I dont drive) drove to Italy via France, Belgium , Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland. Since then we have flown but really want to go by road again before we get too old. We are happy to stay for as many nights en route as we need and make the journey part of the holiday. I am interested in Jackie Molloy's comment that she took ordinary roads through France and wondered what her route was. I would like to avoid Switzerland if possible. We probably wouldn't book accommodation but just stop when we wanted. I would be grateful for suggestions on a route. We are going to Southern Liguria. 

Answer to: UK Food Delivery
Sat, 10/13/2012 - 05:22

Sebastiano, I'm very interested that you enjoy eating eel. We like to try most things but our one attempt at cooking eel was such a disaster that we gave up. Obviously we were doing something very wrong. Have you got a failsafe recipe so we can have another go?

Fri, 09/28/2012 - 17:53

I agree with Gala. As he is your neighbour it is vital to get him on your side somehow if you want a pleasant life. He has the power to make your life hell in all sorts of ways if he feels you are "at war". Could you write him a letter asking if you can discuss any disagreements between you in a friendly manner, as you are willing to listen to his point of view if he will consider yours, and do not feel the need to resort to solicitors?

Answer to: Summer in Italy
Wed, 09/26/2012 - 08:22

We visited Bolgheri and Castagneto Carducci earlier this month while staying for a few days near the Gulf of Baratti. A beautiful area worth visiting. We bought some of the wine mentioned above and wish we'd bought a lot more it was so good. The Gulf of Baratti, a bit south of there,is  a gorgeous bit of coastline with the Etruscan port of Populonia perched on a cliff and lots of fascinating museums. Also worth visiting is Massa Marittima. People ask us why we dont get fed up of going back to Italy. I just fret that there aren't enough years left in my life to even explore my own bit of Liguria properly, never mind the rest of Italy. New places to discover and an ever increasing list of favourite places to revisit. We go again in October and will be there on the first anniversary of the huge floods and landslides which devastated that area on Oct 21st last year. We visited Monterosso this month and you could hardly tell there had been a disaster, but there is still a lot of evidence in the inland villages that suffered. The completely new road to our village was at the last stages of being dug out and the new bridge is in place but we are still waiting for the road to be tarmacked. Just hope it will all be finished soon . The evacuated residents moved back only at the beginning of June and have had to use a very rough, partly temporary road, that would be dangerous in winter. They say they are going to have a festa to celebrate when all is complete and want us to be there, so hope it will be in October.

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 07:55

I would think about the story of the North Wind and the Sun in a contest about who could succeed in removing the coat being worn by a man. All the force of the wind had no effect - the man just buttoned it tighter. The sun of course just had to shine. Maybe you should just try and "unbutton" your neighbour with unrelenting "niceness" - daily little presents of homemade cakes, invitations to lunch, asking his advice on all sorts of things, smiling as if you think he's wonderful. It would have to be constant. If he doesn't "melt" he may just have to move away himself if he cant stomach living next door to incomprehensible saints!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:50

No, I haven't read that book, qui gia`, but I'll certainly have a look at it and the site you mention. Thankyou for the link.

Answer to: Thankyou
Wed, 09/19/2012 - 09:50

Really enjoyed your book and, like everyone else, do need to know what happens next! Just one thing I felt your opinion might differ on in years to come - all those poor feeble old people in their 60's. One day you'll discover that 60 is definitely the new 28!!

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 09:02

Although OH doesn't seem to be able to tell a verb from a noun or a plate of spaghetti and has to try and pick things up as he goes along, he really isn't making wonderful progress. I would find it extremely frustrating myself not to have a basis of Italian grammar so I can be more precise in what I want to say,although I do make lots of mistakes in conversation when there is no time to think. It may seem boring at first to learn tenses etc. but it feels fantastic to be able to use them to express yourself more clearly. I actually have a terrible memory for both vocab and grammar, but when in Italy you are constantly reminded of all you have learnt and I know I find it easier to retain if I understand how it all works (not that there aren't many gaps). The more you know the faster you pick new things up, without even realising you are doing so. For me it would be much more of a struggle without the tools, but I know some people are much better at assimilating these as they go along. All I can say is, even when you only know just a few words, you get pleasure from using them and being understood, and this pleasure just grows with the more you learn and can use. That, for me. is why language learning is so ideal. The rewards start instantly, the feedback is constant and everything you have learnt you continue to use so have continuous reinforcement and your memory hardly knows it has to make an effort.

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 08:27

I'm really pleased Thin Paths is being read. I know I mentioned it on the site a while ago but dont know if I was the first. OH and I both read it during our  recent (just back) 3 weeks in the other end of Liguria and it really is beautifully written. I told my Italian neighbour about it and she said the same system of the padrone taking a share of everything, even the women, happened in this area too . She also talked about her memories of the women carrying animal feed and everything in baskets on their heads, just like in the book. She is not yet 73! Another book I keep reading bits of in Italy, which was recommended on this site is the one first published in 1908 by Lena Duff Gordon when she came to live in the Fortezza in Aulla. One thing that amazed me was when she talked about her friend the primary school teacher who was the only teacher in the school and had 70 pupils of all ages. They spoke different dialects and had to learn Italian in school She said this was quite normal to have such a large class. Corporal punishment was illegal even then and even lines could not be given. It is so interesting to read about the history, the not so distant past of your neighbours, as well as the experiences of newcomers (I also enjoyed Diary of a Single Parent). I have read quite a few of the books people have suggested here and I can only say please keep sharing anything you find.

Answer to: Thankyou
Wed, 07/25/2012 - 11:47

I'm really pleased your book is now available in paperback Jill and have just ordered a copy ready to take to Italy to read. I'm also taking "Thin Paths" by Julia Blackburn now it is available in paperback. It has excellent reviews. Has anyone read it?