Weather…

Out with the dog this morning...

Out with the dog this morning…

Whether the weather be fine Or whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold Or whether the weather be hot, We’ll weather the weather Whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not

Anon.

It’s been a long winter this year in Italy, even though we managed to escape for a couple of weeks to Thailand in December where the sun shone and the temperature was warm on most days.

The sun shining on me in Thailand...

The sun shining on me in Thailand…

Last week in Le Marche at the end of March the sky was blue and I thought the winter had ended. It’s now April and today is Easter Sunday…and…it’s pouring with rain, misty and cold…at least 10 degrees colder than last week.

Blossom and blue sky, March 2015 Italy

Blossom and blue sky, March 2015 Italy

I know it is widely said that the English are obsessed with the weather but the fact is the weather determines your mood – well I think it does. So during the winter or bad weather you have to work hard to make yourself feel happy. That’s what we’re doing today. I’ve been out with the dog, she got wet and so did I but the pleasure in that is coming back home, drying off, having a hot drink and being glad you are lucky enough to have a lovely home. I am very aware that there are many people in this world who are not as lucky as me so complaining about the weather is very petty.   You can’t change it so go with it… Now the lunch is cooking (slow braised lamb in red wine), the fire is lit and it’s time to relax, read, write, play cards and enjoy our one chocolate Easter egg – The Man and I are sharing; sharing is caring. The forecast for next week is changeable, so my mood will be too. Friday’s looking good! News on the writing front is that I was short listed in the Fish Publishing Memoir Competition – down to 90 out of an original 780. A boost to my confidence for sure. I’ve written lots of ‘bits’ of my memoir, the test now is to find a common link, join it all together and make a book of it. The novel is coming along. That’s what I plan to do this afternoon, at least 3,000 words…after lunch and chocolate of course… Happy April everyone, wherever you are and whatever the weather… PS I was in New York a couple of weeks ago and there it was still extremely cold..it even snowed! SnowNYC

Dining, Dancing, Doting Nonna…..

Viareggio

Viareggio in the Evening Sun

Long time no blog. That’s because Olivespastavino has been travelling – a lot!

In the middle of March we drove up to the North of Italy, first to Viareggio inTuscany, then on to Apricale in Liguria and finally a visit to Gubbio in Umbria. It was fabulous. We absolutely loved each place and plan to visit Gubbio again in June, specifically the Relais Ducale. Another Blog post with more info to follow next week.

Apricale

Apricale Piazza

Gubbio

Gubbio Hotel Relais Ducale

At the very end of March I jumped on a flight to the UK to meet up with my lovely daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter, they live in New York so this was an opportunity to meet up. Sadly they were visiting the UK because of bereavement on my son-in-law’s side of the family.

The weather was fabulous and despite a sickness bug (for them not me) we managed to have a wonderful time. A visit to Hampton Court Palace Gardens was the highlight. A truly English experience. Spring flowers, shrubs, trees, foot paths and all beside the river Thames.

flowershcp

Spring Flowers in Hampton Court Palace Gardens

Wide Pathways and Beautiful Trees Hampton Court Palace Gardens

Wide Pathways and Beautiful Trees Hampton Court Palace Gardens

It really is truly wonderful being a grandmother, Nonna in Italian.  I love it! Of course I have got the most beautiful granddaughter in the whole world…who hasn’t? Every moment spent with her is precious, she lives so far away.

Nonna and Grandchild

Nonna and Grandchild

I returned to Italy for just one week and then went off again. This time to Northern Ireland for a grand dinner and knees up…splendid do, The Man polished up quite well for this and he was a lot better than the dog at selfies!

3photo

From Belfast we travelled over to Bristol where again the sun shone. After visiting Cardiff for family business The Man and I went our separate ways for a few days, him to London and I stayed in Bristol where I suddenly got the fitness bug!

My friend Jan took me to the gym, I don’t often like them but this one was rather lovely…Bristol Health and Fitness I did ten minutes on the bike, ten minutes on the running machine and then five minutes on a machine for toning biceps and triceps, it was a bit like riding a bicycle with my arms. Think I only covered a few metres though. We then had a swim, me in the slow lane and Jan in the fast. I never was any good at swimming.

This is Jan not me!

This is Jan not me!

Jan gave me some of her old gym clothing and I invested in a good sports bra – very necessary! The very next day I borrowed a pair of trainers and I went for a run, yes a RUN – well a walk with a bit of jogging thrown in for good measure. It took me half an hour, up the road and round the park.  I felt very proud of myself.

Back in Italy I am determined to carry on what I have started but so far the bra has only had one outing and I’ve yet to buy the running shoes. BUT – today I collected a registration form from the local gym in Valmir. Not quite up to the Bannatyne standard but what the heck. Watch this space.

Hope you all had a good Easter, our Sunday lunch was taken at Parco Galeano again this year, 33 euro for a meal of several delicious courses, wine, coffee and liqueurs thrown in! No wonder I need the gym!

Easter Sunday Lunch

Easter Sunday Lunch

 

easterlunch2

Thanks for the photos Ivo!

Pasqua (Easter) A Time for Family…New Beginnings…

wall artIn Italy Easter is a pretty religious affair and why shouldn’t it be?  I’m not religious but I can appreciate the faith of others. There will be processions and church services as well as eating and drinking. The people have put out some decorations in the town and Easter eggs are abundant. There isn’t the same variety here as in the UK but they do go in for big!

Easter Eggs

For us, as we tuck into our Easter Lunch this Sunday with our friends I know I will be thinking about all my family. My children are scattered all over the world, New York, Sydney, Cardiff and London. My husband’s two girls are in England. We miss them all during festive occasions.

Easter is a time of new beginnings, vivid bright colours break out through the dull misty mornings as daffodils, primroses and the fresh grass push up and burst into life. It’s a reminder of the cycle; birth, life and death. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you are in, we all start in the same place, proceed along the same path heading towards the same destination. It’s what you manage to achieve whilst you’re travelling that can make a difference.

I am lucky, I have had many diversions en route so feel that even if it all ends tomorrow I will have achieved some good stuff. But, at the same time, there are many things I still want to do. The Bucket List I think they call it! I want to write a novel (or two), see the Grand Canyon, travel around more of Italy and Sicily with my husband, spend more time with my family and well…there are tons of other things.

Easter lunch this year will be taken with fifteen friends who either live here in Italy, or who are frequent visitors. We are going to Parco Galeano, a local Agriturismo, which is a sort of farm holiday place where all the food seved is home grown or bought, I believe, within a ten kilometre radius. Parco Galeano is well known for its organic pork, the food will be delicious and very reasonably priced. There will be at least five courses! I’ll post the menu on Monday!

We’ll raise a glass to all our children and think about how lucky we are to have such a talented bunch. We’ll be thinking particularly of my son Thomas (Tosh) who left us in January 2011. We’ll be appreciating how much he achieved in his 27 years.  I feel sometimes I shouldn’t mention him, as people can feel awkward.  It’s a bit of a taboo subject, the loss of a child, but don’t be shy of speaking to anyone you know who’s lost their child at whatever age.  Generally the bereaved parents like the opportunity to speak about their son or daughter because it keeps the memory alive and close.

Finally, and most important of all, we’ll be looking forward excitedly to the birth of the first grandchild in just over two weeks! The new addition to our family, our very own new beginning! I cannot wait…

 

bunny1Happy Easter Everyone