This is a picture of the garden at our new place if it all goes through. It needs a lot of work but I’m looking forward to the planning and learning all about gardens, flowers, vegetables and all.

Exciting seeing as our present pad has a postage stamp garden and should you stumble you’ll probably be at the other side in a shot.

The solicitors are working hard and we’ve received the survey report which mentions a few things that will need immediate attention but nothing too drastic.

I want a brand new kitchen and to rip out the downstairs bathroom and I know we’re going to have many a discussion on this.

Oh the fun that lies ahead!

However, we can just move in and live their quite happily but I have never had my very own brand new kitchen. In fact in 2003 I got really really close when we were renovating our house after a fire two years earlier.

It was 8th March 2001. I remember it well as it’s International Woman’s Day and a festa in Italy celebrated with your female friends. In fact I was shopping in Rovereto with Alessia and we were happily chatting about our plans for that evening.

The children were at school and would go to the hotel straight after for merenda, the Italian afternoon tea. So I had time to browse the new spring collections.

I wasn’t paying full attention when Ale answered her phone as I was mesmerised with a fantastic skirt that was sooo me. I didn’t even really notice the worried look on her face, in fact it was the first time since my return from the UK that I actually felt I was starting to relax. Times were tough but I kept reminding myself the children were my focus here.

‘We’ve got to go back’ Alessia said smiling, ‘My mum was on the phone and seems there’s a problem at home’

‘Oh? What’s up?’

‘Seems there’s a fire at your house and the fire brigade are already there, but mum said the children are both fine.’

‘Oh My God!’ ‘My house is on fire?’

The 25 minute journey up the mountain seemed interminable, the pair of us questioning what could possibly be the cause.

As we  passed the viewpoint at Serrada we saw a plume of smoke reaching up into the sky.

‘Wow, that looks like a big fire.’

I was nervous and I kept reminding myself that the kids were ok. Alessia dropped me off as close to the house as she could and I pushed my way through the crowds of people standing looking at tomorrow’s news.

The flames were licking the roof. The windows had exploded and the blackest smoke was pouring out of them. You could hear the wooden beams crack and split, hissing as the fire tore through them.

‘That’ll sort the woodworm out!’ I heard myself think to myself. I chastised myself for being so frivolous in such a dramatic moment.

Enrico was standing on the pavement with Danielle watching the fire brigade as they struggled to reach the flames due to our house being in an awkward position. He carried his usual contempt in his eyes that he held just for me and for the umpteenth time I felt like a piece of shit.

I sought out the children and ran to them. Megan was babbling so quickly her words were getting caught up and Thomas was so sweetly trying to be the man of the situation. He would be 15 in a couple of weeks.

Megan had been in the house with her school friend Francecsca, they had been watching cartoons and eating biscuits. They had noticed the smoke creeping down the stairs central to the open plan living space. They had tried hiding in the downstairs bedroom at the back of the house with the door shut but Meg had realised she ought to tell someone so closing Francesca back in the room she ran out of the house and down to the hotel where she rasied the alarm. Her uncle had ran back up and got Francesca.

The following day we went to verify the damage.

The smell

The smell of a house fire is strong, acrid and sticky. You can smell it still in your hair after a shower, on your clothes and on your skin and every saved object will carry the smell forever.


Black is everywhere, black soot on the furnishings, black water marks running down the walls from the hoses. Black the mark where ashes had fallen on my prized red leather jacket and burnt holes in it.

There was a hole in the lounge ceiling and looking through it you could see the blue sky through the burnt roof in the bedroom above.

The stairs were still in place and safe and an upstairs inspection showed the roof had gone. Everything that had been in the main bedroom had simply disappeared in ashes up in the sky. My book collection, my papirus from Egypt, my treasured bedcover, my clothes. Megan’s room was gone too, her clothes, toys, books, her school bag with homework! Everything gone. Her cuddly toys, her dolls and all of her childhood memories. Gone.

Basically if the flames hadn’t got to it, the water had and our home as we knew it was no more. Miraculously I found our family photos still intact, they stank of smoke and when I go through them every now and again they still hold a whiff of house fire smell.

Quite apt a fire at this point in my life, destroying everything we had worked for over the years. Was this a warning from the Gods to Enrico and I? If so what were they trying to say?

If nothing else, this was the first chapter of the total destruction of our relationship.

They’re the worst aren’t they?

You hear occasionally in the papers of neighbours warring and ending up in court as they won’t turn their music down, or tidy their front/back gardens dragging down the whole area.

Well here on The Croft we’re very lucky.

It’s a little peaceful haven and to be honest there’s not an awful lot to gossip about. We’re all very polite with our ‘mornings and ‘evenings, asking elderly Ted after his wife Leah who’s undergoing the umpteenth trial at removing cancer from her breasts definitely.

I’ve lent my sieve to Emma opposite on a couple of occasions and my magical potion PoxClin for chicken pox to Vicky on the back row when Josh followed my girls with the itchy disease.

We have been known to share drinks out front in the summer, come out after midnight on New Year’s Eve to pass on our good wishes for the new year and the kids play together, in general it’s a happy community…until last night that is.

I glanced at the clock as I woke. It’s a habit since the girls arrived just to see how much sleep I’ve had and unlikely of getting unless they go straight back down. It was 0.42

I tried to turn over and go back to sleep thinking I was having another hot flush but I could hear this woman’s voice in my head and couldn’t turn her off. A car alarm went off and I knew it wasn’t one of those scratched disc moments but real life.

We both went to the window to make sure it wasn’t our car and lo and behold there were number 69 shouting at the top of their heads and wrestling on the pavement.

She stood up.

He didn’t move and we could see he had a huge holdall with him, he just lay in the gutter whilst she poked him with her foot.

Incensed that she wasn’t getting any reaction from him she jumped into her car and started to rev up the engine madly.

She reversed away from him not taking her eyes off him for a second and then drove the bumper right up to him, nudging him to move. The engine was straining under the continued revs and making a hell of a racket but that didn’t stop her. And I couldn’t take my eyes off the scene unfolding beneath me.

The car next to her went off for the second time.

‘Shall I call the police?’ He asked me. No, it’s a domestic, it’ll be all over in a minute.

We watched, as he dragged himself to an upright position and started to walk away. She got out of the car, leaving it in the middle of the street and they met in front of the car. She started to punch him, hefty angry punches and at one point she was smashing his head against the bonnet.

She was one angry lady.

He fell to the floor and she started to kick him, venting her anger on him.

He managed to break away and holdall over his shoulder started to walk out of the Croft.

Was she going to leave him be? Hell no. She jumped in her car and making a Formula 1 racket followed him.

I jumped back into bed at this stage tired and worried the girls might wake and keep me truly awake. Paul followed and sleep swiftly followed.

Would you have intervened?

I noticed at the weekend a newspaper saying Cheryl Cole was consulting a psychic over her recent marriage breakdown and my heart went out to her.

It does seem as if women in the moment of need turn to every possible means to try and gain a bigger understanding of what is happening.

I have tried just about everything over the years. My first trip to a medium was as I was leaving college. She predicted two marriages and a move abroad. I returned to various other psychics, tarot readers and mediums over the years especially when I was feeling most insecure.

I also started to read tarot cards myself, teaching myself from a book. I had a few ladies ask me if I could read the cards for them and they seemed to think I had ‘talent’ that I ‘knew’ what was going to happen to them. My confidence grew and I discovered I was good at something. The trouble is I was so insecure that after making a cup of tea my first task of the day would be to read my cards.

One day I decided enough was enough and I threw them away, book, cards and semi precious stones kept with them to keep them ‘energised’!

But how many people run their lives with the assistance of these means?

I’m sure Cheryl would love to know what’s going to happen, where she’ll be in a year’s time and is she doing the right thing. But I think you have to take a decision and follow it through as hard as that may be.

I will admit though to having a sneaky read of  my stars each month and to getting cross with Mystic Meg should she fail to get it right. 

Sometimes I have cut out a certain prediction, kept it in my purse, for courage, inspiration or just a keepsake and re read it later saying ‘Wow, it came true!’

Maybe I made it come true myself, maybe it was the stars, planets and various astrological persuasions? Who knows?

Just to prove my point I’m going to copy a bit from  a prediction I’ve been carrying around since 2003. I cut it out of an Elle (British) magazine and it was a 15 year cycle.

In 2003, I found myself alone, single and scared about my future. I ‘needed’ to have some certainties and this is what I found

2003 – 2008

This period of wonderful upheaval is all about trusting….a new life direction…your life will fill with new people, major career advancement, exciting family events…an intense love bond.

I left Italy, started up in the UK, brand new job, new man (the best ever) and the birth of our twins in July 08.

2008 – 2013

….a dynamic period for love, esp between 2010 – 2013 when marriage is accented. You and your partner will design a home, travel and expand a social world. You’ll nurture a family, build up a business and donate generously

Well! We have spoken about marriage but there’s always something else that needs the money so it slips down the priority list. New home (tick) just bought, not too sure about the business aspect though or the donations! We’ll have to wait and see.

Note: 3/7/2014 – we got married 9/3/2013

2013 – 2018

A supercharged era, you are freed from managing other people’s lives and a demanding career. Around 2015-2016 you’ll take a risk and end up winning.

And there you have it. I don’t live by this piece of paper but it’s nice to look back on every now and then and check to see. I only wish I knew the name of the astrologer so I could Google her.

How about you? Do you use tarot or astrology in your daily life? would you be tempted to consult a medium? I’d love to hear.


Some of you will have noticed comments on posts from a ‘Romana’, mainly in Italian but the last one in English.

Of course I got an email via Facebook shortly after she’d commented asking me if I could understand it, how was the English and what did I think of her opinion?

Romana, was one of the first girlfriends I made in Folgaria back in ’86. A couple of years older than me, she gave off an air of confidence and a certainty about herself that was quite enviable. I found it difficult to think of her as Italian as she has the blondest of hair and the bluest of eyes that you don’t normally associate with the olive skinned, dark haired, passionate Italian.

Not that she’s not passionate mind! Get her talking politics, religion, current affairs and you’ll know immediately where you stand with her and what she thinks.

She is one of those friends who always have the right answer whether you like what she’s telling you or not. Many a time, she has told me her opinion and I have had to begrudgingly agree that she was right even if I wished with all my heart it was different.

She’s the one who sees things as they are. Not allowing herself to be swayed by public opinions and seeing through any veils or mists heading straight for the core of the matter.

Romana was/is a bit of a rule breaker. She divorced her first husband after a couple of years swiftly realising he wasn’t The One and moved later to a tiny mountain village to live with her boyfriend (now husband) which back in 80’s Italy was Against All Of The Rules.

She held her head up high and continued to follow her heart and is still in the same village I left in 2004 living a proud and commendable life, looking  after herself, her husband and their 15 year old daughter. And still not giving tuppence about what the villagers think of her :)

Romana has watched me from the start of my relationship with my ex. She came to visit me in hospital when Thomas was born, we attended each others weddings and we have dried each others tears. We have argued, we have made up, we have laughed at our stupidity and shared each others lives, the ups, the downs and the absurd.

Now our friendship continues via Facebook, email and the odd telephone call and she sends her 15 year old daughter Veronica over ‘To Learn Some English’ for a week in the summer. (I do try to teach her I promise!)

Do you have a friend that has stuck around like she has?

Finally we have a buyer and a house to move to in as much as they’ve accepted our offer now it’s all subject to contract ie surveys and long chains not breaking. Fingers tightly crossed everyone!

I was thinking back to how many  moves I have accomplished in my almost 44 years and I was shocked!

Born in London and bred in Brixton, we moved out to Dartford when I was a toddler and then onto Gravesend when I was in 1st year juniors (old timers will know what year that is) I stayed there until I had finished school at 17.

I then moved to Broadstairs to go to the college and after back up to London where I bumped into this awful man. I also bumped into this man who changed my life completely and off I went to Italia!

Even there, we moved from pillar to post, renting places whilst ours was being renovated. I totalled up 8 properties in 18 years. Throw in the odd separation/argument and add on another 5 dwellings.

Then as of  2004 when I returned to the UK I have totalled up another 4 homes including our current home.

22 different houses to call home in 44 years. That’s not a good statistic and I have everything crossed that our next nest will be for a long while, at least while the girls are at school but then I could win the lottery and if so, I’d move to my dream mansion and make it 23. Plus a home in Folgaria, plus a holiday home and a flat in London overlooking the Thames obviously depending how many millions I win :)

That’s an average of 1 house per two years!

marling way

Here’s a photo of the house we have bought, every single room in it needs working on as not to our taste or dated but I’m looking forward to the project and the fact of having a 100ft garden to play with. I want to create an allotment at the bottom to grow my own.

Fabulous news for us and now praying that all goes well with the contracts and solicitors.